Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Decline of Mom and Pop Businesses
#1
Yesterday I went to one of the relatively few remaining mom and pop sandwich shops to stock up in case we end up on lockdown.  As I was going there I thought about the fact that when I was growing up in the 1950s mom and pop book stores, music stores, diners and pharmacies were abundant, and for the most part remained so through the 1970s. The owners and subordinates as well were usually quite friendly and if the store wasn’t busy you could stay and talk with them for a while. I personally developed friendships with some of them at the time. But by the 1980s they really began to fall like dominoes, ruthlessly gutted out of existence by chain stores and fast food franchises which were pretty much the same everywhere. Employees were monitored so heavily that it became virtually impossible to develop those kinds of friendships. On this thread I shall seek your feedback on the reasons for the decline and have chosen to make this multiple choice. So here goes:


a).That we have become a much more mobile society with many folks expecting to find the same stores and restaurants wherever they travel.

b). That big business has thoroughly brainwashed the public into thinking that they could do it all better.

c).  That we have become a consistently more convenience obsessed world with each generation being more so than the last. Mom and pop operations usually can’t provide the same level of convenience that today’s society demands and expects.

d).  All of the above.

e).  Something else.
Reply
#2
Walmart.
Reply
#3
(03-20-2020, 10:59 AM)beechnut79 Wrote: Yesterday I went to one of the relatively few remaining mom and pop sandwich shops to stock up in case we end up on lockdown.  As I was going there I thought about the fact that when I was growing up in the 1950s mom and pop book stores, music stores, diners and pharmacies were abundant, and for the most part remained so through the 1970s. The owners and subordinates as well were usually quite friendly and if the store wasn’t busy you could stay and talk with them for a while. I personally developed friendships with some of them at the time. But by the 1980s they really began to fall like dominoes, ruthlessly gutted out of existence by chain stores and fast food franchises which were pretty much the same everywhere. Employees were monitored so heavily that it became virtually impossible to develop those kinds of friendships. On this thread I shall seek your feedback on the reasons for the decline and have chosen to make this multiple choice. So here goes:


a).That we have become a much more mobile society with many folks expecting to find the same stores and restaurants wherever they travel.

That is one way to level regional distinctions, but also a sure way to create a bland and boring universe. Paradoxically some chain restaurants have tried to redesign some of their locations to make them look less like cookie-cutter experiences. I think of "Chez Mac" in the South Bend-Elkhart area in which locations have gotten architectural upgrades even if the menu is identical in them all. 

Road trips had become awful, especially if they used the Interstate, with a roadside stop in Midland, Michigan being similar to one in Midland, Texas (strictly speaking, US 10 in Midland, Michigan is not an Interstate but is up to Interstate standard. OK, so there are funky diners and bars... one must go looking for them. I enjoy a craft brewery for its distinctive quaffs that I could never compare to mass-market beers).

OK, a place is interesting if it has a local history or remarkable scenery... it is not the 1970's any more when Americans were delighted to count off the miles on a rural Interstate in Illinois because such a highway seemed like a miracle. We take such for granted now. 


Quote:b). That big business has thoroughly brainwashed the public into thinking that they could do it all better.

One word: advertising. In general, the more witless the product or attraction, the lower must be the level of communication to make such attractive to a mass market. This said, advertising on golf programs (golf gets small audiences for television but it reacts a non-mass audience that offers viewers with high-SES in contrast to most television) seems no more clever than what appears on schlock daytime television which has viewers either retired, unemployed, or doing shift work.

Big Business can advertise on television; mom-and-pop businesses can't.

 

Quote:c).  That we have become a consistently more convenience obsessed world with each generation being more so than the last. Mom and pop operations usually can’t provide the same level of convenience that today’s society demands and expects.


Like many trends and fads, such goes only so far until it becomes stale and even repugnant. The craft brewery cannot advertise as can Anheuser-Busch (which used to be renowned for excellent advertising of a banal product). Maybe it is not so much unrefined taste as it is compromises that people make because they are poor. Face it -- the neo-liberal paradigm that has dominated American political and economic life demands mass poverty as a means of creating the extreme wealth of economic elites who justify their rapaciousness and administrative brutality on the ground that such unbelievable wealth will create such extreme wealth that nobody will need to be poor. 

The only meaningful convenience these days is that the rich and powerful can grab a paycheck again at least as fast as a worker earns it. Thus "easy credit rip-offs" that have people over-paying for something obvious.


Quote:d).  All of the above.

It could be that in the 1T, should economic disparities become less severe, some of the trends that you see will now  become obsolete or even abominable. But so far you are right.  
 
Quote:e).  Something else.


The corporate income tax is much the same whether on a mom-and-pop business (a restaurant that nets an income of $150 K a year, which isn't all that much for a family of six that does the work there) or Exxon-Mobil. The tax system used to give a relative advantage to small businesses when large amounts of unearned income from interest and dividends were heavily taxed, and when business executives had not become similar to the exploitative nomenklatura of "socialist" states. I will be delighted to see the current  paradigm come to an end with something saner, more equitable, and more sustainable replacing it.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#4
(03-20-2020, 01:24 PM)Mickey123 Wrote: Walmart.

But Wal*Mart is becoming old-hat. Its style of marketing does not foster individuality. It is a mass-market model established in the 1960's (I got introduced to one of its earliest stores in Paragould, Arkansas  -- store #36 -- in the late 1960's). It well fits the Reagan-Trump era (the Individualist era of the Skowronek cycle of politics and economics) but might not well fit into a time that knows the difference between individualism and individuality and cherishes the latter.



 

Dated -- but people were buying a counterfeit version of the American Dream and selling out a more workable and sustainable reality so that they could buy huge quantities of consumer schlock. The store could as easily be K-Mart, Target, or Meijer as well as Wal*Mart, or such entities now vanished as Woolco, Gibson's and Ames. W.T. Grant tried that rote and failed.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#5
I think it's mostly about c.) convenience. People's priorities shifted to getting what they want and getting out, not to staying and chatting and making friendships. In other words, business stopped having a community orientation and became strictly about fulfilling individual needs. It also comes out of the growth of the world economy and global supply chains - it all just favors the bigger enterprises, who are ready to cater to the demands of the hyper-consumer.

At least, that's how it was before 2020.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
Reply
#6
(03-21-2020, 09:27 AM)sbarrera Wrote: I think it's mostly about c.) convenience. People's priorities shifted to getting what they want and getting out, not to staying and chatting and making friendships. In other words, business stopped having a community orientation and became strictly about fulfilling individual needs. It also comes out of the growth of the world economy and global supply chains - it all just favors the bigger enterprises, who are ready to cater to the demands of the hyper-consumer.

At least, that's how it was before 2020.

The quarantine in several states (including California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York) could make life lonely and frustrating for the duration. People are going to miss much of what they put on hiatus. Every generation will treat the quarantine differently and get a different impression of it. Was it necessary, people will ask after the fact? Who knows?  

In any event the model that depends upon people finding meaning in buying "crap at Big Box-Mart" will itself get stale. Fads go that way as a rule. It may be ironic, but "Big Box Mart" put people in contact with each other. Deficiency became surfeit, but at the least, planning and saving to get some big-ticket item (which is how people did things in the 1950's) that one examined for its merits gave people some purpose -- and a longer time-frame.

"Get it now!" may not be so attractive when it involves the complexity of d--t, which will be about as dirty a word as f--k in a few years.

I am tempted to believe that people will seek chatting that can lead to friendships. Buying more stuff? That has lost its appeal when much of what one bought with the feeling that one was an astute shopper if one bought it becomes clutter that makes life uglier and more complicated. 

Ice-cream socials, potluck dinners, pool parties? Those will be back in vogue as America goes forward to a time more analogous, if not quite the same, to the 1950's.  All of those will be pay-as-you-go.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#7
(03-21-2020, 08:45 PM)I pbrower2a Wrote:
(03-21-2020, 09:27 AM)sbarrera Wrote: I think it's mostly about c.) convenience. People's priorities shifted to getting what they want and getting out, not to staying and chatting and making friendships. In other words, business stopped having a community orientation and became strictly about fulfilling individual needs. It also comes out of the growth of the world economy and global supply chains - it all just favors the bigger enterprises, who are ready to cater to the demands of the hyper-consumer.

At least, that's how it was before 2020.

The quarantine in several states (including California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York) could make life lonely and frustrating for the duration. People are going to miss much of what they put on hiatus. Every generation will treat the quarantine differently and get a different impression of it. Was it necessary, people will ask after the fact? Who knows?  

In any event the model that depends upon people finding meaning in buying "crap at Big Box-Mart" will itself get stale. Fads go that way as a rule. It may be ironic, but "Big Box Mart" put people in contact with each other. Deficiency became surfeit, but at the least, planning and saving to get some big-ticket item (which is how people did things in the 1950's) that one examined for its merits gave people some purpose -- and a longer time-frame.

"Get it now!" may not be so attractive when it involves the complexity of d--t, which will be about as dirty a word as f--k in a few years.

I am tempted to believe that people will seek chatting that can lead to friendships. Buying more stuff? That has lost its appeal when much of what one bought with the feeling that one was an astute shopper if one bought it becomes clutter that makes life uglier and more complicated. 

Ice-cream socials, potluck dinners, pool parties? Those will be back in vogue as America goes forward to a time more analogous, if not quite the same, to the 1950's.  All of those will be pay-as-you-go.
The thought for the day is that meeting new and interesting people fosters stimulating conversations and new ways of doing things. Yet today’s more uptight world tends to discourage such, since you have to be mindful of blurting something out that might offend someone. You and I as fellow Aspies tend to be doubly prone to such backlash. We have become much more sensitive and insensitive at the same time. As a result social distancing was well underway even before the pandemic hit.

I find it interesting the things you feel might come back into vogue, which does tie into to this post’s open. In my intro to this thread I much recall how much easier to initiate said convos in the old individually owned shops of bygone times. Many could even be friends first and business people second. And while the underlings still had a boss they had to answer to, I doubt that they were monitored every minute like in today’s corporate business world.
Reply
#8
(03-22-2020, 11:05 AM)beechnut79 Wrote:
(03-21-2020, 08:45 PM)I pbrower2a Wrote:
(03-21-2020, 09:27 AM)sbarrera Wrote: I think it's mostly about c.) convenience. People's priorities shifted to getting what they want and getting out, not to staying and chatting and making friendships. In other words, business stopped having a community orientation and became strictly about fulfilling individual needs. It also comes out of the growth of the world economy and global supply chains - it all just favors the bigger enterprises, who are ready to cater to the demands of the hyper-consumer.

At least, that's how it was before 2020.

The quarantine in several states (including California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York) could make life lonely and frustrating for the duration. People are going to miss much of what they put on hiatus. Every generation will treat the quarantine differently and get a different impression of it. Was it necessary, people will ask after the fact? Who knows?  

In any event the model that depends upon people finding meaning in buying "crap at Big Box-Mart" will itself get stale. Fads go that way as a rule. It may be ironic, but "Big Box Mart" put people in contact with each other. Deficiency became surfeit, but at the least, planning and saving to get some big-ticket item (which is how people did things in the 1950's) that one examined for its merits gave people some purpose -- and a longer time-frame.

"Get it now!" may not be so attractive when it involves the complexity of d--t, which will be about as dirty a word as f--k in a few years.

I am tempted to believe that people will seek chatting that can lead to friendships. Buying more stuff? That has lost its appeal when much of what one bought with the feeling that one was an astute shopper if one bought it becomes clutter that makes life uglier and more complicated. 

Ice-cream socials, potluck dinners, pool parties? Those will be back in vogue as America goes forward to a time more analogous, if not quite the same, to the 1950's.  All of those will be pay-as-you-go.

The thought for the day is that meeting new and interesting people fosters stimulating conversations and new ways of doing things. Yet today’s more uptight world tends to discourage such, since you have to be mindful of blurting something out that might offend someone. You and I as fellow Aspies tend to be doubly prone to such backlash. We have become much more sensitive and insensitive at the same time. As a result social distancing was well underway even before the pandemic hit.

I find it interesting the things you feel might come back into vogue, which does tie into to this post’s open. In my intro to this thread I much recall how much easier to initiate said convos in the old individually owned shops of bygone times. Many could even be friends first and business people second. And while the underlings still had a boss they had to answer to, I doubt that they were monitored every minute like in today’s corporate business world.

People are more mobile than they used to be, and that means that people are coming into people that they do not know from the kinship and shared school networks.  With the kinship network one knew enough to not praise any non-plutocratic idea on economics to the banker (even if 'merely' a lending officer or a supervisor of tellers) or suggest to an uncle who worked in "the plant" that right-to-work legislation would solve the high level of unemployment. One knew enough to not get into a heated argument about religion (if you are a Protestant)  with a niece whose brother is a Catholic priest.  You also knew enough not to give Darwin's The Descent of Man and The Origin of Species , let alone Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian* to the young-earth creationist who holds that anyone who believes in evolution will burn in Hell along with serial killers, child molesters, homosexuals, and (paradoxically) both Jews and Holocaust perpetrators -- go figure. You also knew to whom to not show a prospective spouse who has a skin color opposite yours. 

People who know  me well enough know enough to not praise Donald Trump, street drugs, or illicit hustles. As someone who fits three Jewish stereotypes (no, I do not have curly hair or a big nose), it is a bad idea to tell me any antisemitic claptrap.  

In suburbia, which consists of people who live predominately among people from different places and did not know them from childhood, one does not always know what to expect.  


*Anyone who identifies himself as a Christian needs to read that book to establish whether his faith has a solid backing or lacks it. As I once suggested in a philosophy course, anyone whose religious faith can collapse under a challenge of some philosophical exercise either has inadequate faith or has a weak basis for his beliefs.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Do You Like Justin Bieber, or other pop stars? Eric the Green 7 998 03-23-2019, 08:53 PM
Last Post: Hintergrund

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)