Thursday, March 17, 2011

Faux Stores

Yesterday I walked down a very popular street in my neighborhood for the first time in a long time ('cause I haven't gotten out much lately). I was shocked and saddened by how many stores had closed or were otherwise in the processing of going out of business, including the humongous Borders bookstore I'd shopped at frequently since moving to Chicago in 1996.

A few blocks down on this very same street was another bookstore. One that I don't think I've ever seen anyone enter or leave. It's clear that someone's checking in on a regular basis, because there are recent notices of local events and other dated information about store hours hanging from the inside of its front glass door.

But this space simply CANNOT really function as a bookstore. It is in utter disarray. These pictures don't do the mess justice, because I couldn't get my camera to zoom in any further than the window displays. You'll probably still get the general idea of how ridiculous the situation is, though.

I mean, come on.

What I saw inside was more of the same -- just old, ratty books piled EVERYWHERE. There were no aisles, nothing, just mountains of books that looked to have been dumped on the floor. Some of the shelving was even tipped over. Talk about a fire hazard.

On the other side of the window display -- which I couldn't capture in a photo because the sun was glinting off the glass too much-- there sits a person-sized bag of Styrofoam packing peanuts (??) and all sorts of other random stuff.

Is this place a front, or what? Surely the neighborhood cops must have noticed it. There's a "video store" on another street near me which has nothing but old, old, OLD VHS tapes (I kid you not) on its shelves, and I wonder the same thing. Something's not right with these stores. Do you have any suspicious stores like that where you live? My friend Nerdy P used to work at a sandwich shop in a tiny strip mall next to a weird-looking dry cleaners. She always thought something was up with the place, and then sure enough one day the cops busted it for being a front for a prostitution ring. !!!

I'll let you know if the same fate ever befalls my local *cough* used bookstore *cough.*

I'm going to be traveling tomorrow through Wednesday and already know that I probably won't be able to post Friday or over the weekend. But I've been really proud of myself for getting back into the "A to e routine" these last few weeks, and therefore you can rest assured I will check in again as soon as I'm able.


Unknown said...

There's a coffee shop like that near me. I actually went in there once a few months after it opened. There were 4 big burly guys sitting at a table playing cards. I asked for something off the menu and the guy told me, "we don't actually have any of that stuff today" despite the fact that there were full containers of syrup and shiny, fully functioning espresso machines there. I asked him what he DID have and he told me that he would give me a regular coffee free of charge, gesturing to a household-size coffee maker in the corner. I told him that I was ok, but thanks, and booked it out of there! :-)

Tarah said...

Wow, you're posting again! Just noticed. My sister lives in Wicker Park, and there's a "Dunkin Donuts" there, where they apparently have no donuts.....ever. Totally creeped me out, and made me wonder if there's a hotline or something to report these anomalies.

Regarding your insomnia, you should try Melatonin. It's a natural supplement that helps with sleep onset, and does not make you feel drugged up at all. I recommend the 5 mg.....or take two of the 3mg. We have used it for jet lag and also with our ASD son, who has trouble falling asleep.

Sherylm said...

It sounds like the place in Fringe owned by the guy who knows all about the alt universe ;-) When I was a kid in Lebanon, PA, we had an "army-navy" store that was just like that but the owners were simply packrats and weren't doing anything shady (the shady stuff was actually all taking place at the shiny and squeaky clean pizza parlor).

Anonymous said...

There is a video store near me that I find a bit suspicious. It's not as bad as the one you described, they do have dvds and they get all the latest movies but there's something odd about it. The guys running it look like they should belong in a prison and the downstairs is full of VHS porn tapes. And the movies are half the price than in any other video store in town.