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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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bird poops on plum branch
I overheard a conversation on the bus today about McLeod Residence between two girls I didn't recognize.  And who apparently didn't recognize me either since I was sort of facing them not five feet in front of them (in a side) seat while they were seated facing forward.  We never made eye contact but they were talking pretty loudly and I did sneak a glance at them a couple times.  One girl was basically introducing the other to the general idea.  And she got pretty much everything right.  At first, the friend took memberships to be a bit snobby, and even stupid.  The friend agreed, and then explained a bit more about the bar, and how that worked with the gallery.  And then the friend thought it made more sense and was sort of tentatively cool.  The girl offered to take her over sometime, and the friend said sure, next time there's something interesting going on.  I considered introducing myself but then felt that they would be embarrassed.  Despite the critical slightly negative assessment of McLeod, I enjoyed overhearing the conversations.  People always filter criticism from its target.  And I thought back to other conversations in the past that I've overheard about criticism that was directed at me.  There are some interesting ones.  It always makes me feel both hurt and empowered at the same time.  It's tough to discover someone's true opinion about you unless you're overhearing it covertly, and to have someone's true opinion of you (even if negative) gives you some kind of extra advantage because you can use that information to improve.  At the same time, someone's expressed opinion does get influenced by whoever they're talking to, even if it's not the target.  If it's difficult to share criticism with its target, it's sometimes too easy to create criticism for the sake of conversation.  We're such weird and complicated creatures, it's fascinating.  What would you have done?

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I have to say I'm inclined to agree with the girl who disliked the idea of membership, although "pretentious" would have been more my choice of description.

Your mileage, of course, may vary--and seeing that McLeod Residence is your concept, I'm sure it does.

Interesting... thanks for your opinion. Just curiously, are you fairly familiar with McLeod or new to it?

does it matter if he's familiar with it or not? Are you trying to draw new customers, or get existing ones to buy a membership?

Seems like there's nothing to do aside from what you did. Once your idea is out, you can't make people take it in a certain way. And their general opinion was positive, right?

I think the best thing to do is to develop more ideas!

And we all need a little bit of pretension. No one is restricted from buying a membership anyway, right? And the people that I've brought in have really liked the place!

also, you don't even have to BUY a membership, you can contribute as trade!

Exactly. it's not like you can't frequent the place if you're not a member. You're not buying approval from the staff with your membership - you're making a contribution toward sustaining and building the residence. It's the 100% opposite of pretension.

Oh, and I definitely would've said something the the ladies.

I think some people assume that membership implies exclusion. It's too bad when people are scared of new (to them -- of course clubs with members used to be the norm rather than the exception) and different things. It just seems like the reaction of an insecure person, or maybe a person who's just not interested. It's not for everyone.

I find the concept of membership to be not only interesting as an experimental return to the old way, but also necessary as a way of creating community. In the age of velvet ropes, bottle service and other insanities visited upon us by producers and profiteers of entertainment, membership seems like the sheer opposite of pretension. There's nothing wrong with having a small dedicated clientele. Or a big dedicated clientele. Why not feel some ownership and contribution toward your local or your favorite hangout? Not to mention that (not sure if this is the case w/McLeod) it can be purely based on the twists and turns of the cabaret law or whatever law governs drinking establishments.

I have had a dream of opening an extremely tiny bar/clubhouse for years...and my friend has had a dream of opening a big one (in a castle building). I think most people who function in a community (be it artistic or charitable or just plain social) understand that you are committed as a member to different degrees, whether or not you formalize it...

Next time someone is talking smack about your organization on the bus, just hand them a McLeod Residence business card with some pithy comment like, "It'd be nice to see you sometime."

i would have done exactly what you did.

It's very very rare for someone to criticize me or anything I've done directly. And that's definitely not because there's nothing to criticize. I agree, it is weird that there are all these opinions about me that I can't know about simply because they are about me. It's not something you can solicit either -- confronting someone with "hey, so what do you hate about me" is just as uncomfortable with "hey, so what do you like about me".

When I was in couples counseling the things that hurt me most were the things that were supposed to be "good", not the criticisms. I guess that was a sign that the relationship wasn't going to work...

I think there are people who perceive memberships to be snobby, but you are doing it for very practical reasons - basically to get around the man, and to keep out the riff raff.

This is a prime example of where marketing comes in - you need to control and deliver that message - develop a pithy slogan that encapsulates the benefits of memberships and gets the consumer on your side.

Um... I will turn off my work brain now sorry.

what would happen if you gave them each their own membership right there?

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