austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

It doesn't show signs of stopping

My father noticed with surprise the bankruptcy of Fortunoff reported in the news the last couple days. I don't know that he's thought about it much since he tries to go full decades without setting foot in a mall, but this was a store he kind of liked. I think that Fortunoff is a local chain; for those who somehow have never heard of it, it's a store which sells home furnishing stuff, one of those chains which sell boring things. I don't mean to be dismissive of the things which happen not to fall within my narrow range of interests, you understand. And it's good that there are people interested in things that I find boring, since most of them are valuable to the world or subsets thereof. But while I'm sure that professional chefs out there appreciate a company which manufactures or sells a particularly well-made or cleverly designed yam philanderer or whatever it is they need in advanced kitchens, I'm far outside their market.

Anyway, my father likes the store because they sell peculiar things that he doesn't see anywhere else, possibly because he hasn't set foot inside a department store other than Target since 1996. And that's brought to my mind that I do actually have some Fortunoff products, one of which I use reliably: it's a laundry bag. When I was going off to college for the very first time decades ago, my mother -- brimming with excitement -- bought the basics for what I would need to set up in my dorm room, from the laundry bag to a telephone to sturdy plastic glasses and so on. The glasses are long since lost, and the telephone stopped working one day in 1997 and I replaced it in 1998 with two new phones that my fed-up parents thrust at me when I was home for a weekend, but the laundry bag is still here.

It's a very good laundry bag, as you might conclude, and over that time has only picked up a few small holes in its side and lost the drawstring to close it up. So in that regard I'd have to say Fortunoff was a fine purchase there, which may be part of their current fiscal woes: you can't expect a department store chain to thrive for over fifteen years on one laundry bag sale, no matter how much your interest compounds.

Trivia: The colony of Massachusetts issued its first paper money by order of the General Court on 3 February 1690, in order to pay troops for King William's War. The notes came in denominations of five, ten, and twenty shillings. Source: An Empire of Wealth, John Steele Gordon.

Currently Reading: The Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning, and Recovery, Wolfgang Schivelbush.


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