Sunday was supposed to be our day of relaxation. We wanted to do nothing except lounge around the cabin playing pool, reading, or sitting in the hot tub with a drink. It didn’t really happen that way.
We had spent quite a lot of time Saturday at Downtown Gatlinburg doing the tourist thing. However, only the kids made purchases and the girls wanted to return for their souvenirs that would forever remind them of the great time they had. The one million pictures we took were not enough. There was a need for shirts, coffee mugs and shot glasses. The shot glasses purchase has actually become a tradition. I collect them as do a couple of friends of ours, so every time we ever go anywhere, we bring back shot glasses for all. We are all nice that way.
We decided to go back out and spend “only two hours” browsing the shops. I should have known better. The day before we spent as a group. This trip, however, was going to just be the four of us and the 8 year-old. With the smaller group, it was assumed we would be able to better control the aimless wandering and sightseeing that was bound to happen, focusing mainly on gaining our purchases and returning home. We assumed wrong.
The problem wasn’t that the kids were the slowpokes. It is actually the four of us. It didn’t help that we discovered new courtyards of stores that we had missed the day before on our excursion. We stumbled upon the Old Smokey Candy Kitchen and the Donut Friar that Louise Bales of the Art House had highly recommended as well as Thomas Kincaide gallery that we could not pass up.
We also discovered some stores that we came across as rude and obnoxious, like Buckboard too! This was a small store selling nostalgic paraphernalia of Hollywood. There were posters of Marilyn Monroe, statues of the Wizard of Oz cast and lunchboxes with comic book characters. The part that seemed sad to me was the sign on the front door. “American Owned.” Now I’m all for support your country and I’ll buy small business before big business if I can. However, his sign was kind of funny considering most of the merchandise inside was made in China.
Once I stepped inside, I wanted to yank the sign off the door. If you’re going to announce that you are - American, Canadian, Christian, Muslim, etc. - make sure that your behavior isn’t an insult to that particular group. If you’re going to put a Christian bumper sticker on your car, than make sure your driving is not twenty miles above the speed limit and control your road rage. This American, though proud of his citizenship, gave the impression of a paranoid bully and we have enough of those in Congress.
That sign was only the first of many. On the front window was a sign ordering “Small children must be held or in a stroller.” Obviously, he hadn’t been around families long because in my experience, it’s usually the parents that should be forced into a stroller. Other signs told you to keep your hands off the merchandise and one tacked up over a set of Wizard of Oz masks threatened that if you tried on the mask “you will buy it”. I was tempted to try it just to prove him that his sign had no power, but I was worried about who had worn the mask before.
Those were his bully tactics, which really didn’t give you that warm and cozy shopper experience. The paranoid part was, to me, a little overboard. God bless his American heart, he had a tiny security device wrapped around every piece of merchandise in his store. I would have taken a picture, but that violated one of his other signs. No photography. It didn’t matter how big or small the item was; it was wrapped with a small, round, gray device that would trip the alarm. He had to have spent a small army’s fortune purchasing those things and I wondered just how often in his life he had been ripped off. Some of the stuff he was protecting cost pennies compared to his little radar warning system it was tagged with for his protection; it truly was a sad sight to behold.
The world has become a wide and diverse place. This has been made quite real to me as I continue to write and network with other authors the world over. Visitors from all over the globe stop by the Mess and I have supporters and friends in many countries. This would not have been possible several years ago. Thanks to the internet my Mess is worldwide and I can sell and purchase books from anywhere. I don’t want an offensive barrier between my words and those who may read them. Neither should the owner of Buckboard Too! (The exclamation mark is his signage, not mine, by the way.)
I’m all for patriotism and being proud of your country. However, it’s not a selling point when the proprietor is an unwelcoming ass. There are some who I wish would keep their citizenry to themselves. They just make the rest of us look bad.
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