Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The End of Stacey's

Well Stacey’s closes today. I’m sure others will write more eloquent and heart-felt eulogies. I’ll freely admit to spending more time in the store since they announced they were closing than I ever did before then. I’ve spent the last few months more as an interloper at a dying man’s bedside. That doesn’t mean that watching its shelves slowly empty until the shelves themselves started to leave didn’t affect me. It just means I didn’t have as much invested in the old girl until she started taking on water.

Today, a handful of books remained along with a surprisingly large selection of Christmas cards and wrapping. I’ve been meaning to buy some wrapping paper since day 1, but have just been too lazy. Perhaps I will go back after work and grab a roll. Instead, today I picked up a few industrial looking bookends. None of the remaining books particularly tickled my fancy and I’ve already over-loaded my library with purchases of late.

Yes, it’s sad that Stacey’s is closing. I feel it’s more a statement about our economy than about the book business, however. In a world were Virgin is closing its Megastore just down the block, Stacey’s didn’t stand much of a chance. Although, I suppose both were a relic of a pre-internet time. I suppose recessions are an economy’s version of a lion attacking a heard of zebra. They end up killing the weak and injured (or the monumentally stupid).

As I stood there browsing through plastic genre signs reading things like “Mystery & Suspense” or “Science Fiction / Fantasy” thinking vainly for some useful reason to buy some, I overheard one of the employees talking about how long he’ll have to wait before he sees his first unemployment check. That’s like getting a good look at the zebra before the kill. Breaks your heart.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.