to NaNoWriMo, I have been introduced to some great people. One
of them is Megs. (If you don’t recall her, Megs is the one that
offered up some great thoughts for Chicago when Dad and I headed
out that way to journey to Wrigley Field.) One day she posted
a link to a letter to the editor in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Don’t
look for it. It’s been removed from the interne,t dispatched to
the archives long ago. It was in the Sheboygan-Press.)
For reasons I think are hysterical, I thought the letter was great.
(Many of the reasons were in the comments about the letter. For
example, after claiming a place needed more restaurants and used
a chain restaurant as an example of what to bring in, only to
have the local residents point out dozens of local alternatives…
I mean… ouch.) But it also points out something fantastic… which
is that some people just simply don’t have a clue, and yet it
is important that we all at least take a moment to observe and
consider what they have to say. (We may ultimately consider it
to be pointless and dumb. Still… consider.)
~ ~ ~
L. Hartman, and her letter telling Sheboygan to get off their
collective butts and get her an Olive Garden is flat out hysterical.
wrong, of course. As several of the comments to her letter point
out, the Olive Garden is likely quite aware about the ability,
or inability, to even support a franchise location.
she offers to fly them out… show them land… drive them around.
I don’t see her offering to pay the licensing fee and become a
franchise owner, but keep in mind that she appears dedicated to
doing her part to support such an establishment.
troubles? Well, they begin when you understand that support it
as she might, we don’t see her offering sales guarantees or other
notable assurances. I just see her pointing out that apparently,
Sheboygan hasn’t made it until they get an Olive Garden. Toss
in a couple of new stores… I’m guessing an Old Navy conveniently
located in a plaza that also houses a Home Depot and a Starbucks…
and the ultimate renaissance story of within Wisconsin will be
tangent problem is that even though Sheboygan has dozens of dining
opportunities, none of the responses to her letter will convince
Linda that she is wrong. Ms. Hartman has an idea of what a successful
community looks like. And that community has a Red Lobster, a
Chili’s, two Lowe’s, and a mall anchored by Sears and Kohl’s.
Wal-Marts rise on opposite ends of the town’s main street. Best
Buy offers the latest in entertainment.
I don’t create that setting to be funny. (Ok, maybe I do. Sort
of.) I say it because the reality is that communities are built
with different structure for different reasons. A lot of it is
function. Consider the market for snow-related equipment in Minnesota…
or Sheboygan, for that matter. Then see if you can figure out
why a similar inventory at a store in Miami might not sell as
strongly. It’s a similar concept as to why we are attracted to
moving or living in some locations.
of why you bought a specific home or rented a certain apartment.
Was the final decision made because of financial situations? Was
it the location? Were you looking for a good school system? Did
you need a big yard for the dogs… two bathrooms… a full basement
that wouldn’t flood so you could convert it to another room? I
don’t know… any and all of these reasons could be part of it,
and several others likely matter as well, and it was a combination
of these things for you. The trick is… what matters to you (let’s
say good school system for young kids) might not be the first
elements I have in mind to check out (big yard for the dogs and
two bathrooms), which is certainly not what Linda would like to
see (free refills on breadsticks).
time you decide you want to improve things though. Make some changes.
Maybe you put on a new roof. Perhaps you do some landscaping.
A big deck in the back. Maybe the landlord lets you discount the
price of paint from one month’s rent. The trick is… unless there
is a huge leak, dripping in even the lightest rain… the improvements
are your decision. You want to paint a house? White with burgundy
shutters? Awesome… have a ball. But while you are planting a new
garden, I’m going to be building a deck. We all approach the decisions
differently, and arrive at different results.
decision to move to Sheboygan didn’t involve the nearby restaurants.
(We can assume this since she is stating that they need an Olive
Garden, and yet there she is.) It probably involved some combination
of… well, for the sake of giving reasons… big yard and good schools.
The Olive Garden part of the equation is the burgundy shutters.
Not the reason she moved there, not the reason she’d leave (if
she does), but simply her offering as to what it needs to be better.
as they might, the people writing these comments are never going
to convince her that the breadsticks aren’t appealing. They’ll
never show her that when she goes out once a week or so and spends
$60 per meal, her business alone won’t keep the Olive Garden open
when no one else in the neighborhood visits because they prefer
the other available options. And those same people calling her
“insane” for heading off to Green Bay, well, she feels they are
the nuts for not wanting such a fine establishment closer to their
a person over the head with a heavy stick accomplishes nothing.
And until you learn to understand the source of another person’s
viewpoint, you will frequently misunderstand them.
I say that with the understanding that Linda needs some help here.
If she has to have an Olive Garden meal, it’s not her neighbor’s
fault that she needs to drive an hour. It’s hers. She picked the
place she lives. The surrounding community owes her not a single
thing in this regard. Sheboygan does not need to change for her.
And yet… Sheboygan… recognize that Linda is at least saying she
wants to stay closer to home. I wish she’d listen… maybe look
around… but, the decision of what shutters she places on her home
will be a part of your neighborhood.