Stripping individuality

Besides the heat in California I notice one thing.? Sameness.? Every street corner is the same.? The landscape, wholly uninteresting.? A drug store, grocery store and a Starbucks in every shopping complex.? I’m not joking on the Starbucks.? I think there are more Starbucks in the City of Sacramento than the entire state of Washington.

But what gets me the most are the houses.? Row after row of homes in various shades of beige and white.? Tiny yards with no landscaping.? An SUV in every driveway.? Why?? Why is this place lacking individuality?? I’ve yet to find it.? If you know why please let me know.

There are no locally owned businesses as far as I can tell.? Either that or they are so well hidden that I can’t seem to find them.

However, I don’t think this phenomenon is exclusive to Sacramento or even California.? I noticed it the last time I visited my grandparent in small backwater town in WA.? Gone are the days of the local burger joint.? Going out of business signs are replaced with fast food chain neon lights.

This is happening even in housing.? Tract homes are being slapped up at alarming rates.? Houses occupy over 70% of the total lot space and you can say bless you to your neighbor when you hear him sneeze.? It’s a sad state of affairs that we no longer seek our independence.? We settle for the prepackaged dinner, the outfit straight off the mannequin or the “move in ready” home.

Is advertising taking over our lives to the point that we can’t think for ourselves?? (says the lady with ads on her blog)? Is it easier to go with the mainstream media than to introduce a little creativity into our lives?? This is a topic that totally baffles me.

11 Comment

  1. NEAL says: Reply

    hey! The cats were asking the same.

    Oh, and between here and MN it all looks the same. So much for free enterprise, it’s all about duopoly and monopoly for business in some cities.

  2. We lived in an older city and moved to a growing shiny new(ish) city. I struggle with the housing developments where ever thing looks the same (but walk in closets! new kitchens!) versus the older homes that are harder to find but do exist (charm but old electrical and plumbing). We tend to seek out restaurants that aren’t chains and stores that are locally owned but it is hard here where everything is shiny and new.

  3. Jenny says: Reply

    We live in urban subs and are moving to urban subs on purpose. I hate tract homes. I do see their appeal and purpose. I get it. They are nice. But I want a house that doesn’t look like the one next to me. We have locally owned places downtown. We have fun restaurants, some chain some not. I grew up in a “same” neighborhood that is being torn down but the houses still are different. I like different. I can’t wait to do a new house!

  4. Rhonda says: Reply

    I hate tract homes too. But, last winter when I found three holes behind my wallpaper, I was thinking tract homes aren’t such a bad idea after all.

  5. Probably cost. Tract or pre-fab homes are cheap and easy to make , so why wouldn’t builders buy up a whole mess of land and stick as many cookie cutter houses on it as possible?

    Consumers can’t afford much variety either. People need low cost convenient housing and they’ll take what they can get.

  6. Mom says: Reply

    It’s the money factor. Cram as many houses as you can into one location and reap the rewards financially. Sacrifice everything you can to make a buck. Very sad.

  7. Elle says: Reply

    I guess the real question is why, as individuals, are we settling for the mundane? Why are we giving in and sacrificing our individuality? I can’t stand it. I look across the street of my own home to my neighbor’s house. His is the exact same as mine. Just a different color. (of course my house was built in 1964)

    I crave the unusual. I live to do things more complex. I had the discussion with my SIL the other day when she mentioned that I could buy the pre-packaged granola and it would be cheaper. Yes… but it wouldn’t taste better.

  8. NEAL says: Reply

    Compound all that with:

    1. People in Europe live in homes that are HUNDREDS of years old.
    2. Many of these tract homes are being put up on pristine farmland.
    3. Fixing holes and other things are part of owning a home, does it suck? Yeah. I can tell you about suckage when it comes to those things, BUT what about being a good steward for our kids and grandchildren?

  9. Jenny2 says: Reply

    Just don’t drink the water while you’re down there. It’s where they put the drugs that make you not care about anything original.

    I’m serious.

  10. DebiP says: Reply

    that is part of the charm of our neighborhood…these ten homes in our cul-de-sac are all built by us…the owners and we all have a different home…I get what you are saying…we did the tract home I HATED it…I am in love with my home and my individuality…I love my terra cotta colored walls and my wheat colored walls…even my poppy colored walls..bright bold and alive…my neighbors…beige and white and light cloudy coloring…

    I get you Elle…and I don’t get the lack of personality and individuality in todays world…

  11. That’s one thing I love about Alaska: we don’t have as much in the way of sameness. Part of that, I think, is the frontier mentality (I can do it myself), but part of it is because we “entered” into the modern world a little later, so we were able to see that some things (i.e. billboards) really don’t make life better. I’m really glad we don’t have billboards!!

    On the other hand, it might just be that our temperatures cause the faint at heart to shudder. Global warming will probably cause more big box stores to arrive.

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