Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Shoppe"d Out

We live in a part of Southern Ontario that has become a hi-tech centre of sorts, and which seems to be increasingly affected by a gust of big-city sophistication blowing from Toronto.

At least if you read (and believe) enough of the media.

A couple of years ago, our favourite all-purpose '60's-style smaller-size mall started undergoing a makeover, which is still continuing. More than a makeover--more even than plastic surgery--one might go so far as to say that They Created a Monster. (Cue 50's drive-in sound effects. Godzilla vs. Rodan.)

Half of the mall was actually cut off; new shoppes were built on. A Crepe Corner. An Expensive Toy Shoppe. Several more Too Expensive For Me Places. The corner restaurant with the duct-taped seats and all-day pancakes became a Seafood Cuisine House. The fast-food stop at the other end of the mall disappeared, along with anything (like tables in the open areas) that might encourage non-shoppers from parking their not-so-beautiful blue jeans for awhile. [Grammatical oops--okay, I know that last sentence doesn't make sense. I was trying to say that they took out the tables to KEEP people from parking themselves.)

Recently I heard that the supermarket in the mall (one of the last remaining vestiges of what used to be) will be closing as well, when its lease is up. The parent company wants to get out of its lower-end-of-the-market stores and focus on its more upscale ones.

It's good for the city's image. It's good for the owners of those little upscale businesses.

It's not good for the rest of us who just want a burger during lunch or a place to pick up some of those there pork rinds Bubba. Or maybe a birthday present for a little friend, but not one that costs THAT much?

Mr. Fixit and The Apprentice went into one of the Shoppes just before Christmas to buy mechanical pencil leads. This Shoppe carries things like $200 fountain pens and other gifts as well as pencil refills. When The Apprentice asked for them, the woman (obviously sizing up Student With Backpack and Dad in Parka) said with more than necessary snark, "You didn't have to come here, you can buy those anywhere."

Well, excuuuse me. Business must be good.

Truth be told, we don't all carry those wireless communicators around. Some of us have never even had a latte.

And some of us are still looking for a place to take a grandma shopping for foot insoles and J-Cloths [dishrags]. Know What I Mean?

File under: This Urban Chic Thing is Getting the Best of Me.

(Antidote: Barbie Goes to the Mall.)


Sarah said...

And some of us are still looking for a place to take a grandma shopping for foot insoles and J-Cloths. Know What I Mean?

You had me until J-cloths. I googled.

And yes, I know what you mean.

Meredith said...

This is why I read your blog!!!

Although I must admit, I do awfully enjoy browsing those fancy shoppes once in a while : )

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

It sounds like what happened to the Plaza in Santa Fe about 15 years ago, mas o menos.

The Plaza diner quit serving $4 New Mexican Plates with Sopapillas and got into weird stuff like $8 California Roll Apetizers.

Ben Franklin was closed completely and became an art gallery. They moved the itinerate Indian jewelry sellers to one, out of the way location. These are among the reasons that I have not been there in years.

We talk about "the year they Californicated Fanta Se."

I'm sorry it's happening to you, too.

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