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Friday, April 21, 2017

The Writer's Life 4/21 - Business Moves

Today's NY Post contained eye-opening items about the struggles of two iconic American brands. After just two years on the most famous shopping corridor, 5th Avenue & 55th St., Ralph Lauren has closed its flagship store. The chain has been fighting sagging sales and has closed 50 other venues. In 2013 the company signed a $400 million, 16-year lease for the place in question. Along that strip rent averages $25 million a year - $68,493 a day! RL is obligated to make those payments until another tenant is found. Why would it make such a move? It is saving money on the salaries and benefits of the 125 workers who worked there. RL has seven other Big Apple stores. Is this a microcosm of the overall economy? Or are astronomical rents finally having a negative effect on business? Or is it the result of losing customers to web vendors?... Subway shut 359 of its USA shops last year. I'm not surprised. I was never crazy about its products, but it offered an easy way to load up on veggies, while being stingy with meat and cheese. Once the five buck foot-long went to six and now, in some cases seven, it's not worth it - at least to me. Alas - gone are the days when one could purchase a great hero, made with real Italian bread, at a reasonable cost from just about any Brooklyn deli.  

I chose not to write about Aaron Hernandez. Why would I waste space on someone to whom the gangsta life was more important than his rare athletic gift? That changed this morning while I was listening to radio host Mark Simone. It seems there was method to Hernandez's madness. In Massachusetts, when a felony conviction is appealed, the original charge is wiped from the ledger. Technically, upon committing suicide, he died an innocent man, despite the fact he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of a friend, which was under appeal. His millions in assets now belong entirely to his four-year-old daughter. None of it will go toward victim compensation. The word "diabolical" comes to mind.

There was a mist in the air at eleven AM, so I decided to kill time by heading to the recycling center at Stop n Shop. Conditions hadn't changed much by the time I returned, but I decided to put the wares out, hoping the light precipitation would soon cease. The stuff remained covered in plastic for a while. Not having given up on the session immediately paid a big dividend, as Lynn showed up wheeling a shopping cart full of books. There must have been at least 50, paperbacks and hardcover, most by popular female authors. I piled all but a few onto the back seat of my Hyundai, knowing there wouldn't be room enough in the trunk when I packed up for the day. I set aside books by writers I lacked at present: Mary Higgins Clarke, Danielle Steele, Anne Rice, Sandra Brown, Jude Devereaux and Nicholas Sparks, and added them to the display. None of those sold, but Ira bought Katharine Hepburn's autobio Me, and a Life pictorial on the year 2003, and Lou purchased six more DVD's, and a young man bought another. My thanks, guys. 78, Lou doesn't look his age. He showed me his secret formula, a supplement that costs him quite a bit. He bragged about his sexual prowess. He's involved, "for the first time," with an Irish woman. He told her he's 68. More power to him.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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