I’ve been on vacation from work for the last week. And I’ve been rather purposefully sedate, almost to the point of being lazy. But then again, I don’t usually do much on my vacations, normally because I work so hard on the weeks when I’m on the job. Too, neither my wife nor I are big on traveling. Sure we’ll make little forays out of the house for shopping, going out to eat, appointments and the like, but we don’t normally travel all that far from home base, unless it’s a special or unexpected occasion. We’re homebodies, for the most part. Always have been.
Even so, we’ve been discussing off and on about going to Rochester, NY for a shopping trip together. It’s about 2 hours distant, and there’s an Italian bakery we’ve been going to for many, many years. It’s the bakery that made our wedding cake 26 years ago, and they make the most delectable butter cookies you could imagine. On more than one occasion I’ve mentioned that if that place was closer, I’d easily creak the floorboards at 500 lbs (or more). Yes, they’re that good. Last year we both bought a Groupon for $30 worth of baked goods for $15.00 (USD). A nice bargain and we’d done the same thing a couple of years back. Of course we both spent ours on cookies. They freeze well, if they make it to the freezer that is. The deal expires at the end of March, and since I had vacation, we figured “why not?” and decided to make the trip. The wife checked their website to be sure we’d be there at the right time, and yesterday afternoon we set off for the city.
We’d considered going the day before, but the weather report was saying that it was snowing in the city, even though it was sunny where we were. Personally I don’t mind driving in the snow at any time, unless it’s really a white-out or blizzard. Even so, driving with the wife can be a little more problematic, since if the wheels start to slip, she has a tendency to go into full panic mode. And no one wants someone to have a screaming fit in their ear when they want to concentrate. So we postponed the trip.
The trip was uneventful, though when we reached the area, we decided to eat at the local Olive Garden, so when we got to the bakery, we wouldn’t have the urge to buy everything not nailed down. Dinner at OG was very nice, we had a very engaging waitress, enjoyed our meal and tipped her accordingly. When she asked about dessert, I mentioned casually that we were going to the bakery (mentioning it by name) and she recognized the name and said that she loved their baked goods. Leaving the restaurant, we continued down the highway looking for a suitable place to turn around, since the bakery was in a plaza on the other side of the road. As we passed the plaza, I noticed something rather odd….the sign that advertised the bakery was missing on the building. Or at least I thought it was. Perhaps I had the wrong plaza?
After turning into a small strip mall and making our way to the right plaza, my worst fears were confirmed. The sign was indeed missing, and the place looked like it had been closed for several weeks. The windows weren’t boarded up, but you could easily tell that it was no longer in operation. There was a computer printed sign on the glass door that announced they were “now in California!” along with a website to check out. Might as well call it what it was. We were both dumbfounded that the people who have been operating this bakery for the last 105 years could be so callous with their loyal customer base. Taking out my phone, I did a quick web search and sure enough, a month back there was some local news coverage of the bakery’s closing and moving to the West Coast. However, they never bothered to update either their website or social media presence to reflect that. As a matter of fact, they went so far as to purchase another website to reflect the new location, registered a new Facebook page as well as an Instagram account (all the while leaving the old ones up and not updated) to advertise their new business. And to add insult to injury, referring to their new bakery as having been opened in 1914. Um, sorry people, you’re new to California. While the bakery has been in your family for 105 years, that’s false advertising. Better to say that you’re starting from square one.
Needless to say, we came straight home. What we probably should have done was seek out another Italian bakery in the city. As it turns out, there are several. But we were more than a little crestfallen and decided to head for home and call it a day. Even so, on the 90 minute trip, we discussed the discovery and lamented about how we were going to have less of a reason to go back to the city now, it was pretty much the last reason that either of us ever needed to go there. Once arriving back at the homestead, I went to my couch and started searching YouTube videos about how to make the cookies myself. My wife decided a more direct approach was in order and emailed the new bakery, informing them that it would be nice if they had done a little due diligence with their website and inquiring if our Groupons were still good. Apparently it depends on who you ask. The new bakery Facebook page suggests that they’re not being honored, as they’re being described as a ‘one time sale’ and since the old bakery closed, the new bakery isn’t going to honor them. Which is a sucky way of doing business, but given what we’ve learned, I guess we’re not terribly surprised. Suffice it to say, with the comments on their old Facebook page, we’re not the only people who were caught unawares.
I suppose in retrospect it was a good thing they moved across the country. Pissing off your client base isn’t the best way to engender repeat business. No matter how good your product is.