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Consumerism at its best

So we went to IKEA yesterday afternoon, the new one in East Palo Alto. I've never seen such an economic disparity as that between Palo Alto--upscale, tony, suburb to Stanford University; and East Palo Alto--poor, crime-ridden, on the other side of the freeway. But EPA is hoping by building massive big-box retail stores like IKEA, Best Buy and Expo to boost the economy and its reputation.

We made the usual rounds, with Mom (who's had both knees replaced) and Andrea (who has MS--relatively mild, but still tires easily if there's a lot of walking involved) in IKEA-supplied wheelchairs. The five of us wheeled our way through the showroom and the sales area downstairs. I left with one 49¢ mouse pad. A new record for us!! Steve got a mouse pad too, Mom bought a couple of bags of candy, Andrea got one bag of candy, and that was it. No meatballs even.

That's because we were headed to Buck's, the now-famous eatery in Woodside, close to Sand Hill Road. This is where many of the deals that built the Silicon Valley and the dot-com boom were made. We thought we'd have a wait, since the place has become rather touristy, but we got seated right away. David ordered an omelet, Steve and Andrea got burgers, and Mom and I each ordered a sandwich.

The burgers and omelet came fairly quickly. After a few minutes, Mom and I encouraged the others to start. After about 10 minutes the server informed us the the sandwich guy was a little behind, and our orderes would be right out. Another 10 minutes, and the others were close to finishing. We began to grumble a little bit, saying things like "we're starving" and "no tip." Our estimation of Buck's was dropping rapidly, despite the quality of the others' food and the quirky and whimsical decor. Another server came out, this one with seemingly more authority. He must of overheard our whining, because he apologized profusely, and said that not only would Mom and my meals be free, but that the whole table could order dessert free of charge. Woohoo!!!

Our sandwiches arrives shortly thereafter. Hungry as I was, I could only eat 3 of the 4 sections of my club sandwich. Luckily, Steve (rootbeer1) is an eating machine, and finished off the leftovers. For dessert, I ordered the peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. This turned out to be a medium-sized souffle dish filled with enough cobbler to feed 4, easily, and topped with about a quart of ice cream. Mom's was just as big, and Steve got about a quarter of a fudge pie. We divvied up the desserts, but couldn't finish them all. Buck's rep shot skyward, and we left a large tip. It's customer service like that that brings people back. I'll know we'll be returning.



We came home and napped. Well, I checked my jobs at work. Seumas (beardoc) called while I was working--he just flew in from Australia (and are his arms tired!!!). It was great to hear his voice--it's been almost two years since we've seen him. We made tentative plans to get together sometime Wednesday. We also have a couple of friends from Wales coming in that evening, so hopefully we can get it all coordinated.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
danlmarmot
Oct. 6th, 2003 05:09 am (UTC)
Yes... EPA is definitely depending on Ikea and the Home Depot and that cluster of stores, but not to boost its consumerism... but to boost its city revenues, which are miniscule and on the order of $3 million a year. For a city of 23,000, you can't do much with $3 million. (If San Francisco had the same budgetary ratio per resident, it'd have a budget around $100 million a year--40 *times* less than its actual budget of $4 billion).

Curiously, in 2000 EPA residents were really gung ho about putting in luxury car dealerships rather than the box retailers; they were intensely worried about traffic. I think they made the right choice... even though EPA still doesn't have a supermarket, it's on the right track.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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