All of this is to say that I live in a big suburb, but not that big of a suburb. This is why it confuses me that the Shrine to Capitalism on the side of town by the riverbed has two of everything. Everything. Often right next to each other, in a way that kinda highlights the stupidity of thinking this is really offering any sort of consumer "choice." We have a Mattress Discounters and a Sleep Train. They are on the same street. We have a PetSmart and a PetCo (where the pets go!) and they have all exactly the same merchandise. We have an Officemax and an Office Depot. a Home Depot and a Lowe's. We have both CostPlus and Pier One, and there is a Bed Bath and Beyond between them. We have a Micheal's and a Joann's Fabric. We have a Target and a Walmart, although that is not as unusual to me. Oddly enough, we have a lone Best Buy. What would be the equivalent of Best Buy?
Seriously, how do these places stay in business? This town is not that big.
It reminds me of that line by Cake: "Some people drink Pepsi; Some people drink Coke; the wacky morning DJ says democracy's a joke."
We do have an older part of town that was the historic part but never really was much of a downtown, and it of course is a wasteland. It is impossible to find a non-chain store or restaurant around here, and no wonder: I'm sure all these chains are tough enough competition on each other and they sell their sign space and shelf space.
It's been interesting, since, as someone who has just moved, I need to buy/replace/fix a lot of stuff. I have had to think about, well, where do I want to shop? in a way that I didn't when I just had to go to the PetSmart as the only option within 30 miles. Doing a lot of shopping all at once, coupled with the fact that I hadn't started work yet and had time to kill and amuse myself by walking through both stores, really made clear to me how small the differences between the two options were. Layout yes, but not really much difference in price or selection. Like I said, it felt weird.
But it also highlights how much this place is lacking any sense of place. Now, Postdoc City had its problems, and a lot of what gave it a unique sense of place were those same problems, but it had a very nice small-town downtown that people really were fighting hard to bring it back and make it over from a burnt-out post-industrial wasteland. They also had the Southern
I'm sure I will find people to hang out with and do activities that are not shopping-related very soon. But I'm not all that sure what those activities will be. They won't be in town, that's for sure.