Skip to comments.In Praise of Chain Stores
Posted on 12/09/2006 3:35:25 PM PST by SamAdams76
Every well-traveled cosmopolite knows that America is mind-numbingly monotonousthe most boring country to tour, because everywhere looks like everywhere else, as the columnist Thomas Friedman once told Charlie Rose. Boston has the same stores as Denver, which has the same stores as Charlotte or Seattle or Chicago. We live in a Stepford world, says Rachel Dresbeck, the author of Insiders Guide to Portland, Oregon. Even Bostons historic Faneuil Hall, she complains, is dominated by the Gap, Anthropologie, Starbucks, and all the other usual suspects. Why go anywhere? Every place looks the same. This complaint is more than the old worry, dating back to the 1920s, that the big guys are putting Mom and Pop out of business. Todays critics focus less on what isnt thereMom and Popthan on what is. Faneuil Hall actually has plenty of locally owned businesses, from the Geoclassics store selling minerals and jewelry, to Pizzeria Regina (since 1926). But you do find the same chains everywhere.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
Mom and pop stores are gone because they are inefficient (exception: certain niche markets). What rational person would want to pay significant markup and have less to choose from simply to keep an outmoded and inefficient business model going? Personally, I like the idea I can travel anywhere in the US (and many parts of the world) and still pick up a Big Mac when I want one.
This is a terrific article. Thanks for posting it.
Better weather and good golf courses!
Reference ping to a great article...
About 8 years ago, I arrived in Perth, Western Australia after the long trip from Los Angeles. I was hungry and needed to stretch my legs so I found a MacDonald's about 2 blocks from the hotel. The Big Mac tasted entirely unlike anything I'd ever had stateside. It really sucked, but the fries were good!
Perhaps the happiest day of my life is when my family stumbled upon a Wendy's restaurant in Athens.
We had been eating squid eyeballs wrapped in soggy grape leaves smothered in stinky goat cheese for a week. We were about to starve.
We coulda died without that chain....
Why go anywhere?
Hunting seasons don't follow the same schedule and fishing varies from place to place.
Why go anywhere? Because there is only one Grand Canyon, one Santa Fe, one Mauna Loa volcano, one Mt. McKinley, one Everglades, etc. etc. You can't see all that staying in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
And no matter where you go, only a small percentage of the stores are chains. And thank God they are there. It's comforting to find a McDonald's for a quick breakfast on the go, alongside a local Little Rock diner where you can get real grits and buiscuits and sausage gravy with your eggs if you prefer. It's a damned myth that once city is like another. They just all happen to now offer more choices than were once available.
ErnBatavia wrote: "The Big Mac tasted entirely unlike anything I'd ever had stateside."
Yeah. I think McDonalds varies the food a bit depending on what's available locally. I ate at a McDonalds in Turkey once. Its food tasted pretty similar to the US stuff.
There is nothing wrong with local culture or chains. You sample the local flavor when you are adventurous, and when you're tired and hungry and homesick, you go to Cracker Barrel. :)
Choice. What a concept!
Think it will catch on?
Not to mention that many Mom & Pop stores pleased their customers, had a lot of babies and became chains themselves. It's not like Sam Walton started out with $500 billion and 1,000 stores.
VirginiaConstitutionalist wrote: "It's not like Sam Walton started out with $500 billion and 1,000 stores."
I've often wondered what it is like to breathe pure ozone...
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