Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'Consumerism' is Not a Four-Letter Word

If my grandchild is desperately sick, I want to get her to a doctor. The urgent care clinic is open late, as is the drugstore next door, and thank goodness. I'm in and out, and I have the medicine and materials necessary to restore her to health. No one would say that this is a superficial demand.

But it can only stay open late because its offices are nestled in a strip mall where the rents are low and the access is high. The real estate is shared by candy stores, sports shops selling scuba gear, a billiard hall and a store that specializes in party favors – all stores selling "superficial" things. All pay rent. The developer who made the mall wouldn't have built the place were it not for these less urgent needs.

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