I’ve had a lot of time to think about the situation at Fleet Feet (Maine Running Co.) the last couple of days but to be honest, I had really lost interest by the time the owner, John, gave me a call this afternoon. Lost interest meaning, I was no longer compelled to feel angry or be bitter. I was just over it. I can run anywhere, anytime. I don’t need a group to get me out there. And again, I’m already blessed with more running partners than a girl could ever ask for. As well as a fabulous Saturday morning group. But I do feel compelled to throw something out there after my conversation with John as he was very genuine and forthcoming. It seems to me if his employees would have included him in the first place, things would have never gotten this out of hand. John made a really great point: his brand has never dealt with this before. This situation is a first and his store wasn’t quite ready. There were no procedures in place. Obviously, this will be a teaching tool for his staff as well as his store on what steps need to be in place for people joining running groups with pre-existing conditions. I’m sure some people may say “the man” got to me but I’m not a stupid gal, I think (or at least I hope) I know better than that. He seemed really apologetic. And I tried to explain something to him: my WHOLE damn life, I’ve been told I can’t run. This hit a nerve. It wounded me deep. So to me, I needed some backlash to come his way. But John can’t help that he hired one dummy employee who seems to think mouthing off is the way to deal with an irate, emotionally bothered customer.
I’ve always love Maine Running Company, since the moment I moved to Maine. It felt like home the second I walked in there. I think when you really love something, it hurts way more when you think you can’t be part of it. I’m a reactor. Always have been. But I really can’t hide the truth, this is a place I enjoy. I feel a surge of happiness whenever I’m ready for my new shoes and I get to go visit. I love that I can show the staff my nasty feet and they’re like: cool, here are the shoes you need to fix that. I love that I go in there to pick up my bib numbers and that I am always greeted by faces I know and love. It’s a community store and I love it. After speaking with John, I realize I can’t turn my back on this place just because of one asshole. And perhaps someday when I see Denise, I can sit her down and explain to her how the world actually works. It would do her a lot of good.
I don’t want anyone boycotting this brand. They are indeed, still local. Sometimes local owners need to make moves to secure their brand and their future. There is nothing wrong with that. What’s the alternative? Shrivelling up and going away? Becoming old news? I encourage all my friends, runners and readers to continue to trust this brand. I believe that there is a person behind the brand who always wants to do the right thing. My conversation with John restored my faith. And so, I will go there and purchase my brand spanking new shiny Garmin, as my old one broke this weekend. I will continue to provide them my business until they give me a reason not to. You should as well.
Thanks for all the support that has come my way. I think ultimately, everything works out for a reason. I’ll be strong in Boston no matter what.