Monday, August 30, 2010

When Neighborhood Boycotts Collide

My big brother Billy lives in a tiny lakeside town 10 miles from Marble Falls, Texas.
The road his house is on is so remote it does not appear on my navigation system.
His neighborhood has a population of maybe 100 people.
Just off the highway before you turn onto my brother's road is a little barbecue place named Capp's. It sat vacant for years, but then one day it reopened.
But I've never seen any cars in their parking lot.
Yesterday, I drove up to see my bro and the rest of the family, and as were eating lunch I asked him if he'd ever tried the newly reopened BBQ shack.
He shook his head and said, "No way. The whole neighborhood has boycotted it."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because the way they reopened it was kinda shitty," he said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, we all remember the Capp's and they were real nice people. Now this new guy, whoever he is, had the nerve to keep the Capp's name on it."
"What's wrong with that? I mean, it might be a great place to eat," I said.
"Nope. We aren't gonna risk the neighbors seeing our car parked there and calling us traitors," he said.
My big sis and I really got a kick out of the idea of a boycott for such a flimsy reason, especially the idea that there was such neighborhood solidarity, since the houses are way far apart and everyone tends to mind their own business, not to mention that there's no place to meet and chat except for one lone convenience store and the ignored BBQ place.
Anyway, when I got home I walked to the corner convenience store to buy something to drink.
I noticed a new restaurant across the street and kitty-corner from the store.
It's a seafood restaurant called, "Tiki Mama's" and the signage is nice and they've spruced up the building's facade.
But like the BBQ shack, their parking lot was totally empty.
It took me a moment to process that, then I realized that two tenants before this restaurant opened was a funeral home.
I live in an urban neighborhood filled with Mexican American Catholics. They are very superstitious about death--they even celebrate death on All Soul's Day, called el dia de los muertos, or the day of the dead.
No way is anyone around here gonna eat fish in an ex-funeral home.
I started laughing at my own neighborhood boycotting the new restaurant, just like Billy's 'hood boycotting Capp's.
I thought about some greedy outsider thinking they'd make a killing selling seafood in our neighborhood, without bothering to check on prior tenants.
The new owner of Capp's might have been stupid to name the new place after the old place and offending the sentimental neighborhood residents, but there is no way these crazy outsiders are gonna convince anyone around here to eat fish in a formaldehyde-smelling former funeral home.


Lisa said...

Oh dear oh dear. Yeah, I'd take a pass on that.

bigsis said...

Now you tell me. Maybe I should have done some demographics before I decided to invest all my money rebuilding a steak house where the city dog pound burned down.

nonnie9999 said...

i don't understand why keeping the name is a bad thing. maybe it was meant as a tribute to the previous owner.

Bedia_r2 said...

Maybe the new owner of Capp's thought it would be a good idea to keep the name so that people would be familiar with the place and may even want to come back and try the new place. Either way the neighbors are not buying it.
You are right about the Mexican American Catholics they are not going to go eat at that ex funeral home, we're just too afraid of death.

Karen Zipdrive said...

That's the funny part--the neighbors are boycotting the BBQ place for absolutely no good reason.

Jerry Melton said...

Just part of living in Texas. You'd think we would be used to it by now. Some contractor friend were telling me about a remodel where they had to carry out a large mirror. When they got outside with it, the Mexicans working looked up and scattered lest they witness it getting broken! And back when Braniff had the Flying Colors thing going on. one of the jets was painted purple. No one would fly on it from Mexico City because it is their death color.