Did you, who lived through the 80s, ever think you'd live to see the day when you couldn't make money with a mall in America, or with a pub in England? That day has come!
General Growth Properties, which operated more than 200 malls covering 44 states, declared bankruptcy today. Think about that for a moment. Malls were the sickly shining symbol of suburban America's rotting commercial heart! And now they're mere shells of themselves, with a few ghostly Orange Julii and whatnot interspersed between vacant former Coconuts locations, while all the shopping public is off at the gun show.
Perhaps even more jarring than that: "As the recession prompts U.K. pub crawlers to drink at home more often, two of the country's biggest pub owners are selling or closing hundreds of locations to pay the tab from a decade-long expansion." Are you hearing this? Pubs going out of business in England, of all places. There is absolutely nothing to do in vast swaths of England except go to pubs, unless the new "US vs. UK Challenge" season of Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter" is far more popular than I imagined. Brits are reportedly drinking at home to save money, preferring the sad, lonely existence of beer-guzzling in front of the TV to the sad, lonely existence of beer-guzzling in a dimly lit pub, and then fighting.
If malls and pubs can't turn profits any more, it's quite obvious that there's no hope for Saturn dealers or the entire real estate industry. When your most appealing services don't sell, despite the public's inherent hypnotic attachment to them, you know that bad days are ahead.