Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proof of a recession?

Posted in Life tagged , , , at 7:53 pm by Elaine Petrowski

I live in an affluent town in Bergen County, New Jersey that’s known locally as a shopper’s dream destination. Great for the business owners, but annoying as hell if you live here and must pick up a prescription or get to your haircut appointment on time. (And yes, I do make every effort to support the local businesses and stay “off the highway”.)

The town is attractive and features a walkable shopping district with several one-of-a kind gift and specialty shops, boutique clothing and jewelry stores, chains like Gymboree, Chico’s and the Gap, and the ubiquitous Starbucks, along with far too many restaurants, nail salons and banks.

The resultant shopper’s congestion and snarl are so time-consuming that I’ve long considered errands in town, especially at lunch time or on weekends, a kind of hell-on-earth. Real-life rule #39: Any errands I carry out in my hometown must be conducted during the week, preferably in the hours before school lets out, when the fleet of moms in theirĀ  huge SUVs, who insist on driving while talking on their (illegal) hand-held cellphones (another topic), are still at home or at work.

This much-exalted consumer’s mecca has been not-quite-served by insufficient metered street parking, several municipal parking lots, and on busy weekend nights, valet parking for the restaurants. On a busy day, especially around the lunch hour, it’s not unusual to drive around the block four or five times, or to sit in the aisle of one of the lots waiting for someone to leave, before lucking into a spot to stash your car. Read the rest of this entry »