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How ‘Bout We Change You?

November 12, 2010

I’m supposed to be going out, but this one from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air caught my attention, so here’s one more quick post.  Here’s an initial Boston Globe story from a few months back on the opening of a new market downtown:

The entrepreneur doesn’t pretend to be a purist but is hoping to change attitudes and interest in local food one customer at a time. He wants to engage customers by encouraging them to eat more locally produced items rather than criticize them if they don’t. “We want to educate while still keeping people happy.’’


Prepared foods include duck leg confit and a popular veggie lasagna. Otto and Lundberg are continuing to smoke bacon in house. All of the meats sold at the shop are local; prices are high but Otto says customers are coming in regularly with weekly meat orders that top $400.

Eggs, from free-range chickens, are $8.50 a dozen. When asked whether people will balk at the cost, Otto shrugs and explains these chickens’ laying routine. “Their lay cycles rely on the sun, not on artificial lamps that distort production,’’ he says.

Okay.  When I lived in the Bay Area I remember a couple stores that focues on more high-end items that cost money.  Probably not this high.  The market is still there, since it also focuses on selling some items that you can’t get elsewhere, and it cultivates a client base that comes from both approaches.  So how did this one in Boston work out?

The manager of Don Otto’s – a recently shuttered food market in the South End – is blaming neighborhood patrons for its untimely demise, cooking up an angry message to fair-weather fans of the Tremont Street eatery.

“Don Otto’s Market wants to say we had few customers that understood customer loyalty and its importance to our business,” a message on its Web site reads, later adding: “If you came in only for baguettes, the occasional piece of cheese, the occasional dinner . . . you can not tell yourself you were a supporter of our market.”

Ooookay.  Maybe they were nicer in other venues?

“In some parts of the world people are accustomed to spending a higher percentage of their income on food, but in America we suffer from sticker shock because of Wal-Mart and other discount vendors,” reads Don Otto’s online farewell. “The reality is we pay for what we eat. Some are informed enough to know what that statement means. For those that don’t, I am not going to elaborate.”

This is where I need Lynn to chime in about elites who think that you dumb yokels just don’t get how you should spend your money.  Well, thanks.  If I want my nice cheese for a party, I can probably find someone who doesn’t also want me to walk out the door with the local Kobe beef equivalent and looks down at me when I don’t.

And, frankly, a lot of people like Wal-Mart becuase it actually allows them afford food in places where they couldn’t normally live.  Hey, Bostonians, how happy would you be if all your grocery stores cost 5x on the food?  On the bright side, only super-rich people would live around you, and the conversations would be a lot more homogenous.  On the down side, nobody would be around to pick up your trash, operate your infrastructure… or even work in those shops that you so much want to frequent.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 12, 2010 12:12 pm

    How DARE those uneducated louts choose to not buy from ME!!!! Face it – New Seasons is hardly cheap, but they bill themselves as “the friendliest market” and they back it up with a real experience. But it does look a lot like the pundits and the Democratic leaders post Nov 2…so there’s something to “insult people who don’t buy your product instead of questioning the product itself”

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