Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is hell on Earth.
As a resident of the city, I travel down to that god-forsaken stretch of concrete maybe three or four times a year—always with the purpose of getting a Double-Double from the In-N-Out burger that was, tragically, placed there.
Everywhere you look, there’s a schlocky t-shirt stand or a restaurant serving chalky clam chowder (“San Francisco Original Recipe!”).
If you ever travel out here, stay away. You can thank me later.
I’ve always wondered why so many tourists come and spend time in such a cruddy part of the city. It’s not particularly central… so it doesn’t seem to be due to convenience… and it’s not enjoyable or all that pretty.
So, why do the fanny-pack toting hordes of Europe (and beyond) keep flocking there?
Two familiar words.
Yep—that ever-present magnet of attention and behavior.
If you want to see the power of this in person, stop and look up during rush hour. For dramatic effect, put your hand above your brow—as if you’re trying to block out the sun and see things more clearly.
9 times out of 10 the people passing you will look up to see what you’re looking at…
And this starts a vicious, and hilarious, cycle.
People look up. Then other people notice them looking up and decide to look up, as well. Then even more people notice the strangely large group of people looking up, and so decide to join the looking party, and so on…
The same thing happens with restaurants and cities.
The restaurant with the long line attracts more customers than the one with plenty of empty seats, even if the food in the long-lined restaurant isn’t all that good.
The popular cities attract more people, causing them to get bigger & more interesting.
The “hot spots” and “must sees” in each city attract more and more people, causing them to grow in intrigue and social proof…
The popular get more popular. The rich get richer.
This is called the Matthew Effect.
‘For unto every one that have shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but him that have not shall be taken, even that which he have.’ Matthew 25:29
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