Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Other Trickle-Down Economic Theory

There’s been some press lately about shopping centers cracking down on teens hanging around without buying anything or doing anyting constructive to their efforts to produce a profit.

People tend to forget, it seems, that “business” entities exist for one sole purpose: making profit.  Anything else is superfluous to that goal and often clouds the true purpose in the minds of consumers and lazy-ass dipshit do-nothings that love to bitch and moan about nothing all the time.  It’s a profession, after all, for those folks.

So, shopping centers want to get the vagrant teens off their property, or at the very least impose constraints on their activities (or lack thereof).  Why?

Shoppers base their choice of shopping locations on emotion and rationalization.  Mostly emotion.  Sure, a “good deal” and a “good price” are important, but let’s face facts here: we pick places to shop that look safe and look like they’re “well kept”.  This is probably due to our rationalization, as false as that may be, that if they care enough about their own establishment, then surely they must care more for us consumers.  Maybe so.  Who knows.

But when teens appear in growing numbers, doing nothing more than “hanging around” or walking around in such a way as to cause concern in the minds of shoppers, the human response to any large number of menacing-looking people is to equate them with “gangs”.  But let’s back up to the “menacing” part.  If someone appears menacing, that’s enough.  We will seek surroundings that are less menacing if at all possible.  So we/they will shop elsewhere.  So, let’s boil this soup down farther…

  • Thug-teens scare away shoppers
  • Stores lose revenue (and therefore lose profit)
  • Stores cutback, layoff or close.  If they have the resources, they may also relocate to a less menacing environment and try again.
  • Mall owners lose renters, and they layoff or close
  • City tax revenues drop from lower sales, rentals, utilities, and business taxes
  • A vacated business property is a thorn in any community, it drives up the perception of vagrancy, despair, crime, etc.
  • It becomes a deadly spiral

So, to avoid these pains (and again: loss of profit) the owners will push to mitigate anything that threatens their business.  That means running teens off the property or making them act like (oh my God?): shoppers.  After all, a SHOPPING center/mall is for SHOPPING, not for bumping into elderly folks while staring at them with a snear and grabbing our crotches.  It’s not for “hanging out”, we have parks and recreation centesr for that.  Shopping is where you [a] have money, [b] find something to spend it on, and [c] leave the premises.

I’ve seen my share of malls go under for just this reason.  They failed to stem the growth of roving gangs of kids bothering shoppers to the point where the shoppers quit coming to shop.  It’s basic economics.  Just like getting rid of unwanted pests in your house or garden.  Not that I’m suggesting we spray for this other problem as well, but now that you mention it, hmmm…

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