Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The First Signs of Gentrification

In an apparent effort to add some class to my neighborhood, someone recently opened up a store with the unwieldy name of "Everything for $1.00 or More"

I have to admire the owner's optimism even as I question his marketing savvy. I mean who tries to differentiate themselves on price by making everything just a little bit more expensive? How can you possibly get people to buy into that?

"Yes, its the exact same item as at the 99 cent store down the road, but the extra penny goes towards quality service. Notice the cheerful greeter at the door. Sure he's homeless, but he says hello before asking you for spare change. And don't forget that every Thursday evening we host a tap water tasting in our restroom."

What's most confusing about the entire endeavor is that when it comes down to it, pretty much every other store in the country is an "everything for a dollar or more" store. Once you go down that road, you're no longer competing with discount stores, but with Tiffany's, Cartier, Bloomingdale's, and the like. Before you know it, you're losing customers because you don't offer engraving on the plastic rings in the toy section or monogramming on the cuffs of the 4 for $5 "Red, White, and Blue: These Colors Don't Run" sweatshirts.

And once that happens, you might as well just close the doors.