The Vegetarian and the Butcher

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

What happens when a vegetarian Sox fan from the city walks into a northern Indiana butcher shop run by a meat-cleaver-wielding owner decked out in Cubs gear?

The answer, of course, is commerce. 

Visiting a local butcher in Michigan City this weekend, my husband and I stopped in to purchase some high-quality steaks for a dinner party.  We engaged in friendly banter, as Sox fans we congratulated the Cubs fan, and we admitted that, yes, we were here from Illinois just for the weekend as we selected some choice cuts of meat.  It was all very pleasant.

Until… the owner offered us samples of his signature house-cured beef jerky, which I had to decline because of the whole vegetarian thing. "Then who the bleep is going to eat these two beautiful steaks?" he demanded.  I suppose I pushed his tolerance as far as it could go.  My husband stepped in to rescue the proffered jerky sample while I assured him that our carnivorous good friends were on their way and looking forward to grilling out.

Tension slightly eased, we were able to make our purchase and leave on polite terms.  He probably is still shaking his head, but he did make a nice sale and we left happy customers.

Business is like that.  Customer service means serving all reasonable customers.  You manage through differences and celebrate common ground, working to complete transactions and move forward. 

The story resonates because recent politics suggest we cannot get along and cannot achieve anything together.  If you are reading this in print, then you know the election results.  Politics at the local, state and national level have underscored (exacerbated?) clear differences of opinion amongst us.  Our system by its structure has been divisive rather than collaborative, emphasizing a choice of one side over the other.  Winners and losers.

A candidate loses an election.  A community does not lose.  A referendum may pass or fail.  But society wins regardless.  Whatever the outcomes, it is time to start the process of rebuilding relationships and working towards common goals.  Even when – or especially when – we cannot begin to understand the other side.

Email: Twitter: @OPRFChamber

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments