November 2005


Weimar Atrium

Looking down…
Originally uploaded by elmada.

Today is Black Friday, the day when stores in the States go from having lost money all year to turning a profit as the hordes of shoppers, fueled by Thanksgiving dinners, hit the stores at extremely early hours. I suppose the name comes from the fact that businesses that are losing money are said to be in the red, whilst those making money are said to be in the black.

This is despite the fact that in the States, “Black Monday” refers to either the stock market crash of 1929 or the 1987 day when the stock market had its greatest single day decline in history.

Yes, the word “Black” is multi-faceted, and not all definitions are good.

Today is a “Black” day for Weimar, for Weimar has been mauled malled.

After having sat disused for a number of years, one of Weimar’s larger and less attractive buildings has been turned into the “Weimar Atrium.” The building, according to a colleague, was originally built by the Nazis, but I don’t know for what purpose.

Today, located just north of the historic core, it was filled with an amazing number of people who were all exploring the brand new Weimar shopping options. Certainly the number of people I saw in the store far exceeded the number of people who I’ve ever seen shopping in downtown Weimar at any other time, except the Onion Market.

Shopping Options Galore!On the one hand, I find it rather exciting—principally because it has a Saturn—which is not a car, but is a large electronics super store with reasonable prices (Think Best Buy, but not sleazy and with a better selection). On the other hand, I can’t really say that I shop at large electronic super stores that frequently. I’ve always been able to go to Saturn in Erfurt or Media Markt in Jena when I’ve desperately needed to pick up a… uh… well, ummm…. Come to think of it, I’ve only purchased one thing at Media Markt, and I’ve never actually used it. The only benefit are the lower prices on CDs, which I am thinking about giving up in favor of iTunes (I’ve purchased fewer than 5 CDs in the last year).

Which leaves me to consider the Mall’s other attractions. It has two grocery stores and at least one bakery. (The Goethe Gallery in Jena has at least four bakeries inside, and one directly outside its entrance.) There’s a C&A Clothing Store (Clothes that personify multiple definitions of cheap), a Rossmann’s Drug Store (because Weimar doesn’t have enough drug stores downtown), a Pharmacy (different from a drug store), and a Subway (according to the signs—I don’t recall seeing it, but it is (will be) the second Amerikan Fast Food Invasion in Weimar’s urban core).

I hope that the opening of the Weimar Atrium isn’t the start of a decline for Weimar’s historic center. I can honestly say that my personal shopping habits will not be altered significantly (CDs will change, but those are few and far between). Since I lack a car, the idea of carrying groceries home for 15 minutes is not particularly attractive, especially when the groceries are heavy—the local Edeka and the REWE (with its barcode boy), both less than 5 minutes away will continue to get my business.

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