Sunday, November 18, 2012

Walkabout

Christmas at Sears 2012
Every day I get out of the house by running small local "errands" with my wife. I ride in the front passenger seat while my wife drives. I can't drive until I get a clean bill of health to do so from the surgeon. While I walk where-ever I stop, my left leg still lacks the flexibility to bend far enough for comfortable and safe driving. It's certainly gaining in flexibility from one day to the next, but I'm not back to the same level of flexibility I had pre-operation. But as I've written before, I'm no longer at the same level of pain either. I am, for the most part, pain free.

Today's trip was to Sears at West Oaks Mall in Ocoee. We had to return some items we couldn't use. On the way up to the store's second story we passed a lot of merchandise that was marked 10% off. We also passed all the trappings for an early Christmas, including this sparse display. The pink flying pig in the foreground was going for $80. Snooppy on the mailbox was $10 more. And wouldn't you know it, but the wife wanted to get the pink flying pig. I said no...

I don't know what's happening to this particular Sears store, but there was a person out on the main road leading to the store flashing a sign about a big 10% off sale going on at that specific Sears store. West Oaks Mall has been a poster child of the poor economy since 2008. Fully 50% of the stores, both in the mall as well as around the perimeter, are closed. My wife and I wondered if Sears is getting ready to shut this store down, leaving the store at Florida Mall as the only store on this side of town.
On Sale
Walking through this Sears was depressing. Lots of minimal displays with cheap merchandise. A classic example of cheap were these Vivitar V25 Freelance digital "cameras." I remember Vivitar from the 1970s and 1980s. I still have a 90mm Series 1 Minolta mount lens, and it's as good now as the day I purchased it. But Vivitar fell on hard times and the brand name was shuffled off to several different owners. Today it's owned by Sakar International out of Edison New Jersey. Now, all they seem to produce is junk, like this $20 digital "camera".

It's tough growing old. I once worked for Sears in Atlanta back in 1973 as a freshman attending college. Back then both Sears and Penney's were at the height of their game as far as department stores were concerned. All the stores were of good quality as was the merchandise we sold. Especially the camera equipment. But a lot has certainly changed over the last 40 years. I feel I'm waiting for all the old department store chains (Sears, Penney's, and K-Mart) to finish dying.

Technical

As much as I want to hold the Pens in my hands again, I keep hauling the Sony NEX-5N with me. It is faster focusing with greater assurance than any of the Pens I have, especially in limited indoor lighting. The 5N, combined with the 18-55mm lens, is an excellent cost-effective reportage camera, especially if the images are going to the web.