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I am the President of my condominium corporation and have been sending out feelers to try and get some discounts for residents via our quarterly Newsletter. I have received a few interested stores and a few polite "thanks, but no thanks" replies. What I received from the Leslieville Cheese Market was absolutely astounding.

My e-mail:
"Good morning,

I am the President of YCC442 a.k.a. Marigold Gardens. We are a 93 Townhouse complex on the corner of Queen and Leslie (right behind the Duke).

I am trying to work with local Leslieville stores to create a membership card or discount coupon system to encourage our 93 home owners to support their local economy and buy in Leslieville.

Would your cheese market be interested in providing our residents with a discount coupon? We produce a quarterly newsletter to residents and would be happy to include an add for your store.

Please let me know your thoughts at your convenience,

Best wishes,"

THE RESPONSE:

"I'm sorry,

while i think it's a good idea, i'm sure that no amount of discount will bring those people to my store to buy cheese my cheddars run between double the price to four times the price of loblaws no name cheddar.

so for the cheapest they would have to get 50% off to make it the same regular price as no name cheddar."

"THOSE PEOPLE"

For the record, "those people" are 93 townhouses at Queen and Leslie. We have a mix of income levels and professions (just like the rest of Leslieville which contributes to our unique community and character). We have a retired CIBC executive and current Professor at UofT, account managers, product managers, directors, IT professionals, administrators, film industry professionals and artisans. Our condominium is the most affordable entry into Leslieville as our units hover just under the $3000,000 price point due in part to our brady bunch set exterior. We are a hidden gem as we have an internal courtyard which is nearly a full City block and an underground parking lot.

But apparently Leslieville Cheese Market thinks we are not cheddar worthy. I have no problem with not being able to discuss a discount for my residents. I do have a BIG problem with having my residents referred to as "those people" and the assumptions that no name cheddar is all we are interested in.

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Replies to This Discussion

I personally find Ally's email more credible than Michael's multiple replies. His original email as shared by Ally, and his subsequent posts here, give me a pretty clear impression of what he thinks about portions of the neighbourhood he does business in.

Ally is of course entitled to her own interpretation, and equally entitled to share that publicly if she so chooses.

Some of you seem to think Ally shouldn't have posted what she did, and you're equally entitled to share your opinions.

I, for one, appreciate her sharing the information.
I do not think Allegra or I ever thought we were punishing Michael or his business by posting here, I highly doubt it will suffer from it either, why should she have hidden the comments and hushed it up? As Allegra stated, she was astounded and it seems just very hurt by the response as I am, as it was a statistic she does not feel she is a part of yet is stigmatized by. I like to think the small businesses in the neighborhood don't do what large corporations do and make everyone faceless and judge your buying habits solely on numbers. I also think it just brought to light some of the divide that can be felt in Leslieville and the hurt a simple comment can do to individuals that would prefer not to be labeled under a statistic; you should never judge a book by its cover. (Also, it should be realized that census material can usually be about 2 years or more old, and Leslieville seems to have changed a lot within the last couple of years) The reality of the matter is that for every negative it takes 10 positives to counteract it.

In addition, there was NEVER any talk about not getting good service at the Cheese Market or great products, only the feeling that certain business from certain demographic areas were not welcome there and as this demographic is not the cheese market's target market as clearly stated, then really there should be no harm done. In reference to the soup nazi (from seinfield, so please no bashing here if you don't know the pop culture reference) the fact that he was a soup nazi did not make his business go under, rather it made it more enticing for discerning consumers.

Everyone is entitled to their own feelings, if all you care about is good service and cheese, no one is stopping you from buying it. Some of us on the other hand do care about how others are perceived and treated whether in person, on paper or electronically...the word punishment never came into the picture until now and I think you are doing the same to Allegra and I by trying to abase/dismiss our words as only trying to be vengeful rather than just being hurt.
I agree Zach but more importantly, I believe its crucial to continue supporting our local merchants. It saddens me when I see a store close along Queen E and I always wonder if I could have supported them more. If there was some dishonesty that happened, then yes, I agree that we should let those situations be known to our neighbours. But there was no dishonesty in this situation, only a difference of opinion and some poorly worded emails. But that shouldn't stop us from supporting our neighbourhood- and that goes for both merchants and residents, in my humble opinion.
I don't see anyone suggesting that Allegra "hush it up". Several people have observed that she should have taken up her concerns directly with the person who offended her. By blasting an email conversation like that out to the public, what other possible motive can exist (if you're being honest with yourself) than you were trying to punish this small business because you didn't like his perspective?

Lest you believe no harm could have been done, you should know that in addition to the people who've seen it on this site, hundreds or maybe thousands have been alerted to this little dispute via twitter (with a bunch offering up comments like "I'll never go there again."

So, thank you for your perspective, and thanks for listening to mine.
I agree with Zach - there's a big difference between blasting a dispute on a public internet forum where it could end up going viral and 'hushing it up'. As much as we like to think this forum is purely for our own neighborhood, its a public internet site, so comments can be widely disseminated in a hurry, with lasting consequences.

I'm willing to believe no harm was intended (on either side), but I do think that sometimes people forget how quickly these things can explode, often with only a superficial understanding of the basis of the original dispute.

That said, I think Michael should also heed the practise of treating an email as if it is a public document that can be read by anyone and govern your commentary accordingly - makes it easier to avoid these kinds of misunderstandings in the future (again, assuming that it is a misunderstanding).
I agree that Social Media is a powerful tool. I have never commented on services or products or named individuals I communicated with. I shared my feelings and frustration via an online forum local to our community. The decision was not made lightly or without thought.

I did not immediately pop on to the site in some type of revenge seeking frenzy. I shared my shock with my friends and asked if I was overreacting, or being overly sensitive, trusted friends whose opinions I value greatly had similar reactions. I shared it with my board members and asked for their reaction. It was suggested to me that I post on this site. I slept on it and after discussing it with a University of Toronto Business Communications Professor made the decision to share my experience.

I understand that some individuals believe this discussion was started for malicious reasons. I assure you it was not. I love Leslieville and have lived here for decades. I support and value all of our neighbours and felt it important to take the opportunity to educate and share my frustration. I started this discussion to educate the community as to who Marigold Gardens' residents are.

3 stores have since approached me to discuss advertising to our residents. These responses have convinced me that my posting has helped local merchants identify a market they may have otherwised overlooked, which is the message I have been trying to share.
Every retailer has to decide whether a discount drives volume- a tricky balance.

But to assume people will not shop at Leslievile Cheese Market b/c they live near Loblaw's-and that the LCM would have to match Loblaw's prices in terms of a discount to attract them- is as logical as saying you would not buy a BMW because you live near a Ford dealership.
I was going to stop bothering with this post, but it seems people still want to be hostile and punish people, especially towards the original poster and anyone that makes comments supporting it.

It is nice to know that people in the neighborhood like to defend their local shops, and I would do the same, but maybe a little more civilly and stick to the facts, hostility just begets more hostility. When you mention taking things to extremes, I think those taking a stance for the Cheese Market are being more hostile than needed and are not really responding to what was originally posted. Again, NO ONE has discredited the Cheese Markets products or services and yet still people make comments that the original poster need be discredited for just sharing their experiences. There was NEVER a call to not support local business, and never a call out to stop supporting the cheese market in the original post.

Again, referring to the Soup Nazi, I would say it is more of a positive as it compares the Cheese market's produce as being so superior that you would still buy it under any circumstance.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday's to all.
You know what's fascinating about all this?.....a bunch of people here are insinuating "don't be offended, it's a cultural reference"....including the moderator of this site!

I addressed issues with Ally without ever saying that she didn't have the right to be offended.

Who the hell gets to decide if someone else should be offended?...I don't recall anyone telling ally, the original poster of this issue "don't be offended. You've misunderstood his wording. Just relax." ... or in William Baker's words "Deep Breath, Janice." Unbelievably condescending.

Well, now i am going to say what i was really thinking when i read her first posting......"Ally, don't be offended. You are obviously a very angry person. I can imagine that living in a neighborhood that people automatically assume is a ghetto would create a sense of frustration that could only be compounded over time. Now you have a (somewhat) public figure to let it all out on. He's just the unlucky sap who added the straw that broke the camel's back. Try to resist the temptation to vilify him."
Well, after reading her blog on this site, it makes me wonder whether you may be right in your last paragraph. Was this whole unnecessary situation inflamed by some sort of inferiority complex developed over a long time? I read the following passage from the original complainant's blog and found the insights quite relevant. Decide for yourselves.

"...They wanted to ensure their daughter grew up to be unbiased and respectful of all individuals regardless of background or household income. It was tough at times, I was embarassed when I had friends visit and we had to hop over the vomit outside the Duke (the original Duke, without John Wayne murals and website addresses), and sensitive of being judged by my "tacky" neighbourhood- typical adolescent growing pains. I resented my parents at times as I was shipped to the Danforth and the Beaches to attend French Immersion school (Trudeau loving parents, even had a 10 foot high campaign poster on the wall accross from Che!) because I didn't live in a big house on the Danforth or a tree lined street in the Beach. But I value what they were trying to teach me and I appreciate the lesson, even if getting to this point was frustrating at times. I have walked the streets of Cairo unescorted, in part, thanks to growing up Leslievillian."
Actually Janice, it sounds like you are the angry one here as you keep insisting on trying to abase Ally with every response you have, while most others have been trying to point out simple facts, or tried to calm things down.

I normally float on this site reading all the joys of the neighborhood. Instead I read a few responses on this one post mainly from you and a few others all trying to abase the words of a woman who just wanted to share her unfortunate incident and to let people take what they will from it. I don't find any of her posts bashing or attacking anyone personally. She never even mentioned the cheese store owner's name until he mentioned it himself. Because of how hostile you are, I have never felt more compelled to respond to such vehement attacks on an individual, and now you are trying to vilify her very socially responsible upbringing.

It also seems that you just joined this community for the sole purpose of abasing her background and anything she has to say.

Have you ever thought that your pure hostility to the original poster isn't doing the cheese store any good either?

I will say Happy Holiday's to you in hopes that cheer and goodwill will find you.
You're new to the forum too I see, I'm sorry, but I just can't ignore such vengeful words that are simply being said to try and abase a person because she posted the words, word for word, from another person and was trying to fight for those that never got a chance to defend themselves.

As originally posted from Ally's blog:

"even if getting to this point was frustrating at times. I have walked the streets of Cairo unescorted, in part, thanks to growing up Leslievillian."

These words in themselves point out the fact that she has no inferiority complex at all, rather a heart for humanity and that she is able to be non-judgemental of social class, and willing to fight for those that cannot fight for themselves. Her lessons in life have made her tough enough to withstand some of the most dangerous streets in the world, especially towards single woman. This is no easy feat, as even today in North America, this can be a difficult task.

Happy Holiday's, again in hopes that cheer and goodwill will also find you.

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