AuthorTopic: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler  (Read 1210 times)

Offline g

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A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« on: January 09, 2019, 03:31:03 AM »
Slow collapse and rot is the way GO, a lite doomer, views this brief poetic insight into what a Sears Kmart bankruptcy really means to our beloved country and future way of life. As usual the poor and thrifty trying to provide for their families and themselves are the losers, while the rich call it progress. Inflation has much to do with this as well but that's another topic. James Kunstler with his usual magical pen gives us a sad glympse into our slow decline.   :'(

 

A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - Kunstler


Clusterfuck Nation

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“May God save the country for it is evident the people will not.”
—Millard Fillmore, 13th POTUS, born this day, 1800

France has its Yellow Vests. Here in USA, we have a few poor shlubs hoisting the “Going Out of Business” signs on the highway in front of the K-Mart. The store in my little flyover town in upstate New York announced that it would shutter in March, and the sign-hoisting shlubs appeared out on Route 29 the first Saturday in January, an apt kick-off to a nervous new year. K-Mart’s parent company, Sears, is moving into liquidation, meaning anything that’s not nailed down must be converted into cash to pay off its creditors.

               

The store’s closing is viewed as both an injury and an insult to the town. There just isn’t anywhere else to buy a long list of ordinary goods, from dish-towels to tennis balls without a 17-mile journey west, which means an hour behind the wheel coming-and-going, plus whatever time you spend picking stuff up inside. And, of course, many people in town feel that this is just another way of Wall Street saying “…you deplorable, pathetic, tapped-out, drug-addled, tattoo-bedizened yokels are not worthy of a K-Mart….”

The K-Mart occupied the better part of a small strip mall at the edge of town, which also boasts a Dollar Store, which appears to sell stuff that fell off a truck. There’s another, newer strip mall beyond it with a supermarket, a drug store, and a Tractor Supply outlet that probably stole a lot of K-Mart’s business after opening a few years ago. There’s much speculation about what’ll go into Kmart’s soon-to-be vacant space, about 80,000 square feet of crappy tilt-up construction not far from the end of its design life, with a flat roof that has groaned under heavy snow loads for four decades. Nobody I talked to has a clue.

Probably not Neiman Marcus, for starters. I’m thinking: maybe an evangelical roller rink. It’s too big for a wig shop, or a motorcycle thug-wear boutique, the usual bottom-feeders in the declension of commercial collapse. More likely, nothing will replace it. The national chain retail model has fallen apart, along with new car sales. Something is up in this foundering land, despite all the heraldic trumpet blasts on cable news about the “booming economy.”

What’s up is the international implosion of the bad debt, and the fading illusion that it doesn’t matter. It has any number of ways to express itself, from store closings, to dissolving pensions, to stock market instability, to divorce, homelessness, and war. It’s what you get from a hyper-financialized economy that doesn’t really produce wealth but only steals it from somewhere else. It’s not the fault of “capitalism,” which, in theory just stands for the management of a society’s savings. America doesn’t save, it borrows. Zero interest rates made savings a mug’s game, and zero interest rates were necessary to extend the borrowing far beyond the credible boundaries of repayment. Debt isn’t capital, it just pretends to be for a period of time. Wall Street made its trillions off the time-value of that pretense and now time is up.

Even in the hardship economy we’re sailing into, people will need to buy and sell things and it is very hard to see how that fundamental process of exchange might be reorganized going forward. Back in the 1990s I attended many a town meeting (in many towns) where chain stores applied for permits to set-up operations. It was often contentious. There was always a contingent of locals — organized by the chains themselves — waving placards that said “We Want Bargain Shopping.” And there were the short-sighted town officials drooling over the real estate tax “ratables” that chain stores represented. Their adversaries feared that their locally-owned Main Street businesses would be killed, and that was exactly what happened, in very short order. You could see it coming from a thousand miles away. Now the Big Boxes are going down. Boo Hoo….

What will emerge out of the current disorder? Perhaps Generations X-Y-and-Z will recognize an opportunity to go into business — as an alternative to purchasing a degree in gender studies for $200,000 (at 6 percent interest). There will be lots of opportunities, even in a world with generally less shopping. But it may require a deeper collapse to sweep away the impediments, both practical and mental, before that awareness turns to action.


   http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/a-farewell-to-bargain-shopping/  :icon_study: :icon_study: :icon_study: :-\

Offline Eddie

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 05:21:12 AM »
There’s much speculation about what’ll go into Kmart’s soon-to-be vacant space, about 80,000 square feet of crappy tilt-up construction not far from the end of its design life, with a flat roof that has groaned under heavy snow loads for four decades. Nobody I talked to has a clue.

Duh...bingo hall. Guaranteed.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 05:23:13 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline AJ

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 05:59:26 AM »
Nah, nothing will go in there. Kuntzler has it right, it will deteriorate until it falls down. And everyone will drive the 17 miles (as long as FF lasts). Living outside a small town (300 people) that has seen its base industry (logging) deteriorate over 40 years, there are plenty of old storefronts on main street that are falling down. Last person there please turn off the lights :'(
AJ
Nullis in Verba

Offline cernunnos5

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 06:08:21 AM »
Retired boomer storage. Just lay out some old mattresses on old pallets to store old people.

Seems a shame they are not being turned into  "Barter Towns"   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHYNIuwgGfM

Offline g

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 06:10:57 AM »
Nah, nothing will go in there. Kuntzler has it right, it will deteriorate until it falls down. And everyone will drive the 17 miles (as long as FF lasts). Living outside a small town (300 people) that has seen its base industry (logging) deteriorate over 40 years, there are plenty of old storefronts on main street that are falling down. Last person there please turn off the lights :'(
AJ

I hear you AJ, we will become a wasteland. Hope there will still be a light to turn off.   :'(


                           

Offline g

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 06:13:51 AM »
Retired boomer storage. Just lay out some old mattresses on old pallets to store old people.

Seems a shame they are not being turned into  "Barter Towns"   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHYNIuwgGfM

Great idea. A flea market of barter items or items for sale at affordable prices. Might become a great spot for community and friendships to form as well.  :emthup: :icon_sunny:

Offline Surly1

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 12:30:04 PM »
Nah, nothing will go in there. Kuntzler has it right, it will deteriorate until it falls down. And everyone will drive the 17 miles (as long as FF lasts). Living outside a small town (300 people) that has seen its base industry (logging) deteriorate over 40 years, there are plenty of old storefronts on main street that are falling down. Last person there please turn off the lights :'(
AJ

I hear you AJ, we will become a wasteland. Hope there will still be a light to turn off.   :'(



This thread put me in mind of something I read a couple of years ago: how some municipalities are letting formerly paved roads revert to gravel in the absence of funds to maintain them. Happening in a number of places.

In Small Wisconsin Towns, Paved Roads Return To Gravel ...
https://www.wpr.org/small-wisconsin-towns-paved-roads-return-gravel

Omaha's Answer to Costly Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads - The ...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/omahas-answer-to-costly-potholes-go-back-to-gravel-roads.html

Cash-Strapped Towns Are Un-Paving Roads They Can't Afford to Fix ...
https://www.wired.com/2016/07/cash-strapped-towns-un-paving-roads-cant-afford-fix/

Minnesota counties are converting paved roads back to gravel roads
https://www.byebyepotholes.com/blog/converting-paved-roads-back-gravel-roads
.
Counties Converting Paved Roads Back to Gravel - Daily Kos
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2011/9/19/1017279/-Counties-Converting-Paved-Roads-Back-to-Gravel

Dirt Roads Help Some Cities, Counties Drive Down Costs | The Pew ...
https://www.pewtrusts.org/.../dirt-roads-help-some-cities-counties-drive-down-costs

To me this is the most likely vector for collapse: a slow spin down based on all the money having been hovered out of the economy and into the pockets of the few. A nice parallel to the death or retail.

Every closed store does not suggest a collapse, but hundreds of them sure represents a trend.
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline Eddie

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 12:44:53 PM »








You people clearly do not grasp the ongoing Bingonization of commercial real estate in this country.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 12:53:46 PM »
When my daughter was on a swim team, running bingo games was part of the contribution for fundraising. Had to take a shift every couple of weeks. Exactly the sort of building used.

Place was packed and divided into smoking and nonsmoking sections. When I worked the smoking section, I was tempted to disrobe outside when I got home and throw away my clothes.

Bingo is a fine vector for latter-day entrepreneurs to relieve the residents of their excess FRNs.

And when the area no longer supports bingo, there are open-air flea markets.
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline Eddie

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 12:56:17 PM »
Gun shows. Don't forget gun shows.

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline g

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 01:14:10 PM »
Nah, nothing will go in there. Kuntzler has it right, it will deteriorate until it falls down. And everyone will drive the 17 miles (as long as FF lasts). Living outside a small town (300 people) that has seen its base industry (logging) deteriorate over 40 years, there are plenty of old storefronts on main street that are falling down. Last person there please turn off the lights :'(
AJ

I hear you AJ, we will become a wasteland. Hope there will still be a light to turn off.   :'(



This thread put me in mind of something I read a couple of years ago: how some municipalities are letting formerly paved roads revert to gravel in the absence of funds to maintain them. Happening in a number of places.

In Small Wisconsin Towns, Paved Roads Return To Gravel ...
https://www.wpr.org/small-wisconsin-towns-paved-roads-return-gravel

Omaha's Answer to Costly Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads - The ...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/omahas-answer-to-costly-potholes-go-back-to-gravel-roads.html

Cash-Strapped Towns Are Un-Paving Roads They Can't Afford to Fix ...
https://www.wired.com/2016/07/cash-strapped-towns-un-paving-roads-cant-afford-fix/

Minnesota counties are converting paved roads back to gravel roads
https://www.byebyepotholes.com/blog/converting-paved-roads-back-gravel-roads
.
Counties Converting Paved Roads Back to Gravel - Daily Kos
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2011/9/19/1017279/-Counties-Converting-Paved-Roads-Back-to-Gravel

Dirt Roads Help Some Cities, Counties Drive Down Costs | The Pew ...
https://www.pewtrusts.org/.../dirt-roads-help-some-cities-counties-drive-down-costs

To me this is the most likely vector for collapse: a slow spin down based on all the money having been hovered out of the economy and into the pockets of the few. A nice parallel to the death or retail.

Every closed store does not suggest a collapse, but hundreds of them sure represents a trend.

Happening big time in Mass. NH. and Maine as well. Loads of businesses, especially eateries and small strip malls have parking lots now they just let go completely.

Cost of paving outrageous as well. Your crazy to buy an expensive luxury car anymore, mud, dirt and pot holes everywhere. Bad economy and inflation a powerful double whammy.

We are heading south infrastructure wise, little doubt about it. 

Offline AJ

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Re: A Farewell to "Bargain Shopping" - James Howard Kunstler
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 02:53:22 PM »
Wow,
Never seen a bingo parlor out West. Maybe this is an East of the Rockies thing?
Here all the towns are still putting in more strip malls (as the Kmarts, Sears, and Toy's 'r Us sit vacant - until they get used as Halloween super stores once a year). Only in rural towns off the Interstate do you find the ag/logging/ranching economies going downhill slowly over time. Of course that will change if the economy goes belly up. Then all this high priced residential real estate will collapse (again).
AJ
Nullis in Verba

 

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