Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adventures in Retail

The news in the Times-Tribune was disturbing. The building that houses the Markowitz News Stand at Linden and Wyoming in downtown Scranton is being sold. The news stand, in business for sixty years, will have to move or close. The owner, Sid Markowitz, was quoted as saying the search, so far, hasn't turned up a suitable site.

Sid's brother, Hyman, was my freshman year civics teacher. He also spent a lot of time at the store before his passing. Hyman was near retirement when our paths crossed at Mid Valley Junior High many years ago, and he was just a sweet old man. You have to know a lot about how government works when you're in the news business. I have Hyman Markowitz to thank for that.

I stopped by the news stand yesterday morning to take a few pictures outside. Inside, I bought a can of Diet Pepsi for 50 cents. Where can you get a can of soda for 50 cents these days? As I gave my money to Sid, I wished him luck and added I hope he finds a new building. Places like Sid's are rare these days. He sells every newspaper and magazine currently in print. There are a lot of cigars and cigarettes, but I know nothing about that stuff. I'd hate to see the store disappear. There is so much history here.

Shifting gears, I keep a medium sized fan in my bedroom. I use it to stir up the air on those days and nights when it isn't hot enough to kick on the air conditioning. The fan, after many years of loyal service, burned out yesterday. My Wednesday morning task was to find a new one. I hit those two big box home improvement stores near the Viewmont Mall. It was during the heavy rain. Both stores had a lot in common-- they didn't have what I wanted. The small fans were too small. The large ones were too large. If that wasn't enough, both stores had leaky lobbies, which doesn't give you a lot of confidence in their products. Walking through indoor puddles is a turn off at stores that are supposed to sell you things to improve your home.

I found a decent sized fan at a near by big box department store, and I'm grateful for that. Stores didn't have a lot of fans in stock. It's almost time to start selling snow throwers.