What’s More Reminiscent Of America’s Country Heritage Than Dining And Reading A Local Paper?
By James B. Bartle
It was a typical Sunday with the family when I noticed an email sent to me from our Sullivan Cracker Barrel informing me that, “they just got word from home office that all stores need to remove newspaper boxes from their front porches.” The spokesperson, stated, “I wasn’t sure who was responsible for our machine, but if you, meaning me, could help get it removed, I would appreciate that.”
Not that I’ve never received disturbing news on a Sunday, “Family Day,” at our home, but this came at a perfect time for me to reflect and send a quick response.
My response was this, “Sorry to see this. We will get it removed Monday morning. Sorry to see Cracker Barrel Corporate heading that direction in small town America. Sure could hurt business. We try very hard to dine and purchase products from people that carry our newspapers and advertise with us. Looks like we will have to find another location to patronize. Please feel free to pass my comments and concerns on to corporate. I know you don’t have any control over it and please don’t take it personal.”
I did receive a response from the local spokesperson that they would forward on my comment.
Then the more I though about it the more a began to pounder why is it that a large corporation, that states, headquartered in Music City (Nashville) in Lebanon, Tennessee, founded in 1969 with over 600 stores in more than 40 states want to do such a thing, especially in rural America?
Our how about their corporate brand promise which reads in part, “Our guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real homestyle food and shopping that’s surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America’s country heritage.”
Are you kidding me, now some may say I’m being partial here but what is more reminiscent of America then people sitting out on the front porch of a restaurant, in a rocking chair and reading a newspaper or how about sitting in a restaurant that features classic America decor, a friendly staff that makes you feel at home and reading a newspaper.
Now my “Rocky” movie life makes me feel like I or our publication is getting bullied by a big giant corporate bully that want’s to kick a small town newspaper in the gut, but while we do sell 15-25 papers a week from the store it’s not gonna end our publication, but the more I thought about it the more I questioned is this a “Fake” image they want to portray or do they really feel that they are trying to bring back, “America’s Country Heritage.”
Another interesting fact I found on the corporate website was this, “Crackers used to be delivered to those old country stores in barrels, and people would congregate around them to discuss NEWS of the day.”
So let me make sure I understand this concept-cause that’s what it is a concept-we are gonna offer people a trip down memory lane, make you feel like your at home, reminiscent of “America’s Country Heritage,” baseball, apple pie, but no newspapers?
It is a free country and freedom of speech is still allowed. I am in know way encouraging anyone to boycott a business, start a massive uprising against Cracker Barrel, there’s way to much of that going on, but what I would say is if your gonna walk the walk and talk the talk, bring newspapers back to your front porch. It’s as reminiscent as baseball, apple pie and grandma’s front porch!