Chains are the least memorable places we flock to, yet we always know they are there, clustered like neighbors amongst each other. Next to an Applebees is a Target, a Burger King, and a Starbucks. In “Dear Olive Garden, Never Change,” Helen Rosner writes:
“What it means to be a non-place is the same thing it means to be a chain: A plural nothingness, a physical space without an anchor to any actual location on Earth, or in time, or in any kind of spiritual arc. In its void, it simply is.”
Chains are like cues, they remind that they are but they don’t produce a valuable experience. Their strangeness lies in their hookable consumption and their immediate forgottenness. They are just utilities that in the long-run that meet nothing but our hyper-speed desire to eat or drink something quickly.
From New York to California, “chain begets chain.” Like tweets, when there’s too many of them, they drown each other out so that none of them are worth paying attention to until they disappear, like RadioShack.