Wednesday, October 21, 2009
You hired people to stand at busy street corners and hold dramatic signs announcing your going out of business sale.
You drive your gas-guzzling SUV with a giant, gaudy sign on top up and down the street here, all day, week after week.
It's too bad that your business fell on hard times. I feel bad for you, I really do. I can't vouch for the quality of your product but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that your American-made (I think) furniture itself wasn't the problem. You were just another victim of the times. The same goes for all your neighbors: Circuit City, Tweeter, Bennigan's, Office Depot, and plenty of other franchises on this street that have closed their doors over the past year. None of those are companies that I have any special feelings toward or will ever find myself missing. However, I have come to respect the (relative) dignity they showed in their final days. What we have here, in the case of Bassett Furniture in Batavia, Illinois, is something completely different.
Is the recession over? I'll leave it to the economists to decide that but from the looks of driving on Randall Road every day, you'd think we were entering the next Great Depression. Sure, everyone hopes that we're entering a period of recovery and growth (er, almost everyone). I'm sure everyone agrees that this is going to necessitate a growth in consumer confidence/optimism/"willingness to take risks"/etc. and that the saying "perception is reality" is the sort of thing that applies here. Putting a big vinyl banner up on your building's facade announcing your "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS" sale is one thing. Disseminating this message throughout the community, taking it to the streets and assigning people the demeaning tasks of holding your day-glo signs by the side of the road in the rain, well... this isn't exactly good for the mental health of our greater retail corridor.
The worst is over, or so I hope. But the longer Bassett draws this out their campaign of psychic terrorism on their neighbors, the more their own feelings of desperation and failure will start to catch on with everyone else like a virus. Is this a new form of pollution, sewing the seeds of economic angst and panic, or is it a mild form of shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater?
I know this is a lot of fussing over nothing but I'm just so sick of these people every day and their carpet bomb-style advertising infecting my daily commute. You would be too.