Saturday, June 22, 2024

Porter Square is rapidly becoming a Moebius strip mall. If it wasn’t enough to travel a half-mile from one White Hen Pantry to the next down Massachusetts Avenue, there came the Big Picture Framing shop at 2044 Massachusetts Ave., a barely significant 0.3 miles distant from the Corners Picture Framing Superstore by Star Market.

Now the defunct photo shop at 2032 Massachusetts Ave. is becoming a Cartridge World — a refurbisher and reseller of toner cartridges for printers — because, apparently, the kiosk at 1 Porter Square, a significantly bare 0.4 miles away, suggested the market was ripe for competition.

How weird is this? The next nearest SaveOnInks site is about four miles away, across the river at the Prudential Center. The next nearest Cartridge World is in East Weymouth, more than 20 miles away. So there is plenty of room to spread out, making the reason the chains must go head-to-head within a few blocks of each other elusive at best. The possibilities include:

Someone has decided to perform a perverse economics experiment that will soon drive down the cost of toner cartridges in Porter Square to virtually nothing;

Someone else has decided to perform a perverse sociological experiment to keep Porter Square as dull and silly as possible, and this was the most dramatic step possible in that direction after the counterproductively exciting opening of Porter Square Books;

There is an aberrantly huge demand for toner cartridges in the Porter Square area, enough for both businesses to thrive;

The much larger Cartridge World intends to slay the upstart SaveOnInks by directly challenging it site for site;

Someone didn’t do very good market research.