Every time I go by the Stanford Shopping Center — which is a truly absurd place, I should add — I am reminded of an event that seems like an apt metaphor for the economic melt-down, the consequences of which we are only beginning to understand. I am, of course, talking about the replacement of Long Life Noodle House with Sprinkles Cupcakes. Now, don’t get me wrong. Long Life Noodle House was a completely mediocre restaurant. But it served real food. You could go there, say, for dinner. We did this on a regular basis, not because of its outstanding food, but because it was close, convenient, relatively inexpensive, and (given judicious choices) offered nutritious fare. It also seems relevant to note that it was typically quite busy; it hardly seems like they were lacking for business. One night we went there after the kids’ swim practice only to find it abruptly closed. Within a month or so, the restaurant was replaced by this more than slightly ridiculous confectioner.
Stanford Shopping Center replaced a restaurant that served real food with one that serves frivolous little confections as the United States substituted innovation and production for financial gimmickry.