Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Empty Mall Contradicts McCain's Assurance of Sound Economic Fundamentals

If John McCain really believes America's underlying economy is fundamentally sound, he is not living on the same planet as I am. I invite him to visit the strikingly empty Boynton Beach mall – a once bustling retail center centrally located in an area of average families and retirees.

Boynton Beach is by no means a tourist mecca on the order of Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, or the Keys islands. Sandwiched between the old wealth of Palm Beach and the nouveau riche of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach is an area of mostly newer and more affordable single family homes, over-55 duplex villas, condominium apartment and mobile home complexes.

Boynton Beach Mall has grown in size since the last time I was there, circa 2004 when I moved from Palm Beach to Broward county. It has a new Muvico multiplex, a grand Starbucks, and a TooJays Delicatessen – a favorite in these parts. I was shocked to find the mall all but empty on Wednesday at 1 p.m., as these photos show.

Is this sad? This is not an out-of-the-way, dilapidated strip mall. It is a major commercial retail center that serves a large, densely populated middle-class citizenry.

Another customer at Ritz Camera store said he’d gone to Delray Beach on Sunday where Atlantic Avenue’s many restaurants attract Sunday brunchers. “The roads were empty, and I had no trouble at all finding a parking place,” he said. Usually, one has to drive around to find a spot.

I grumbled that my 403(b)s have lost so much value that I may never be able to retire. “Don’t even go there,” he said. “I’ve lost so much that I will never gain it back in the remainder of my lifetime.” Of course, the economic Big Boys have been playing fast-and-loose with our retirement monies, investing in FreddieMac and SallieMae (according to NPS's Marketplace, even when it appeared these massive housing market lenders were in trouble). We were promised that we would be oh-so-much better off when we didn’t have to rely on fixed income retirement plans. Hahaha.

Earth to McCain: The economic fundamentals are not good for us who cannot afford $313,000 designer ensembles.

Footnote: I stopped by a local Salvation Army before going home. It was Wednesday Madness, with half-off on everything. The parking lot was full, and the store was mobbed. There were lines at the register, even though the store's air-conditioning was out. That is a big deal here in South Florida, when outdoor temperatures are in the high 80s and inside can top the 90s. But we cannot eat T-shirts.


Sylvia K said...

Great post! And sad, but true! What is it about our crappy economy these days that republicans can't seem to grasp? I'm just fortunate enough to live near a Goodwill for what little shopping I do these days, but there are many that couldn't even afford Goodwill if they plan on feeding their family.

Dogwalkmusings said...

You bring up a valid point. The malls in this area are virtually empty, especially during the week. Week ends are little better and last year, even during the holiday season, things didn't pick up until the last minute rush. And of course that's because people were looking for the best bargain they could get!