Thursday, May 7, 2009

Box Store Boxing Match

I was riding my bike into Szentendre the other morning and at the first big intersection, on Route 11 near the Városkapú retail complex, I see the sign on the left. This is a billboard extolling one of the as-yet unheralded miracles of the recently opened Megyeri bridge (the final link of the M0 motorway). Now that this multi-million euro bridge is in place, the sign implies, you, the lucky Szentendre/Budakalász motorist, have at your fingertips all the exotic delights of the Újpalota Polus shopping centre. Imagine that! Before, you had to drive south all the way to Árpád híd, cross the river, and then brave the untamed wilds of Újpest before you'd get even close to this shopping paradise. Now, it's right across the bridge!

But not exactly. Looking at Google Maps, it appears the Újpalota Polus centre is still 17-18 kilometres from the billboard, as compared to the previous haul of 23. Not a big shortcut, really. And if you try this drive during evening rush hour, when everyone else is doing the same, these are going to be 17-18 LONG kilometres. Believe me: the Megyeri crossing has become hugely popular with commuters. The bridge on-ramp near the bike path just north of Békásmegyer is one of my favourite places to do a holier-than-thou cycling fly-by. On a typical evening riding home, I'll whizz past 50 stationary cars, all queued up to get on the bridge -- presumably so they can go get a taste of that special Tetra Pak® milk from the Újpalota Polus shopping centre.

Anyway, I thought this sign was a perfect emblem of the rampant idiocy that drives car culture. And then I noticed the other sign, just 10 metres from the first: a spray-painted rejoinder from Cora reminding people that CORA is on the same side of the river, right down Route 11 a measly 2 kilometres away! I love the apoplectic exclamation marks: We're right here you STOOPID drivers!! Same crap!! Two kilometres away!!

Touché, Cora. But what I can't figure out is why a multi-national hypermarket like Cora would be advertising with spraypaint. Wierd, no?

1 comment:

workbike said...

That's a fair sad comment on car culture, and also the way we seem to think 'competition' and 'growth' is the way to work. Never mind that the Újpalota Polus centre probably can pay the bills with their current customer base: they must have more, more, more! And never mind which other smaller shops they crush, or how much damage these new cars inflict.
Great blog, by the way.