Regarding The Economy. I wrote last month about local businesses shutting their doors. I was out on the main drag yesterday afternoon and noticed something that made me scratch my head.
First,the good news: three new businesses opened (or are about to) on pretty much the same block.
The Disturbing News: all three are "salons" of some sort -- a hairdresser, a"Day Spa", and something that I think is offering what may have been called"New Age" therapies at one time, but which probably now go by the all-encompassing term "bullshit".
Now, what makes this disturbing is that along the eight or nine blocks on the Main Drag, there are already 2 Day Spas, at least a dozen beauty parlors/nail salons, and just a few blocks off the drag, an entire building devoted to acupuncture, chiropractors, reflexologists, masseuses, and all manner of Crystal and Rattlesnake-shaking charlatans.
What to think of this?
Well, on the one hand, it probably indicates that in a "down" economy, we can still count upon one thing: people will pamper themselves even more when times are bad. The Feel-Good-and-Personal-Selfishness-Trade must be raking in big bucks if someone can open up a Salon offering Seishido (whatever the fuck that is) in a revamped storefront, right across the street from a place that offers basically the same, and which has a plastic surgeon and a dermatologist on site to hand out Botox by appointment in a luxurious environment that might have made Nero jealous.
People are defaulting on their mortgages, but somehow, there's always money for a peel, a fake tan or a mani-and-a-pedi.
And all of that on a street that is absolutely lousy with salons, spas and haircutters.
The second thing it indicates is that you probably have to be either Korean or a Queer to get a business loan these days, because that's who's building and running these establishments. How do I know? All the nail salons are full of Korean girls giving manicures, and as I passed the hairdressers that's under construction, the Owner was on his cell phone complaining that the workmen were making a mess...and he was Korean (yes,I can tell my Orientals apart, thank you), and every word spoken into that phone was a steady stream of sibilant esses that gave one the impression that, somewhere, there must be steam leak.
The nine-inch hips, white-snakeskin shoes with three-inch lifts, neon-pink Guinea Tee, and bandanna tied around his neck made it obvious -- just in case you couldn't figure it out on your own.
Korean and Queer....I rest my case.
But on a serious note, while it's wonderful to see new businesses opening in what's supposed to be such a terrible business environment, why is it that none of them seems dedicated to providing an actual product or service that's useful, and not predicated upon vanity?