I’ve read a few items from various sources about the continuing collapse of the American Economy. In Chicago, it’s the death of skyscraper construction (and the holes in the ground from skyscrapers started). In Florida it’s restaurants that once catered to the old and lazy now closing up as everyone’s forced to move out. In Indianapolis, I read of the malls on 86th Street standing empty (as I once wrote on my poems, only hoping people would choose to do it instead of being forced into doing it). A Wisconsin acquaintance comments on forced furlough days and jokes about hoarding rice and raman noodles.
Anyway, here’s the view from Northwest Indiana:
Gary continues to get gutted and burned down. I remember thinking that the place had become too wealthy for the residence and that as a result they were strip-mining the houses and stuff for their drug/food money; now I wonder if they’re now too poor for the place and have had the knowledge of the difference between use-wealth and cash-wealth starved out of them.
I see a few malls around here which have either lost renters or have been emptied out and are waiting for someone to rent from them. I don’t step into the mega-malls, but I’m sure many of them have empty anchors (thank you Steve and Barry’s!). What I HAVE noticed is a lot more empty spots standing empty longer.
There’s a development down in Munster where the old Nike Silos were that has been pretty much stalled for the past three years. Supposed to be smaller ranch duplexes, but no one in that marketing niche is able to afford things anymore.
I’ve noticed that the parking lot for the Target is awfully empty (at least relative to a year ago). That’s something, anyway, as people are supposed to be thinking of back-to-school stuff. Mind you, I’d have thought that August would be the time to do THAT shopping, as growing kids will need something that won’t be totally unable to fit them by the last week of School next year…but that’s me.
Over the past five years I’ve noticed fewer SUVs and Trucks on the road (YAY!), plus the past year-and-a-half I’ve had a Moped Watch. Last year the Moped Watch went into October before a Moped-free day popped up, and November before I went 2 work days without seeing a Moped.
The New-Age monthly had an article where the publisher commented that his advertisers (the businesspeople) were struggling, and that it would behoove his readers to spend money their way. He even admitted that most of what they did wasn’t considered “necessary” for life, then went on to say that one way to help was to spend a little more for these people in the meantime.
And, on a more personal note, my Masseur is now easier to schedule (I don’t tend to do appointments before I feel the need). There was a time I couldn’t even schedule her without being a month ahead because she was so busy (and no, she’s not doing discounts, at least not yet. I believe in paying for quality, and she’s good).
A nearby upscale Mexican place (yes, there are such things) was recently replaced by a midscale bar masquerading as a buffalo wings place. And in Lansing, there’s a lot of haircut places and “health spas” filling in spaces that once held other businesses. Many of those businesses probably went belly-up trying to compete against Wal-Mart and Target. Meanwhile a strip-mall facing Ridge Road now has a stretch of empty space, and a couple of other places have yet to replace their lost businesses.
Nothing sore-thumbish, in a way (outside of the Circuit-City closing that left a mall half-empty). Stuff that people would have to look at to notice (or seek to notice, in the case of the slow death of Gary). However, we’re talking Northwest Indiana, where most of the area is still living a delayed prosperity from being the place for those who think that Taxes are the enemy of humanity (like I’ve said before, I expect the South Shore Line to close up before we see expansion). It’s probably a few months before our collapse becomes obvious without going out of one’s way to find it.
And that’s what I’m seeing around here.