Permit us this digression from our usual postings. We loved this article published by Mitch Allen, President of Mimi VanderHaven, a Northeast Ohio publication dedicated to supporting local businesses (Mimi VanderHaven) and we wanted to share it.
If you, like me, are tired of:
- buying products that never live up to your expectations and break or wear out before they’re even paid for
- paying for meals at chain restaurants that offer little to no nutrition
- settling for poor (or nonexistent) customer service from passionless employees
- the pathetic return on our tax dollars (whoa – now there’s a whole other blog article!)
If, like me, you are more concerned about the value you’re getting for your money, believe in “quality over quantity” and like to deal with service-driven companies who are passionate about what they do, then read on and enjoy!
ASKING FOR MORE
“We get what we ask for in life, and most of us ask for too little.”
by Mitch Allen
Since my brother’s death last year, plus the long, cold Northeast Ohio winter and my own bout with a lingering flu this spring, I have fundamentally changed how I approach the world. If I wake up in the morning, I find myself feeling grateful. If I wake up in the morning and I feel good, I’m downright giddy.
In the poem “Joy” by George Bilgere, he describes getting over the flu this way:
The baker has come back to his store
and everything smells like warm baguettes.
The children are playing in the schoolyard,
the piano bars along the river
have thrown open their doors.
As a result of my new appreciation for life and health, I’m eating a lot more ice cream. Several times each week you’ll find me at Strickland’s, Country Maid, or East Coast Frozen Custard hurriedly licking the bottom edge of a chocolate ice cream cone trying to stay one step ahead of the melting. I justify the indulgence by telling myself that every day is a blessing and you don’t know how many more ice cream cones you’re going to get. It’s unlikely anyone on their death bed ever said, “I wish I would have eaten fewer ice cream cones.”
And just this week my daughter’s father-in-law, Realtor John Lasher, shared this quote with me: “We get what we ask for in life, and most of us ask for too little.”
I like that quote a lot. And at the risk of making too quick a transition, I think many national chains become popular because we all ask for too little.
We accept poor-quality, disposable goods because we like the low price.
We accept the fact that our new DVD player will break before the end of the year because it only cost $29.95.
We accept the bland sauces offered by most chain restaurants because we have come to expect lots of added sugar and salt to dazzle our taste buds without relying on the genuine flavors of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices.
We accept invitations from all kinds of companies to deduct $20 from our checking accounts each month even though we did not use their services.
In general, we accept too many people in line and too few stars in the sky.
At the end of the day, we like what’s familiar more than we like what’s best. What’s familiar makes us feel safe. I once said to a college professor, “I know what I like.” The professor replied, “No. You like what you know.”
For eight years now, we at Mimi Vanderhaven have been encouraging our readers to explore the unknown, to try local businesses with unfamiliar names. Often you write us thank you notes expressing your appreciation for introducing you to a new favorite business. Occasionally you write us far less flattering letters, questioning why we wrote about that place.
Either way, we like to think we’re doing our job.
If every day is a blessing, why do we dine and shop at the same places over and over again? If we only have x number of ice cream cones left to enjoy, why would we buy one so regularly from Dairy Queen instead of branching out to some of Northeast Ohio’s many local ice cream shops and creameries?
For me, life is no longer about comfortably enjoying the same things. Inherent in that is the danger that I am asking for too little. Instead, I’m now going to ask for more—and occasionally be disappointed in what I get. But that’s okay.
The phrase, “Honey, let’s go out to eat” is not simply an invitation to secure convenient nutrition. It also represents the opening line of a grand adventure.
I thank my brother for teaching me that.