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Business Loss

January 21, 2004

Call me cruel (just call me!), but if the dotcom bust and the general recession mean that a 22-year-old can no longer collect eighty large for Instant Messaging his drinking buddies all day long, I don’t consider that a profound national tragedy. — Jeffrey Zeldman for ALA, Jan. 2002

The dot-com boom, and bust, in a nutshell. Today we’re back to the dollars and the cents, the business goals weighed against financial decisions, and the cold reality of making money.

In my neighbourhood, as in most, a selection of offices/stores/restaurants just can’t seem to retain a clientelle. Dubbed ‘black hole businesses’ by some pundit along the way, these buildings cycle through business after business quicker than a snake sheds its skin. What was once an upscale tapas bar became an upscale seafood restaurant became an Indian grill is now a hair salon.

More profoundly sad, and perhaps a shifting indicator of the priorities of our times, are the two neighbourhood shops which closed up recently. One, a flower shop, the other a butcher’s. Both established 1903. Both closed 2003. Exactly one hundred years in business, only to vanish in the night and greet the morning rush with newspaper-lined windows.

Much can be made of business strategy, economy, and marketability. But in the end you either win or lose. And while loss in this case may be quantifiably trivial, it certainly speaks volumes for quality.