Thursday, October 20, 2011

Only In America

There's a tourist store on the main street of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It offers for sale large caliber handguns, assault rifles with oversize clips, salt water taffee, and 117 brands of hot sauce. The selection of taffee flavors and assault rifle configurations is as extensive as the hot sauce offerings. And this isn't the only store in Gatlinburg luring tourists in the door to buy this stuff. These stores share a main street with a Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" museum, a Cooter's "Dukes of Hazzard" bar-b-cue restaurant, a museum with several cars that once appeared in the movies (or so they say) and other eating establishments (none of them gourmet) and trinket emporiums too numerous to list in this short blog. By comparison, it makes the midway at Coney Island look like Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. And here's the thing. In our current depression economy, every store on this main street in Gatlinburg is bustling. Cheesy as hell, but positively thriving.

The lesson for American retail business is this. When setting your sights on something to appeal to American taste, aim as low as possible.

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