I well understand that the very title of this article makes it seem the article is not one folks would like to read. Where I see this as being true, I also see a need to write this, in order to potentially give folks an understanding of some basic truths of life as I see things.
Having thus introduced this piece, I should take the time to explain just a little about myself. To begin with, I don’t see myself as an overly sentimental individual. In fact, it takes a certain type of occurrence or event—witnessed or lived—to cause me to experience even a little emotion of any kind. Most of my time is spent in quiet contentment, being happy but nothing like elated.
It doesn’t take much to make me happy. In fact, it’s mostly simple things that matter most, they being the more common things one sees and deals with on a day-to-day basis. Even large things tend not to excite me too greatly, as I’ve learned there are up and down sides to just about everything that occurs in one’s life.
None of this is to say that I run around, either disappointed, or expecting to be disappointed. Though there are times I have come to realize that I will be disappointed if I expect even the least of things out of people and places. For the most part, my my tendency is to lower my expectations of those people and places, and to learn to be happy with who and what they are. That may seem cynical, but in truth, it just means that I’m “cutting breaks” in my sometimes overly high standards.
Put another way, it’s mostly more that what I want is more than what I should expect.
Here I must pause and say something I probably say a little too often. You may be wondering at this point, how the things said to this moment matter to the title of the article. Let me see if I can “pull the threads together.”
Let me begin by relating a recent (very recent) experience.
I walked into a local restaurant I have been frequenting for at least the last ten years (probably closer to fifteen), upon which “renovations” had occurred. I had already been “soured by” the fact that I went out of my way to visit the establishment in question a couple of days earlier on the supposed day of their grand opening, only to find that the dining area was not open and that they appeared to only be doing “take out.”
I almost let that be the “last chance,” for the eatery in question (i.e., that they were not actually open on the morning of their supposed grand opening, even thought they serve breakfast), but I chose to “cut them a break” based on our long “history.”
I have to acknowledge that I’m not always the most personable of individuals, though I think I’ve gotten somewhat better about that over the course of time. The result is, when I can find a place where people can tolerate me—much less generally get along with me (even when we substantially disagree on many things)—it makes it that much more pleasant to be there if the “ambiance” is good.
Therein lies the “rub.” One of the things that attracted me to this particular location (of a large restaurant chain) was the ambiance, the look, feel and “air” of the place.
They had open spaces, closed booths, relatively comfortable seating. They didn’t seek to be “bright and airy” but they weren’t dark, dank or dismal either.
To top things off, I had developed relationships with many of the folks who worked there! This, for me, is no small thing!
So I came in, placed my order, and “took in” the new look and feel of the place as I did so.
I’m pleased to report that, after not having many of the folks working inside the restaurant for the period of “renewal,” most of those people have returned, having been given positions in other locations in the meantime.
I’m not, however, so pleased with what has become of the facility.
To begin with, I should say that the company in general, has moved to a “kiosk approach” in one of the standard aims of “fast food” companies to reduce cost. For the most part, that’s not a problem for me, though I know it costs at least hours, if not jobs when this happens. It is the way of business to attempt to reduce cost, and as is well known, people are often one of the most expensive “resources” in almost every business.
The entity in question has adopted a “hybrid model,” wherein you may use the automated ordering system, but may also walk up to a counter. The result is, when and if you cannot, or do not wish to order from the kiosk, you’re not stuck in a position where you have no choice.
The problem is, the remodel was not—in my view—particularly well thought out. You see, a larger percentage of their client base was older folks, many of them (and in some measure, I include myself in this) who could be considered to be “set in their ways.” As we get older, we tend to realize that there are certain things we like, and still others that are not in the least exciting to us.
In this case, the dining area went from the one I described, to one that looks garish (that’s probably the least of my concerns, by the way), looks cheap (only a concern because I worry what will happen if things start to break down), is all open (no real “booths”) and frankly, has uncomfortable seating. As I write this, I am feeling pains in places where previously I would not have done when sitting in this place.
Here’s my “conclusion.” Though the food is the same (a product of a franchise environment in which the individual locations must buy from a corporate entity), and the people every bit as nice, the changes to the look and feel of the restaurant may well serve to drive “formerly regular patrons” away.
Tying this back to the title, I have made memories here, I have made friends here—both employees and customers. I have enjoyed my time coming here when I was able so to do. I may change my mind, but at present, it appears though, this is where the “dream dies.”
Maybe my title is a little misleading since, for as long as I have the mental acuity to retain them, the memories will continue to exist. That being said, I know neither I, nor the folks I know who used to frequent the place, nor the company can really ever go back. The “memories” for this place, likely end here.
So if you’re the owner of a business, just remember, “grand dreams” on your part, may have unexpected effect on others and as a result, on you. It’s in your best interest to really think about the changes you’re making and the likely results of those changes. Maybe the owners wanted what I think it likely they’re going to get, but want it or not, I’m pretty sure they will receive it.
Okay, getting “wordy” here. I wish you the best of times and thank you profusely for having read my “rant.”