Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rochester: Open your Relationship with Wegmans

Dear Rochester,
Once again, you have chosen Wegmans as the Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner in the City Newspaper. Once again, I am confounded that you would make that decision, considering absolutely everything else in Rochester that would impress an out-of-towner that would not make you look like the ominous homicidal local in the beginning of a teen horror flick who would think that the best hangout in in his town is the local gas station. I have tried incredulity, I have tried tough love, and now I think I know what the issue is. Rochester…is Wegmans hurting you?
I ask, because I also noticed that “downtown Rochester” was a runner-up for “Best Local Eyesore”. Rochester, who told you that you were so unattractive? Sure, you’re going through some changes, but you are NOT an eyesore. My home town is under construction all the time. This is how cities exist and thrive. Is Wegmans telling you that you’re ugly? Don’t listen to him. He has no place to speak, especially with that giant robot rooster that crows on the hour at the East Avenue location or the death trap parking lots at East Avenue and Monroe Avenue. You tell Wegmans that you ARE beautiful...though I am not sure why they don’t turn those hills of dirt in the inner loop into an adult slide park. THAT would be a place to take an out-of-towner.
Wegmans has been around for 100 years in Rochester. I’ll bet Wegmans told you that this is a big deal. You know what’s a bigger deal, though? The home of America’s premiere Suffragist. It’s been here since 1866. Susan B. Anthony was arrested in the front parlor in 1872 for voting. That is much deeper than selling fruits and vegetables. People’s freedoms were in the balance. Speaking of people’s freedom, do you not realize that Frederick Douglass resided here since 1843, and you can trace his movements and activism all over town? Sure, he can’t give you day-old sushi, but you can definitely see everything from where his former residences were to where he’s spoken against slavery to where he is buried. Both of these things predate a grocery store, and they are way cooler. Don’t let Wegmans tell you different.
Wegmans probably boasts about how stacked he is. His newest buildings are always touted as major architectural feats. Are they “Frank Lloyd Wright” feats, though? Because the Edward T. Boynton House is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the world’s greatest modern age architects, and it is a stone’s throw away from a Wegmans, and simply its fa├žade is more enthralling than the cookie cutter design of all of the Wegmans strewn about the city. Also, I am sure that Mr. Wright didn’t have to force smaller businesses out to make way for construction of the House.
Perhaps if Wegmans were only in Rochester, I might see why you would think that he’s the best place to take an out-of-towner. But here is the thing, Roc: Wegmans has been seeing other cities for years. There’s a Wegmans in my hometown of Baltimore, and he keeps creeping farther south. Perhaps you think that Wegmans is all for you, Roc, but Wegmans does not feel the same way. Why would you stay in such a lopsided dynamic? Also, it is just a grocery store.
The bottom line, Rochester, is that Wegmans may not love you as much as you love him. Don’t chase waterfalls. Speaking of waterfalls, while you were wrapped in Wegman’s hypnotic gaze, you may not have noticed that THERE IS A WATERFALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY. How often does that happen? Thus far, I can only think of perhaps Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Dinotopia. You are magic, Rochester. Stop short-selling yourself to your guests. You should see other things, Rochester. Wegmans definitely is.
When I first moved to Rochester 8 years ago, no one suggested that a grocery store was the best thing that Rochester has to offer. If they did, I would have immediately packed my bags and left. Wegmans is a very nice place to get food, but the best place to take an out-of-towner? Yes, but only if the out-of-towner is starving to death, and even then, the hospital should probably be the first stop you make. You can tell me if Wegmans is hurting you and forcing you to say it’s the best. Let me show you what else Rochester has to offer.
Love and Concerns,

A Baltimore expat.

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