“We” vs. “They”


I read with disgust Marlene Condon’s letter [No, We Don’t Need Crozet Station, April 2009] in which she distinguishes between “city” and “country” folks, claiming those who live in developments surrounding Crozet prefer “cookie cutter” stores while “those of us who love the down-home comfy atmosphere” will only patronize Great Valu. This divisive “we” vs. “they” mentality is judgmental and arrogant and in no way reflects the true spirit of this community.

To throw in Vinegar Hill is utterly inflammatory. It is an insult to Charlottesville’s African-American community to equate the destruction of its historic neighborhood to the construction of a grocery store on vacant land.

I wonder what Ms. Condon thinks was here before Downtown Crozet was developed? And where does she imagine French-born Claudius Crozet, the ultimate “outsider,” would shop?

Pam Fitzgerald


UPDATE (May 13, 2009)
Condon’s Response:

Pam Fitzgerald’s letter (“We” vs “They”) in the May Crozet Gazette is a vicious attack upon my character which I honestly can’t understand. Her claim that my letter that appeared in April displayed a “divisive…mentality” that “is judgmental and arrogant” is simply not true.

The point of my letter was to dispute the notion that downtown Crozet needs to be redeveloped in order to compete with the new Harris Teeter, which, by the way, I was not trying to disparage. I myself have made purchases at an HT and thus I did not write that rural folks “only patronize Great Valu” but rather that many of us are not interested in regularly shopping at stores such as Harris Teeter.

As for my use of the words “city” and country”, these are nothing more nor less than descriptors to make the point that there are different kinds of people and they prefer to shop at different kinds of stores. There’s no value judgement attached; in fact, I don’t even see how describing folks as country or city could be judgmental at all.

Even the developer of the HT property, Great Eastern Management Company, recognized that there are different kinds of consumers here. To quote from The Hook (“Crozet to get new grocery– finally”, September 11, 2007): “When the company first considered adding a grocery store to Crozet…it was going to be a Food Lion, says Boninti [Andrew, of the brokerage firm that negotiated the lease]. But as Crozet’s demographics have changed with more upscale developments like Old Trail, Grayrock, and Waylands Grant, the company opted for a Harris Teeter instead.”

Was Great Eastern being judgmental when they thought a Food Lion was good enough for us before these new developments existed, or were they simply recognizing the same thing that I pointed out in my letter and using that fact to adjust their business model?

And Great Eastern’s comments support what I said about people in the new developments probably shopping in C’ville now because, according to Great Eastern, apparently even a Food Lion is not up to their standards for a grocery store. If that’s the case, then neither is a Great Valu.

My letter in the April Crozet Gazette didn’t say anything that had not been said before, nor did it say anything in the mean-spirited manner of Ms. Fitzgerald’s letter. People need to be careful when reading that they don’t unjustly transfer the thoughts in their minds to other people’s words.

Marlene A. Condon


Letters reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the Crozet Gazette.