Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mobile Phone Invasion

I was at The Gallery yesterday and noticed a new T-Mobile store. Then I noticed a T-Mobile kiosk. Then I noticed another T-Mobile kiosk. Then I recalled, there is a T-Mobile store at 12th and Market just outside.

Why does it seem that every time a vacant retail space is finally rented, it is another mobile phone store? True, everyone has a phone so the business is, well, potentially 100% of the public. And the purest of mobile phone junkies will replaced their device on a monthly basis, and there is no shortage of encouragement to do so.

I'm fine with my flip phone. I've got it duct taped together because I am hell bent on it finally lasting a year and getting my contractually promised "Free Phone".

But still, shopping is starting to feel like flipping through 500 channels and finding 500 incarnations of the same reality TV show. I get so excited when I finally see light coming from that shuttered space and turn the corner to see another Cricket logo, two employees, and no customers.

And does it really bring business and taxes to the city? Do these stores stay open on revenue from subscribers that aren't shopping here? When a customer visits the store to pay a bill or purchase a new phone, are taxes from that payment registered in Philadelphia, or based on the subscriber's postal code?

I guess the biggest thing that cheese's me off is the fact that these businesses put minimal effort into transforming their retail space. After a while, they start to make their surrounding properties look a little like Market East.

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