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Thursday, March 09, 2006

So move to Charlotte already, you jackass!

As it did Alan, this tale from BuffaloGeek really pissed me off. It seems that BuffaloGeek interviewed a person for a job here in Buffalo, but the person turned down the offer partly because of some very negative stuff he heard about Buffalo on his flight up here.

Before I go on, I haven't revisited this in some time, so here's a non-exhaustive list of stuff I love about Buffalo that I posted some time back:

:: Culture. For a city Buffalo's size, the cultural opportunities here are great. There is a very lively theater scene, the Buffalo Philharmonic is an outstanding ensemble, there are a number of art museums and galleries. Buffalo is also home to the Goo Goo Dolls and Ani DiFranco.

:: Architecture. Yeah, I could probably list this under "Art", but then again…Buffalo is a treasure house of fine architecture, much of it dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

:: Food. Buffalo is a great food city. Hell, we'd deserve a great food rep on the basis of Buffalo-style chicken wings alone, but there are a lot of fine restaurants here. You can pretty much find anything here (with the increasingly annoying exception of dim sum).

:: Weather. Yes, you read that right. Buffalo does get a ton of snow, but we know how to deal with it. (We're not like those places that are completely shut down after an inch of snow, like, oh, Dallas.) In fall, we are treated to the best autumn leaves outside of Vermont. Our summers are wonderful - - we've never once hit a hundred degrees in all the years they've kept stats. The only downside is spring; it's short, cold and rainy.

:: The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. I've sung the praises of this institution many times, but having access to a great metropolitan library system is amazing, truly amazing. Literacy is pretty high here.

:: The Bills. Need I say more? This is the best football town in the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.

:: Proximity to the Great Lakes. Actually, I love the entire Great Lakes Region, and I don't think I ever want to live more than fifty miles or so from the Lakes.

:: Location, location, location. Buffalo is perfectly located for day-trips elsewhere. I know that sounds weird - - I love Buffalo because it's easy to go someplace else - - but it's true, really. Rochester, Syracuse, Erie, Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh. Then Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, et cetera beyond that.

:: Canada. This could be filed under "Location", I suppose, but the fact that an international border lies ten miles away rules.

:: Natural splendor. In addition to being right on Lake Erie, Buffalo is thirty miles away from Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls is twenty-five miles away. The Southern Tier region, with its hills and ski resort towns, is forty miles south. The great Finger Lakes region is two hours away.


And yes, there's some bad stuff about this city, too -- I list a couple of them in the same post (click through to read it -- I'm not dredging it up here). But there are bad things everywhere, aren't there? Denver's wonderful -- and very expensive, housing-wise. Dallas? You'd have to pay through the nose to get me to live through one of those summers. Chicago? One of the greatest cities on this planet, for my money -- but I'll still take Buffalo's winters (more snow, less cold) over Chicago's (all wind, all the time) and I'd definitely take Buffalo's summers (humid, but not so bad as the east coast cities) over Chicago's (quick: when's the last time Buffalo had a large number of deaths from a summer heat wave?). Hawaii? One of the most stunning locales on Earth -- and you're stuck there.

This tale illustrates something not always appreciated by we who work in retail (and formerly in restaurants): bad word of mouth hurts. This seems right in the case of someone who's had a bad experience at a store or restaurant telling others about it, but here we're talking about someone indulging in bad word of mouth about their own home. My response to anyone who says such things in my presence is, and always has been, "Then why the hell are you still here? Move to where you want to be. And then you'll realize you hate it there, too."

Buffalo's got problems enough without dead weight types, like this loudmouth twit on the plane, dragging us down.

(But I would also say something to the job applicant: you formed your entire opinion based on one person? What the hell is that?! And why wouldn't you ask questions about the area in your interview, if you're from out of state? "Nice offer, but this guy on the plane said that the city sucks, so I'm turning it down." That's just stupid.

I'd also suggest that companies interviewing candidates from outside the area work to counteract this kind of shit right at the interview. It seems to me that HR people and recruiters should be virtual ambassadors for our city. No job applicant should ever walk out of an interview in this town without thinking, "Damn, this sounds like a cool place to live!" Even if they end up working elsewhere, maybe we've planted something in their mind, something that might never materialize beyond them saying, "Oh, yeah, Buffalo -- I hear that's a nice place to live." Which is, really, where it all starts, right?)

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