Don’t scold me because I’m not exactly like you

I consider myself told off.

And I’m not too thrilled about it.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the bad dinner experience for four of us at The Cheesecake Factory at the Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA.

It generated a fair amount of commenting here on WordPress and on my Facebook page. Bravo. I love sharing conversation about our world. Thank you for stopping by.

I expected some disagreement. Of course there are people who’ve had great meals at this Cheesecake Factory or their own local version of this national chain.

I was somewhat surprised, though, at the folks hijacked this into a buy-local issue.

Some were polite about it, mentioning that I could have gone to one of many fine independently owned restaurants instead. Fair enough. I could have.

Some were adamant about it, declaring that I must never have heard about the importance of buying local. Not true.

Some were belligerent about it, suggesting that I got what I deserved for going to a national chain. Really? A pox on all national restaurants?

As for the buy local philosophy, let’s start here.

I get it. I agree that it’s important to support independent businesses in your community. I do not agree that it’s an all-or-nothing issue.

My independently owned hair salon of choice.

My independently owned hair salon of choice.

Here’s the shop in North Syracuse where I’ve gotten my hair cut and beard trimmed for more than 20 years. I’ve written about my friend Theresa Constantine and her Hairy Notions shop. She and the salon she owns have become an important part of my life.

I drove the extra few miles again for my every-four-week vanity appointment Thursday morning, bypassing the big national joint on the Main Street in my Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood.

My pharmacy for 30 years, in Morrisville, N.Y.

My pharmacy for 25 years, in Morrisville, N.Y.

Here’s the drugstore I’ve used for the last quarter century.

I started going to Dougherty’s Pharmacy regularly when I lived just up the block from the independently owned store when I lived up the block in Morrisville, N.Y. My golfing buddy, the late John Dougherty, sold the place to Jennifer and Chris when he decided to retire 20 years ago.

The married couple — they’re both pharmacists — wisely chose to keep the name that’s been a Morrisville village tradition.

They are my friends, too, so much so that even though I moved back to Syracuse more than a decade ago, I still make my monthly, 70-mile roundtrip drive to pick up my prescription drugs at Dougherty’s. Their service and selection surpass the chain stores that dot every corner here.

Sandwiches, I go to the Brooklyn Pickle, both locations, or A Taste of Philadelphia on James Street. Pizza? Twin Trees, OIP, Angotti’s. Charney’s is celebrating its 60th year of selling clothes to Syracusans, including me. For appliances, my favorite spot is Ra-Lin’s on Burnet Avenue, two consecutive LG flat screens worth. Beer, TV sports and bar food? Chadwick’s on James. Beer and local music? Shifty’s on Burnet.

My choices. And they make me happy.

But I also incorporate trips to the local Walgreen’s to pick up this and that.

I buy food and clothes and gear and, well, whatever I might need on any certain day, at chain supermarkets and department stores and sporting goods stores. And if a new chain restaurant opens that I want to take for a test drive, I make plans.

My choices. And they make me happy.

As I mentioned in a reply to one of the buy local supporters, these places also hire local people, and pay taxes to local municipalities for goods and services rendered.

To me, they are part of our community, too.

What a terrible blow it would be if nobody shopped at these places, they all closed, and unemployment soared. Locally owned stores would benefit, eventually and somewhat, but would they or could they hire as many people? Wouldn’t a lot of folks just drive to the next community to shop at the national places they prefer?

I do not want to see that happen where I live.

Do you frequent an establishment simply because it’s locally owned? Do you bypass national chains on principle? Is this a one-way-or-the-other issue to you?

72 thoughts on “Don’t scold me because I’m not exactly like you

  1. I reached back for an older post I hadn’t read. The word Grumpus sucked me in. I enjoyed this one,but I did not read the original one about the cheesecake factory.

    I think that if you are a grown-up you should shop where you choose. I think people are just getting used to being outraged all the time. Maybe the 24 hour stream of news has shown them what the world is like. Doesn’t seem much different than the one I was already living in.

    I prefer local if I can. I can’t always afford it. Because of a few statements I made about buying at Wally world in the past, I do get embarrassed if I am seen in there.

    We have the best doughnut shop ever so I go to local and pass on Dunkin which is not fresh and I don’t care for the coffee. I don’t go to Micky’s anymore except one on the highway that is the only one I can get a good quarter pounder at. I cook at home mostly and if we have breakfast out there is a diner I like.

    I go where I want to.

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    • Thanks for the visit back, Rose. You make a point I hold dearly when you finish with ‘I go where I want to.’ Bravo. Now I’ll quibble with you not linking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, which we buy in the 2 1/2 pound bags and make every morning in our home dripper. ❀

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  2. Some people type the way they talk. They think whatever they have to say is significant enough to put out there. No filter between brain and mouth/fingers.

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  3. I do believe the world would be better off w/o chain stores. That being said, I also believe that it is well nigh impossible to live without the taint of some sort of exploitation or another in this hyper-materialistic world of consumerism–unless you live down near a lake and weave your own clothes from the bulrushes and aquatic plants. You do what you can do. Nice post Mark!

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  4. It’s fun to create a little bit of a stir, but it’s not fun with the people poo-poo-ing your choices. These people could be just getting into the groove of buying local, joining the fervor. Going to chains is inevitable, and when the local places are closed I’d go to a Friday’s over a Taco Bell any day.

    As you know, I am a local crusader, but I understand the importance of employment/business to the area. I’ll nudge you on occasion, yet I would never do it maliciously.

    With the new refurbishing Camillus Commons, national chains and retail stores are going to pop up. However, they will be bringing jobs to the community. Consider this: downtown is creating all these new living spaces, but they’re not cheap. A manager at one of the chains in the suburbs could afford one, and others could fill the voids.

    Any business in the area creates jobs.

    Well, we cannot please everyone.

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  5. No offense to your friends, but… ARE YOU SERIOUS???!! People really lambasted you for your choice of dining facility? Wow. In answer to your question, I go where I go because of personal taste. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s local or a chain. We have a couple of local Italian restaurants that have great atmosphere… but the food tastes like chewing a garlic clove. There’s no point to select between Alfredo or marinara because it ends up tasting the same either way. My favorite is Olive Garden. We also have tons of chain seafood restaurants. However, I don’t care for them a bit, but I go to our local mom-and-pop Mister Fish which is a walk-up counter where you can either eat outside by the lake across the street or take your food home. That said, I love your photos of your local places and that you’ve gotten to know the owners so well over the years. But I agree with you… you have the right to go where you want. Great post! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoa, whoa…you mean to tell me you don’t make your own clothes on a loom? Breed your own livestock? make your own soap?

    I don’t know how to take all of this…
    I might need a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Talk about being petty! I buy local when I can, but national when I can’t buy local. My pharmacy is local, my grocery is national chain, K-Mart is the only store I can get to without having to take a bus and ride all over town, then spend more than I can afford for things that aren’t really what I wanted. My hairdresser is local, my pizza and lasagna comes from a locally owned place. In fact the lady who owns the place once baby sat my grandkids. I get my books from the local library, unless I buy them from Amazon for my e=reader. Some things have to come from national chains, but if I can find local without having to ride a bus half a day to get there, I will buy local. But it’s kinda petty for people to criticize you for wanting to eat cheesecake from a national chain.

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    • Some folks are passionate about Buy Local, and that’s why I think I was scolded, Angie. I’m glad you get around Owensboro to split local and national to best meet your needs down there!

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      • We don’t have a lot of choices here, but when I find local I go there. A lot of the specialty shops for clothing are just too expensive for me though, so I have to shop chain stores for that.

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  8. I like to walk the fence on establishments. I am behind you all the way, Mark! I think it is a shame when people don’t show a sense of community. Sometimes getting a bigger national chain, helps the community by bringing in more taxes. I like to support locals, mainly… You do what you think is best, I believe in you! Smiles, Robin

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  9. My take on this is rather simple. Each establishment should earn your business. Maybe they have good service, good food, good selection, good friendships, good atmosphere, good prices, or even all six. You work hard for your money they should work hard to get you to spend it with them. As far as the chains go their substantial buying power results in some favorable pricing occasionally. Additionally if they didn’t employ all those people there’d be less people with money to partake in the local scene. So spend your money where you feel like you get good value (whatever YOU define value as).

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  10. Angiottti’s … love that place. Mark, you more than support locally-operated businesses. You don’t need to justify your choice of dining, movies or stores. There’s plenty of business for everyone. We also eat at chain restaurants and at locally-owned dining establishments. The focus of your story – the dining experience – should have been their focus as well.

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    • Thank you so much for voicing your opinion — and support — on the issue, onehindu. I hope you and your husband continue to have great experiences at both local and national establishments.

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  11. Great points Mark. People are working at all establishments. I do try to use local and small businesses. But sometimes those businesses don’t meet my needs for one reason or another. And sometimes they aren’t open. And sometimes they don’t exist. It doesn’t mean I don’t support them. Great post. Great feedback as well.

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  12. i completely agree with this post, mark. i think a balance is what is good. local and national both have their places in our communities. each has something to offer. too bad, some people take things so personally, and i enjoy hearing and reading about experiences, both good and bad, at all kinds of places. )

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    • I know you are a champion of good things in Ann Arbor, Beth, both local and national, so your support on this issue means a great deal to me. Thank you. And, folks, if you’ve never visited Beth’s great blog, click over to discover today’s tale of a writing mother and son who celebrate their books — yes, both are published — at Ann Arbor’s newest local bookstore. It’s delightfully full of neat passages and photos, as usual.

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  13. That’s dedication going to back to Dougherty Pharmacy to get your prescriptions. Nice honor naming the other local shops you frequent too. Though Walgreen needs no extra advertising. They are doing pretty good in my area. There is a Walgreen in three different directions from me. One a mile away another two about 2 miles away. You can find just about anything you need at Walgreen so I do shop there too.

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  14. “Got what you deserved?” Yes, how dare you expect to celebrate your beautiful daughter’s birthday at a popular restaurant. The nerve, Mark! I’m sorry to hear the trolls have found you. Pay them no mind Mark. A comment like that has little to do with any movement except perhaps that desperate A-hole faction of society. Chin up pal.

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  15. I’d have a few choice words for the people who said you got what you deserved for patronizing a national chain, but I’m not sure if you allow that language here, so I’ll pass…

    I would be one of those people out of a job if everyone chose to only do business with locally owned companies. Didn’t every national chain once start out as a local company, or are mega-corporations just born out of pixie dust? Even my dear Mecca (The World’s Largest Retailer for those who don’t follow my blog) was once a locally owned establishment serving only Rogers, Arkansas. It’s ironic that people think boycotting national chains equates supporting the American dream…. if everyone did business locally, those local chains would eventually grow into national chains themselves while the old chains died off….. and then who do you support? It’s nobody’s business where anyone decides to take theirs….

    Self righteous people come in all forms and support a wide variety of ideas that they choose to bust people upside the head with…. and they can all take a flying leap as far as I’m concerned….

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  16. I agree totally with your post. I agree that everyone is different and personally, I’m not sure anybody should have to justify where they eat or shop πŸ˜‰ And secondly this is rarely a black and white issue. A large national chain recently opened a supermarket near us. There were protests, an uproar – it is open now, some people shop there, some people shop elsewhere, I don’t know the figures but I suspect it’s inevitable that it has affected trade of the other stores. But this site was prevoiusly empty for years, it has boosted the economy of our small town, employed people, increased consumer choice and paid back huge amounts to our local community, and in particular supports our local schools and their afterschool clubs. On principle, I don’t agree with largle multi-nationals taking over the world, but it’s hard to argue against some of the benefits they bring. πŸ™‚

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  17. Great post, Mark! I agree with you whole-heartedly on the matter. After all, the variety available to Metropolitan America is just one of the many things that make this country so great!

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      • Their next home game is on the 5th. The team has gotten a lot better, they are now 4-3-0 with the last 3 games in a row as wins. Too bad they didn’t have it together during that tournament, but it was only the first of the season.
        Anyway, i plan on taking my good camera to get some nice shots and also my tablet so I can do a sort of live commentary type post. It is gonna be a lot of fun, especially since both boys are on the same team for the first season in… 11 years!

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      • That sound great, Adder. I think you’ll have a lot of fun capturing a game for forever like that. As you say, first time in 11 seasons is pretty special for all of you.

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      • Yes, its definitely going to be fun and special. My boys have never really read my writing either, so this will be something of mine they will actually be interested in reading!

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  18. We are living, it seems, in an all or nothing society. Shades of gray can’t be tolerated. You’re either for me or against me. Polarization of this nature stymies innovation, experimentation and freedom of thought. I will continue to make my choices on the knowledge I possess or can obtain and let the naysayers neigh as the horse’s a%#es they are.

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