I recently moved to Las Vegas from Atlanta and it's been really great. Obviously, there's a lot of differences between the two cities, but the most readily apparent has to be the geography. There's a lot of rocks here. Like, just a ton of rocks. They're everywhere. People even make their yards out of rocks, because if they didn't, a bunch of rocks would just roll into their yards anyway, so, you know, eff it.
In addition to the small rocks that line the sidewalks, highways, and medians, there are also a bunch of really massive rocks called mountains. They're sort of like Stone Mountain back home, except they're hundreds of times bigger, way pointier, and have snow of the top of them. These mountains form a perimeter all the way around Las Vegas, and this is what really makes the difference. In Atlanta, when you look off into the distance, you can see the horizon formed by a tree line. In Las Vegas, the mountains surround you everywhere you look, and rather than feeling distant like a tree line, they feel very near.
I don't mean to make this sound negative, it's quite the opposite. Rather than making you feel claustrophobic, it makes you feel secure, like a blanket fort.* It feels like you're living in an insular, walled community, separated from the rest of the country. Couple this feeling with the fact that you can gamble in grocery stores and prostitution is only kind of illegal here, and it really feels completely different.
After you've gotten used to this different sort of feeling, you will notice that Las Vegas has tons of stores. Almost as many stores as there are rocks. For example, there are ten Subways (the fast food place, not the public transportation system) within a five mile radius of our house. Don't believe me? Check the Google Map:
Subway Locations Within Five Miles of My Apartment
I have never eaten so many foot long meatball subs.**
So yeah, there's a lot of stores. When you drive around and all you see are endless shopping centers, it's a little tough to get your bearings. I figured the best way to differentiate the shopping centers was by their anchor stores. There's the one with the Borders, here's the one with the Vons. Unfortunately, there is almost as much duplication with the anchor stores as there is with the Subways. So I had to go further and pair stores in order to differentiate one shopping center from another. This is the shopping center with the Ross and the Michaels, that's the one with the Ross and the Wal-Mart. There's the one with the Office Depot and the PetSmart and over here is the one with the Office Depot and the PetSmart.
And then I stopped. Not again, I thought. Are there seriously multiple shopping centers with both Office Depots and PetSmarts in them? The answer? A resounding yes. In fact, it's extremely common. Office Depot and PetSmart always mobbin. Take a look at these maps:
Office Depot locations in Northern Las Vegas (ODN)
PetSmart Locations in Northern Las Vegas (PSN)
The comparisons are striking. In the northern half of Las Vegas, there are seven Office Depot locations and six PetSmart locations. Of these, five are located in the same shopping center: E/I, B/D, D/E, C/B, and F/C (where the first letter is found on ODN and the second letter on PSN). Below are the maps of southern Las Vegas . . .
Office Depot Locations in Southern Las Vegas (ODS)
PetSmart Locations in Southern Las Vegas (PSS)
In southern Las Vegas, there are seven Office Depot locations and five PetSmart locations. Of these, three are located in the same shopping center: J/I, H/I, and C/F (again the first letter is found on ODS and the second on PSS). In total, metro Las Vegas has eleven PetSmarts. Eight of these (73%) are located right next to an Office Depot.
Then I started to consider the lay of the land back in my hometown of Atlanta. Come to think of it, I did seem to remember a lot of Office Depot and PetSmarts coexisting near each other. I did a little Google searching, and my memory proved to be correct. Metro Atlanta is quite a bit larger than Las Vegas and accordingly has way more locations, so I'll just give you a quick summary:
1. Northwest AtlantaPetSmart #1571 - 1801 Howell Mill Road
Office Depot #2538 - 1801 Howell Mill Road
Distance: 0 miles
2. KennesawPetSmart #282 - 860 Cobb Place Boulevard
Office Depot #294 - 845 Ernest Barrett Parkway
Distance: 0.6 miles
3. DunwoodyPetSmart #290 - 128 Perimeter Center
Office Depot #434 - 1155 Mt. Vernon Hwy
Distance: 1 mile
4. AlpharettaPetSmart #289 - 6370 North Point Pkwy
Office Depot #2311 - 5530 Windward Pkwy
Distance: 2 miles
5. RoswellPetSmart #1048 - 625 Crossville Rd
Office Depot #77 - 1580 Holcomb Bridge Rd
Distance: 2.9 miles
And I could go on. So the PetSmart/Office Depot correlation held for Atlanta too, but what about towns in which I haven't lived? Another Google search revealed that this phenomenon takes place across the country. . . .
The correlation was undeniable, but why? At first I thought that maybe they were owned by the same company, but after a thorough search of each website, this did not seem to be the case. After all, they are both independently traded on the NYSE. Next I thought that there was one huge national shopping center management company that had some sort of contract with both stores. This also proved to be false as most of the shopping centers that housed the PetSmart/Office Depot locations I listed above were managed by different companies.
At this point, I started to become a little uneasy. What the hell was going on here? Who is behind this and what do they want? Are our pets training to work in our offices? Do they want to take our jobs? Some birds can already speak our language, how long until they're processing our payrolls? I once knew a dog that could answer the phone. He was very personable. To think . . . . I trusted that son of a bitch!
Well I for one am not going to take this lying down. Now, more than ever, we humans cannot afford our jobs to continue to be outsourced to robots and their nefarious animal cousins. We must rise up against our fine, feathered, former friends. Stop lining your bird's cage with the Wall Street Journal! Never clothe your dog in an argyle sweater again! The next time you see a monkey practicing sign language, tell him where he can stick his opposable thumbs! It's either us or them, people! The battle lines have been drawn! Just say no to animals in the workplace, because you never know what may happen. Instead of your co-worker just acting like a jackass, someday he may actually be one.
* * *
* But with way more blackjack tables.
** This is false. I always eat this many meatball subs.