Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.
-- Ogden Nash
There were signs this week that the inexorable tides of progress continue to lap at the shore of backward old small-town west Michigan.
Yes, Virginia, we now have a Quizno's.
You may now exercise your constitutional right to purchase a $7 sub sandwich.
Don't get me wrong -- I don't think that Quizno's is evil. I like Quizno's. In fact, I'm enjoying a Classic Italian on white at this very moment. Mmmm, toasty indeed. What I don't get is why some entrepeneur or company decided that our little town needed a Quizno's in the first place. Surely my mentioning the fact that we could use one to everyone I know had nothing to do with it -- I'm not likely to eat there *that* often. Something drove the decision to locate here and I'm just baffled as to what it would have been.
Let's review the business case. This is a town of 12,000 people. Even if you include the surrounding townships, the population is still less than that of, say, anywhere that matters. And yet, pre-Quizno's, there were already at least ten places you could get a takeout sub (grinder, hoagie, whatever). That doesn't include any sit down restaurants. Several of those places make a darned good sandwich, the equal to or better than what any national chain can conjure up. Some of them are also a much better value. The last chain to set up shop in the general area, Blimpie, folded. So why come here?
I suppose the same thinking, or lack thereof, applies to most any new business in this town. There are at least a dozen banks, and yet a recent arrival just built a multimillion dollar regional headquarters. There are half a dozen video rental places, and still a chain new to the area has announced plans to build a megastore not more than 500 or so feet from another good sized local Blockbuster wannabe. Starbucks is about to start on its third local branch, while another chain is planning its second location next to the new video place. It's crazy.
What does this have to do with poker? Well, nothing, nothing at all. I will say that but for the people who make what appear to be highly dubious investments of time and money (see, e.g., me in any tournament), there would be no progress. Today, the mountain has come to Mohammed and we have a Quizno's. Tomorow, Summit Extra Pale Ale. Someday, Davanni's. Then I will really be in trouble.
Maybe the Luddites were right and progress is overrated. Let me get back to you after I finish my sandwich.