On San Francisco's Haight Street, "the Wal-Mart of bongs" is
squeezing out all of those good old community-friendly head shops.
The city, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (July 2, 2009),
responded to this encroachment of crass hippie capitalism by enacting
a three-year ban on new "tobacco paraphernalia establishments" in the
Haight-Ashbury district, a touristy countercultural landmark.
The superbad store in question is Goodfellas, described as an
"übergiant bong shop" by Joey Cain, president of the Haight-Ashbury
Neighborhood Council. Cain says Goodfellas, with shelves of water
pipes and one-hitters that stretch from the floor to the rafters, is
"what set everyone off."
"When tourists come here and see a Wal-Mart of pipes, that's not what
Haight is all about," observes one shop owner who pines for the good old days.
"If any more of those places opened, they'd drive the old
incense-burning, tie-dyed head shops right out of business," writes
Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius, who goes on to explore the
mind-altering irony of the situation.
Eighty miles east in Manteca, California, community newspaper editor
Dennis Wyatt used the flap to fuel a rant about the hypocritical and
politically correct. "Given there are three dozenplus head shops
already on Haight Street selling everything from bongs to bubblers,
this obviously isn't about catering to the growing family orientation
of the neighborhood, nor is it about law and order," he opines in the
Manteca Bulletin (July 4, 2009). "You got it. The neighborhood that
thumbed its nose at the military establishment and capitalism sought
and got government protection."
Our recommendation: Everyone take a deep breath, count to 10, and