According to the Seattle P-I, bowling is hip:
Brisk business has prompted the Garage’s owners to propose adding six to eight lanes, plus more lounge space, on what is now their parking lot.
“Fourteen lanes just kind of handcuffs us a lot of the time,” said Mike Bitondo, the Garage’s managing partner, who owns the lanes with Alex and Jill Rosenast. “When people walk up on a Friday night and they have to wait an hour or two hours or three hours for a lane, that’s just as frustrating for me as it is for them.”
Apparently a new wave of trendy, upscale bowling alleys is revitalizing the industry, bringing new life to a sport that’s long been one of America’s most popular. Imagine that. Bowling alley proprietors capturing new business by catering to, um… bowlers.
In reading about bowling’s urban-chic resurgence, I was reminded of a piece I wrote way back in May of 2004 — only my sixth post on HA — in which I abused the state’s bowling alley owners for insisting that legalizing slot machines was the key to their survival. We were in the midst of Tim Eyman’s I-892 campaign, the slot machine initiative that eventually went down to a landslide defeat at the polls. Bowling alley operators had became fixtures on local talk radio arguing that they’d be forced to shutter their doors unless voters approved slots. I was um, dubious.
I remember one particular phone call from a woman who pleaded for slot machines on behalf of the bowling alley that had been in her family for three generations. She claimed she just couldn’t compete against the tribal casinos anymore, and if I-892 didn’t pass, she would probably shutter the family business.
Now, at the risk of sounding unsympathetic, I’d like to impart a bit of wisdom from one small businessperson to another:
YOU’RE RUNNING A FUCKING BOWLING ALLEY!!!
And perhaps, instead of trying to compete with the tribal casinos, you should spend a little time and effort promoting… gee, I don’t know… bowling?!
Saying that bowling alleys need slot machines to compete with tribal casinos is like saying Chuck E. Cheese’s needs a liquor license and strippers to compete with the Deja Vu.
The point is, if you can’t make ends meet enticing people to chuck balls at pins, then perhaps you’re in the wrong business. Or sadly, perhaps bowling just isn’t a viable industry anymore.
That may sound harsh… but that’s capitalism. And until the tribes start building bowling alleys instead of casinos, I don’t want to hear anymore whining about unfair competition.
And whad’ya know? Two years later, people are waiting in line for three hours to bowl at hip new urban alleys. Ain’t capitalism great?