CVS plopped a dumpster

Like a bad neighbor…

As you may recall, CVS closed my local store in late September 2023, much to my chagrin.

David Galin, chief of staff to Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan, posted on the platform formerly known as Twitter that the company “shut down an essential business in one of our more diverse neighborhoods, plopped a dumpster in front of two other small businesses just trying to make ends meet, AND decided it to do un-permitted construction on their way out.

“Alas, the City is onto them.” 

Joe Bonilla added: “This is how @CVSHealth  treats neighborhoods it disinvests in – by plopping a dumpster in front of a coffee shop and a movie theater in Albany! There was a spot in front of its former store, but it chose to locate this in front of two businesses left on the block. Thanks, CVS!”

And if CVS didn’t want it in front of the store because it would have blocked a CDTA bus stop, it could have used the side of the building on South Main, With a permit, of course. 

Living in a Dumpster: a sociological experiment

I feel sometimes that I’m a front porch guy in a back deck world.

dumpsterI came across this article in the Atlantic, Living Simply in a Dumpster. “One professor left his home for a 36-square-foot open-air box, and he is happier for it. How much does a person really need?” It’s all part of a “sustainability-focused experiment.” The idea is that “we could end up with a house under $10,000 that could be placed anywhere in the world.” That’s all great in terms of potentially dealing with housing shortages or at least temporary dwellings.

But I’m much more interested in the social aspect of the experience. No way Jeff Wilson can stay in the dumpster during the Austin, TX summer.

“But some interesting things happened because of that,” he explained. He spent a lot more time out in the community, just walking around. “I almost feel like East Austin is my home and backyard,” he said. He is constantly thinking about what sorts of things a person really needs in a house, and what can be more communal.

“What if everybody had to go to some sort of laundromat?” Wilson posited. “How would that shift how we have to, or get to, interact with others? I know I have met a much wider circle of people just from going to laundromats and wandering around outside of the dumpster when I would’ve been in there if I had a large flat screen and a La-Z Boy.”

I think about this a lot, the difference between doing the laundry at home and schlepping the stuff in a cart; oddly, I always preferred the latter. Or being in a car versus public transportation. But the local bus has changed greatly in the past couple of decades, with more people on some sort of electronic device, so that space allowing for random human interaction has been largely capped.

When I took the train on long trips, I loved going to the dining car and eating with someone I had never met before. When I lived near Washington Park in Albany, I felt the park was my backyard, which was good, because I didn’t have a real one.

A colleague said the framework is the difference between the front porch and the back deck. I feel sometimes that I’m a front porch guy in a back deck world.

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