This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Country Stores and Politics

If my post yesterday came across as being critical of the Sperryville Corner Store, please know that that was not my intention.  Any small business that is still around and has figured out how to survive in today's environment has my utmost respect.  And that goes doubly so for any country store that has managed to stay afloat.  (Note that most of the country stores still around have made it by selling food whereas Buzzy did it by selling booze.)

My overall purpose in yesterday's post was to point out how a real-deal country store serves as a place where folks can meet, relax and shoot the breeze about any number of things including politics.  The ladies I quoted in yesterday's post were lamenting the fact that all of their country stores that once served that purpose are now gone.

However, I have to disagree with them because when it comes to talking politics these days, even in a country store, it is a dicey effort.  The ladies in the article seemed to think that conversations in country stores helped folks understand and appreciate others' opinions.  Sadly, my experience has been that in today's politically charged environment it is the complete opposite.  Minds are so made up that while everybody is talking, nobody is listening.  Discussions turn into arguments; and there is nothing to be gained from such exchanges.  It's gotten so bad that recently I posted the following sign in Buzzy's:

Someone asked me how I was going to enforce it and I told them that the sign's purpose was not so much for my customers to adhere to as it was a reminder for me not to try and talk politics with any of them.  There simply is no value added in doing so.    

And yet having done that, I feel a little sadden that it has come to this.  Like all country stores of yore, Buzzy's has always been a place to b.s. and make fun of everything having to do with events of the day whether locally, nationally or from around the world.  As they say "All problems get solved in a Country Store."   

I truly love owning and operating Buzzy's Country Store.  There are days when I can't wait to get to the Store and open it up.  Later on, when I have a full house with out-of-town visitors and several of my friends many of whom I have known all my life, all in the Store partying and having fun, I smile and think  "This is good.  Buzzy would be pleased."  And it's a great feeling.

All that said however, my least favorite thing about running Buzzy's is being trapped behind the counter and having to listen to silly political talk 95% of which I don't agree with.  My politically aligned friends will often ask me how I can tolerate it.  I just shake my head and confess "It's tough."  

But when it gets really deep in Buzzy's, my go to response is simply to turn up the music.  Here's a tune from Richard Thompson that he wrote in 2014.  If you have any doubt as to whom he is singing about (click here.

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