Friday, August 19, 2011

support yer local businesses, friends

I just had a pretty terrible errand run.  It started off alright, as I made a huge leap in getting the cover for the Plot printed!  That got me really excited.  Then I got a flat tire as I pulled up to Paper Boy (seen below).
Paper Boy is my favorite paper store.  Full of fun objects related to making marks on paper.  They had some beautiful paper, and all of their staff was so friendly, down to earth and wicked knowledgeable!  As my bike limped up to the store, I could see through the windows that something was missing.  Everything.  They closed!

I went across the street to talk to the folks over at Paper Boy's sister store, the toy store, Uncle Fun.  Turns out Paper Boy closed about a month ago.  What a sad thing to learn.  They said if I needed paper, I'd have to go north on Southport to Paper Source.  So I did (after buying erasers shaped like a doughnut and a peanut).  I walked my half-inflated bike up to Paper Source which seems to be ground zero for wedding planning which was kind of the exact opposite of Paper Boy's MO.  I had a lot of questions for the store, and one employee was answering my questions adequately, but then apparently she had an appointment, and the manager took over helping me out in the following manner:

Quite loudly she asked me (as she did a pair of women before me) "What are we looking for today?"  She then was pretty fake and difficult to talk to in a normal volume.  When I was checking out, she tried to make small talk and asked if I was from New England.  I told her Western New York, and she stated that:

Western New York is upstate New York, and therefore:
Practically New England.

I then actually -sort of uncharacteristically- informed her I thought she was wrong on both counts.  New York is technically a Mid-Atlantic state, and I consider upstate New York as anything north of the southern shore of Lake Ontario (I know a lot of people will disagree and call "upstate" as anything north of New York City, but friends, THAT'S THE REST OF THE STATE (not counting Long Island)!  But still, how can an area that's an hour away from Ohio be more New England than NYC, which is an hour away from New England?!)  She grinned and agreed with me as she was walking away from me, loudly asking someone who had just walked through the door "And what are we looking for today?!" and pointing out the new academic calendars that they had just gotten in.


  Then I walked to the bus stop, and had my bus driver honk and yell at me several times as I put my bike in the bus's bike rack, telling me I was "reading the directions wrong" when he really should have just told me my back wheel wasn't in the groove it needed to be in.

But even that wasn't as bad as finding out your favorite paper store has closed, and your option is a cookie-cutter wedding center.  I work at a local business, and I feel invested in its success, so I recognize I'm pretty biased, but it tears me up that a high quality quirky paper store is gone, and a national chain store, devoid of a real personality stands strong.  One moment, as I place this soap box on a this high horse...please, friends, support your local businesses! 

Next time you walk up to a starbucks, look to see if there's an independent coffee shop around.  When you need to print your zine, don't go to Kinko's, go to a local copy shop, they're probably cheaper.  Don't buy your next book on amazon, go visit a bookstore.  You'll probably be interacting with someone more passionate about their store and its products, and you'll be keeping your money in your city's economy, which helps you!  I know situations present themselves in which national chains are unavoidable, but we've gotta keep the good stores thriving.

Jeesh enough rambling, sorry that I- oh, wait a minute...this isn't yelp.


Carrie said...

UGH. That is the worst feeling, especially because there is no way not to feel like your favorite store closing is your fault. Because it is, a little.

neil-brideau said...

It is a little my fault! Everyone should read Carrie's blog on a regular basis. That is if you're into insightful reviews of books comics and zines.