November 20, 2012 in Features

The Slice: If they don’t like it, they can leave

By The Spokesman-Review

Often this is the day on the calendar when The Slice offers tips on how to impress Thanksgiving visitors from out of town.

It has become an almost annual civic pride project.

But you know what? The heck with it.

If somebody from far away doesn’t like Spokane or Coeur d’Alene, he or she can lump it.

Now don’t misunderstand. I am not suggesting that anyone here should fail to be a courteous, attentive host. I’m just saying that I can no longer, in good conscience, advocate doing back-flips to wow out-of-towners.

Sure, I want people from Wisconsin and Colorado to move nonpolluting businesses here. I want conventions to come. And I’m all for thumbs-up word-of-mouth about Spokane going viral.

But here’s the thing. Some people, fairly or unfairly, are simply not going to be impressed with Spokane. Doing a happy dance in front of them won’t change that.

I don’t even think this always has much to do with the city’s real pros and cons. It’s just inevitable that there are those who won’t take a shine to Spokane.

That’s their right. It’s our right to not give a rip.

Maybe I’ve just gotten old and tired. But my interest in the verdict of people who have spent 36 hours here isn’t what it used to be.

But don’t take this as the last gasp of a defeated booster. It’s not.

As it happens, lots of visitors think Spokane is swell. I don’t expect that to change.

And those who don’t feel that way? Well, everyone has an opinion.

Let’s be secure enough to live with the fact that Spokane is not everyone’s idea of a great place.

I used to hope some of those skeptics could be talked out of their positions. Now I just think, what’s the point?

Also, let’s not forget that some people who don’t dig Spokane might be hilariously flawed individuals. That happens.

So here’s my advice about impressing visitors.

Relax. Be yourself. Tout our winning attributes, certainly. But be honest about our myriad shortcomings. Fire away.

Who knows. Maybe that’s what would really impress our Thanksgiving guests.

Today’s Slice question: If you were in charge of Spokane International Airport, what would you change?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If you have read all 3,650 Slice Blog posts at, I hope you haven’t done the math on what else you could have done with that time.

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