Tis the season. If you read the August 25 post on how My Bank Become a Cupcake Store I’d like to share a related Hong Kong phenomena. It is called Closed for Renovation.

Examples of Closed for Renovation are everywhere, all the time yet tend to increase in September and October. Last year the drug store near me called Mannings closed to become a Mannings Plus. When it reopened there were no discernible pluses. (Even) brighter lighting? A slight re-arrangement of shelves? Muji, the minimalist and calming Japanese home goods store, Closed for Renovation around the same time. When it re-opened, the wall paneling had been switched out from “pine” to a “walnut” fake wood grain.

Closed for Renovation can strike anywhere, anytime. Unlike the revolving shops, these are upgrades to existing places. Or purport to be. Closed for Renovation can be sudden, can be inconvenient, can be protracted, and can even leave you without your basic needs met.

On Saturday mornings I have a Mandarin lesson. Timing is everything. I have measured out exactly when to catch the train and when I will arrive at my stop and how long it takes me to get to Pret a Manger to pick up a quick breakfast and how long it takes to order, sit, and eat and then walk the three blocks to Beautiful Group Tower for my 10AM class. This is very important to maximize sleep time.

Last week I slipped off the train and dashed up the stairs to find that in place of the inviting racks of freshly-prepared, organic fast foods, was:

Just closed. Not even a friendly sign.

Just closed. Not even a friendly sign.

Closed for Renovation was going to send me into 120 minutes of Chinese with no breakfast. I did not have a back up plan. Cruel.

There is so much about this Hong Kong retail tradition that I don’t understand. Why are renovations so frequent? Why do they cluster around the fall season? And why do they seem to involve so little actual renovation?

I will be doing some research, rest assured this topic is not yet exhausted. And now for The Crowdsourcing: can any of you Dear Readers explain?