Walking down Broadway in 90 degree heat earlier this week, I came to have a deeper appreciation of the American retail tactic of luring customers into shops by blasting air conditioning out of open doors. As it was particularly sticky that day, I was happy when my walk brought me to the boutique-lined blocks of SoHo. It seemed that the high-end clothing shops there competed not on products, styling or price, but on who could blast the coldest air onto the sidewalks.
Sure, flooding the sidewalks with 62 degree chilled air might not be the most efficient thing in the world, but that day—thanks to the valiant efforts of the retailers—the only climate change going on was the transformation of those few blocks of Broadway from a completely miserable climate to a moderately tolerable one.
The pleasure and anticipation with which I walked by each clothing boutique made it all the more startling when I came across one with its doors sealed tight. Surely they weren’t trying to hoard all of their precious cooled air inside for themselves? Such a thing would be un-American.
But as a small, hand-written sign in the window made clear, the store in question was not selfishly keeping its chilled air locked up inside. Rather, they were sparing potential customers from an uncomfortable shopping experience on account of the fact their air conditioner was broken.
You would never see such consideration in the hot, sticky shops of Europe.
God Bless America.
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