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Dead Malls and the Generational Cycle
#21
(01-03-2017, 09:03 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(01-03-2017, 07:33 AM)Mikebert Wrote:
(01-02-2017, 07:29 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I would be in favor of a form of this that would not force small online retailers out of business due to excessive regulatory requirements to handle complex state specific sales tax rules.
I don't see how this is an issue.  Software that does this must already exist. We have mapping programs and tax prep programs that deal with problems a hundred times more complex that this.  Very small businesses would just buy a commercial package just like millions of Americans do for their tax prep.

Have you tried buying tax software for small businesses?  The market is orders of magnitude smaller than for individual tax software, and as a result the costs are much higher and availability is much more limited.  When I looked into this just for Massachusetts, the all up cost was going to be in the thousands; multiply that by 50 and the cost really adds up for a mom and pop type business, not to mention several hours filling things out for each state, possibly days when you include researching the rules, all also multiplied by 50.

Permitting state sales taxes on online businesses would be an exercise of the federal government's powers to regulate interstate commerce already; I don't see what the big deal would be for the federal government to prescribe uniform rules for such taxes along the lines I suggest.

I have to agree with Mike on this.  What problem do you have that requires expensive software?  Try this list for most accounting needs.  Most Intuit SW is very reasonable.  They even have a QuickBooks for Self Employed. 

Of course, a business of larger size needs the services of a CPA.  To do otherwise is foolish.  I know this from personal experience.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#22
(01-02-2017, 11:45 AM)The Wonkette Wrote: This is apropos.  The Washington Post's Sunday issue features a small suburban mall that was my hangout in junior high school because of its proximity; it was the place where you could go to after your FTA or yearbook club meeting after school and get an ice cream.

Quote:Shops like Ties, Shirts and More fill Beltway Plaza Mall, one of the area’s oldest shopping malls. The owner of the shop is Indian. Kiflemarian is Eritrean, and she sells these rainbow-hued dress shirts and broad ties to a largely Latino clientele. She has learned to say a few words in Spanish, mostly greetings and numbers, because neck sizes and prices are important.

At Beltway Plaza, Spanish rings out from every aisle and the food court is populated by not Taco Bells, but various immigrant cuisines.

“It feels to me like back home. It’s the center of social life,” Kiflemarian says.

She laughs. There is one way it is nothing like home: Back in Eritrea, she says, she never imagined that she’d be speaking Spanish one day.

Unlike Tysons Corner or Arundel Mills, Beltway Plaza doesn’t house a Victoria’s Secret, a M.A.C. store or an American Eagle Outfitters. Mostly, Beltway Plaza has found a niche as a large — and faintly 1980s — urban souk, hawking the necessities, and the oddities, of immigrant life.

It can confound the users of Yelp, who bemoan its “shadiness” and who struggle to comprehend just what they’ll buy at Luv’n Time, the lingerie shop, or First Lady, with its Sunday sermon-appropriate power suits and lace hats the size of hubcaps.

“They’re not big merchants; they’re not big corporate entities,” says Jon Enten, a marketing consultant for the mall. “We have everything from African fashion to an As-Seen-on-TV store.”

In a retail landscape that is increasingly bleak, could this be this the future of malls?
Here is the link to the full article.

Washington Post article

Possible response, economic and cultural. There are large non-white, non-Anglo, and non-Christian populations in America, and there is much entrepreneurial talent within them.

Shopping malls are expensive infrastructure, but they also are valuable assets. I can expect them to be put to new purposes from community colleges to jails as well as commerce. If commerce, it will not be to connect free-spending white people to overpriced boutiques.

The days of free-spending with no sensitivity to price is now over for the middle class. Big Business will have to adjust to that. People like me were cautious with spending even when things were sort-of-OK. Even if they have money, people are not filling their dwellings (smaller than they were in the 1960s as the middle class increasingly become renters of tiny apartments) with the schlock that people bought twenty, let alone forty years ago.
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.


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#23
(01-03-2017, 04:13 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-02-2017, 11:45 AM)The Wonkette Wrote: This is apropos.  The Washington Post's Sunday issue features a small suburban mall that was my hangout in junior high school because of its proximity; it was the place where you could go to after your FTA or yearbook club meeting after school and get an ice cream.

Quote:Shops like Ties, Shirts and More fill Beltway Plaza Mall, one of the area’s oldest shopping malls. The owner of the shop is Indian. Kiflemarian is Eritrean, and she sells these rainbow-hued dress shirts and broad ties to a largely Latino clientele. She has learned to say a few words in Spanish, mostly greetings and numbers, because neck sizes and prices are important.

At Beltway Plaza, Spanish rings out from every aisle and the food court is populated by not Taco Bells, but various immigrant cuisines.

“It feels to me like back home. It’s the center of social life,” Kiflemarian says.

She laughs. There is one way it is nothing like home: Back in Eritrea, she says, she never imagined that she’d be speaking Spanish one day.

Unlike Tysons Corner or Arundel Mills, Beltway Plaza doesn’t house a Victoria’s Secret, a M.A.C. store or an American Eagle Outfitters. Mostly, Beltway Plaza has found a niche as a large — and faintly 1980s — urban souk, hawking the necessities, and the oddities, of immigrant life.

It can confound the users of Yelp, who bemoan its “shadiness” and who struggle to comprehend just what they’ll buy at Luv’n Time, the lingerie shop, or First Lady, with its Sunday sermon-appropriate power suits and lace hats the size of hubcaps.

“They’re not big merchants; they’re not big corporate entities,” says Jon Enten, a marketing consultant for the mall. “We have everything from African fashion to an As-Seen-on-TV store.”

In a retail landscape that is increasingly bleak, could this be this the future of malls?
Here is the link to the full article.

Washington Post article

Possible response, economic and cultural. There are large non-white, non-Anglo, and non-Christian populations in America, and there is much entrepreneurial talent within them.

Shopping malls are expensive infrastructure, but they also are valuable assets. I can expect them to be put to new purposes from community colleges to jails as well as commerce. If commerce, it will not be to connect free-spending white people to overpriced boutiques.

The days of free-spending with no sensitivity to price is now over for the middle class. Big Business will have to adjust to that. People like me were cautious with spending even when things were sort-of-OK. Even if they have money, people are not filling their dwellings (smaller than they were in the 1960s as the middle class increasingly become renters of tiny apartments) with the schlock that people bought twenty, let alone forty years ago.
Some malls are being torn down for new developments.
 … whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8 (ESV)
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#24
(01-03-2017, 04:13 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: The days of free-spending with no sensitivity to price is now over for the middle class.

True for middle class families with kids.  False for the childless by choice set.  They've still got plenty of disposable income.

Then there are my kids, who go to the mall's Lego store every other weekend to spend money they earn from doing workbooks.  I suspect that's not a very big market, though.
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#25
On the old Howe and Strauss forums there was a thread on Dead Malls, one-site shopping for seemingly everything that a middle-class (in the day, largely white) family wanted. Shopping malls were glitzy, high-maintenance environments that offered large department stores (including the now-defunct Montgomery-Ward and Mervyn's) as well as some regional chains that got bought out (in Michigan, Marshall-Field bought out Hudson's, and Macy's bought out Marshall-Field). We now have Sears and J C Penney on life-support, with many of their stores closing as the chains approach what looks like the end.

High-maintenance is fine if one has the means. When the first shopping malls were built for the (white) middle class (and back then the middle class was almost exclusively white), suburban shoppers still paying at most modest rents or having mortgage payments whose value was already gutted by inflation could be free spenders by current standards. Parents went to the traditional department stores and kids chose to go as quickly as possible to boutique-like stores. One paid full retail in those boutiques, whether for books, records, specialized clothing, toys, or hobby kits. This could allow for higher property taxes and the cost of air conditioning and heating for the owners.

It's easy to blame politicians for the decline in relative earnings for most Americans (since about 1980 the rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer, which means that the middle class that could spend freely on clothing, books, entertainment software, and crafts can no longer do so. There is rent to pay and of course the highest-cost system of medical payments in the world.

Yes, the mall lost its thrill. Some declined earlier as the local demographics changed, some of the earliest suburban malls dying even in the 1970s. (Think of Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, the defunct mall through which Dan Akroyd and the late James Belushi drive a car in 1980 in The Blues Brothers. The mall was closed in 1979).  But that mall was in a poor location with respect to highways, and it was in an area that declined rapidly due to demographic change. Poor people replaced the middle class in Harvey, and the mall died.

The traditional department store had its problems, largely an aging clientele. At one point I remember on an educational TV program in the 1980s that the typical customer of a traditional department store was 59 -- then borderline between the GI and Silent generations. A  business model that depends upon an elderly clientele not replenishing itself with new elderly customers is in deep trouble. The typical customer of the time is now in the early 90s and is generally not a reliable customer.

Here is a link to Dead Malls Note that it has been little upgraded in ten years. There are YouTube videos on dead malls, but beware: those videos can be depressing.

Here's a story on a shopping mall that I remember when it was new back in the 1980s -- and it is dying:

Collin Creek Mall, Plano, Texas[/quote]

(I haven't been in Greater Dallas for twenty-five years).  But this mall is thirty years old, and it is most likely fully depreciated in view of IRS regulations for tax accounting).

I worked for Dillard's Department Stores for a couple of years until ulcers made me resign; around 1980 one was a perfect applicant for a job out of college or one had to settle for something near minimum wage

(Dillard's seems to be thriving, but it was a horrible place to work, one in which employees were expected to participate in cut-throat competition to survive there even if they were paid starvation wages. Cheap swipe at a former employer now that it no longer matters).  


(I lived in the greater Dallas area back then, and for good reason I try to avoid describing where I now live).

...Not one enclosed mall has been built since 2006, probably reflecting the economic realities of retailing even before the Little Depression of ten years ago, and it won't be until the 2050s at the least before any equivalent of the shopping mall reappears in America as a significant reality in shopping and real estate.
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.


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#26
There's an existing discussion on this here:

http://generational-theory.com/forum/thread-613.html
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#27
(07-13-2017, 08:05 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: There's an existing discussion on this here:

http://generational-theory.com/forum/thread-613.html

Fine. I suggest that this material be moved to the other existing thread.
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.


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#28
Largely moved from a thread likely to duplicate this one.


On the old Howe and Strauss forums there was a thread on Dead Malls, one-site shopping for seemingly everything that a middle-class (in the day, largely white) family wanted. Shopping malls were glitzy, high-maintenance environments that offered large department stores (including the now-defunct Montgomery-Ward and Mervyn's) as well as some regional chains that got bought out (in Michigan, Marshall-Field bought out Hudson's, and Macy's bought out Marshall-Field). We now have Sears and J C Penney on life-support, with many of their stores closing as the chains approach what looks like the end.

High-maintenance is fine if one has the means. When the first shopping malls were built for the (white) middle class (and back then the middle class was almost exclusively white), suburban shoppers still paying at most modest rents or having mortgage payments whose value was already gutted by inflation could be free spenders by current standards. Parents went to the traditional department stores and kids chose to go as quickly as possible to boutique-like stores. One paid full retail in those boutiques, whether for books, records, specialized clothing, toys, or hobby kits. This could allow for higher property taxes and the cost of air conditioning and heating for the owners.

It's easy to blame politicians for the decline in relative earnings for most Americans (since about 1980 the rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer, which means that the middle class that could spend freely on clothing, books, entertainment software, and crafts can no longer do so. There is rent to pay and of course the highest-cost system of medical payments in the world.

Yes, the mall lost its thrill. Some declined earlier as the local demographics changed, some of the earliest suburban malls dying even in the 1970s. (Think of Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, the defunct mall through which Dan Akroyd and the late James Belushi drive a car in 1980 in The Blues Brothers. The mall was closed in 1979).  But that mall was in a poor location with respect to highways, and it was in an area that declined rapidly due to demographic change. Poor people replaced the middle class in Harvey, and the mall died.

The traditional department store had its problems, largely an aging clientele. At one point I remember on an educational TV program in the 1980s that the typical customer of a traditional department store was 59 -- then borderline between the GI and Silent generations. A  business model that depends upon an elderly clientele not replenishing itself with new elderly customers is in deep trouble. The typical customer of the time is now in the early 90s and is generally not a reliable customer.

Here is a link to Dead Malls Note that it has been little upgraded in ten years. There are YouTube videos on dead malls, but beware: those videos can be depressing.

Here's a story on a shopping mall that I remember when it was new back in the 1980s -- and it is dying:

Collin Creek Mall, Plano, Texas


(I haven't been in Greater Dallas for twenty-five years).  But this mall is thirty years old, and it is most likely fully depreciated in view of IRS regulations for tax accounting).

I worked for Dillard's Department Stores for a couple of years until ulcers made me resign; around 1980 one was a perfect applicant for a job out of college or one had to settle for something near minimum wage

(Dillard's seems to be thriving, but it was a horrible place to work, one in which employees were expected to participate in cut-throat competition to survive there even if they were paid starvation wages. Cheap swipe at a former employer now that it no longer matters).  


(I lived in the greater Dallas area back then, and for good reason I try to avoid describing where I now live).

...Not one enclosed mall has been built since 2006, probably reflecting the economic realities of retailing even before the Little Depression of ten years ago, and it won't be until the 2050s at the least before any equivalent of the shopping mall reappears in America as a significant reality in shopping and real estate.



The next time that the generational constellation has people on the cusp between a Civic and an Adaptive generation at age 30 will be at least fifteen years from now, when people of such age have largely forgotten what "Sears" and "J C Penney" were. Maybe we will also have decentralized the economic opportunities more and we will have vastly reformed the business of medicine.
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.


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#29
I wonder if this is just the standard business cycle, which may be slower in real estate. Malls may have been overbuilt, leaving room for some to survive and others to die. Certainly in the Boston area, I can identify some malls that seem fine, and others that seem, if not dead, certainly not well.

I'm sure online shopping did some damage.
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#30
(07-14-2017, 06:24 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I wonder if this is just the standard business cycle, which may be slower in real estate.  Malls may have been overbuilt, leaving room for some to survive and others to die.  Certainly in the Boston area, I can identify some malls that seem fine, and others that seem, if not dead, certainly not well.

I'm sure online shopping did some damage.

On-line shopping did some damage. I have bought only audio (music CDs) and video (DVDs and Blu-Ray) on line as the stores did not stock what I wanted. I will probably buy some books on line. Groceries? I like to see what I am buying. Clothes? I wear well-stocked sizes in very conservative styles. Electronics? My stereo speakers are over twenty years old, and they still sound good (although the listening area is awful). But I am a slow-adapter, typically waiting a few years before adopting a technological innovation because by then that innovation has been greatly reduced in price. That's one way to keep a budget in line -- live in the past. The other is to live beneath one's means. I'd rather own some corporate stock than a boat (unless I were to make money off the boat) or an overpriced car. 

Were I black I would probably buy much more stuff on line simply to avoid unpleasant encounters with stupid, racist white people who comprise many people in the retail business. But retail attracts the bottom of the barrel in vocational aptitudes, work ethic, vocational preparation, and wisdom in choosing college majors. For the latter three, retail is simply a stepping stone to something better, like getting an MBA or a teaching credential, office or factory work, a trade or low-level profession, joining the Armed Forces, or marrying someone with a genuine profession or trade. Retail is simply bare survival for an adult or a way for a teenager to get money for consumer goodies while living with Mom and Dad.

...Boston has one of the most vibrant economies in the USA, and high-end retailing does well there, as in New York, Washington, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, and parts of Los Angeles. Definitely not so in such urban wrecks as Baltimore, Birmingham, Memphis, St. Louis,  Milwaukee, Detroit, or Cleveland. The rich typically have better things to do with their time than shopping in a mall; the poor often have little better to do but not the cash for buying stuff that makes a mall profitable. The white middle class made the shopping mall succeed. But as the white middle class shrinks a business  model tailored to them adapts or dies. The malls seem unable even to adapt to non-white middle-class customers. It does not help that Mervyn's and Montgomery-Ward are dead, that Radio Shack (a key player in the boutique stores) is in an irreversible coma, and that Sears and J C Penney are in critical condition if not doomed.
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.


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#31
(07-15-2017, 01:05 PM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(07-14-2017, 06:24 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I wonder if this is just the standard business cycle, which may be slower in real estate.  Malls may have been overbuilt, leaving room for some to survive and others to die.  Certainly in the Boston area, I can identify some malls that seem fine, and others that seem, if not dead, certainly not well.

I'm sure online shopping did some damage.

On-line shopping did some damage. I have bought only audio (music CDs) and video (DVDs and Blu-Ray) on line as the stores did not stock what I wanted. I will probably buy some books on line. Groceries? I like to see what I am buying. Clothes? I wear well-stocked sizes in very conservative styles. Electronics? My stereo speakers are over twenty years old, and they still sound good (although the listening area is awful). But I am a slow-adapter, typically waiting a few years before adopting a technological innovation because by then that innovation has been greatly reduced in price. That's one way to keep a budget in line -- live in the past. The other is to live beneath one's means. I'd rather own some corporate stock than a boat (unless I were to make money off the boat) or an overpriced car. 

Were I black I would probably buy much more stuff on line simply to avoid unpleasant encounters with stupid, racist white people who comprise many people in the retail business. But retail attracts the bottom of the barrel in vocational aptitudes, work ethic, vocational preparation, and wisdom in choosing college majors. For the latter three, retail is simply a stepping stone to something better, like getting an MBA or a teaching credential, office or factory work, a trade or low-level profession, joining the Armed Forces,  or marrying someone with a genuine profession or trade. Retail is simply bare survival for an adult or a way for a teenager to get money for consumer goodies while living with Mom and Dad.

...Boston has one of the most vibrant economies in the USA, and high-end retailing does well there, as in New York, Washington, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, and parts of Los Angeles. Definitely not so in such urban wrecks as Baltimore, Birmingham, Memphis, St. Louis,  Milwaukee, Detroit, or Cleveland. The rich typically have better things to do with their time than shopping in a mall; the poor often have little better to do but not the cash for buying stuff that makes a mall profitable. The white middle class made the shopping mall succeed. But as the white middle class shrinks a business  model tailored to them adapts or dies. The malls seem unable even to adapt to non-white middle-class customers. It does not help that Mervyn's and Montgomery-Ward are dead, that Radio Shack (a key player in the boutique stores) is in an irreversible coma, and that Sears and J C Penney are in critical condition if not doomed.

I buy everything except groceries online.  My kids have more discretionary income than I do and buy in stores, though more recently they have also been spending money on virtual goods online as well.

It strikes me that discretionary income may be key to mall success.
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#32
I wouldn't buy shoes or men's suits on line. Art? No way! Furniture? Stereo speakers? Absolutely not.

...I doubt that you bought a car on line. Of course, where you live (Boston) you are in one of the most insane places in which to drive a car.

But cars are not sold in shopping malls except perhaps Mall of America, and I give that qualification because I have never been there.

........................................................................................

The shopping mall may have depended upon a conjunction of realities present in America only between about 1950 and 2000:

1. Suburban sprawl that put potential customers out of easy reach of downtown stores
2. Cheap (for the time) green-field spots for building shopping malls with their giant parking lots
3. Steady employment for high pay of most people in the suburbs
4. Mass advertising on highly-centralized media (especially when there were only three major networks and two independent TV stations in most RV markets -- this is before cable TV and the profusion of recorded video)
5. White people (remember the unwritten rule of many retailers at one time -- blacks and Latinos are your shoplifters) very conformist and manipulable in their buying habits even if they think themselves 'free spirits'
6. People willing to pay full retail for convenience
7. Shopping being an acceptable expression of leisure instead of the boring suburban drudgery that it has become
8. Inexpensive, spacious housing (by standards of this time) in the suburbs, real cost of living in it gutted by inflation, in which to show the stuff
9. Inexpensive college education that was paid for very early in a professional career instead of giant student-debt loads that migt not be paid off before one is 40.
10. a huge youth market with money to burn
11. unmet desires of the consumer society

I see most of these conditions unlikely to return.
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.


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#33
I'm guessing that the ideal time in which to build a shopping mall was in the 1960s, when:

1. The target customers (the white middle class -- and I remember when one of the secret rules of retailing was to remember that blacks and whatever Hispanic population was large in the area were shoplifters and not shoppers) were flush with cash if they had white-collar jobs or skilled trades. Second incomes (by middle-class wives) became common and spurred luxury spending

2. Plenty of green-field real estate was available for shopping malls and the parking lots that they needed. Taxes were low by current standards.

3. College education was at its cheapest, so college graduates, even if they had low-paying jobs at least did not generally have college debt

4. Mortgage costs were at historic real lows because of inflation that devalued loan balances and because of low interest rates. Houses were spacious (much more spacious than apartments of Millennial adults with job titles similar to those of Silent adults of like age lived in) and thus enticed people to buy more stuff because they could store more stuff.  

5. People taking commutes into the core cities for work didn't want to take another trip downtown to shop.

6. Media were sparser and more concentrated. There were three network channels in less-favored cities (let us say Fort Wayne), three network channels and an independent station in Indianapolis, and three network and two independent channels in Chicago (NET and in turn PBS did not supply advertising). Except for  regional department stores as anchors the malls had the same stores whether they were in Arlington, Texas or Arlington, Virginia and thus could exploit national advertising. Middle0class people still bought newspapers, and stores could easily put advertising in them.

Well, most newspapers. Rupert Murdoch once asked his good friend Alfred Bloomingdale why the retail magnate did not advertise in the New York Post. Bloomingdale retorted "Your readers are my shoplifters!"

7. The suburbs of the time were generally boring places with little to do, so shopping at the mall could be a form of entertainment.

8. Red-lining ensured that the malls would have the only shoppers that they could market to effectively -- white customers -- within easy reach of the malls. Malls needed not cater to blacks or Hispanics that they could not market to effectively even if those minorities were middle-class.

That has changed dramatically. People with middle-class jobs are paying higher real rents than they did in the 1960s and they have less space in which to stash stuff. Those higher real rents cut into disposable income. Suburban real estate has become more expensive or it has deteriorated as housing from the post-WWII era approaches the end of its useful life -- and local taxes rise because local infrastructure needs costly renovation or replacement. Recent college graduates almost invariably have a huge student loan to pay -- people heavily in debt have much less disposable income than people not in debt. People without college degrees may have no student loan debt -- but they are generally broke if they are young due to jobs that pay pittances. People get their advertising from disparate sources not likely to shape mass consumption characteristic of the shoppers at malls in the 1960s and may get entertainment that does not come with advertising (premium cable, recorded video, and the Internet). So maybe "We can watch Spiderman 12 tonight  on TV (through a DVD or Blu-Ray player)".  There is much more entertainment in the suburbs than there was  fifty years ago, so 'going shopping' may have become boring drudgery. Finally, many shopping malls stayed put as neighborhoods 'changed' and low-income people supplanted the old suburbanites as developers knocked down housing built for WWII vets with apartments that can shoehorn more people into lesser space  The tenants of such places were not flush with cash and still aren't. Costs of taxes, utilities, and maintenance outstrip revenues -- and for any business that is the beginning of its death.
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.


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#34
(07-15-2017, 07:28 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: I wouldn't buy shoes or men's suits on line. Art? No way! Furniture? Stereo speakers? Absolutely not.

...I doubt that you bought a car on line.  Of course, where you live (Boston) you are in one of the most insane places in which to drive a car.

But cars are not sold in shopping malls except perhaps Mall of America, and I give that qualification because I have never  been there.

I bought my current car, in 2005, by using an online service that got me bids from various dealerships, of which I chose the lowest.  I did go to the dealership to pick it up.  I'm not sure whether that qualifies as buying it online.

I bought my last pair of shoes online, but that wasn't fully satisfactory.  Then again, the previous couple of pairs bought at shoe stores weren't that satisfactory either.  Maybe I'm just picky about shoes.  Most of the kids' shoes get bought online since I can buy a size ahead and count on them growing into it.

The last time I bought a suit, art, or stereo speakers was before the web existed.  I buy all my furniture on line; Craigslist is great for inexpensive high quality furniture for the kids.  Yes it's used but it's still better than the new stuff these days.  I do look at the furniture in person before finalizing the deal.

I haven't been able to afford art since the 1980s.
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#35
Well, Warren -- I could do an imitation of Mark Rothko... any color of your choosing. I could sell you a whole rainbow of them if you wish. Any size of your choosing. Acrylic, so I don;t get any poisoning from heavy metals.

I can give you no guarantees on texture except that it will be interesting.
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.


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#36
(07-16-2017, 03:08 AM)Warren Dew Wrote: I bought my last pair of shoes online, but that wasn't fully satisfactory.  Then again, the previous couple of pairs bought at shoe stores weren't that satisfactory either.  Maybe I'm just picky about shoes.  Most of the kids' shoes get bought online since I can buy a size ahead and count on them growing into it.

I have found that the older I get, the more attention I need to get shoes right. I've two sisters, a retired nurse and an retired elementary school teacher. Just because they spent their careers on their feet, they found a quality brand that works for them (SAS) and a store that knew how to fit shoes. As a young engineer I could walk in anywhere and buy most anything, but as a retired guy who walks a lot I've begun following my sister's example. Mind you, SAS has a web site that lets you order most anything they make, but getting it to fit is important too, and once I've taken a sales clerk's time, I feel they ought to get their cut.

But it depends. As book stores vanish, I find myself buying more e-books on line. If I make a purchase in general, I like to see and touch before buying. As the economy is in transition, I'm slowly shifting with it.

I do consider a retail bubble is about to burst or is bursting, with restaurants to follow. Too many lowish income jobs will go with these bubbles.
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#37
I just want more pairs of the same shoes I got 35 years ago. My problem is that my shoe and clothing preferences are more in line with Silents than with Boomers, and manufacturers have generally abandoned that market, for obvious reasons.
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#38
(07-20-2017, 12:38 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I just want more pairs of the same shoes I got 35 years ago.  My problem is that my shoe and clothing preferences are more in line with Silents than with Boomers, and manufacturers have generally abandoned that market, for obvious reasons.

It might be worth checking out SAS.  They have a few classic leather patterns.  Me, at this point I care more for comfort and exercise than fashion.  Thus, I have two pair of pretty modern looking running shoes and one pair of formal shoes for holidays and such like.

Not cheap.
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#39
I did check it out. They appear to have some shoes with nice leather uppers. However, I didn't find any with leather soles.
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#40
(07-21-2017, 03:58 AM)Warren Dew Wrote: I did check it out.  They appear to have some shoes with nice leather uppers.  However, I didn't find any with leather soles.

Ah.  Shouldn't be surprised.  Their central market seems to be teachers, nurses, waitresses and other folk who are on the feet a lot.  Their base designs all flow from there. 

Does shoe design flow from the red and blue perspectives too?  Wink
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