hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trader Joe's and the Point Roberts Post Office

I was looking at some internet nothingness the other day and what it in particular focused on were comments on the Bellingham Trader Joe's site.  I like Trader Joe's, shopped there (but in Los Angeles) for decades.  It's always crowded.  That seems to be their business model: small stores, small parking lots, lots of items, lots of customers.  It's rarely a solitary or contemplative shopping experience.  But, I must admit that Bellingham's Trader Joe's has taken that business model to something of an extreme.

But I go there anyway: good prices, good quality.  And then yesterday, I found myself reading these customer comments.  But what was remarkable was the very high frequency of complaint about how many of the shoppers, how many of the parking lot users, were Canadians.  I'm pretty impressed to think that vast numbers of Canadians drive down to Bellingham just to shop at Trader Joe's.  But that's what the comments would lead you to think.

And then there was the one commenter who suggested that the very least Trader Joe's management could do was have special hours for Americans Only.  Thus causing me to send out this congratulation to Point Roberts' residents: Although I have heard people here say that there should be special times or lines for large-volume commercial mailers at the post office (our own version of the Trader Joe's problem), I have NEVER heard anyone say that there should be special hours just for those of us who live here.  What we mostly hear is that the post office management should provide more staff to handle the customers.  And for that, the USPO could take some lessons from Bellingham's Trader Joe's.  In that store, there are lots of check stands and they're pretty much all open all the time and the cheerful checkers get you through the line very quickly!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Many Events

The spring continues and local doings seem to increase in number each week.  I made it to the Taxpayers Association meeting and to the Voters Annual General meeting this week, as well as to a very nice (private) fabric sale that will be open to the public as a yard sale on the 19th and 20th.  Keep an eye out for it (it will be announced on Point Interface); gorgeous fabrics.

The Taxpayers were having a fairly routine meeting, just keeping up with whatever it is we are paying taxes for.  Its Annual General Meeting is in August and they have invited Governor Inslee up to speak.  Seems a long shot, but it would sure be nice to see him up here finding out what goes in what is in many ways the least of his responsibilities.

The Voters had County Executive Jack Louws up for their meeting.  He told us that Whatcom County was in good shape both financially and psychologically.  The latter insofar as people were working together well.  They are building a new jail down there and that has demanded a lot of political and bureaucratic work, I conclude from the political blog about Bellingham that I occasionally read.

As to Point Roberts: well, the County is still hoping to get the dock in this year but doing so involves multiple jurisdictions (the State?  the Feds?) and that part does not seem to be melding together at all, let along working smoothly.  So, maybe a new dock this year, maybe not.  Other than that, not much.

The attendees at the meeting had a lot of questions about communication between the County and the Point.  Last time they were up here, a lot of discussion centered around whether the County would please post its notices in something in addition to the Bellingham Herald, which we don't get up here.  For example, we suggested, send them as well to the All Point Bulletin and even Point-Interface.  "Indeed, we will do that," said the Planning Department people.  And, said Mr. Louws, "Indeed, they have said they will do that."  But so far, it doesn't look like they in fact have done it.

It was pointed out by the visitors that information is routinely posted on the County Website and that 'we should have someone check that site routinely.'  It was one of those moments when you suspect that the Whatcom people  are ultimately totally unable to underestand what it's like to live somewhere where there is no institutional government, but instead only volunteers of varying commitment and abilities.  I could easily imagine the County officials going back to their offices and noting to one another that they intended to get one of their people to look into and solve the problem of Point Roberts, whatever that might be at the moment.  And, they have "people" on their payrolls that do their bidding and do it more or less competently. Here, however, not so much.  "I'll get my people right on that website checking thing," I wanted to say.  "Except that I don't have any people and I'm already pretty busy working on Library Fundraising.  Maybe, instead, you could have one of YOUR people write up a summary each month and send it up to one of us to distribute."  That we could manage.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Last Day of Winter

What a spectacular final day of winter: blue skies, minimal wind.  I dried the laundry outdoors on the line.  I planted strawberries.  Just an amazing winter day.

Maybe the first day of spring?  Check with me later in the week.  I have learned to be distrustful.