How long before the robots tell us “Thank you, come again”?

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In the suburban fringe of Indianapolis, just within the city limits, patrons of a regional supermarket chain encounter this…um, mural?—as they exit the premises.“See you tomorrow.” Clearly it’s a marketing ploy, gently cajoling the visitor into making the grocery trip a daily occurrence. More than anything, though, this sign is a nod to nostalgia, evoking …Read more…

Unisex restrooms: a truce amidst the eternal battle.

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In an era when unisex facilities have escalated into a nationwide debate, it’s comforting to see that one family operation hasn’t forgotten what its like to be a little lighter on its feet.  This sign was quite the novelty when I saw it at a café in southern Mississippi several years ago; since then I think …Read more…

Sears at Landmark Mall: all dressed up and nowhere to go.

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We’re all aware of the abysmal condition of the national corporation Sears Holdings Company and its two flagship department stores, Sears and Kmart. I’ve covered both numerous times. For the last decade, the parent company, in a desperate attempt to induce profitability, has shed its lowest performing locations, one after another. But none are well-performing, …Read more…

When a business hits the big time, it goes small.

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Hot on the heels of my article on a mac ‘n cheese food truck that made it to the major leagues—that is, as a standalone restaurant–I have stumbled across a sign for an eatery that seems to be adopting a similar approach: Yes, macaroni and cheese is incredibly en vogue at the moment, so it should …Read more…

What’s next? Drive-through dim sum?  

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Immigrant investment has breathed life into long-declining urban neighborhoods; why shouldn’t the same happen with suburban ones? Fifty years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that foreign-born populations tended to cluster most heavily in the central cities of major metropolitan areas. At the turn of the 19th century, it often consisted of newly arrived Western Europeans: …Read more…