Last night I returned to Shanghai after my longest sojourn away from China in six years (for reasons professional and personal). I haven’t had a look around town yet, but if fresh eyes see anything worthwhile, I’ll post the news. In the meantime, a couple of random observations gleaned during my extended visit to the US.
- Outside of major international tourist attractions (say, LA’s Getty Museum), the most ethnically diverse places (that I visited) in America are discount volume retailers like Cosco and Sam’s Club – particularly on weekend afternoons. Over the course of my stay, I had reason to be in a number of suburban Sam’s Club and Cosco locations, and I was floored by the range of languages that I heard while I roamed the aisles. Over-represented, by leaps and bounds, were young Indian and Chinese couples, many wearing university sweatshirts. What to make of the fact that educated immigrants shop for volume discounts way out of proportion to their percentage in the US population? See: Financial Crisis – US edition, Low Savings Rate.
- Related: by leaps and bounds, Whole Foods may very well attract the least diverse, ie, whitest, clientele in American retail. Indeed, despite selling a wide range of over-priced “ethnic” foods, Whole Foods has no ethnic customers (trust me: they’re all shopping at Sam’s Club). For another time: organic food as the distinctive ethnic cuisine of an over-educated American bourgeoisie.
- Based upon several long drives in cars without CD players, it is clear that Peter Frampton, Eddie Money, and Heart are the most popular recording artists in America today. For another time: are these legacy artists generating more airplay royalties today, rather than during their respective artistic heydays? I’d like to know. Continue reading