The sad part, for investors anyway, is that the Web was supposed to be trophy time for local experts such as Miller. The guy has the absolute lock on the critical local whereabouts of the overlooked monster freshwater fish that jam nearby New York City reservoirs. Read it and weep, you sportsmen that drop ten large on hip holiday fishing junkets to Montana or Manitoba. Unbeknownst to most -- especially those online -- the biggest freshwater fish you're likely to catch are just 30 or so miles from Wall Street. Why? "9/11 had a lot to do with it," Miller explained.
Keep in mind, Miller is far from ignorant to the dark arts of the Web. He has a website and knows how to score cheap gear at places such as eBay ( EBAY) or Cabela's ( CAB). "But what kind of person would I be if I talk about protecting the local retailer and then I go killing the next little guy?" he said. "And who cares what I have to say. I am not Kevin VanDam, pro bass fisherman. I am just a master baiter." Miller still hopes to serve the outdoor clientele he loves -- but in uniform. He's deep in the process of becoming a New York City DEP cop. To be eligible, back in the fall, he sold Bob's to his mother, who plans to hire a fellow named Felix to try to keep the place running. But the macroeconomic bottom-scraping has been done. All the Web efficiency in the world won't make up for losing who knows how many high-margin, local merchants such as Miller that had the touch to do what Google ( GOOG), Facebook ( FB) and LinkedIn ( LNKD) can't: bake the high margin value of where they are into the products they sell. Which, by the way, Miller absolutely knows. "People don't understand the repercussions of not having a place like this around," he said. No, my friend. They don't.