Friday, December 2, 2011
Does This Urban Outfit Make Me Look Fatuous?
As I walked by tonight, it occurred to me that although having a national chain plunked down in the midst of the Old Port, our charming little enclave of locally-owned boutiques, feels a little yicky, it's actually a weird testament to the strength and success of our small businesses. Urban Outfitters isn't interested in atmosphere, it's interested in cash, and the fact that it made sense to them to take up real estate downtown instead of somewhere in the strip mall wasteland that is South Portland is kind of like a high five to the business owners who've grown the area over the past few decades. You know, the kind of high five you get from your mortal enemy who's super passive aggressive but who it's way easier to just make nice with than face their mean-girl vengeance if you snub them.
If I were the kind of person who paid for clothes instead of scavenging cast offs from friends and making my own from bed linens, I'd think, "Ooh. Urban Outfitters' clearance rack is totally like retail junk food and junk food is so fun. But I'ma make a concerted effort to get my metaphorical fashion groceries at local stores too, because they're the reason there's even anything in this area besides rats and dive bars. And I'm never, ever going to buy anything from UO with writing in a foreign language I don't speak, because of that one time when Tricia used her Japanese lessons and realized that they had a T-shirt that said, 'I'm a stupid white person' and she splurged and bought it because it was so hilarious that people who couldn't read it were wearing it because oriental-fetishism was at its peak in the late-90's and it totally scandalized our friend Yuko and Tricia's Japanese hair dresser, both of whom assumed she'd misunderstood."
That, friends, is exactly what I would think.