“Are you ready, are you ready for this? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Another one bites the dust.” These lyrics were prophetic in many ways and could be about any number of things. Today they signify the end of an era. 

When I was a wee lad I would climb in the front seat of my grandparent’s pick up truck and make the long trip to Falmouth or Auburn to go to the nearest K-Mart. The trip was not really special for what was being purchased but for being around my grandparents and it meant that we would likely be having lunch inside the store. 

Their lunch counter was awesome, especially if you were between the ages of 5 and 10 and had no idea what other options were out there. 

K-Mart was memorable for a time until I started looking around. While the cheeseburger plate could hold my attention for a time the lack of products or selections could not. So, the news that I heard on Wednesday did not really surprise me. The last two K-Marts in Maine will soon close. 

My last experience in a K-Mart had to be about a decade ago. The store looked sad and depressed. In my memories it looked so much better, however now, the shelves were largely bare. The staff was not engageable and the goods that were there for sale looked aged. I remember boxes of goods looking like they sat in an attic for years due to the amount of dust on them. 

The store reminded me of the videos I used to see on CNN of Soviet stores and the not the good stores. 

Like millions of Americans, I knew there was no reason to go back to the store. And now they will exist in only the memories of most Mainers. 

The point is that a time comes for everyone and everything. You can choose to improvise, adapt and overcome or you can choose to stagnate and wither until there is an auction to sell off your shelves and cabinets. It really is that simple. 

Locally we have known change. Rich’s was a great place, but they lost out to the likes of Zayre’s who lost out to Ames and Bradlee’s. These stores all lost out to the monolithic organization from Arkansas. Now you have a steel cage deathmatch between that store and the one with the bullseye. 

Someday maybe even that website named after a river will be made obsolete like Sears and JC Penney largely are today. 

You can try and buy time, but eventually things will change. Every time I drive past Fat Boys I am reminded of the for sale sign outside. As good as the onion rings are even they are not immune to a change someday. What was once Bonanza and The Chuck Wagon are Five Guys and Amato’s.    

Remember that blue light special or that shared moment among friends and family at a local establishment. All too often they disappear because they failed to remember what we all know. Eventually, another one will bite the dust.     

Jonathan Crimmins can be reached at [email protected] 

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