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December 7, 2012

Thank you for all the birthday wishes. For a weekday celebration it wasn’t bad. Much of the day went according to plan.

I picked up the sparkling wine; bought myself a new pair of gloves with those handy dandy touch screen finger sensors so I can use my phone without suffering from bloodier knuckles; made another purchase according to the Penzey’s Plan; checked out the going-out-of-business sale at FLOW in Crossgates while I was there; took Young Master Fussy out for a haircut; grabbed my birthday cake from Crisan; and used my Hannaford gift cards for four beautiful hard-shell lobsters.

One place the plan fell apart was at the birthday dinner itself. It turns out that neither of the children like lobster with drawn butter and lemon. Neither the claw meat nor the tail meat. And while I was a little bummed that they weren’t sharing in this joy, it meant double lobster for me.

The other lapse in the program was at the beginning of the day at breakfast.

Part of me thought it would be fun to have a daddy daughter breakfast date on my birthday with Little Miss Fussy. She and I talked about it and headed out to my favorite little diner, Dewey’s.

You don’t need to see a menu at Dewey’s to know what they have for breakfast, because they make simple breakfast food: eggs, meat, toast, potatoes. There are omelets, pancakes and oatmeal too.

We had already figured out what we would have. She was going to order two scrambled eggs and potatoes (on the crispy side). But the potatoes she had planned to share with me. And all of her food was going to be eaten dipped in ketchup. Cut her some slack, she’s still just a kid.

I was going to have the classic old man breakfast of oatmeal, given that yesterday marked the end of my youth. But I was going to balance all of those whole grains with a bit of the fat drenched crispy potatoes.

However, we were thwarted. Because pulling up during normal business hours, there was a sign that read closed up on the door.

Now I don’t begrudge the family who runs Dewey’s their time off. It’s a family operation, and if one of them is laid up, the place won’t open. And it’s frustrating. What’s even more frustrating though is that random unannounced closings and sporadic business hours seem to be pretty standard operating procedure around the region.

Forget the fact that so many amazing places aren’t open past 2pm and several are closed entirely on the weekends. There are others spots that I just can’t figure out.

Like last week when I went to Ben & Jerry’s. It was a weekday, around 1:30 in the afternoon. Yes, it was late fall and hardly a time of year when people are craving ice cream. But this is a standalone store on the corner of a busy retail corridor, and it was chained shut with a sign that seemed to indicate they would be open by 6pm that same day (although I’m unsure that sign was a trustworthy narrator). And I couldn’t tell if this was a one time thing or if I just happened to show up on a day they open late, because there were no posted hours anywhere in sight.

I know these aren’t the only two examples of showing up at a place that I expected to be open only to find it unexpectedly closed, however my sleep-deprived and aging mind is finding it hard to call upon other examples. Surely if you live in the region, you can share some others in the comments below.

What gives Albany? Why does this kind of behavior happen here but not elsewhere? It’s not okay.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2012 11:15 am

    I share your pain. I’m now paranoid enough to call ahead before going anywhere just incase. Can’t seem to think of the specific places at the moment though…

  2. December 7, 2012 11:30 am

    This reminds me of the “Closed for Flu” sign in My Cousin Vinny. “The whole store got the flu…”

  3. December 7, 2012 12:18 pm

    Businesses run by people have people problems. You seem to be a bit more into shiny corporate consistency than I would expect… Go to Denny’s then, I bet it is open.

  4. December 7, 2012 1:15 pm

    Actually, Daniel, I think they may be closed for good. I am a big fan of Dewey’s too and my husband and I have become friendly with the owners (we each had our wedding day breakfast there – separately – and they decorated our usual booth for us). My husband tried to stop by a few weeks back and they were having a meeting to see if staying open would be financially feasible.

  5. December 7, 2012 1:28 pm

    Hell yeah. It drives me nuts when places have terrible hours — for instance, any place that isn’t open Sunday until at least 3-4 is going to be hard for weekend layabouts to make it to, and any place that isn’t open on Sundays or Mondays probably isn’t getting my dinner business (it’s one of the only nights I’m free). When places are closed according to whenever the operators feel like working, and not when people do/don’t feel like shopping, both consumers and profits suffer.

    And it’s even worse for places like you mention, the ones that just decide to close if they’re having a slow afternoon or feel like taking a day off or whatever. It’s no great surprise when a lot of these places end up failing — if you don’t have convenient and consistent hours, it doesn’t matter how good your place is, ’cause people won’t be able to get there and shop when you’re open.

    • December 16, 2012 8:55 pm

      Not food, but the lovely consignment shop on the corner of Henry Johnson and Washington (which I walk by, regularly), is open from 10-4, Monday thru Friday, not including holidays. I realize this is in part because they’re run as an arm of the Clearview Center, which is a not-for-profit, but those hours make it near impossible for people like me to actually patronize them. It’s too bad, because I’ve seen so many lovely things in the window, of course it’s closed every time I walk by them.

  6. Amy permalink
    December 7, 2012 1:53 pm

    Agreed! There’s a new sandwich place on Everett Road (The Sandwich Shoppe) that I watched being renovated from the former bar there. I was really looking forward to trying it, but the sign says the hours are M-F 7 am-4 pm. Well, those of us with day jobs not near there can pretty much forget about it. I can’t even pick up sandwiches on my way home from work because they close so early. I hope they can succeed on their lunch business.

  7. December 7, 2012 2:34 pm

    I have always made it a point follow our posted hours….We will be celebrating our sweet 16 anniversary on Dec 26 this year…and in all those years we have closed unexpectedly less than 10 times. Usually due to weather or power outages. It is SO important to stick with it no matter what the wind blows your way as a business owner. And I could not even quantify the amount of times I wanted to close early or a certain day….only to pick up a random party of 15 or 20 that walked in out of the blue and made my day! It is a tough climate in this economy….but perserverance pays off (mostly..>;) ).

    As for the Lobster….hard to cry about the double lobster for you….but if you want, I can send my 7 yr old son over next time you do the lobster meal….He will show them how it is done! right now his record is 4dz steamers and 1.5 lobsters…he is a machine! Do you think it is something they’ll grow into…or out of?

  8. Kate D. permalink
    December 7, 2012 9:18 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets annoyed with businesses that have erratic hours or are only open when most people are working. Most frustrating are the stores that don’t follow their posted hours. Why even go into business if you can’t commit to a posted schedule? Not surprised when they fail.

    I moved back to this area from southern New Hampshire a few years ago and had gotten spoiled by 24/7, or at the very least, extended hours at most stores/restaurants/businesses. Business owners there seemed much more consumer friendly. Very different mindset then I find here.

    I’m sorry that your Daddy/Daughter breakfast date with Little Miss Fussy did not go as planned. What a terrific tradition – very important for little girls.

  9. December 17, 2012 4:12 pm

    We’re one of those small businesses open early morning only till 3pm (for now). We arrive at 2am (since loaves/baked goods must be made fresh daily) and try to get in at least 2 hours of home time at the end of the day w/ our young daughter before one of us has to go to bed at 6pm (the other responsible for dinner/bedtime). We did just hire a new baker, so after Nick finishes w/ training, we’re hoping to be able to extend hours since neither of us will have to arrive so early. Hiring addt’l employees is outrageously expensive insurance & tax wise. We’re growing slowly and listening to everyone’s feedback (and trying not to saddle the biz with too many expenses). Hopefully we can reorganize hours to allow more people to come by very soon after the New Year. Remember, small businesses are often run by people with families and having a lot of employees isn’t always financially feasible. Mom and Pops are literally run by, in our case, a Mama & a Poppy. Our family time is always competing with work time, but we aim for an effective balance so that neither suffers. It’s good to hear that there are people out there who would visit us later in the day, it definitely influences our decisions.

    Hopefully those of you who prefer to patronize small businesses will understand when personal issues arise. With our somewhat limited hours, we commit to staying open when we say we will be. Only if there were a major emergency would we close abrubtly. Holiday closings we publish beforehand. I’ve read over and over again that inconsistent hours can sink a food biz. Even tho we sometimes feel like it (if we’re dead), we don’t close up early or open late.

  10. Ball Head permalink
    December 25, 2012 11:22 am

    You should move away.

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