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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.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Bad Publicity = Good Results?

An old saying attributed to PT Barnum notes that there is no such thing as bad publicity.  Well, I'm thinking that while Ted Cruz himself may not be in total agreement with that sentiment right now, the Ritz-Carlton folks in Cancun are very pleased that Ted and his family chose to stay with them for their little vacay away from their freezing ass state of Texas.  Wonder if  the Ritz folks will comp them for all the free publicity.   

Probably still the best example of how something so bad can actually result in increased sales and favorable publicity remains the example of Ford Bronco sales increasing after OJ was in one when chased by the police back in 94.  This went down when OJ and his buddy Al Cowlings spent 2 hours cruising up the highway in a Ford Bronco while 95 million of us watched (click here for related story of what happened to the Bronco and where it is today.)  That this attention would actually inspire folks to go out and purchase a white Ford Bronco has left many folks scratching their heads in wonderment at the so called "OJ Factor" for the uptick in Bronco sales (click here. 

Gov. Hogan at Buzzy's 27 Feb 16

OK, at the risk of sounding like I am comparing myself to OJ and Ted Cruz, other than the fact that all three of us are bona fide dirt bags, here is my little brush with infamy that actually turned out to be a good thing.   

Recall that five years ago next week Governor Larry Hogan appeared at Buzzy's Country Store to announce the widening of the road from Scotland to Pt. Lookout State Park.  (That the road project is still not done and has seen very little progress to date is a whole nother issue for a later rant post.)   

While the Governor was at Buzzy's, several of the 100 plus attendees were seen drinking alcohol in the Buzzy parking lot and on the Store's front porch.  Because of that, the Monday following the event, I was paid a visit by 2 of the County's Liquor Board enforcement officers.  They were cordial but still they advised me that I was in violation of laws prohibiting folks from drinking outside.  They said that I had to take steps to enforce that there be no future drinking in neither the parking lot nor on the porch.  (For my post on this at the time (click here.)

I told them that while I was well aware of the parking lot being off limits for drinking, I did not know that porch drinking was not permitted.  My defense that "Folks have been drinking on the porch for years" didn't fly with them.  They informed me that porch drinking could only be permitted if I had an "extension of premises" approval from the Liquor Board and have it noted on my Liquor License accordingly.   

Long story short, I eventually got that approval after requesting it and appearing before the Liquor Board.  (I also had to pay $100 for a State Fire Inspector to verify that drinking on the porch was not a fire hazard.)  At the beginning of my appearance before the Board, the Chairman joked that I was somewhat of a celebrity for having hosted the Governor at Buzzy's.  I joked back something to the effect that I wouldn't have had to be there before them had it not been for the Governor coming to Buzzy's.  

However, after that appearance before the Liquor Board, something kind of cool happened in that I had several visitors drop into the Store and mention it.  They usually prefaced it with "Is it true that you got in trouble...."   I would then relate the above chain of events and conclude that it all worked out for the best.  

The Ford folks estimated that they sold an extra 7,000 Broncos following OJ's road trip to nowhere.  Buzzy's of course did not see any uptick in business following my doo dahs with the Liquor Board but it does make for a nice story.  I'm gonna lobby for Gov. Hogan to make a return visit to Buzzy's.  Maybe he can come back and cut the ribbon when/if the road ever gets done.   

I went looking for a Zappa song about publicity but couldn't find it.  Check this one though.  While I don't think that it has anything to do with publicity issues, what it is about, I'm not really sure.  It does however, feature Tina and the Ikettes as backup singers and a great Frank guitar solo:

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