Tag Archives: Nashville

Who Will Stand Up For The Poor, Beleaguered Hipsters?

Most of my readers do not live in Nashville, but I’m sure we can all appreciate the frustration one feels when they’re treated poorly by a retail establishment, have the cojones to actually complain about said rude treatment, and then the store adds fuel to the fire by acting all “whaaah I’m the real victim here!”

Such is what happened to my friend Tina, whose daughter consigned some clothes at the shop FLIP on 8th Avenue South. Here’s the exchange; let me preface all of this by saying that in this day and age, when there is some real shit going down in places like Charleston, S.C., calling for the fainting couches over a comment about hipsters is pretty lame all the way around. Get over your damn selves. You’re not all that special.

So here’s the set-up: In an effort to teach teenage daughter the value of a dollar, parents tell her to consign her cast-offs. Kid goes to FLIP and is ignored for an hour by rude and snotty sales staff. Store eventually takes a few items to consign, then when the family is out of town, store owner emails to say there are more rejections and they need to be picked up right now or they’ll be thrown in the trash. So mom does what anyone would do: begs for more time. They’re out of town, duh.

What follows is hilarious.

1:

Good morning! Due to having minimal space for storing these rejected items, we can sometimes allow for minimal exceptions but we don’t currently have the excess space to store these items through the end of the month. The good news is we do allow a friend or family member to come pick up these items so we will need these to be picked up by their expiration date which is end of business 2/23. There are 2 items to pick up…a dress and a top.

All the best,

Note repeated use of the word “minimal.” They don’t have room to hold onto a dress and a top until the family is back in town, got it? It’s minimal at Flip. Or maybe they just couldn’t be bothered. You decide.

Here’s Tina’s response:

2:

Thank you for always being so nice in your rejection of my daughter, her clothes and her requests. You guys are ALWAYS polite with your communiques.

The good news for you is that Camilla’s brother picked up her items and in doing so, also picked up several bow ties, therefore increasing your bottom line. The bad news is that we won’t be bringing Camilla’s clothes to your shop any more. After she waited for nearly an hour to get attention when she brought in her clothes (albeit with an apology) and you couldn’t wait a few days for her to get back in town, I just don’t see the benefit in working with this entity any more.

I know that you will continue to grow in your business and that it will be successful. You’re smart and you know your market. We’ve just been around too long to be swept up in the whole rude, hipster vibe.

This mom rocks. Wish she’d been my mom, for sure. What happened next, as the saying goes, will blow your mind. The shop owner emailed back. He was, shall we say, in high dudgeon over her “rude, hipster vibe” comment. Read on:

3:

After reading your email below, there are several things that need to be addressed but what I’m most concerned about is your lack of sensitivity. To hear you disparage hipsters is very disappointing. We have come so far as a country but comments such as the one you made below unfortunately show we still have such a long way to go.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Back to the email:

For the last 4 years, Flip has partnered with a company called Diversity Builder (link below) and as you can assume by the name of their business, they work with clients to help foster a culture of diversity and sensitivity. One way we work with them is to periodically provide them names of people we believe need to be educated on how not to disparage groups of people. Our board meets monthly to discuss topics such as this and during our next meeting, we will discuss your email and vote on whether you should receive this training.

http://www.diversitybuilder.com

Tina, I see you copied Camilla and Theodore. I’ve copied Mark, Holly and Kelley. They are all part of our board and it’s important they understand what has been said. Last but not least, I know you will continue to visit businesses and be a great but difficult client to deal with. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

Shorter: “We’re reporting you to the Diversity Police, beeeyatch!” Seriously, “we will discuss your email and vote on whether you should receive this training”? OMG is this like the FEMA re-education camps Michele Bachmann was warning us about? Yikes!

You know, when Nashville became “It City” I didn’t realize that we created an “It City Gulag” to re-educate those not already down with the hipster thing. Considering some redneck roared past my house with two ginormous Confederate flags waving from the back of his pickup truck on July Fourth, I’m going to guess that the It City Gulag hasn’t been created yet. Or else we missed a few folks in need of diversity training.

So here is Tina’s response. It’s priceless.

4:

Thank you for that lesson on diversity. I honestly didn’t realize that hipsters were a mistreated, maligned and marginalized part of our society and I am ashamed. To think of the time I’ve wasted on the homeless, LGBT and special needs communities! Quite simply, I am afraid that I am beneath this esteemed company’s target market. My offspring, however stylish and — dare I say hipster — have the misfortune of being my progeny with my tendency toward the sale rack at Target and TJ Maxx. Obviously I am neither educated, nor am I urbane enough to understand the nuances of sensitive language toward the delicate sensibilities of a retail business that is as customer oriented as yourselves.

I do apologize for the frustration I exhibited after my daughter waited, ignored, for nearly an hour while seeking assistance in the shop. I am certain that her purple hair and six foot stature were intimidating and insensitive to the marginalized persons in the shop at the time. I understand why you would eschew her and it is certainly my deep regret that I ever questioned it. I also apologize for detailing my despair after learning that her rejected items would be lost after waiting two-and-a-half-weeks to hear from your establishment if they would be rejected or accepted. It certainly is my very own fault that we were in West Virginia helping my aging parents out as my mother received diagnostic testing in the form of a heart cath and I was frustrated that the store would not wait five more days for us to return. As I stated, it was just good luck that my son could pick up the items as well as several bow ties, therefore ensuring your profit margin and meeting your high expectations.

I shall breathlessly await the board’s vote to discover if I need diversity training. Will it be at the store? Will my 2004 Honda Pilot with Obama Mama, Coexist, Human Rights Campaign, “My Dog is a Democrat” and a quote from Margaret Meade be an embarrassment in your parking lot? I’m afraid I also will need a handicap spot, as I have a rather nasty autoimmune disease and can’t walk very far. Perhaps I should just take it online so as not to sully your fine establishment by my insensitive, overweight and thoughtless person.

Meanwhile, I will set aside today’s tasks of writing my congressman on the ignorance of open carry in light of two people being shot at the Fireworks event on Saturday and instead focus on getting to 12S and East Nashville to do community service and make up for my thoughtlessness directed toward hipsters. I am so very, very ashamed.

Poor hipsters. I mean … seriously. Who knew they should be a protected class? I guess when gay marriage got legalized nationwide we should have seen this coming.

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Filed under Nashville

Sign of the Times

Sign in front of what I affectionately call the Wingnut Bible Church located near my house:

WingnutBibleChurch

The Wingnut Bible Church appears in this space about once a year. Last year they were (illegally) advertising a fringe U.S. State Senate candidate. Every Memorial Day and July Fourth they put dozens of American flags out on their lawn, too. Because Jesus was totally all about America, you guys.

Wonder if they’ll go all in with the American flag display this Independence Day or if they’re so disgusted with SCOTUS that they’ll take a pass.

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Filed under gay equality, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

I Have A Steaming Cup of STFU For HCA/Centennial

[UPDATE]:

Oh, God. It’s worse than we thought. I just heard two stories from people in my same insurance group that are as bad if not worse — both involving emergency care. One at Vanderbilt hospital.

Let me repeat: we all have excellent insurance. We have an HRA which pays 100% of the deductible. I’m not out one penny and the hospitals aren’t footing the bill for anyone. You will get your money from us. Leave us the fuck alone.

It appears the entire hospital system is trying to harass and bully fully insured patients into paying more/sooner. Hey fellas, if you have a beef about payment, take it up with AHIP. Patients shouldn’t be put in the middle of this.

More suckitude from the “best healthcare system in the world.” Baaah. I don’t know why we have to put up with this bullshit.

—————————————————————————–

Dear HCA/Centennial: I am beyond tired of you dicking me around on payment for a goddamn mammogram. You do this every year. The creative lengths you go to wrest payment from me, the patient, instead of waiting for BlueCross-BlueShield to pay you, as they do every year, has grown old.

You will get your money. You always get your money. You have never not gotten your money. I have top-notch insurance for a reason, one of them being so I don’t have to deal with some hospital billing office calling and sending me invoices when they haven’t even given my insurance company sufficient time to process payment. I’m just sick of it.

So this year I go in for services at the end of May, they billed insurance on June 3, and they sent me a bill on June 8. That’s barely time for BlueCross-BlueShield to receive the bill, let alone process it. I called the billing office and they apologized saying it was “a mistake” and I “shouldn’t have been sent a bill this soon.” Gee, ya think?

Thing is, a similar thing happened last year. I blogged about it here. That time it wasn’t “a mistake” but an “option.” I could pay now “if I wanted to” and have HCA pay me back when they got their payment from the insurance company.

Why the fuck would I want to do that?

Let me add, a neighbor of mine was in a horrific bicycle accident last year and got a whole bunch of diagnostic imaging services at HCA-Centennial. He told me they got the same “pay us now, if you want to” harassing phone calls. Followed by bills they knew they didn’t have to pay because it was covered by insurance. They wanted to know what that was about, too. They thought it was weird, too. It’s not just me.

You guys have to cut this out. It’s obnoxious and unnecessary. I”m sick of it.

I’m going to call my doctor and ask if someone else does mammograms in Nashville so I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I’m done with you people.

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Filed under health insurance, healthcare

My Annual Healthcare Rant

It’s time for me to get my annual mammogram at the for-profit HCA/Centennial, which means it’s time for my annual rant about our for-profit healthcare system. I blogged about my experience last year, in which I was offered an opportunity to pay for the service out of pocket upfront, at no discernible benefit to me because it’s all going to be paid by my insurance anyway.

So this year I got the same “give me my money” phone call, which they laughably call “pre-registration.” I give them my name and address and other contact info (which they already have because it’s in their system) and then I get the rigamarole about how much the service will cost — this time she’s clear to say it’s “because my insurance hasn’t been verified.” Last year, they just told me the service would be $150. So I’m glad they’re at least clarifying the insurance angle. But still, I’m supposed to do what, exactly, with this information? Start selling off the family heirlooms? I have insurance, mammograms are covered, now go away, please.

And then 24 hours later I get yet another phone call from the same person who “pre-registered” me yesterday, to say my insurance has been verified. Which you’d think would be good news, but in HCA Land, it’s actually another opportunity for them to try to get my money. For a 20% discount, I can pay now! Yes, that’s actually the deal I was offered. I can pay for the service at 20% off now, or I can do nothing and my insurance company will pay the full price (repriced, but whatevs). I mean, my insurance pays 100%.

I mean, seriously, people? WTF? Why not just lower your prices 20% and then we can all reap the reward of lower insurance premiums?

I cannot believe this is going on.

Mr. Beale is furious. He wants to know, if I do pay now at the 20% discount, and then BlueCross/BlueShield remimburses at 100%, who gets that extra 20%? HCA?

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Filed under HCA, health insurance, healthcare, Nashville

Holy Loophole

IMG_1649I just love this story: A swinger’s club which had operated without incident for years near Nashville’s oh-so-hot Gulch neighborhood was recently forced to move because of a new mega-development going in. So they were going to relocate to a building in Madison, north of town. And the good Christian folks up there got wind of it and decided they didn’t want no swingin’ sullying their neighborhood and would someone please think of the children and so the Tennessee State Legislature and the Nashville Metro Council passed laws that prevented “social clubs” from being in certain neighborhoods (small government alert!), and so now the swinger’s club is reopening as a church. Whose members all pay dues to the swinger’s club:

On paper, at least, plans have changed dramatically for a Madison property where a swingers club tried to open before city and state policymakers moved swiftly to block it.

The owners now plan to open a church — a church that honors the paid memberships from the swingers club.

The United Fellowship Center at 520 Lentz Drive will honor memberships to The Social Club, according to a member newsletter, but baseball caps, bandanas, skull caps and sagging pants won’t be tolerated.

The center was “founded on the basic belief that we are all children of the same universe,” the newsletter says. “Every individual is free to practice their religion in the manner of their choosing, as mandated by the First Amendment, so long as that expression does not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and is in accordance with the government’s laws.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ….

By the way, I spotted the decal above on a mailbox outside a bbq place here in town during the height of the swinger’s club controversy. I thought it was pretty funny. I just love how we’re all in favor of small government here until sex gets involved and then it’s like OMG WE GOTTA PASS A LAW. I mean honestly, I do not care what people do in their bedrooms, who (or how many) they share a bed with, who marries whom, etc. It simply is not my business. As long as it’s all consenting adults, I really would prefer to not even know about everybody else’s sex life.

I used to live in a small town in Kentucky and let me say, you would be shocked at how many of these fine Christian folks who were so downright upright were also taking trips into Nashville on the weekends to indulge in carnal entertainment. I’d place bets that some of those passing laws targeting this “social club” have indulged in a little swing time themselves.

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Filed under culture wars, Nashville, Tennessee

Rallying For GunSense

What a gorgeous day for a rally in Nashville today! The Moms Demand Action group was here and it was great to get together and hear from such powerful speakers as Richard Martinez, Shannon Watts, and Lucy McBath. It wasn’t a huge crowd — maybe 175 or so — but I didn’t expect it to be. It was a nice gathering and a beautiful day.

Many people had signs honoring those who had been lost to gun negligence and gun violence. I saw just one troll, a pretty wacko guy who kept saying his “Ban All Cars” sign had nothing to do with guns (although the back read “Kiss My Green Tip”). He said he just wanted to make sure we were all real careful crossing the street, and I told him thanks, since my dad was killed in a crosswalk years ago (he was). I tried to ask him if he wanted everyone to have a license to use a gun, like how we all need a license to drive a car. Or if he wanted us to register guns, like how we need to register cars. Or liability insurance. Or … or …. he got kinda incoherent at that point. They always do. He said I could take his picture but then he kept getting too close and I had to tell him to back away. It was a weird encounter.

One thing that I wanted to say about the Moms Demand Action group is that they’re always stressing that they’re not anti-gun, to the point where I find it almost annoying. Every speaker had to give their pro-gun history: “I grew up with guns,” “I hunt,” “I have a carry permit,” etc. That’s fine but after a while it got old, and I’m not sure how useful it is, anyway. The other side still refers to us as “gun-grabbing Mommies,” forever and ever, amen. Anyone advocating common-sense gun control will forever be labeled as a gun-grabber or anti-gun. There’s simply no middle ground with these folks, zero. If asking for universal background checks or promoting initiatives that educate people about safe gun storage makes you a “gun-grabber” and “anti-gun,” then there’s not much room for discussion.

I suppose the point was to stress to the media in attendance that the group is not anti-gun, perhaps strike a reasonable counterbalance to the extremist rhetoric happening just a few blocks away at the NRA convention. But I suspect a lot of that is lost on our clueless media anyway, and the constant reminders of everyone’s pro-gun bonafides weakened what I think is the most important message, which is how gun violence and gun negligence damages American society. Just my .02.

Below are some photos from the event. Enjoy:

DSCN5061

 

DSCN5062

 

Group photo: I'm in the back.

Moms In Nashville

Troll

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Filed under gun control, Guns, Nashville, protests

NRA Message ≠ An “It City”

I’ve lived in Nashville for 30 years. When I first moved here from Los Angeles, I got the usual digs from friends and colleagues: “You’re moving to .. NASHVILLE? Do they have indoor plumbing there?” Ha ha so funny.

For years Nashville has had an image problem. Our reputation was that of a hayseed, redneck, corn-pone town. And damn but we worked hard to overcome that. Years of work and effort by Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce, CVB, music industry, etc. to project an image of a modern, progressive city that was more than country music, more than hay bales and bare feet and bib overalls. More than Hee Haw and Opryland and big hair.

It’s paid off: we’re an “It City” now, with a thriving foodie scene, bustling nightlife, a center for tech and all kinds of music. Young people are coming here in droves. Heck, even Jack White lives here. And I just can’t help but think that’s all been undone now that the NRA is coming to town and blanketing our public spaces with their extremist messages.

And I do mean blanket. Here’s our brand-new convention center, sporting ginormous banners gloating about how the NRA bullied the ATF into backing down on a proposed ban on cop-killer bullets:

NRA 1

I like the green “blood,” or whatever that is. Note the message: “If they can ban one, they can ban them all.”

Here’s another one, which to my mind references the Stand Your Ground laws they’ve foisted on the nation:

NRA 2

“Stand and Fight”? What planet do these people live on? There is similar signage at the Nashville airport. I asked the airport authority why blatant political messaging was allowed and this is the response I received:

The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority posts welcome signs for the NRA on the screens above the escalators going to baggage claim, which is the same courtesy welcome that we provide for all groups sanctioned by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.   Any other signage seen in the airport was purchased as advertisements.

Emphasis mine. Are there any standards for such signage? If the KKK were to have an international event, could they purchase advertising at the airport?

This is the largest convention the city of Nashville has ever hosted. We’re going to get all the Republican presidential candidates here, plus the Sarah Palins and other far-right nutjobs. There will be national media, who may or may not be perplexed at how out of step the NRA is in Nashville, a swatch of deep, deep blue in a very red state.

This is not Nashville. This does not represent who we are, what we believe, or how we live. And it’s an embarrassment to the city. I cannot imagine what the Nashville CVB and Chamber were thinking.

Well, I know what they were thinking. They were thinking, “we won this hard-fought battle to foist the Music City Center on an unwilling and skeptical public, now we need to show something for it.”

You see, as I wrote back in 2010 (“Music City Center Blues“), the new convention center, while beautiful, is not a financially viable operation. And it will never be a financially viable operation. As I wrote at the time:

Last night I heard the same “trickle down” fairy tales we’ve been told for years about these kinds of massive projects. Somehow the economic impact of a new convention center (or arena, or football stadium, or symphony hall, etc. etc.) will “trickle down” like fairy dust on the entire county.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the arena, I’m a huge Nashville Predators fan, and Mr. Beale and I have been to many Titans games. I moved here in 1986 and I well remember what downtown Nashville used to look like. So yes, the past 20 years have seen some wonderful changes to our city, positive changes.

Yet every year our schools budget is cut to the bone. This year Metro Public Works laid off employees and cut back on things like cutting the grass in the public right-of-way, making some intersections in my neighborhood rather dangerous. The Green Hills Library was closed on Fridays, and now it looks like more cuts are likely.

In other words: we have these wonderful downtown facilities like a stadium and an arena and we still have the same budget issues we’ve always had. So don’t tell me that all of the business from a new convention center is going to have a positive economic impact on my neighborhood because I haven’t seen it yet.

There simply are not that many conventions that bring 80 bazillion people to town. There just aren’t. And so we grabbed the NRA convention right from the get-go, and look what we get: a black eye. A bunch of nativist, recidivist, far-right extremists blasting a partisan message and completely undermining the years of work that’s been done to change the city’s image.

Slow clap.

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Filed under Guns, Nashville