Monthly Archives: June 2016

Someone’s Getting Desperate

Beverly Library jacked up the price of a print job to 75 cents a page. It’s still only ten cents a page at Salem and 5 cents at Danvers.

Ouch. I didn’t realize Beverly Free Library was so desperate for money. It’s a shame. Every other library within walking distance would literally have to shut down for this to be a way to bring it in, though.

I thought coming here would save time, since I have to print something out and then drop it off at the Beverly Hospital Volunteer Services office. But that’s pretty much shot now.

Fortunately, it costs me nothing to alert my faithful readers to the insanity that is charing 75 cents for a sheet of paper with printer ink on it. Did they hand make each individual sheet?

Peace of Mind in the City of Peace

The Salem Common Yard came about as a blessing, though not a mixed one. After my harrowing ordeal with an over zealous little prick, I decided that the best, legal revenge, was to pool my resources to document the encounter and to ensure that my years of free advertising to that place come to an end.

For that reason, I needed a new Twitter feed photo. The old one of me drinking the Butterscotch Soda and giving the camera a thumbs up needed to go. It just so happened that the Cinema Salem offered a pleasant alternative. And as I have yet had no bad encounters with their staff (to my knowledge) I hope they appreciate the glass that I’ve raised to them.

I didn’t make as much this year as what I made the last time, but I made enough to buy the Cinema Salem’s butterbeer without dipping into my weakening bank account. Also, interacting with some of the locals in Salem who are not as appreciative of the kitch and the overly touristy aspects of what I lovingly refer to as a Wall Paper economy as some of the shop owners think they are.

One such young lady told me a story that gave me so much hope. It was the story of a woman who does not suffer fools lightly. I relate her tale to you, faithful reader, in the hopes that you will visit Salem with this in mind.

“There were these two tourists who passed by my house. They pointed to the smoke stacks and asked, ‘are those lighthouses?’

“I said, ‘Are you kidding.’

“I told them they were the smoke stacks for the power plant.

“’What does that mean?’ they asked.

“’Uh, power plant’,’ I replied. “You know, they take coal and make electricity out of it. You know what electricity is.’

“Then I asked them, where are they from. The said Washington. I asked them, ‘Do you have lighthouses along the coast in Washington?’ they said yes. ‘And do those lighthouses look like smokestacks?’”

At this point in the story I marveled at the stupidity that this woman encountered. I internally vowed that I would seek out her company and offer to buy her coffee or tea, if for no other reason than to grill her for more stories. She seemed like the kind of person that would fit right into one of my family gatherings, but then, I only met her once, so who knows?

The point is that whatever the limp wand thinks of his own self-importance, he’s just wrinkly old fart who probably has a drug addiction among other things. No amount of money that those idiots bring into town will ever be greater than the annoyance the locals have for them and knowing this gives me a little bit of solace that it is not a lost cause living in the City of Peace.

Butterbeer Comes in Threes

I was about to say bitterness. But I decided to end it on a more solid note, because the handful of reviews I’ve read about Remember Salem all involve the butter scotch soda they sell. People think it’s great that they can get butterscotch soda at Remember Salem, which would be amazing if that was the only place on Earth that they could buy it.

The Witch Museum right around the corner and Enchanted down on Derby Wharf all sell butterscotch soda. Quite a few shops probably sell it, because like the overpriced tie-in merchandise you can also find at Remember Salem (and K-mart, Walmart, Target, Hot Topic, Spencer’s Gifts, and everywhere that can order those very things from a catalog).

But if the butter scotch soda isn’t what you were hoping for, then look no further than the SAM_0923.JPG

where they will make you butterbeer from scratch, which is far more in keeping with the fictional beverage of the Harry Potter universe and only costs 2.50 for a small and 2.75 for a large.

More Information Has Come To Light

In the previous post, you read about the unpleasant encounter with the owner of Remember Salem, and his claim that I had a negative experience with one of his employees a “year ago”. You can read the actual quote in this post.

I still maintain that I have never had any sort of negative experience with any employee at Remember Salem during any of the times I have been in there. In fact, one of the most recent times I had set foot in there was during October. Anyone who has been to Salem in October knows how busy it is. I’m not the first person to have jokingly referred to Salem as the temporary capital of Massachusetts during the time of the Psychic Fair.

So it’s strange that this owner apparently remembers me in connection with a negative encounter when his and many other shops in the area are so packed full of tourists from all corners of the Earth.

However, as the title indicates, some new information has come to my attention. It’s actually something that happened close to a year ago, and it’s the only incident I can imagine this owner is referring to.

My dog was attacked last year. I documented this incident in the following post. I’ve written about at least one other incident involving an irresponsible dog owner in Salem Commons, but this particular incident was especially terrifying as actual teeth met flesh on this occasion. In this case the teeth belonged to a dog whose breed I will still not mention, as the breed has been wrongfully maligned, but I will mention by name as Athena.

Athena was poorly trained. I don’t know her entire history, before that day, only that after the incident in which she broke free of her leash and attacked Dickens, also drawing John’s blood in the process, the owner was required by law to place a muzzle on her when he was taking her for a walk as she had been deemed a dangerous dog. The owner seemed to believe that this was optional, as we encountered them several times out and about, without the required muzzle.

I refrained from documenting anything further about this incident for a few reasons. The officer who was building the case against Athena’s owner had requested that John not talk too openly about the incident while the investigation was on going. I wasn’t sure what details were safe to share on this blog, so I held back. John was also afraid of retaliation, since the owner lived so close by, so I held back out of respect to him.

Eventually, the problem took care of itself. Athena inevitably attacked at least one other person, resulting in her being put down. I want it to be clear that I don’t take any satisfaction in knowing that the dog had to be put down for her owner’s stupidity.

However, the owner of that dog, does occasionally work in downtown Salem, handing out fliers for some of the local businesses. Would any of my faithful readers care to guess which of the local businesses he handed out fliers for, last year? Yes, Remember Salem’s “Ghost Tour” was among them. And I know that Athena’s owner is on friendly terms with a number of people who work along Essex Street.SAM_0916.JPGSAM_0917

That would technically make him an employee of Remember Salem. So if the owner sees me as the reason why the dog of his irresponsible owner had to be put down, then clearly this is not a case of anything I did to threaten his business. This is the case of a man who believes, as he stated so bluntly himself, that he can do anything he wants. Including, but probably not limited to, bullying customers with the misguided notion of avenging a friend.

Where is this kind of behavior going to stop? We already had an incident involving a prominent local business owner who was a very strong and visible member of Salem’s economy, getting arrested for trafficking heroin. This person is currently sitting in jail and has been ostracized by Salem’s local psychic community. Clearly, not every single shop owner is represented by that man. But just like this drug dealer, the shop owner of Remember Salem has placed a negative mark on all of them by mistreating a member of the community.

Some may call it a bit extreme, my comparing this little man to a known drug trafficker. But I also remind you that before the police showed up, and I peacefully explained my side of the story and left the premises when the officers asked me to do so, this owner had made himself completely scarce. That’s certainly not behavior that I would expect of a legitimate business owner who has nothing to hide from the law.

This is How I’ll Remember Salem now…

No good deed goes unpunished. The customer is always right. I try to avoid clichés, which is easier than avoiding conflict. But sometimes the conflict comes to me whether I’m looking for it or not. And sometimes it finds me in the worst possible place; a place that I had no problems with in the past, but suddenly decided to have one with me.

Trolls will troll. People are going to say, “Well you must have done something.”

Because one thing bullies need is a reason to push people around. And that’s just what happened at Remember Salem, or as I once lovingly called it, The Harry Potter Store.

Allegedly, Remember Salem is the only licensed retailer of Harry Potter merchandise in the United States. I learned this from the gentleman who gave me the local discount, when I was visiting Salem whilst living in Danvers almost five years ago.

Since starting this blog, I’ve made no bones about airing my grievances. I’m not unique in this. So many bloggers do just that. Some of them even make their living doing this and really I’m just trying to make myself heard. Usually retaliation comes in the form of anonymous trolling, but every now and again a person who is in less of a position than I am to criticize will give me their “Come to Jesus” lecture, including a list of personality traits they decide that I need to alter, which they will list in an ascending order of what I assume is meant to be shame.

But I’ve never had a negative thing to say about Remember Salem, because all of my encounters with the shop have been typically pleasant.

As I said, twice, the old owner gave me the local discount on the soda, even though I hadn’t been living there for more than a couple years by that time. I bought Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews there. I bought my sister a scarf from that shop for her tenth birthday. I routinely and openly praise this shop to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

On June 8th, I went into the shop to browse. Maybe buy another bottle of Butterscotch Beer. You know, like what I’m drinking in this photo.Butterbeer

This new guy who hasn’t owned the place for that long, or if he has owned it for long, he is a far smaller oversight than the much larger gentleman who used to be owner of those two shops, walked right up to me and told me I needed to leave. The shop isn’t closed. They’re getting ready to give one of their tours. He just tells me I need to leave and I ask why.

“Because I don’t want you here.”

“Well, I’m just here to browse,” I said.

“I don’t like your presence here.”

At this point I reminded him that I’ve never stolen from them, and I’ve purchased merchandise here before. His employees were just sitting at the counter. I’ve never met either one of them and they weren’t people I was familiar with, so probably fairly new, or recently hired.

“You need to leave, or I’m calling the police,” the owner repeated.

“Okay,” I said, calmly. “Please do.”

“Get out of here right now, or I’m going to.”

“Okay,” I said. “They’re not going to arrest me right away. They’re going to get my side of the story as well as yours and you’ll have to explain to them why you want me to leave.”

This exchange goes for a while. The guy did not leave at this point. Out of nowhere he says, “A year ago you had a problem with one of my employees.”

“I don’t recall that,” I said.

“Well, now you need to go.”

I’m really trying to remember any negative encounter I’ve had with this shop. Again, the two employees at the counter are not people I recognize. This is a small shop with barely more than a few people working there in more than a week. I walk past this shop all the time.

At this point I should also point out that Essex Street has a very large portion of the transient population walking in and out of these shops. The police log is full of  reports from “undesirables” being escorted, arrested, or asked to leave properties in or around the Peabody Essex Street Mall.

So, thinking this might be a case of mistaken identity, I asked the owner, “What’s my name.”

“I don’t care what your name is,” the manager replied. “Get out of here, or I’m calling the police.

“Sir, I will gladly wait for the police.” I said.

“I’m going to kick your ass when you come out of this shop,” he muttered.

“Did you just threaten me?” I asked.

“No, I promised you. That’s what I can do in this town.”

“Well now I insist you call the police,” I said. “Because you’ve just threatened me with assault.”

About five minutes later, the manager disappeared. The employees, who remained at the counter, kept telling me they would call the police, which I now insisted they do since their boss just threatened me. The male employee said, “If you leave right now, I’ll tell the police you just left. I don’t need to know your name and I’d rather not know it.”

“Well, when the police get here,” I said. “They’re going to know my name and you will too. And after this I doubt you’ll forget it.”

The police finally showed up. I showed them my ID, which they checked. They could not find the manager either, but the employee just parroted what he was told about an alleged negative encounter with an employee.

By the way, I walk past the shop all the time. I see that scrawny little manager several times, up and down Essex Street. At no point in the past year or so that I’ve been aware of his presence has he told me to stay away from his shop. I was actually there a couple of times in October. I even brought my family in there while they were visiting the Salem area.

It’s very telling that he didn’t stick around to talk to the police. After all, he’s a Salem business owner. What does he have to hide from them? I just feel sorry for the poor employees who were left alone, while I remained on the premises, waiting for the police. I mean if I was a dangerous person, this guy just left them high and dry to deal with me.

Fortunately, in spite of what my blog trolls think, I’m not a violent and unreasonable person, as evidence by the fact that I stayed and spoke to the police, gave them my information, and left without a fuss afterward. I certainly didn’t threaten to harm the owner, as he threatened me.

Now, the real work of magic will be if anyone who reads this blog will ever set foot in that shop again.


Update: 10/7/16

According to Tim, the owner of Remember Salem, he was not aware of this incident. He believes his employees may have lied to him. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt since I certainly know what it’s like to have dishonest coworkers, however, until Salem PD advises me on how to respond to Tim’s request for more information, I am going to hold off on responding to him.

He made a friend request on Facebook. Because I don’t want him to be the victim of harassment by people on my own Facebook who may be moved by my experiences, I have refused the request.

Read his other comment here:

Beavis and Butthead: The Juxtaposition

I consider myself a reasonably cerebral person. So it probably amazes some that when I realized there were recent episodes of Beavis and Butthead, my day couldn’t have gotten better.

It was on MTV2, which we apparently have, in the morning on both Saturday and Sunday. Here’s what’s interesting about this.

“Beavis and Butthead are not role models. They’re not even human, they’re cartoons. Some of the things they do can cause a person to get hurt, expelled, arrested… possibly deported. To put it on other words, don’t try this at home.”

If you grew up in the same decade as me, you heard the voice of the man who narrated that opening crawl before every episode of Beavis and Butthead, when it aired on MTV at night, usually at around 11 PM, depending on where you lived.

They don’t do that crawl now, in the morning on a weekend, when parents have even less control over what their kids are exposed to than the late 80’s/early 90’s.

I could go on about my theories for why this is, but you tuned me out the moment I told you I watch Beavis and Butthead.