The Mountain Folks Guide to Going Out of Business in Record Time

Above: Sorry We Are Open should be displayed at some of the local businesses up here in the mountains.

You know we locals bi**h about a lot of things ’round these parts–and one major complaint is about the Big Bear businesses–and their staff. Isn’t it funny that we keep hearing “shop local” but then when you do you many times the only thing you get the opportunity to do is pay high prices, purchase marginal products, and get lousy service.

I started surveying locals on this matter. Sugarloaf Sharon complained about the long commute into town only to find places closed. Some seem to rotate the days they are closed without a warning.

You know, the more I talked to people the more I realized that I have plenty of stories myself and this is a good chance to rant. If anyone wants to go out of business in record time–take notes and do everything I’ve included in this post–except for the good stuff.

Let me start with the story of a long awaited restaurant. The place was a refreshing change from the meat and potatoes staple diet around these parts. The first experience was amazing. The food was great–even though the prices were high–we thought it was worth it.

The second time we went by the place was closed. Okay, we noted the hours and days they were open.

THEN we tried again, closed. Geez, the sign said they were open…which was a flat out lie because the door was locked and when we pressed our noses against the glass door–we noticed the lights were out and no staff was to be seen. Needless to say our saliva glands dried up with annoyance before we could leave a pool on the ground outside the door to give the owner a hint.

So the NEXT time we called to make sure they would be open. We called early in the day and yes, the recording said it was a day they were going to be open. However when we made the long commute (no lie–one drove from Irwin Lake and the other from Fawnskin–okay, okay–I suppose it is all relative) the place was locked up tight. $#^*!

Another day we were wandering down Village Drive and thought we would hit one of the restaurants for dinner. One, two, three in a row were closed.

Geezzzuhs! Doesn’t anyone want to make any money ’round these parts?

BTW, did I mention that the same cafe was one of the closed businesses?

So, we tried again…shop local, support our pals, neighbors, and even the enemies cuz we all are in the same boat trying to make a living…closed again.

And again…and then we hit the place about 4pm one day and walked in the door only to be told we could not be served…they were changing over to dinner. Worse yet, they turned down the party of 15 behind us.

Duh, how about making money when you are open?

We informed the person who was turning us away just how unhappy we were, and told her our woes. Her reply? They had a change in staff.

Okay, FINE. How about, “We are sorry to hear that–is there anything we can do to make you happy or come back?”

Yes, guess I was dreaming…not a chance of that happening around here.

The cherry on top (now don’t think poorly of me I am NOT stupid–usually it is two strikes and you are out in my book BUT my handsome man had a hankering for this place) was the day we went to eat and they FORGOT to turn in our order.

How do you forget to turn in an order? Hmm, guess six tables is way too much to handle. Puh-leese!

Did I mention the owner was there and didn’t even bother to come out and chat to us or apologize for the 70 minute delay? No sir, too busy being the sociable guy to his pals. Our waiter sent the waitress out to deal with us…no guts…no tip…no more business.

I know, I know–we shoulda walked…we were busy visiting during our date night. BTW Handsome Man, do you get I won’t go along with you on these matters again?

Okay, during ANOTHER one of these dating adventures we drove to different restaurant–and you know I find it funny that no matter how many times we have been there (on a weekly basis) the surly attitude of the wait staff and lousy service never changes.

My theory is that many of the local places rely on the tourists thinking that it doesn’t matter. Now there are some savvy business owners up here–they know that most of the visitors come back every year and if they get the locals they have it made. Those businesses are like the energizer bunny–they keep going and going.

In fact, last night we walked into a place we hadn’t been in a while–in addition to greeting us, they were really happy to see us and actually thanked us for coming when we were leaving–saying also that they hoped we wouldn’t stay away so long the next time!

I know a few owners that take the time to chat with the locals. We locals WANT that–it is what sets us apart from the homogeneous big box, franchise world. Have you ever noticed how well those businesses that do cater to you actually do?

For instance, we have one favorite place here in Fawnskin that has good food, good service (we love the sassy waitress) and a nice atmosphere. Staff and owners usually always at least say hello to the locals…

Now most of us know better than to expect to much when someone opens new doors or takes over a place. When I landed up here the first time I was flabbergasted when locals said, “We’ll see if you last a year and then maybe we will do business with you…” and now I understand.

Anyway, back to my story…I was told by Fred in Fawnskin that there was the bus boy who thought nothing of farting loudly in the dining room…or the waiter who thought his witty comments and accent would overshadow his lousy service and tendency towards laziness.

My, oh my! What stories do you have? Reminds me of a southern quote about Epossumondas–saying, “Why, you don’t have the sense you was born with…

Oh and I forgot about the business owner that abused not only the consignment vendor that paid rent–but all the staff, locals helping out, and the vendors. I think that business was gone in a year–we all thought it would be belly up sooner. The next two business ventures the person opened went under in record time, too. Big surprise. (Sarcasm–in case you missed that.)

Now don’t think that some of non-restaurant businesses don’t have problems–they do. For instance, ever try to shop where a young teen is working? “Excuse me, but can you stop talking on the phone to take my money? Sorry to interrupt…”

Or how about the kid that won’t get off his or her butt to help you look for something? Maybe you get a grunt but sometimes you luck out and get a mumbled, “I dunno if we have any.”

Have you ever had to push your way through the teen crowd at the door or surrounding the counter of an establishment where their pal works? Not good for business, no sir-ee. I sure do hate when they smoke outside, too.

I noticed that the Thai place on Red Ant Hill finally closed. Its been years since I have been there–the food was good but the place was dirty and the hours were sporadic at best. We saw the building is now empty on our way to another place down the road just the other day.

The establishment we were headed too has been up here for years but I hadn’t been there in a while. It used to be a big local haunt which I frequented when I lived in Bear Lake. They used to have great baked goods (segue…we really need a good bakery up here) and German food. The family also provided a friendly atmosphere and entertainment. It recently sold, was remodeled, and so we thought it might be nice to visit and try something different for a change.

Anyway, we quickly realized that going there was a wrong move. After something like ten minutes we still had not receive menus or water. When we looked up we watched as one staff member took three glasses of water at a time to a party of 15 and guessed we had better get out while we could–since we didn’t want to wait an hour or more for our food–or service.

Guess I am bagging on the restaurants pretty heavily.

So how about the remodeled supermarket? Ever feel like you are going into a cave with the lack of lighting? First they took away our double coupons…when they started the perpetual remodel I got tired of stepping around stuff or not finding items I used to purchase regularly.

The result, I don’t go there much anymore. Now I shop at two smaller local places…I love the two markets in Bear City–they are always friendly and helpful but the place in Bear Lake…geez, try and get in there an hour before they close. The staff is busy packing everything up and I don’t feel welcomed. Why don’t they just close and use the time for stocking?

With the online shopping options and the weekly jaunts down the hill the motivation to shop local plummets. Some of you have been teasing me about going down to Running Springs–but you know what–I get welcomed by name and always get friendly service–even though I live outside of the town limits!

Personally, I’d rather support mom and pop shops…I still think we should all have secret shopper report cards that we leave in all the businesses we spend money in…but then how many will still be here next year?

Epossumondas–cute and the audio books have the southern accent:

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12 Responses to “The Mountain Folks Guide to Going Out of Business in Record Time

  • 1
    July 4th, 2007 14:28

    How come you’re so cranky? Yes, there are crummy people working at some businesses, but there are also the same types of people at businesses down the hill. And yes, Vons, is darker now. But I’m guessing its to save some money. I’m considering carrying a flashlight when I shop..
    try to focus on all the great things about living up here…there are many

  • 2
    July 4th, 2007 15:35

    Cranky?–try fed up. I never had to put up with the behavior I’ve experienced up here anywhere where else–large or small communities.

    I do focus on the good things about living up here–and I do live up here full-time and shop up here.

  • 3
    July 5th, 2007 21:27

    Try to be more forgiving, as we readers are of writers who misspell segue. That reminds me of the didactic customer who once sent a postcard closed with “chow” instead of “ciao.” Nothing is more gratifying than learning your critic is a dummy. Make sure you don’t fall into that category.

  • 4
    July 6th, 2007 06:18

    Ha, ha! You know I should do more rants as they seem to attract the comments. Sad statement of affairs.

    Thanks for catching the spelling error…they happen. I usually write and don’t edit much when I do the flyer since most of the time it is before I am awake–no coffee!

  • 5
    July 6th, 2007 17:29

    To comment on the comment….that is what I find wrong up here in BB…some people are so petty…..
    I usually go by “I don’t do spell check so LIVE with it”.

  • 6
    July 7th, 2007 08:45

    Personally, I have editors who work on my “real” work…I write and leave the editing to them…as for the Flyer–well, like I said I am not always coherent when I am working on it!

  • 7
    July 7th, 2007 13:47

    I’m very sorry if the comment came off as petty or critical. The point is EVERYONE makes mistakes, so let’s not be so tough on local business owners. And let’s face it, if you’re going to dish it out, you better be willing to take it.

  • 8
    July 9th, 2007 11:27

    Hey, don’t sweat the small stuff. Not a problem–I corrected the error!

    The first amendment is a good thing–whether we like it or not.

    BTW I’ll post reasonable comments whether they are favorable or not–just sometimes screen them or edit when they attack individuals or are potty mouth foul.

  • 9
    July 9th, 2007 11:40

    Just focusing on the “good” and ignoring the “bad” is equivalent to just sticking your head in the sand. The real problem up here is there is too much ignoring going on, or in other words, too much ignorance.

    If I was a business owner I’d want to know if I was doing something wrong. Keep up the good work GG, you’re helping to make BB better!

  • 10
    July 9th, 2007 11:43

    Maybe the poster trying to use fancy words like “didactic” to sound impressive should learn some proper grammar before criticizing someone else’s typos! Chow baby!

  • 11
    July 9th, 2007 11:46

    TY for the first comment…on the second…no fighting!

    Tip: If you find something wrong you don’t have to always comment you can email me from the Contact the Fawnskin Flyer page.

  • 12
    Mountain Folks Guide to Employment | Fawnskin Flyer Mountain Lake Resort News
    July 17th, 2010 14:25

    […] In fact, this is a good time to remind everyone to review the Mountain Folk Interview Criteria or Mountain Folks Guide To Going Out of Business in Record Time! […]