Off in the distance, you might barely be able to pick them up, there are more empty billboards than there are outdoor ads promoting this or that good or service. It’s a sign of a weak economy, imprecise but very real. The signs in front of stores, for beer and for telecom services tend to be exceptions.
Signs of the times — still HARD times
photos and captions by Eric Jackson
Look around you. See which business premises are vacant, are smashed up by maleantes, are under construction, seem to be working fewer hours. Taken along with other indicators as a visual whole on this day late in June, these add up to signs of a weak economy.
Go into a store where you regularly shop, and see how much space is devoted to alcohol as compared to other things, and the balance of cheap versus expensive food products.
And then pay attention to the advertising business, even as you rationally take all advertising to be lies. Empty billboards? Online hype for crypto investments or other forms of gambling? The few industries that are doing well duking it out for market share, but otherwise a lot of empty advertising space?
The food court upstairs from the Super 99 — itself deserted except for the Bamboo Express — whose hsiu mai dumplings the editor endorses as a cheap and good lunch deal — is a good observation point. Especially when coupled with the bus rides between Coronado and rural Anton district.
The telecom industry is going through a concentration under the monopoly-friendly Cortizo administration and the typical gouging is well underway. But notice the cell tower atop empty billboards.
The gym is open. The church is still there. Nothing happening at the playground and only one business running in the food court. And nobody wants to buy these ad spaces from the Martinellis.
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