In my mind, when someone moves to St. Louis a scene from ‘Where the Heart Is’ would play out. Only in the sense that you get a welcome like you have lived here all your life, not the have your baby in the Walmart because you have nowhere else to live sense. I hear complaints all the time that in order for people to be successful they have to leave St. Louis…but maybe we run them out? Is that a fair question?
I recently read a post where a “new” St. Louisan didn’t feel like this was her home until she had lived here 16 years. Folks, that is 15 1/2 years toooo long. Why would anyone want to move here or stay here if they never feel embraced by the city?
I am technically from Southern Illinois but have felt a similar coldness since moving to St. Louis. Not only the ‘where did you go to high school’ questions. I have noticed that many bars and restaurants have regulars that they treat really well but when someone new comes in, suddenly everyone stops, stares, and then becomes completely uninterested in the newcomer. Now, I appreciate that not everyone is the type of person to jump up and start conversations with new people but maybe crack a smile?
A good example is a deli near my house that has great sandwiches and deli meats – a really nice neighborhood place. From the moment you walk in you can tell who the new people are. They look incredibly confused and uncomfortable and everyone around them is avoiding eye contact and completely ignoring the fact that they might need a little help to make them feel more comfortable with the new space – it can be overwhelming. And the sad news, I have seen people ask questions (or accidentally mess up the process) and they get poor service because they don’t know what they are doing. How are they supposed to know if no one will help (employees or customers)? When you ask questions that should be a sign that you need help not that you should be treated poorly. The worst part? The owner is just as bad – he completely ignores new customers and only attends to the regulars or people he knows. Total turn off.
This is just one example but I am guessing not the only one. I am not saying this is everywhere as I have certainly been places that I felt welcome in St. Louis. However, I have found that generally when I feel comfortable in a new place it’s because a “regular” took me there so I was accepted by the rest of the clan.
Either way, we need to work on our people skills St. Louis!
What can we do to create the proverbial welcome wagon and make people feel at home in St. Louis? Are we all talk or do we really want new people to live here?Brought to you by Mills Properties