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I saw this article the other day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about whether (or how) the results applied to me. The authors of the study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology write:

Residential mobility, the very factor that allows Americans to pursue their individual desires, ironically facilitates the uniformity of American landscapes.

They found that cities with a highly mobile population had more chain stores, and that students who have moved a lot prefer national chains. Honestly, I have some issues with the series of studies, particularly confounding variables, the scenarios, small sample size, and generalizing from college students. But I still wondered about how my choices might fit into the authors’ theory.

I definitely am very mobile so I started thinking through where I shop and eat and how my dollars contribute to the American (and other countries’) landscape.

Eating is the easier category for me. I figured that I probably eat at independently owned restaurants about 9 times out of 10. I know that plenty of cognitive impairment might affect that figure so I pulled up my online account, which showed that I was very close. It’s more like 8.5 out of 10 restaurants. (An aside, it was interesting to see what chain restaurants I go to even though there weren’t many repeats in the past few months. They included Panera, Chipotle, Au Bon Pain, Corner Bakery, Subway, and In-n-Out. There’s clearly a trend that when we decide to have soup and sandwiches we go to chain restaurants. Almost all ethnic food, which is mostly what we eat when going out because it’s dishes that I can’t (or won’t) cook, is from independent restaurants.)

Shopping is another matter.

For clothes and household items, I stick fairly closely to thrift stores or online, and in an emergency or for something I can’t find elsewhere, I go to Wal-Mart followed by Target. Part of this is because of cost and the rest is convenience.

As for groceries, it varies quite a bit. I pick up basic items from Wal-Mart, followed by Trader Joes, farmer’s markets, and ethnic stores. Each week varies depending on what I need and what part of town I’m in.

I will say, along these same lines, that upon moving to a new place like LA, I am much more likely to eat somewhere new while shop somewhere I know.

I don’t really like to shop. It feels like a pretty big waste of time, not to mention a waste of money. But I know that a lot of people are the exact opposite.

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I’ve been living in Dallas just about 3.5 months (with multiple trips elsewhere). I won’t miss the unseasonably hot weather that accompanied most of my stay, but there are a few things that I have grown accustomed to and will miss.

  • The wide open streets with many lanes and a rush hour that often only lasts for one hour. Although when there is an accident on the highway, 4 or 5 lanes of traffic always become just one lane to get around the fire trucks and cops on scene, no matter the size of the accident.
  • The expediency of automated toll lanes, which crisscross the city. This is clearly a place made for people who want to drive (fast).
  • Central Market – a wonderful grocery store, something like Trader Joe’s on steroids
  • Taj Mahal Imports – an enormous indian grocery store with tasty street snacks and drinks (and wonderful mangos) located in an area that has been affectionately named “Indian Ghetto” for the large number of indian shops
  • The local library (I’ve heard a few comments that CA libraries aren’t good – lack of books and bad smells – something I’ll have to verify.)
  • No state tax! (especially compared to the high state taxes of CA)
  • Update: I forgot to mention my favorite place for ping pong and shuffle board Gator’s.

I might even possibly miss swimming outside when I am normally sleeping.

I won’t miss complaining about the heat, people making references to the Dallasseries that I don’t understand or Cowboy Cheerleaders, stop lights that haven’t been calibrated for traffic flow, yelp and google reviews that rave about restaurants with less than mediocre food (definitely low food standards here), miles and miles of shopping centers and malls, and golf courses carved into the flat land.

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In other (more important) news, yesterday I finally heard that the apartment application has “almost been approved.” They are still trying to verify one piece of information. Meanwhile, I have to set up the forwarding address with the post office…

Stay tuned; I’m really looking forward to telling you about the road trip from Dallas to LA that I have planned. It begs to be a great adventure, and that’s not just because all of the packing will finally be done.

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