Saturday, August 30, 2014

Neighborhood of the Living Dead

Zombies shuffling across the landscape, dogs baying and running from the zombies. People huddled behind barricades, shooting zombies with an ever diminishing supply of ammunition. One shot per zombie and save the last for yourself. No - Columbia is not quite that bad but it's getting close. It has become reminiscent of the abandoned towns of the Wild West with tumbleweed blowing down long abandoned streets.
 This was a dollar shop - it closed recently. There is nothing to replace it. Many shops in the centre of town lie abandoned. Indeed some were demolished and the land grassed over in order to disguise the lack of prosperity from the inhabitants.
Businesses cutting back hours. This place is open just one day per week. This is reminiscent of the 3 day week in Britain in the 1970s when during the Arab oil crisis, electricity was rationed severely with cooking possible only between certain hours and candle-light becoming used again. It is questionable whether an establishment can pay rent based on single day opening.
Malls lie abandoned. This has a few tenants but not many. There have been rumors that the tenants don't pay any rent and are just there in order to lure real businesses to the mall. Indeed, there's a photography studio there that's always closed. The lady that runs it has a real job that she spends most of her time doing as photography just doesn't pay the rent.
The state of the roads around Columbia are pretty appalling. This "road" is nothing more than a dirt track. There are literally hundreds of roads like this around South Carolina. It is indeed very reminiscent of the Dukes of Hazard.
Owen's Field, Columbia. It's a functioning airport but the hangers certainly need some work. This looks like it will collapse into a pile of rusty rubble at any moment. It's hardly the jewel in the crown of the capital city of the state.
Proof positive that the place is dying. This used to be a bookshop. At about 25,000 square feet and in a prime retail location, trade should have been way more than the reported $9k a day. The last shops to close in a recession are bookstores (cheap entertainment), banks and food stores. Several food stores have closed recently.

The economists might not think there's a recession, viewing the figures and the human misery through rose-tinted glasses but the reality on the streets is very different. This is just Columbia, South Carolina. Other cities and towns in other states tell pretty much the same sad story.

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