On San Francisco’s Haight Street, “the Wal-Mart of bongs” is squeezing out good old-fashioned mom-and-pop head shops, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The city has responded to this double-pronged hippie-capitalist threat by enacting a three-year ban on new head shops in the Haight Ashbury district.
The paraphernalia behemoth in question is Goodfellas, which is described as an “uber-giant bong shop” by Joey Cain, president of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council. Cain says Goodfellas, with shelves of bongs that stretch from the floor to the rafters, is “what set everyone off.” Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius tallies the damage and the paradoxes at work here:
There isn’t any question that the bulk bong folks are hurting business for the old timers. Distractions has a for-sale sign over the door—“legendary head shop for sale”—and other stores admit to feeling the pressure. …However, the irony of head shops campaigning for regulation of head shops isn't lost of some of the residents.
Praveen Madan, co-owner of the Booksmith store on Haight, asks, “Do you really want the government to step in and decide which is a good business and which is bad?”