Myth has it that Americans are fierce individualists. So, why are franchise outlets, chain stores, and malls popular in a land so enamored with personal freedom? As you might have expected, psychologists have an answer.
I have known for some time that I am not a typical American. I do not chew gum, enjoy catsup, or watch televised sports. The above article presents another reason: I do not like malls or chain stores. I prefer the eclectic mix of unique shops and restaurants that one finds in other countries. A good example is London, where one can spend days wandering the streets to discover one-of-a-kind eating places and shops that offer products found nowhere else. It was possible in New York’s Soho district, until chain shops invaded in hopes of capturing the clientele drawn to such a district. All they did was ruin the neighborhood. It is possible to find one off restaurants, but they are declining. I recall Dukes on Sunset Strip, Pie and Burger in Pasadena, Jakes in Portland, and the Dog Team Tavern in Vermont, to name a few. I enjoy street markets in any country, more to browse than to buy. If you have roamed through one mall, you have seen them all. Even if they fed some desire fathomed only by psychologists, Mssrs. Simon and Walton made a lot of money, but destroyed America.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.