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What America needs …

Newsagents… is newsagents. No really, it does.

Whilst out walking the dogs yesterday morning I realised that if you want a newspaper round here, you can only really buy it from a vending style machine that you see on the sides of the roads next to the blue mailboxes.

The concept of having a pokey corner shop, which sells trashy tabloids, sweets [candy], cigarettes and crap greetings cards appears not to have reached these shores – which is a huge shame.

Is this just a British thing? Because the more I think about it (and you’d be suprised what keeps you awake at 5am in the morning which is what time it is as I type this now), the more I think it is. And no, news stands are not the same.

Right, having got that off my chest, I can try and go back to sleep now …

25 responses to “What America needs …”

  1. Moley says:

    Papershops are seen all across Europe – and I have also seen one or two in NYC.

  2. The Fly says:

    I can understand why you miss the corners. I try and avoid mine, I’ve helped the owner out with her computer so many times. If I charged her for the time I’ve spent fixing it I’d be a rich man. Have you found a place where they import British Newspapers Geoff? Probably would be a few days behind I suspect, but it still nice to have a gander 😛

  3. Imabug says:

    My dad used to run a store similar to what you describe. that was years ago though. almost all of the mom and pop convenience stores that most closely resembled the pokey corner shops you speak of have long since disappeared (or morphed into gas station/convenience stores), victims of big chain stores where people can do their one-stop shopping in a sterile, fluorescent lit non-social atmosphere

  4. Jono says:

    Is there not a Kwik-e-mart in Charleston, then?

  5. geofftech says:

    #1 Admittedly, you get close to them in airports too .. Charlotte airport (North Carolina) has a news stand/agents style shop .. but in the whole of Charletson? Nope.

    And haven’t seen any imported UK paper either – also nope!

    Petrol garages [gas stations] come close, but they’re still not the same.

    I used to love it when some major news story broke, and you’d go down the shop and see ten newspapers all lined up next to each other and you could compare and contrast the headlines on each to see how they’d covered it.

  6. geofftech says:

    #4 – Oh, and Jono:

    “Who needs the Kwik-e-Mart,
    their floors are stick-e-mart
    let’s throw a brick-e-mart
    who needs the kwik-e-mart

    not meeeeeeeeee!!”

    (or something like that)

  7. Coco J. says:

    you know it’s realiZe, not realise. right?

  8. Kristy says:

    I’ve seen them more in big cities than anything. Philadelphia had a few in the neighborhoods. But anywhere else, they only seem to be near the airports.

  9. I thought corner shops were disappearing fast from most urban locations worldwide. Why go to a local corner shop when you can go to a Tesco Metro?

  10. I suspect the reason most of America doesn’t have the corner shop is that no-one would consider walking to the end of the block, but would drive.

    I say “ignore Coco J – your spelling is right for once”

  11. geofftech says:

    #7: Coco – You know that you should have capitaliSed the ‘y’ of ‘you’ at the start of your sentence, don’t you?

    Oooh, I feel like I’m Geoff (the voice of reason) all of a sudden.

    #9: Andrew – It’s a great British tradition, that’s why.

    Morning – Take dog for walk, pop into newsagents en route and buy a paper.

    Evening – Take dog for walk, “I’m just taking the dog for a walk dear” and pop into the pub for a quick pint.

    Also, following on from my pet poll the other week, Leigh heard a thing on NPR the other day which said that TWO THIRDS of Americans have dogs. That’s a fcuk of a lot!

  12. Richard says:

    #9: Why go to a local corner shop? Because they’re local shops for local people…

    I live in south-east London and there’s no sign of them dying out round here. Do you think the local youth can get booze and fags from a Tesco Metro?

  13. Brent says:

    The closest thing you will find to that in the States will be your usual convenience store. Similar to your news agents, only the focus isn’t on the papers as much as the other stuff. 🙂

    In response to the “fcuk of a lot” there’s a woman here at my office that has a sign on her cube about some Brittany spaniels for sale (Brittany happens to be my father’s favorite kind of dog) for a cool $350…want me to pick you up one, Geoff? You’re not truly Americanized till you have yourself an AKC fullbred bird dog! 🙂

  14. I’ve noticed this too – currently in St. Louis and wondering what on earth people who smoke are supposed to do for cigarettes…

  15. jj says:

    more things newsagents are good for: crisps and dodgy porn.

    but yeah, the chain gas station/convenience store fills that niche here, particularly here in the south. the US is so much more of an auto-mobile culture than Britain’s perambulatory masses.

    i know people who would drive three driveways down the street in a neighborhood rather than walk. do you really think these kinds of folks would amble down to the corner newsagent for a copy of the Daily Mirror and a packet of Cadbury Snaps? no, of course not. they can barely read. they just want to consume what the television will feed them, now now NOW!

    urban areas may be different, however.

    and i’ve seen newspaper boxes cabled to a post on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. strange.

    #’s 7 & 11 – “realise” is a perfectly valid spelling. just like “colour.” well, c-o-l-o-u-r isn’t a valid spelling of “realise,” but you get the picture. i think.

    #13 – if we get Geoff a bird dog, we’ll also have to get him a shotgun. perhaps a classic Purdy over-and-under, in deference to his Englishness? wait, nevermind. not sure i want to contemplate Geoff with a gun…

  16. geofftech says:

    I /was/ going to mention porn – just by saying “top shelf”, but then thought against it.

    But yes, all UK newsagents have a wide and varying choice of pornography too. At least they put it on the top shelf. Go to France / Germany / Sweden, and it’s down on the bottom shelf alongside that mornings newspaper.

    I already ‘have’ an annoying Chihuahua and an old sweet Boston Terrier mix. So i’m all canine’d up at the moment thank you very much!

  17. geofftech says:

    now you’ve got me thinking about pornography now. (natch)

    What always amuses me is how motorway service stations back home stock a ‘wide and varying choice’ too.

    Now you can eat a candy bar whilst driving along, slurp on a coke, chew some boiled sweets, even listen to a terrible Roger Whittaker CD that you’ve just bought or munch on an over priced burger that you’ve also just purchased whilst driving … but peruse porn AND drive !! how ??

    (Shall I go and put an ’18’ rating back at the top of this post?)

    (Oh, and ‘dodgey’ has got an E in it, jj !) 😉

  18. Jon Allen says:

    There are thousands of convenience stores here in Korea. In the 8 blocks in my neighbourhood there at least 9 different little stores.

    Fellow Korean blogger Gdog took the trouble to photograph his local shops: http://thedailykimchi.blogspot.com/2006/09/convenience-stores-in-koreathe.html

    None of them have anything on the ‘top shelf’, just hundreds of different varieties of instant noodles, prepacked kimchi, a token piece of fruit, the occassional packet of breakfast cereal, lots of biscuits, soft drinks and beer.

  19. Geoff – you’ll never be truly american until you’ve got a gun, no matter how many dogs you have. And Dodgy doesn’t have an E in it unless it’s referring to its similarity to an american car. I refer you to “Staying out for the Summer”.

  20. geofftech says:

    We have a water pistol and a spud-gun in the house. Do either of those count?

  21. Brent says:

    the spud-gun is close, as that’s a rather red-neck sort of thing to have. however, a nice over-under or side-by-side would be a good touch. and perhaps Geoff could get a gunrack to put into the TankMobile to hang aforementioned guns on, as it does seem that this piece of luxury is missing from the SUV 🙂

    Geoff as a southern red-neck hick…who would pay to see this movie?? 🙂

  22. Paul Webb says:

    #17 – My dad was an HGV driver and from his high up position could see into cars through their sun roof. Once, in a stationery trafic jam on the M6, his eye was caught by a gentleman “using” a bongo mag. Personally I think he should have got to the next junction before pulling off.

  23. Johnny Alpha says:

    LOL @ Bongo Mag :-))

    I shall add that one alongside Rythm Magazine and Art Pamphlet.

  24. geofftech says:

    “Personally I think he should have got to the next junction before pulling off”

    Boom! Boom!

  25. Skarlett says:

    still lots of newsshops here in Dublin too.

    there is a new trend in the city center with folks standing about handing out copies of the Hearld and the Metro each work day morning.

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