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Yes and no, as you will see. I am sharing my grief at discovering that my local hardware store is going out of business. Old fashioned Hardware stores are sooo cool!

Just like the amazing variety of cacti at the Huntington Botanical gardens makes one marvel at creation's seemingly limitless inventiveness, a fully stocked hardware store is a treasure trove for man's tireless productivity of cryptic objects. I mean the brush section alone!

And why are they dissappearing? For the same reason that makes Tiki Bars not feasable anymore: There are just too many damn people in this world, which has turned all commercial efforts towards MASS CONSUMPTION, mass recreation, mass marketing, mass everything, where the only rule is to make it BIGGER but CHEAPER. There is no time and money for individual care or product.
At places like HOME DEPOT young minimum wage earners that know more about Eminem than the store's stock try to avoid eye contact, and one has no inspiration to explore the vast walls of packaging oneself. But they put the regular Hardware store out of business...

Oh well, thanks for listening to my rant..and now, a Mai Tai.

Rant away, perhaps we'll have to drink a toast before the Moai in honor of all things endangered.
TG

To continue off topic, I second that motion! I've grown up loving all things old and used, whether it's a car, a house, clothing or even old businesses that have been around a while. They have character and add color to the world and our lives.

It makes me think of the tiny pizzeria next door to my childhood home (which was also old). It was owned and run by a New York Italian guy named Jerry Bruno - hence Bruno's Pizza. My dad always went there on Friday's to buy his fresh-baked bread. And if I went with him, Jerry would always give me a handful of cut mozzerella cheese to munch on. Try getting that kind of customer service at Pizza Hut.

The pizzeria is still there and run by his son now (I think). (Don't know how they managed to stay there so long considering my old house was torn down next door.) I always think of going back for some of that great bread. I really should, come to think of it.

Sven - I know how you feel about the demise of family run hardware stores - there was a hardware store near me that was run by the same family since 1907, they were forced to close last year after the influx of Home Depot's in our town and the surrounding areas. Not only is it enough to have A Home Depot in a single area now they are popping up on every corner in a 20 mile radius! I'm starting to wonder when some of the giant mega stores are going to have to close due to their own lack of business...

Another problem we have in my area is a proliferation of convenience stores - they put a friggin' Royal Farm Store and Wawa (I believe that's a chain that's only infecting the east coast) directly across from each other! What the hell? Do we need that much convenience - besides they only sell the same stuff anyway - it's not like you're getting something at one store that you can't get at the other! There is one intersection about 5 miles from my house that has a Royal Farm, a Wawa, a 7-11 and a High's (another east coast parasite) within spitting distance of each other! When is enough enough???? When I was a kid I used to go to a store named Bob's Deli, a family owned and operated convenience store and buy all of my sodas, candy and comic books but not any longer. They tore the place down and built a Wawa in its place!

Its weird to think that I'm 30 years old and I pine for the way things used to be - I was lucky to grow up in a rural part of Maryland because they were always slow at catching up to modern times - my dad used to take me to a corner drug store named Richardson's on Main Street in Bel Air and they still had a fully functioning soda fountain. I used to get real cherry, chocolate and vanilla cokes and milkshakes made from real ice cream not some powder that is dumped in a machine. I used to buy sodas in glass bottles from a vending machine at a local gas station. I remember the creaking hardwood floors in the family owned hardware stores. I remember eating at authentic diners instead of inhaling junk from McDonalds. I used to watch the 4th of July parade on Main Street. I never realized how good those times were until I look now and everything that was once good and authentic in life has been replaced by corporate big-money crap!

I guess the only thing we can do is support these "main street" family owned businesses as much as we can - not only should we spend our money there but, we should also take the time to tell the people behind the counter how much we appreciate the service they've provided for our communities and for us as people...

I think I need a drink!

Johntiki
:drink:

K

And how about barber shops!? Can anyone here find a real one? I won't pay a hairdresser $30+ to cut my scraggly hair, and they don't do it right anyway. And may Tiki curse super cuts and other such chains. Horrible, horrible places. There is ONE barbershop that's been around about 70 years that I frequent. It's a bit of a drive, but well worth it. And the miraculous part is, they don't change employees every 2 days!

I was thrilled when Kmart shut some of their stores (was it Kmart? I can't tell the difference).

Too many damn people in the world is correct! I try to spend at the Mom & Pop shops, whenever I can find one.

Ok, haven't had coffee yet, so I'm still Kantankerous.

Ken

I live in a small town that has all the old hardware stores and barber shop! BUT, Super Walmart will start construction in September. The plain Wal-Mart has already left our town looking like something out of a western movie, Ghost Town, Mississippi will be its new name soon. Believe it or not, but I even find a nice vintage Tiki Mug in a thrift store once in a while. Wal Mart will kill them as well. Damn their low prices and that smiley face that slashes prices! Damn them!!!!

S

Here in East Tennessee, barbers are plentiful and well attended. Most are ancient guys. There is often a line at 5:30 AM. But, I bet there aren't any 30 year old barbers around. I can still get a haircut from the guy who gave me my first haircut, in the same chair, back in my home town.

The pizzeria next door does a weak business and they make the best pizza Kiliki and I have ever had, while the chain all around keep churning out worse pizza for more money. It sucks. You have to bribe people to eat Harby's rather than Pizza Hut.

There is a local country radio station here that is awesome. I am amazed they still play old country and have local news and it's very "down home." The amazing thing is they are owned by Clear Channel. But various factors keep the mom and pop radio operation going. Thankfully. The "oldies" station that was here closed shop recently. There is a local station that plays the real oldies (Dean Martin and Frank, not CCR and Heard it Through the Grapevine) but they just pipe it in through some syndication thing. Very little music played by local people who like it. Even the college radio station here has made it so that they are playing music by computer now. They forced all the cool older DJ's out to make students play music and they don't.

We make it a policy to eat at what looks like the local owned diners, and shop at the local hardware, etc. whenever possible. SOmetimes the food is bad, but it's better than the sinking feeling of eating at McDonald's.

This is just a different slant on this thread, but isn't it possible that the stuff we so feverishly prize today - the vintage tiki mugs, the carved tikis, the rattan furniture etc - was considered cheap ass junk when it was new?

I sure that in 1948 for example, some old codger, after looking at the newly made rattan coffee table with tiki mugs on it just purchased by his son, said "geez, look at this cheap ass crap you bought boy!, why when I was your age furniture was made by craftsman in their wood shed and these mugs with weird faces!! what ever happened to fine bone china?".

What I'm saying is that all things old were once new (and hence of less value than they currently are). It's is also completely possible that long after we're gone some future tiki-phile will exclaim with excitement "wow! look at this plastic tiki mug I found in my great grandfather's house. He said he bought it at Big Lots in 2002! 50 years ago!"

Just a thought.

You guys are not alone! This 'Blandification' of our towns is happening around the world. America usually gets the blame for it because of some of the biggest brands (McDonalds, Coca Cola, Levis, Nike, Marlborough, etc) have virtually achieved worldwide market saturation. In fact, home grown store chains
are doing a damn good job of ripping out the heart of towns.

At the weekend I went to a town called Dorchester in Dorset, which was founded in 70AD. It obviously
has had an interesting and varied history, but walking down the high street was exactly like walking down
the high street of any 'New Town' built 30 years ago. All the shops were exactly the same ones found in virtually every town in the country, and no doubt sold the same stuff. These days to find an interesting
little independent shop you have to skirt around the center of town where the rents are affordable or go
to a big city and find the interesting areas.

What's even worse are the proliferation of 'Dormitory Towns' like the one I live in just outside Oxford.
Everyone shops at the giant Tescos (like Walmart) at the edge of town for everything bar haircuts.
This leaves the town center consisting of takeaway food joints, video rental places, a couple of wine & beer
places and about 10 charity shops. (And a barbers called 'Hair Cut Sir!') Not exactly a pleasant shopping experience, unless you are on a thrift-hunt. So, this leaves the average local water-head with a lifestyle consisting of: Come home from work after picking up a DVD and a bottle of wine, send out for a curry, and then mong out all evening in front of the tv. Repeat into perpetuality with the occasional break for shopping at Tescos or to wash the car. And that's life folks....

......unless you go out of your way to shop at the little independent stores, eat at one-off restaurants, and
drink in out of the way pubs and bars. But as a Tikiphile, you probably already knew that!

Trader Woody

S

It's not just "old" stuff. The great pizzeria next door has been there just a while. I love some of the stuff I get new. But quality and beauty and uniqueness is important. I have to fight Kiliki sometimes. She has a vintage fetish and wants everything to be old.

I like to call this the "Worldwide Mall Phenomenon". It really hit me many years ago while in small town the wilds of Turkey. The beautiful 800 year old caravanserai was in the process of being converted into a mall-complete with a Macdonalds! Yikes! At least I got to see the structure before it before completely raped.

Closer to home, Home Despot forced two small hardware stores out of business in my Brooklyn, NY neighborhood. But to top it off, when I moved back to the small upstate town where I grew up, they did the same to the only small hardware store there!

What really kills me is the LACK of many evreyday items the giant chains do not carry. I had the worst time when I ran out of Barge brand cement. Do you think I could find it in Walmart, Kmart, Home Despot, etc? Hell no! I had to travel 75 miles to a shoe repair supply house to get it. Old McKee's used to carry it. And they had been in business for at least 75 years. BASTARDS!

How about bookstores?

You used to go to bookstores and find employees who had worked there for years and years, and actually knew things about books. Now they're more adept at running the latte machine than coming up with the author of Romeo & Juliet...

Sidebar- my husband & I run a small bookstore, but even though our closest Barnes & Noble is an hour away, our business is still hit big-time by customers using the internet, especially Amazon (which has YET to make a real profit, believe it or not). When the Book of Tiki was republished, I was excited to see that our wholesale supplier, Ingram, carried it. So I put one on order. It never showed up, even though it was clearly on hand at at least 2 Ingram warehouses. I called them to see what the deal was, and found out that it was a "Library Only" title. How am I supposed to compete, if I'm not allowed to order the books?! Crazy.

I ended up just buying one from buy.com since we don't have an account with Taschen. sigh...

On 2002-07-31 10:18, snarkoutgirl wrote:
How about bookstores?

Don't get me started! Used books used to be so affordable. Even with the start of the internet many bargains where to be had. Now it is my experience that almost every book I search for on the internet is magically 'rare', a 'collectors item' or just way overpriced. Then they slap that 'handling' charge on top of the shipping. BASTARDS!

hmmm.. sorry. I know in advance I am going to get a torrent of nostalgic recidivism on my head BUT... let's play a little Devil's Advocate here...

(and remember -- this may be off topic but I didn't start it...)

I DO NOT GET THIS. Who are these half-baked, individual corner stores actually loved by? The likes of ME, that's who. Working-class-turned wannabe-middle-class romantics, that's who. The older element of my family (London East End dockers all), quite rightly, are overwhelmed with relief that the advent of the BIG MALL means they can get what they need, easily. They don't give a hoot about the charm of ye olde corner shoppe and some vision of Fifties days gone by. They remember that world as a nightmare of rationing and lack of choice. It is we (grammar? oh hell), their spoiled children, who invest that inadequate, unpleasant reality with the stuff of Ealing comedy or old Americana (depending which continent you hail from). Yes, it would be lovely to have both -- but the stark reality is that, if our grandpappies had had the choice of Ol' Bob on the corner AND Walmart, Ol' Bob would have disappeared every bit as quickly as he's disappearing now. Or - and some of you may see this as worse -- Ol' Bob would turn into a high-class niche marketeer whose prices exclude all but the middle-class nostalgia-fiends who never knew wht it was like not to have a choice. The bottom line is -- if people want it, it'll survive. If they don't, it won't. What right do the likes of ME have to argue?

Ok, OK, I know I am now going to disappear under an avalanche of disapproval -- but I'm just interested to hear what y'all have to say (if only to give me some ammo the next time my cousins start in on me...)

L

Hey Bong! You said it! My Mom cringes at most of my vintage "finds" Some of the mugs I've found in their garage are "awful" and "I remember when those were new-so gawdy" Of course I have old photos of them gathered around the aluminum tree she now laughs at when I whip out every year and decorate with plastic cheesy Christmas crap. My chrome kitchen set and plastic dishes are so "tacky" but that's why I love them now!
I do hope my son grows up to show me the tacky tikis he found at thrift stores but I can't see things being made more cheaply. Can't you see them saying "look at the thick plastic-they don't make 'em like that anymore!" I hope we all live that long

[ Edited by: laney on 2002-07-31 11:30 ]

My wife & I moved to the little town of Montrose, Ca. in 1999. (Kinda in a bermuda triangle between La Canada, La Cresenta & Glendale) Anyway - we have a great little "Main Street" the kind you just don't find in LA anymore. Lots of little "Mom & Pop" shops, an old bowling alley, bookstores, little cafes, armenian rug dealers, etc etc.... And an old fashioned "Anawalt's Lumber" behind it all...
Sure - some of the shops are a little slicko & modern - but the street still has an old fashioned feel to it.
Sadly, a lot of the businesses have been going under lately. The independant record shop, a cool kinda boutique shop, the christian music store (OK - maybe that wasn't such a loss)!
Until this year every Thursday nite, we had an open-air market with street vendors, selling fresh fruits & vegetables, crafts, food, live bands, & rides for the kids. Due to the complaints of the merchants (who normally close down at 5pm on a Thursday anyway), they moved the whole thing to Sunday morning - closes by 1pm or something. Apparently the merchants thought too many people were not coming into the shops & staying out on the streets. But the new street fair only attracts a small portion of the people from before - and only has a few fruit & vegetable vendors - none of the fun of the night one... I think they still have a night one in Monrovia though....
Oh well - what's my point? It sucks when cool things change. That's my point.

On 2002-07-31 11:06, theandrewssister wrote:
The bottom line is -- if people want it, it'll survive. If they don't, it won't.

It is a well known business practice that when large chains stores open in a new town they keep they're prices very low to drive out the smaller competition (and the chain store is supported by other stores across the nation.) When the competition is closed they can, and do then raise their prices to turn a profit. What I object to the is the generic nature of the large chains-not any "50's nostalgic feeling" I get from shopping in the smaller stores. The smaller stores just have what I want. I mean what kind of nostalgia can one have over Barge Cement?

I do not want to live in the 1950's-there is nothing from that time I long for-except maybe the constant anxiety of frying in a Russkie atomic attack. :wink:


INTO THE VOLCANO WITH 'EM!

[ Edited by: Atomic Cocktail on 2002-07-31 12:09 ]

If you want to read something scary that explains the corporate underside of this, check out "In Sam We Trust - The Untold Story Of Sam Walton & How Wal-Mart Is Devouring America" by Bob Ortega. Here's an excerpt from a review:

"In In Sam We Trust, investigative journalist Bob Ortega exposes the underside of Wal-Mart and defrocks Sam Walton, the founder of the retailing mammoth. Ortega chronicles Walton's rise from a backwater retailer in Arkansas to one of the richest men in the country. While Walton carefully crafted a public image as a regular guy who drove a pickup and wore a name tag at his stores, Ortega paints a different picture of a two-faced and ruthless invader of small-town America. Walton was so stingy that his chain was last among major retailers in charity donations in terms of percentage of earnings. He hurt the downtowns of many communities by building Wal-Marts on the outskirts and capturing up to 75 percent of his sales from the preexisting stores. The late billionaire was obsessed with profits and cutting costs. He pioneered temporary help--a third of Wal-Mart's employees are part-time and the average worker only earns about $7.50 an hour. Even while making a big media splash with a "Buy American" program in the 1980s, Walton quietly expanded his company's Hong Kong staff and continued to import apparel made by cheap child labor in the Third World."
You will definately think twice before shopping any place like that again after reading this book....

"geez, look at this cheap ass crap you bought boy!, why when I was your age furniture was made by craftsman in their wood shed and these mugs with weird faces!! what ever happened to fine bone china?".

Congrats Bong,
I think you just came up with a new translation for King Kukulele's version of the Hawaiian War Chant.

On 2002-07-31 09:17, Trader Woody wrote:

What's even worse are the proliferation of 'Dormitory Towns' like the one I live in just outside Oxford.
Trader Woody

Could be worse, you could live in Milton Keynes! I hear thats purgatory on earth.
TG
http://www.exotic-tiki-gardens.com

T

I'm glad to see so many others feel the same. I get real depressed about the standardization of America (and the world) but I try to do what I can, such as:

I don't shop at the big chain stores. They really don't have a better selection. Their customer service sucks.

I tell friends about stores that I have tried and had good experiences with. For example: In the bay area, I go to an old barber on San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito called Grand Barber Shop. The gentleman who cuts my hair always complements me on my aloha shirts and he cleans around my ears with hot lather and a straight razor. For pizza, try the Pizza Joynt in Hayward on Hesperian Blvd. They have great pizza and best of all they have organists 5 days a week playing a Wurlitzer organ. For hardware, I usually go to Ace Hardware. They often are old hardware stores that are now Ace franchises. Independent bookstore: Walden Pond on Grand Ave. in Oakland.

Ha! Yep, you're right. Milton Keynes is a classic 'New Town' built to accommodate a rising population with little thought to such minor things as 'entertainment' or even 'fun'. Houses look the same and roads are all straight, and, of course, there's no history as everything was built at the same time.

Oddly enough, people seem to love the place. Perhaps they rave about it just to preserve their house values, but I really think many people are happy with a simple ordered life.
Milton Keynes has that in spades. For anyone with a little imagination the place must be a nightmare.

I blame Le Courbusier.

Trader Woody
PS- Worst town in Britain?
Luton get's my vote.

T

The average person doesn't notice the changes because they occur gradually and all of a sudden they wonder what happened to all their choices. Ironically, a capitalist society is supposed to offer more choice to the consumer but it's going the other way.

J

On 2002-07-31 11:06, theandrewssister wrote:
\ They don't give a hoot about the charm of ye olde corner shoppe and some vision of Fifties days gone by.

Well, I need to get this off my chest! I'm nostalgic for the 20th Century and a vision of 50's days gone by. I like things from all the decades of the past century, all the way up to the 1980's. I wasn't particularly impressed with the 90's and I'm still not sure I dig this whole 21st Century thing. I like old things - cars, clothes, music, movies, fads, tikis and Mom and Pop stores. I long for eras that I didn't experience, ways of living that I've never known and I don't think there's anything wrong with it! Damnit! :)

Johntiki
:drink:

T

johntiki wrote:
"Well, I need to get this off my chest! I'm nostalgic for the 20th Century and a vision of 50's days gone by. I like things from all the decades of the past century, all the way up to the 1980's."

I wholeheartedly second that! One reason I like the whole tiki thing is that you can have a time-warp experience when going to some of the well-preserved tiki bars. I'm all about time-warps, in my clothes, the restaurants and bars I go to, in my apartment, etc.

The 40s, 50s, and 60s were great! OK, I only experienced the 60s as a young child, but I believe from what I have read and seen that they were great. People were polite and not as crude in their manners, things were more romantic (like getting all dressed up for a date and going dancing), and you could still go to a burlesque theatre and see sexy but tasteful dancing by women that were 100% real, not silicon-injected and plastic.

Sure, I don't want a return of racism, sexism, and the cold war, but the roots of the civil rights, women's rights, and peace movements go back to the 50s. Much of our current views of the 50s attitudes are formed by what the media portrayed on TV in the 50s (that wasn't real) and what people say now looking back. There were many people who were not racist, were open-minded about sex (have you read the kinsey reports?), embraced all kinds of new music like jazz, R&B, and rock-n-roll, and did not agree with the anti-communist propoganda. The ex-hippies just want to take all the credit now while they're driving their SUVs around listening to the Eagles.

There hasn't been much progress in civil rights or peace since the late 60s. Half of all young African-American males are in prisons, women still make less money then men for the same work, and look at what's happening in the middle east.

On 2002-07-31 11:06, theandrewssister wrote:
...but the stark reality is that, if our grandpappies had had the choice of Ol' Bob on the corner AND Walmart, Ol' Bob would have disappeared every bit as quickly as he's disappearing now. Or - and some of you may see this as worse -- Ol' Bob would turn into a high-class niche marketeer whose prices exclude all but the middle-class nostalgia-fiends who never knew wht it was like not to have a choice.

You know, I was just talking to my solid, working class Mom about this very same subject the other day. Her porch light burnt out and she needed a new one. She was complaining about Home Despot-the lack of quality products, the 20 mile drive (as opposed to one mile to the old place), the poor customer service and that the prices are not much better than the defunct local hardware store.

I KNOW my Grandfather would not have shopped at a big chain. He made it a point (as did my Dad) to support local businesses. My Grandpa was a fisherman who built his own boats and made his own nets (well into his old age-years after he stopped fishing commercially). Where do you think he bought his boat fittings and line for nets? The local hardware store. I know for a fact that you cannot get these at a big chain.

I can go to my (thankfully) thriving local hardware store in Los Angeles and buy one nail which I cannot do in a chain.

My main gripe with huge chains is their monolithic sameness. I've been inside Walmarts in Fishkill, N.Y., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Santa Clarita, CA. If you set me down in anyone of those stores and asked me to guess where I was-I would have a hell of a hard time.

Look, there a good big businesses and bad small businesses (just look at the posts regarding Tiki Trader). But, it has just been my experience in the many neighborhood I've lived in (and I've moved 15 times!) the demise of the local, old hardware store has not been a positive thing.


INTO THE VOLCANO WITH 'EM!

[ Edited by: Atomic Cocktail on 2002-07-31 18:30 ]

M

You can hate Wal-Mart all you want-but don't hate the price slashing Smiley Face-he was a nice guy before Wal-Mart kidnapped and brainwashed him!!! Mr. Smiley

Take him back Mrsmiley! We'll support ya!

T

Wal-Mart wrecks everything, even the smiley face!

the big thing in Columbus is drug stores. I don't know if it's like this in other parts of the country but around here we are lousey with 'em. even the local papers and papers from cleveland and cincinnati comment on it. where I live if you drive down the street for 1 mile you will run across 4 cvs phamacys and 3 walgreens all within a square mile of each other! They tore down the poor Kahiki to build a walgreens even though there is another walgreens on main street about a mile south. and there is a cvs across the street! everywhere you look their building another [email protected]#$% drug store. we still have a lot of old hardware stores and barber shops though Lowes is slowly kreeping in everywhere ( across the street from the former Kahiki ) they in no way compare to the number of drug stores.

While I still lament the demise of certain aspects of past eras like the small businesses, good customer service, quality products, original designs, etc. I also do NOT long for many other things of those eras. For example, as much as I love the fashions and pop culture of the 50's, it would be difficult to be "open-minded" about sex (as a woman) without the knowledge and modern wonders we have now. Racism, sexism and the cold war WERE the 50's just as much as bullet bras and tiki bars. And just try being a bit of a bohemian at that time and watch how fast you'll be accused of being a Commie. (I've talked to Marsha Hunt -the 1940's blacklisted actress- a couple of times and her alternative views at the time basically ended her career. Taking a different stance then was a lot more risky.)

As for the 40's, I once asked my mom's friend (a 70-something woman from Belgium) if she ever longed for the 40's and her reply was "You can have it!" I think how great the 40's were is a matter of perspective.

I will agree that people did seem less crude than today. And yes, I do wish more people would get dressed up for special occasions today. (Or is nothing considered special anymore ....that's a whole other topic in itself.) I consider dressing up something of a ritual - which again is sadly lacking in our modern lives.

And while I love the modern burlesque of today, it is also more connected to theatre and performance art than the straightforward titillation it was meant as in the 50's. Those women usually did not have an easy life and while they may not have been silicone-injected, they were still considered "painted women" which was the same as being "plastic" today. Their dancing was definitely not considered "tasteful" by mainstream society. What makes modern burlesque so successful is that they kept the super-feminine iconography (the good) about it, but now have moved past the stigma branded on those that perform (the bad).

Ultimately it would be nice if we as a society could also be a little more careful about throwing out the good with the bad as we progess into the future. It's up to more enlightened people like us to keep frequenting the businesses we like and living according to how we want the future to be.

(By the way, the civil right's, women's rights and peace movements actually go back at least to the late 19th century. They were just called other things like the Suffragette Cause and Pacifism then.)

So while I'm all for time-warps in the parties I go to, the cars I drive and the clothes I wear, it's more about picking out the good that those eras had to offer without deluding myself into thinking that all of life was somehow better then. It does not mean that I really want to go back to those times. So yes, ironically, Vintagegirl is just fine living in the now.

Sorry for the long rant and being even more off-topic. Just had to put my 2 cents in.....OK so maybe it was more like a dollar. I could use a good, strong dirty martini right about now.
:drink:

[ Edited by: vintagegirl on 2002-08-01 00:34 ]

W

Curse Walgreens to Hell! They displaced a local small hardware store in my neighborhood, Chubby and Tubby's (there are 3 in Seattle), which moved some 20 miles away so a Walgreens could be built right across the street from a local chain drugstore (Bartell's). Chubby and Tubby's is the sort of place that has that odd hardware item you know exists but can't find at Despot or Lowes. They also have always had the best selection of Converse canvas (getting in all the new colors and patterns every summer) with the best prices. Their motto is "We're small, but we're scrappy!"

But now some comments against the grain...I grew up in a small town (630) which was near a somewhat larger town where all the shopping, schooling, and church going was done. I hated most of the downtown businesses. They were all ran by mean sons of bitches who were never helpful and generally rude. Especially the small hardware stores. They were extra good at making you feel like a moron for not knowing what sort of screw you needed for a particular project. This has been my experience at most small town hardware stores. Even the wonderful Chubby and Tubby's has never been high on customer service. There is another small hardware store near me and I have to grit my teeth every time I go in because the staff is so nasty. The folks at Despot and Lowes may be clueless but at least they leave you alone.

I'm none too romantic about the independent book sellers either. I know there are supposedly lovely little book stores out there with pleasant staff, but I've been to very few. My favorite used bookstore with the best selection and prices is a chain, Half Price Books. I don't even go into other used book stores anymore because I know the prices will be high and the staff utterly indifferent.

I'm not enthralled by chain stores but I don't consider them the evil empire either (with the exception of Walmart). I prefer to spend my monies at the independents or at least locally (fortunately for me amazon.com is a local business) but it's not my mission in life. If I can save $20 at Home Despot, that's where I'm going. When I'm well off I can be more philanthropic with my retail dollar.

As far as wages go most chain retailers in small towns are going to pay pretty much what an independent would have paid. Jobs are usually scarce in small towns and when this is the case wages are low. The Walmart that is near the town where I grew up has more people working the floor on a weekday afternoon than all the small businesses that were around when I was young (most of these went under for various reasons before the arrival of Walmart).

The chains have largely taken over the small town near where I grew up but my parents have a better shopping relationship with these mega retailers than they ever did with the small independents. My mom is always going on (and on and on) about the great deal she found because Joe at Shopko remebered she was looking for some socks with toes in them and set a few aside when they went on clearance.

It's easy to hate the mega chains, but they're obvioulsy loved by the masses or they wouldn't succeed. It's our taste for variety and new things and bargains that keep the chains afloat (see my post on the Sea Paradise Hello Kitty at Target!). theandrewsisters pointed out that had these chains been available to our grandparents they would have shopped there as well. Thes sorts of chains WERE available to our grandaparents...Woolworths, Sprouse Ritz, JC Penny's, Sears and Robucks, Montgomery Wards, and K-Mart were all once the big city bastards who came to town and ruined everything. Now many of them are gone or going and we're nostalgic for their lunch counters and aloha shirts.

[ Edited by: woofmutt on 2002-08-01 00:39 ]

BB

I miss Farrel's Ice Cream Parlors!!! I made a "pig of myself" many times growing up and still have the ribbons!! (hardware for the ice cream lover!)

T

Hey Ben,

I read a couple of months ago that Farrel's is coming back - Pig Trough and all!

B

Re: Farrells.
Mountasia in Santa Clarita, CA has a "new" Farrells. Do not expect much. It is in a huge arcade/amusement/minature golf building. In the corner of the Family Fun Zone there is a small ice cream stand. It has the original sign and a limited original menu. My wife and I were all geared up for the event before I knew what to expect. We ordered the Parlor's Tin Roof. They put mixed nuts INSTEAD of peanuts. When I explained to the teeny bopper that it was supposed to have peanuts. She shrugged and said, "Oh well, we don't have peanuts." You can never go back................

There may still be a Farrell's or two still in San Diego- at least, there was still one there about 2 years ago... Yummy!

S
Swanky posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 2:21 PM

We're all anachronists. We take the best of a bygone time and bring it forward. We like the 50s stuff, but not the actual 50s. I mean, do any of us want to live without central air conditioning?

T
thejab posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 2:31 PM

I worked at Farrells in La Mesa (near San Diego) starting in high school. I was busboy, fountain, and waiter for 2 years. It was a hell of a lot of fun! Funnest job I ever had (but very little money).

There are 2 old Farrell's that I visited in the last few years that are no longer Farrell's but still had the same decor and menu even! One was in Portland and one was in Rosemead (right near the Bahooka). I did some internet research and discovered they are both closed now. :(

http://portland.citysearch.com/profile?id=8487867

There was another in Portland that closed just last year:
http://portland.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2001/11/19/daily23.html

It appears there may be one in Eugene with decor and menu but it needs further exploration:
http://www.digitalcity.com/eugenearea/shopping/details.adp?companykey=111337338

One San Diego location appears to be still open:
http://partyinsandiego.com/Places/Farrells/default.html

The one in Rosemead is now a chinese restaurant.

On 2002-08-01 00:27, woofmutt wrote:

I grew up in a small town (630) which was near a somewhat larger town where all the shopping, schooling, and church going was done. I hated most of the downtown businesses. They were all ran by mean sons of bitches who were never helpful and generally rude.
[ Edited by: woofmutt on 2002-08-01 00:39 ]

Dude, ALL of them, really? You're lucky you moved...there is definitely something in the water there !

On 2002-08-01 00:27, woofmutt wrote:
theandrewsisters pointed out that had these chains been available to our grandparents they would have shopped there as well. Thes sorts of chains WERE available to our grandaparents...Woolworths, Sprouse Ritz, JC Penny's, Sears and Robucks, Montgomery Wards, and K-Mart were all once the big city bastards who came to town and ruined everything.
[ Edited by: woofmutt on 2002-08-01 00:39 ]

True, our Grandparents did shop at the above mentions stores, but there is a major difference. Those establishments generally coexisted side by side with the neighborhood stores. They did not make it their mission to come into a town and devastate its businesses. Hey, I'm not some black flag waving Anarcho-Syndicalist bent on the destruction of capitalism (Viva Durrutti!). And this is not about small town vs. big city either. What I am decrying in the deliberate destruction of NEIGHBORHOOD business by large chains as a corporate policy.

That' all I'm going to say on it!

I have a suggestion, go grab your copy of 'The Gentleman's Companion', turn to page 78 and make yourself (all of you-ALL OF TIKI CENTRAL) an Okolehao Cocktail.

NOW, CAN WE GET BACK TO THE DRINKING!!!!!

[ Edited by: Atomic Cocktail on 2002-08-01 18:06 ]

T

Just one last thing about this love-fest for days gone by.

I think it's rather funny that we are using the internet in order to praise the past and lament the future!

What's wrong with this picture?

T
thejab posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 6:25 PM

vintagegirl wrote:
"And while I love the modern burlesque of today, it is also more connected to theatre and performance art than the straightforward titillation it was meant as in the 50's. Those women usually did not have an easy life and while they may not have been silicone-injected, they were still considered "painted women" which was the same as being "plastic" today. Their dancing was definitely not considered "tasteful" by mainstream society. What makes modern burlesque so successful is that they kept the super-feminine iconography (the good) about it, but now have moved past the stigma branded on those that perform (the bad). "

While I understand your reasons for not wanting to live in the 50s, I can't agree with your comparisons of old and new burlesque. I have collected quite a few old men's magazines and burlesque programs and the way burlesque was in the 50s is this: It was very common and popular in big cities but not so common in small towns starting in the 30s under prohibition. Through the 40s and into the 50s it was very popular and many people including men and women attended these theatres (although women usually went with a man, women didn't usually go out to places like that in a group). To prove how popular it was, Lily St. Cyr made $100,000 a week at one point in her career! I have read interviews with many of these women and they don't feel like they were "painted ladies" that were being victimized at the time. They were professional artists that were, and for some (like Dixie Evans) still are, proud of their craft.

Then in the mid-50s there was a conservative uprising against "loose morals" (sound familiar?) and certain city mayors like the mayor of new york decided to crack down on burlesque houses so many closed (including the famous Minsky's).

Some theatre's (like Minsky's in New Jersey) did well in other areas but things started to change in the early 60s. I'm not sure how or why, but places started to open that had a less artistic form of burlesque: the strip clubs. Performers would dance, bump, and grind like before but costumes were less fancy and skimpier. This led to the more hardcore form of strip club like the Mitchell Brothers in San Francisco. And now these strip clubs are everywhere and do a huge business. Look how popular Larry Flynt's Hustler clubs are. To me, these are the modern versions of burlesque. They replaced what was burlesque over the last 40 years. I wouldn't go to one because they don't appeal to me: the women are phony, the costumes are ugly, the music is lousy, and the clientele is not the kind of people I would like to hang out with.

When you refer to modern burlesque I would imagine you are referring to the undergound movement that is represented by about 20-30 troups around the country, many of which performed at Teasorama last year and will again this year. I have seen a few of these groups and I the one I have really enjoyed the most was Velvet Hammer in Los Angeles, who I have seen a few times. I thought they captured what it was really like going to a Burlesque theatre in the 50s.

I have seen some of the more performance art oriented groups and I didn't really get into them. Probably because the reasons I like watching burlesque are to see beautiful women in sexy outfits dance and do their other moves, and if they tell a bit of a story or act out a situation that's often better, but it's not that important. Another reason I like the old-style burlesque is the comedy acts were sometimes very funny and usually pretty risque, with lots of sexual innuendo. I have not seen all the groups yet and I certainly would like to see more, but personally I prefer the ones that try to be more like old burlesque. This is just my opinion, and I don't doubt that some of the other groups are committed to their craft and are very talented.

The point I'm tring to make is that in the 50s burlesque was avilable in all large cities while now all there is are strip joints. The new burlesque is too undergound still and can't really be compared.

I'm sure women have different reasons for liking the new burlesque but I will readily admit that I like looking at women perform in burlesque because it's exciting to me! And I like the way women dressed (and undressed!) in the 40s and 50s. The glamour just appeals to me.

M

Believe it or not, we've got about 10 funky hardware stores throughout the US that carry our products. They all generally order with a big ol' twang in their voices and are some of the nicest people we work with. Yes, it is true, tikis can be found in hardware stores!... wierd, but very true! What we've found is that these are the die-hard stores in old, historic buildings that have been run by about 8-generations and that their customer databse is so loyal that they do whatever they please and try their best to keep their offerings new and crazy. Generally, we're stuck next to their barbecues and they promote us as "hey, wouldn't you like to barbecue and tilt back back a cocktail while tending to the flounder in one of these crazy tiki mugs!". This is a true story!
Holden

Ace is the place!!!

Bamboo Benno!!!

[ Edited by: bamboo ben on 2002-08-09 07:49 ]

On 2002-08-01 08:22, bamboo ben wrote:
I miss Farrel's Ice Cream Parlors!!! I made a "pig of myself"

Remember the fire engine sirens when the trough arrived?

Did you ever have the Zoo? Where can you get those little plastic animals anymore??? They had then in the (ice cream sundae) Zoo, but you can use them on tropical tiki drinks...

SEE we are back on topic again!


Vintage Girl - come on over... the martini glasses are chilling and waiting for you and I to sit and have some good old fashioned girl talk!

[ Edited by: Cherry Capri on 2002-08-01 23:35 ]

D

On 2002-08-01 14:31, thejab wrote:
I worked at Farrells in La Mesa (near San Diego) starting in high school. I was busboy, fountain, and waiter for 2 years. It was a hell of a lot of fun! Funnest job I ever had (but very little money).

what years? i hung out with band geeks (madison high 1977) ~ and got kicked outta farrells plenty o times! hopefully if you were our waiter, we tipped ya for your troubles!

M

I can't believe this created a four page thread in three days- safe to say that this has touched a nerve.

I just wanted to add one quick thing on the subject of old-fashioned barbershops: A few filmakers in San Francisco made a documentary a couple of years ago called "Barberland", about the rise and fall of the American barbershop. About two months ago, they had a benefit screening to raise more funds in their continued quest to get a distributor or HBO to pick it up. It was fantastic. Maybe it's just that I'm interested in the subject (and regularly visit my old friend Juan, 72, who has been at the same location for over 30 years), but I think people on this list will get a real kick out of it. It's very funny, informative, and ultimately quite sad and poignant as you listen to these old men lament the death of their life's work. I can't reccommend it enough.

You can buy a video of it from the filmmakers- they're selling videos to raise more funds to hunt for distribution. Here's the link:

http://www.barberland.com/

-martin

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