Cape Cod's 19th Century merchants

You'd never think there was a recession going on around here
Nothing costs so little or does so much good as courtesy

I won't mention names to protect the guilty, but in the few weeks I've dealt with four Cape Cod businesses with results which remind me that we still live in the boondocks out here when it comes to Business 101 on the Lower Cape.

Same-old, same-old
Marketing on Cape Cod in 1965

I really find if hard to understand how any business, even in really good economic times, can expect to grow and survive with the kind of non-service many Cape businesses offer their customers.

When anyone calls Best Read Guide or, or BRG Disribution, my wife or my daughter-in-law or my son will be all over them with service, and we'll be very grateful for the opportunity they offer us.

Our businesses are growing during this recession, and that is certainly one reason.

Marketing the Olde Cape Cod way

Three weeks ago a young man who was doing yard work for me dropped my generator off for me at an Orleans repair shop with a request to service it in case there was another blizzard this winter.

Perhaps we should have said NEXT winter, because when I called after two weeks to ask the progress, the man said he hadn't had a chance to look at it yet, but he would get to it in the next couple days.

I still haven't heard back.

Obviously there's no recession in Orleans.

Two MONTHS ago I called the guy who takes care of my outdoor hot tub and left a message that I was leaving for several weeks and asked him to drain it the shut off the electricity for the winter as he had done the previous year.

After not hearing from him for a month, I called again and he said he's be by that week.

The hot tub is still on and the electric meter still clicking away.

I guess there's no recession in Dennis.

Three weeks ago we called the company which sold us our gas stove and asked if they could sell us an automatic thermostat for it. They said they'd come by that week.

Last week they did call and said they'd be here this week, but we still haven't heard from them.

I guess there's no recession in Harwich.

Last Friday four of us decided to visit the scene of our youthful indiscretions, see Chapter 9 of "Three Plus Lives", and we headed for our favorite Provincetown restaurant.

The room was cold, the service slow, the prices high and only included the main dish alone - no starch, no veggies, no nothing. A side dish of pasta with really bad, watery, sort of brown sauce was horrible and the veal must have been left over from last summer because it was like shoe leather.

Some in our party don't drink, but  they haven't time (with three other tables filled) for separate checks, but it won't bet a problem in the future since we'll never go back, and I guess the recession hasn't reached Provincetown yet either.

Not just good, but Hunan Gourmet III is inexpensive too.

Fortune cookies may be the solution

I've begun to notice how much better service I get from immigrants and new citizens.

I run into Brazilians at restaurants, doing yard and house work, and every one I've done business with has been polite and quick and dependable.

Last night I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant, the Human Gourmet III at Exit 12 and Route 6-A in Orleans.

Our waiter Mike used to own the place for years, but here he was last night working for the nice, young couple he sold it to, Karen and her husband-chef, and he all over us and the and other guests with service and anything extra we might want.

I had one of their combos.

It started with a big bowl of Hot & Sour Soup, followed by an nappy of four, fat Shrimp Rangoons, and then a plate brimming full of a big stack of Egg Foo Young with Pork and a mound of Fried Rice and a pit of green tea.

The whole meal came to $9.25, and it was so ample that I had to bring half home, but the shocker came when I opened my Fortune Cookie last night.

It read, "Nothing costs so little or does so much good as courtesy."

Cape Cod businesses should consider fortune cookies and the advice they offer welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on