More and more I miss all the odd little shops with the sometimes a bit peculiar shop keepers, the second hand comic book and record stores, the Dirty Dicks and their titty cups and punk stud belts, the local butcher’s with big old ladies calling you “sweetheart”, the antique/vintage/junk stores where you could make bargains because the owner hadn’t googled every damn item, and the over-many-generations family owned hardware stores that had everything you could ask for, including nuts and bolts of odd dimensions a 100 years old in boxes stored everywhere, and many more stores like this. All these are disappearing, pushed out by online shops and rising costs for rent, and even in a city of 600,000 people it is now getting increasingly difficult finding items that are today not in as frequent use in the general population, like e.g traditional Mora knives or just simple bench sharpeners which have been in use for centuries.
Everything is bit-by-bit replaced, either with chains and franchise, or by small stores all selling goods from the same suppliers, meaning there is less and less personality and diversity, very little *real* choice, and you commonly find the same things regardless of which city or neighbourhood you go to. It is a terrible side effect of the globalized IT “revolution” in combination with the ever growing corporations and “free” trade. It is slowly transforming itself into a uniform blob of grey mass, in effect not very different from the feared planned economy of the communist states. Of course the upside is that it also opens up the world in other ways, but the close reality is suffering.