Monday, September 7, 2009

Jon Mooallem on Self-Storage Units

In yesterday's New York Times magazine (here), Jon Mooallem explores the phenomenon of self-storage units in America.

Mooallem says that the first self-storage units were built in the 1960's; they exploded in popularity from 2000 through 2005 with the housing boom. Based on Mooallem's anecdotes, it sounds like a standard-sized unit costs about $200 per month. He cites the oddity/irony that so many people are willing to pay this much money to store their junk ("paying for storage is, paradoxically, thrifty") -- people often claim that sometime in the future they'll use the things again.

Primarily, Mooallem uses the article to emphasize Americans' extreme levels of consumption and to ponder whether the recession will have a lasting effect in decreasing consumption. He seems undecided.

295. The article syas that there are 51,000 storage facilities in the US and that this is seven times the number of Starbucks. Are there really only 7,000 Starbucks? I'd have thought there are many more than that.

296. Mooallem says one out of ten Americans rents a storage unit. How does that number compare with other countries? How much more stuff does the average American own than, for example, the average French or German person?

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