Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monopoly...not the board game.

Cultures get caught up in the differences that exist. We fail to look at the similarities, maybe because we don't want to admit we are the same. My second minor is business and it is what I intended to get my degree in when I first went to college. If I can bore you with cultural similarities in business I will do so. It was brought to my attention a couple of hours ago when our great tour guide for the day talked about a major department store chain here in London. Westfield shopping centers are huge department store complexes that give shoppers many options to spend their money. Who cares you may say, or what is the relevance here. These stores are large scale monopolies in this country, our tour guide pointed out that she has mixed feelings about these stores because they take the small town stores out of business. These are monopolies that control a market for services or goods. I suppose we could compare the large shopping complex of Harrod's that we went to yesterday as one of these. However, the prices at Harrod's are so high it realistically does not take that much business away from other stores. The food court in this large complex does though.

Now this situation hits home to me and has a direct impact on my family. Which is how it relates to the United States. Simply put Wal-Mart is our Westfield or Harrod's. My dad owns and works very hard managing the small town grocery store in our hometown. The amount of money that he looses in direct competition to the Wal-Mart twelve miles away is ridiculous. Some families that lived in our hometown over many generations drive the distance just to shop in Wal-Mart. Anyone could ask my wife that when we have to go to Wal-Mart to get something in Chadron that we can't find in Safeway it drives me nuts.

So you may bring up a good point that big stores like this provides thousands of jobs for the working class. This is a good point and it is true, however the amount of small business that they take jobs from is substantial. It leaves no room for expansion and for the ordinary person to start their own dream job and manage their own company.

Progressing away from this though I want to point out how many rock pigeons are in this city. Of course they thrive here year-round since they have food all over the streets. However, they cause quite a bit of economical damage. They go to the bathroom all over everything. Let me bore you with a little wildlife knowledge and say that it is not just poop. It is actually called uric acid, which is a mixture of poop and pee. They use this form of waste in order to conserve water loss. All over the city there are dropping and one of our group even found one on the top of their head today, I won't mention who. In order to keep pigeons from perching anywhere the city places spikes on the top of light posts, buildings, and ledges of buildings. This keeps the pigeons from landing here or building nests in those spots. I am sure the amount of money the city spends on cleaning up after the pigeons and putting these spikes in place is not cheap.

Westfield shopping center.
Trying to control rock pigeons in London with spikes.


  1. I'm glad you added an entry tonight as I was worried about not hearing from you both for two days! Several businesses have closed here in recent months, no doubt due to competition which nation wide is hard to work against, no one will realize the effects until there is no competition and then they can set their own prices. Some say it won't happen but I think it's just a matter of time!

  2. We are alive and well, HaHa. It really is an issue for many people, it is too bad many people are too naive to realize it.

  3. Bryson,
    Might I start by saying reading this blog did not bore me one bit, so therefor you did not accomplish your goal to bore people by talking about business and wildlife. I remember when we were driving back to our hotel and the guide made that comments about the big shopping centers. I agree with you because I am from a small town and when a big company moves in it can have a negative impact on small local companies. It is crazy to think that this problem is not just in the United States because it is everywhere.
    I am a person that is scared of birds and think that they are gross animals! It is crazy like you mentioned that pigeons are everywhere in London. But people will just continue to feed them so they will keep bothering people. I agree with you once again that those spikes should go up to help control the problem with the pigeons around the city. But it was pretty funny when one of our group members got pooped on by a pigeon.

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