Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


with 2 comments

Certain aspects of business in Port Elgin and Southampton seem to be infected with a disturbing malady. Business people and people of influence appear possessed. They are obsessed with BIGNESS and you can see it all around us.

It all began in earnest when Wal-Mart came to town.

The massive façade of its cavernous building sits well back off the road. In front of it is room for more development. Word is that a BIGGER Canadian Tire is on the way. Inside is a grocery store and anything else you might want. The sheer size of it has prompted the local supermarket to purge slow selling merchandise and rearrange its own interior to allow for wider aisles and therefore more grocery product. And, no doubt, these actions are also a reaction to the new mall directly across the street, built specifically for a new giant, big box type drugstore. This, in turn, gave rise to the long-time local small street corner druggist pulling up his roots and moving out of the downtown core to a BIGGER building closer to Wal-Mart. The dominos continue to fall because the local storefront drugstore in Southampton has plans to leave historic High Street for a BIGGER venue on the main highway, almost kiddie-corner to the BIG new Tim Horton’s.

These are only a few small examples. But they illustrate the point…BIG is all-pervasive in our tiny community. We even have the BIGGEST Canadian Flag around as a tourist attraction.

There are those who decry this phenomenon in defense of the little guy. There are those who say onward and upward. The battle lines are being drawn between citizens who warn that BIG will destroy Quaint and entrepreneurs who live by the maxim BIGGER IS BETTER.

It all reminds me of that Tom Hanks movie – BIG. A young boy, unsatisfied with his life so far, asks a carni ‘wish machine’ ZOLTAR SPEAKS to make him older. Overnight, he grows BIGGER. But the frustrations of adulthood make him wish he was a child again. So much so that he seeks out ZOLTAR SPEAKS to reverse the process.

But, the analogy begs the question. What is the better road? Leave well enough alone? Lead, follow or get out of the way? Go BIG or GO HOME?

I’ve experienced both sides of the argument. There is a lot to be said for each. Reality teaches that progress is hard to hold back. And money talks. Trouble is  – as we have seen in both the U.S. financial sector and the North American Automotive Sector – BIG has a tendency to eat its young.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

May 3, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Posted in Home Town, thoughts, Writing

2 Responses

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  1. “If we want things to stay as there are,” said Tomasi di Lampedusa, “things will have to change.”
    All I know for sure, Ed, is that change inevitable…. regardless of the size.


    May 8, 2009 at 3:32 AM

  2. This topic reminds me of my children.

    Having just turned 7, my son is already planning for his 8th birthday! His ultimate goal in life is to be BIG.

    It would seem that this drive for BIGNESS is neverending. We’re born, we grow, we strive and when all is said and done some of us reflect back, and like Tom Hank’s character in BIG, wish to return to simpler times. Others never really get the lesson that becoming BIG is not always what it is cracked up to be – in business or in life.

    I for one like my 6 year old daughter’s sentiment. On a regular basis she tells me that she likes being ‘my little girl’. “I want to play with you forever Mommy.”

    Being a business woman I too find myself on a daily treadmill. But when I stop and look at the ‘progress’ surrounding me I have to wonder, Wouldn’t it be nicer if we could all take Katie’s simple approach to living our lives.


    May 14, 2009 at 2:14 PM

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