A lot of people have studied this and written rather complicated papers about the decline of Main Street in this country.
Growing up in a place where families spent the weekend shopping, among other things, I can remember vividly the trips to downtown Hartford where the department stores were aligned for just about anything you could desire.
If Foxes didn’t have it...Sages did. If neither had it, it didn’t exist so it was on to the Marble Pillar for lunch.
Those days are gone but the memories and the fun will always be there.
I thought about those days as I was getting ready for another football season. Off to a late start I found myself having to get my shoes from a local store.
I found the shoe that I was looking for, albeit not in my size and went to the young woman and said to her, “I need this shoe in a size 14”. She looked at the shoe in question and smiled and said “no problem we have it.”
I thought to myself “this will be a miracle or a bad movie.”
She bounded back with the shoe in question and gave them to me and I looked at her in horror.
“Ahhh excuse me, you brought me the shoe I brought you.”
She looked at the shoe and laughed. She said “I don’t think we have it.” and bounded to the back of the store to find the shoe, but failed. Something I could have told you.
So why did Main Street fail you ask?
A lot of it has to do with cities becoming havens for the poor, with low tax bases, poverty and crime and that in and of itself scaring people away.
However there is another reason. Gone are the days when you went to a sales clerk and they worked with you until you were happy.
The shoe guy fitted your foot for the shoe you wanted.
The guy in the men’s department knew about the suit.
Now you get nothing. No value. No information and no satisfaction. And since you get none of that brick and mortar go down the tubes.
No state sales tax holiday is going to help that.
And since we are beyond help, the days of Main Street are gone forever.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)