Place-based inventories

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How does the character of inventories change by location? How does place influence goods stocked? Near schools, for example, toys, candies, and comic books abound. What about less obvious locales? Next to a hospital, plastic bedpans are for sale amongst the usual suspects of instant coffeemix and processed pastries. Outside of the passport office, salespeople ditch the powdered drink mix and cigarettes in favor of smaller retail spaces, focusing instead upon glue sticks, paper/plastic envelopes, a multitude of felt-tip and ballpoint pens.

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resized inventory

These retailers’ inventories serve as a convenient visual guide to what is “given” in a resource-constrained – but public – context such as a public hospital, or passport office. One can reasonably expect that if they’re hawking it out here, they ain’t got none “in there” – or can one? Perhaps this is meant to allow one to save time on the passport office’s daunting “glue queue” (or the hospital’s even more daunting “shu-shu queue”) that may await inside. Surprised there is no gluestick rental stand (less surprised that there is no bed-pan rental stand).

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The sign reads: “COPIES | Writing accessories | Phone (local/long-distance).” What more could a passport applicant want (besides someone to do everything for them, of course)?

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