Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mergers and Acquisitions II

Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona is due for American release on August 15, 2008. Given its location, star power and interpersonal "mergers and acquisitions," this could be a hit even in the USA.

I stayed in Barcelona in 1999 and found it cosmopolitan and fast-paced. Madrid, quieter and more set in the past, felt more satisfying as a reprieve from modern life, though.

The year before in Detroit, 1998, there were a number of businesses that have since gone the way of the Dodo. Hudson's was one of them. This was a series of huge department stores -- too huge for modern times given the fairly expensive merchandise. They were snapped up by Marshall Field's in 2001, which was in turn gobbled up by Macy's. The gigantic flagship Hudson's in downtown Detroit was imploded on October 24, 1998. If memory serves, the tiny downtown People Mover rail service was knocked out of commission for a while due to flying debris. Another one like Hudson's, only snootier, was the Jacobson chain out of Jackson, Michigan (which also hosts a large state prison). They went bankrupt in 2002, though there's a last spin off orphan store left in Florida.

A sad end came to record chains and most record stores. Harmony House Records used to have stores all over Metro Detroit. It was a center for concert ticket sales, too. Begun in 1948, they fell to technology and distribution changes in 2002. Another record place I used to shop at was Sam Goody (started up in 1956). I think there are two left in all of Michigan under the original name.

Then there were the drug stores like Rea & Derrick in my home town of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, that had been a division of Peoples Drug before getting absorbed into the insidious CVS chain. In Metro Detroit, I remember Arbor Drugs of Troy, Michigan -- chomped up by CVS, also. There was at least one other drug chain in Metro Detroit, I think it was Pioneer Drugs. In any case, gone now. The last non-chain stores, the mom and pops, still hold on in various places and if I have to get something at a drugstore, I go to them first. It's important to keep some alternatives alive!

Today's Rune: Joy.


Lana Gramlich said...

I remember when Bell split into Bell & AT&T (under much hoopla about splitting up the monopoly.) Recently one merged w/the other, so sometimes I just don't understand the point, y'know? So much energy wasted, for what? It's always a damned shell game.

Charles Gramlich said...

Big fish eats little fish, and is eaten by bigger. And bigger, And BIGGER

JR's Thumbprints said...

A highschool buddy of mine worked at Perry Drugs and boasted about their stock options. He still has the useless piece of paper with its initial value.

Steve Malley said...

In principle, I'm big on separating the art from the artist. In practice, I haven't been able to look at Woody Allen the same since the whole Soon-Yi thing.

Mel Gibson's kind of lost to me as well...

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks y'all for the comments --
Lana, shell game is about it, with people's lives in the mixer.

Charles, indeed. I remember seeing a cartoon illustration of this at some point.

JR, THANK YOU -- Perry Drugs is one of the ones I meant to mention. I also knew a guy who worked there, kind of a dim bulb, as it were. He wasn't a boaster, usually.

Steve, fair enough. Woody doesn't phase me, though. Mel's been super-bloody and Aussie extreme from day one, it just seemed worse as he got older and didn't let someone else drive him -- plus his crazily anti-Semitic father (Harrison Ford seems even more out of it in some ways). I like Mel's early stuff best, and Woody Allen's stuff selectively.

Cheers all!

the walking man said...

The Hudson's hey day...that was a store. It rivaled anything NYC or Chicago could muster. The downtown building you referred to, before it sat empty for 20 odd years was 13 floors of merchandising wonder. It wasn't all hoy paloi...the basement (of course) was a great place for last years fashion clothes at 65% off and other things as well.

Then there is the movie Wall Street, although apt for the time, Stone did not go far enough in his conclusion, even though Micheal Douglas was headed for trial and possible loss of his wealth (Milken?)there was always another Trump in the deck to move us forward to todays Mega Conglomerates.

Me? Personally I feel this M & A crap of the last two decades of the 20th century was the end game of a trend that began the day after Theodore Roosevelt signed Taft-Hartley into law, which essentially took the American economy out of the hands of the trusts and monopoly's during the first decade of that same century.

Luma said...

I love Javier Barden and I would attend the film without knowing all of the remaining portion! :) I find Woody Allen complicated to understand the Spanish latinidad. Beijus