I stopped by Longs Drugs today to get a few things. Or rather, CVS/pharmacy, which has taken over Longs, like an occupying army. The reason I used to like visiting this particular Longs was its lush outdoor garden section, which was always alive with birds and birdsong, as it was home to a colony of chipping sparrows. The wild birdseed was kept inside on shelves next to the automatic doors, and the sparrows had learned to fly in the doors as they opened, snack on any spilled birdseed (tidying up the floor quite nicely) and then dart out when they were done. It was a system that worked for everyone.
Sadly, the new corporate occupiers have changed all that. Today I saw that the birdseed, instead of being stored in the kind of sacks that often helpfully bust a seam, permitting a trickle to escape onto the floor, is now entombed in plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids. There's not a speck of seed on the floor, and not a single chipping sparrow in evidence. I went out to the garden shop, where two or three sparrows were huddled in the rafters, none of them trilling their cheerful song. What do they have to sing about? The days of the free lunch are over.