Oct
03
2004

   Where's the pâté?

WELL. Several people have told me over the years that I should have a blog; I have a unique situation that allows me to live in "Heidi's World" most of the time, and people are curious what that is like on a daily basis. I'd never really been motivated to set one up. Until now.

I usually pick up the Sunday New York Times after church each week. And if I'm feeling indulgent, I pick up some crackers and pâté at the same time for a nice Sunday snack. I used to go to Foods of All Nations, but they charge an ADDITIONAL $.25 over the regular price, and I am really opposed to that. I asked the manager about it once, and she said everywhere in town has this surcharge since the distributor raised his prices. Don't believe her. Most places do not.

The week the surcharge showed up at Foods, I motored happily down to Bellair (their selection of prepared foods actually has somewhat more variety in my opinion). But they didn't carry the Sunday Times!! In the following weeks I tried Barnes & Noble (good coffee, but the paper was overpriced), CVS (no gourmet products AT ALL), and Harris Teeter (it probably would be acceptable except that it is out of my way on my trip from church to home).

I then tried the general store in Ivy (I think it's officially named "Toddsbury of Ivy" but the exterior is so NOT hoity-toity I think the name is ill-matched to the location). It was on the wrong side of the road, but at least it was right on my way and there was a turning lane, so it did fit the convenience factor. And they almost always had copies of the paper remaining at 1pm, my usual pick-up time.

I never had a problem with them until today. Because I wanted pâté. It is not one of my usual healthy food choices, but I hadn't eaten any in MONTHS, it was chilly and overcast, and I thought it would hit the spot as I curled up in a cozy spot to read the paper. Perhaps with a glass of red to defend against the cold. Realize that in addition to the usual gas station collection of soda, beer, chips, and motor oil, this place also sells artisinal breads, wine, fancy crackers, homemade side-dishes, and gourmet sandwiches. I had no reason to believe they would NOT have pâté. I even asked the manager if perhaps there was some kept in the back, that had been inadvertantly not set out today? But alas, he shook his head sadly and replied that he had no pâté.

Where is the common sense in this town?!? If you sell the Sunday NYT, then puhleeeeze recognize your demographic and stock wine, cheese, fancy olives, gourmet coffee and pâté. And this applies in reverse--if you already carry the mentioned foodstuffs, won't you please make sure you have an adequate supply of the Sunday Times??

Think about your customers, vendors! If you were selling copies of the Utne Reader, I'd expect you to have a dizzying assortment of homeopathic stuff, healthy/tasteless granola, more dried beans than anyone would expect to see in a lifetime, let alone eat, Amy's frozen soy food products, and perhaps as a bonus carry whatever it is that white people with dreadlocks need to maintain their hairstyle, and sell tickets to the local folk venue. And if you already sell all those products, why not carry the hippie publications that your customers want (are you listening, Fantastic Foods?)? But if you're selling the NYT, think about what those readers want to eat!! Foods of All Nations admittedly is pretty close, but why the heck are they charging an extra $.25 for the privilege of buying the paper there? It does no good in my opinion to attract your demographic and then proceed to gouge them.

Now, I can appreciate that businesses might not want to stray too far from their core mission. But in those instances can't you cooperate with your neighbors? I really can appreciate that the Crozet Great Value (IGA for the sentimental. . .) might not want to install an espresso machine, olive bar, etc. although they do sell the Sunday NYT (and WSJ, right here in Crozet!). But how much business is Curves doing anyway? How about a gourmet (NOT hippified) shop & wine/coffee bar? I bet that place would be PACKED. How many times can you eat Crozet Pizza and not become a roly-poly? But even the thin can drink a cup of coffee daily! And I suspect they'd stick to their routine much better than the circuit-training ladies.

In Heidi's World, none of this would be an issue. Stores would make sense, and be highly demographic-sensitive, so people who want a plate of eggs, bacon, toast, the Daily Progress, and unlimited refills on their cup of Folgers don't have to waste their time negotiating past imported olives they would never in a million years have any interest in eating any more than people who want the NYT, pâté on water-crackers with cornichons, and chianti should have to search hit-or-miss in a vain attempt to find a store to meet all their needs.

Like I said in the beginning, I have not previously been motivated to have a "blog", but I do feel that this issue is important enough I must overcome my inertia to speak out, in an effort to make the world a better place.