We lived in Southern California for four years, and there were a few positives, and a whole barge-load of negatives. The best thing about it was the neighborhood we lived in. Everybody was roughly the same age, with young kids, and we all got along somehow. It was a great little community.
However, Toney and I were generally unhappy in SoCal because of other things. Our job situations, the ridiculous commute, the expensiveness of it all, the unceasing crush of humanity, the constant heat… It sucked ass, but once the workday was over, it wasn’t too bad. And so, we endured it.
One day I was sitting in yet another meeting at work, around a giant conference table in Burbank, and a director from a sister company passed me a note. What the? I looked at him, and unfolded the piece of paper. It said, “Would you ever consider moving to PA?” I gave him the international sign for call me, and before I knew it… we were preparing to move our family to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The company offered to fly us out here, and put us up for a few days, and I told them it wasn’t necessary. We’d take it, sight unseen. I just wanted to get back to the east coast, normal weather, and a sane cost of living. Plus, I was getting a $20K raise! Shit man, I didn’t need to see it. Just sign me up.
We sold our house in Canyon Country, CA for a nice little profit, and I came out here a few weeks early to start looking for a place to live. I hooked up with a real estate agent I found online, and she was sweet and friendly.
But she said some things in our initial consultation that surprised me. She told me we’d probably want to focus our search on a certain town, where most of the transplants end up. I asked her why, and she said some of the people around here are not exactly welcoming to “outsiders.” Most of these towns are full of families who have lived there for generations, she told me, and they can be quite “cold and cruel” to people they don’t know.
Holy shit, I thought. Cruel? What were we getting ourselves into? I told her to only show us houses in the town she suggested — it had the highest rated schools, anyway — and we’d try to avoid the shunning, or whatever.
Within a few days I’d found a perfect house for us. It was on a level lot, was the right size and price, and had been well-maintained. As I toured it with my agent, the owner asked me a lot of questions. He had a thick-ass NEPA accent, and used unknown phrases like “cuppa two tree.” But I was excited about the house, and was willing to endure the grilling. I was nothing but friendly to the guy.
I returned a few days later, and took a bunch of photos. I emailed them to Toney in California, and we agreed we should move on it. It was perfect, and we didn’t want it to get away from us.
They were asking $150K, and I didn’t even negotiate. I offered them the asking price, pending an inspection.
And the guy rejected my offer! I couldn’t believe it. I asked the agent for an explanation, and she clearly didn’t want to go into it. “Let’s just keep looking,” she said.
But that wasn’t going to pacify me. I wanted to know what in the pan-fried hell was going on, and told her I was going to speak with the owner directly. She acted alarmed and said that wouldn’t be a good idea (WTF??), and finally admitted he didn’t want to sell to an outsider. I stood there and blinked about fifty times, as I considered this insanity. And we were in the town where this stuff wasn’t supposed to happen! What must it be like in other places?
“Let’s just keep looking,” she repeated.
“Is that even legal?!” I sputtered.
“Do you really want to go down that road?” she asked.
It didn’t take long for us to find an acceptable house owned by people who didn’t give a crap where we were from. And we still live there today.
And that first house? It eventually sold, too. For $145K! Five thousand less than what we offered. Have you ever heard of anything so crazy? It’s been 13 years, and it still makes me shake my head in amazement.
Have you ever encountered such a thing? Anything similar? What are your thoughts on this wacked-out tale? Use the comments section below.
And I’ll see you guys again tomorrow.
Have a great day!
Now playing in the bunker
Use the Surf Report’s webhost: HostGator!
Root 66 says
Maybe the seller caught wind of Toney’s relatives…I wouldn’t want to do that to my neighbors, either! 🙂
I bid on a house a few years back and got it with second highest bid because the owners wanted to sell to LDS only.
Lucie In Tampa says
I live not too far from you Jeff and I know exactly what you are talking about.
Having lived on the southern side of Wilkes-Barre, I don’t doubt that this happened. The amazing thing is that it only took you TWO house/owners to find one that didn’t have a pole up his ass about whom was buying. If you had been a racial minority there would have been all kinds of crap over what that owner did, but being from outside PA is not a protected class of citizen.
I just wonder which was the reason he didn’t want you living in HIS house….either he thought you were a West Coast Hipster OR a WV Hillbilly. lol
We didn’t encounter the scenario you did when trying to buy here(because the house we choose, the folks had moved back to Iowa 2 years BEFORE and they were desperate to unload this abode!)but ever since moving in we’ve experienced being shunned. I say screw ’em all!! 😉
My ex and I experienced a similar thing when we moved to Lexington, KY. The odd part was the homeowners were from Ohio. They asked for all kinds of proof of employment, wanted us to only accept the offer of the relocation company for our house in Maryland. It was just plain weird.
Since living here though, it is probably better than if we tried to by a house from a native Kentuckian.
Pfft, try sounding like Hugh Grant and see the looks that gets you!
A friend of mine ran into that repeatedly in SWPA…one after another owners decided that they didn’t want to sell when they found out she was an outsider.
Small towns, small minds. We were lucky, been here in NWPA 30 some years, but I’ve seen people who didn’t last 2 or 3 years because of local attitudes. Being a Flatlander around here is the death knell. We happened to meet a few good people in the beginning, and were welcomed. But you don’t come into this town expecting them to give you anything. You have to earn it, by their standards, and it isn’t always an easy thing to do. We wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, and though there were a few rough years, it was worth it.
What the ever loving fuck? Thats just plain nuts. God damn ignorant idiots…
What Alex said.
I can’t even imagine that happening. And I would think the broker could lose his/her license for allowing an owner to reject asking price unless there was a higher offer.
When I was about 5 years old I was hospitalized for a serious illness. We’d been in our home for about a year.
Most of the neighbors sent little gifts to the hospital. Our next door neighbor took my father aside and told him that if we needed money to send me anywhere in the country for treatment that he and the other members of his church would cover it.
I’ve been blessed with some great neighbors ever since, no matter where I’ve lived.
Come over to SE Michigan is the moral I guess, if you’re looking for neighborly neighbors.
Skippy in WV says
The best thing that could happen to Michigan is to sign it over to Canada then for ALL of it to fall into the lakes. Just sayin.
Wow. Thanks for that well reasoned opinion.
I used to work in WV from time to time. It’s a very pretty state, and I always enjoyed driving through in the fall especially.
I thought the MTV redneck show (the name escapes me) did the state and people of WV a disservice, playing into some unfortunate stereotypes.
In addition I always found the people there to be very friendly both personally and professionally.
I guess I’ll just consider you the exception that proves the rule.
Have a great day.
I happen to love Michigan! I would move there in a heartbeat if I could find a job like I have here in Ohio. It is beautiful with pure air and lake Michigan is better than the ocean!
Lucie In Tampa says
Man I was thinking of moving to PA in a few years, My company has a branch up there in Carlisle. I am over living in Florida. I will miss the great amount of fun things there are to do all the time. Great Concerts come here too.. I hate the Humid heat though… maybe I should reconsider?
Billy Joel says
I experienced the same damn thing living in western MD for a few years back about ten years ago. The locals have an extremely hostile attitude towards any outsiders. The entire central Appalachian region might very well have this trait in common.
That’s fucked up right there.
And also, I recall Pennsylvania’s “welcome” sign being a silhouette of a cop with a radar gun, with a list of traffic fines underneath. Real friendly-like.
Pittsburgh has been voted “The Most Livable City” many times due to schools, medical care, affordable housing, arts, night life, sports and employment opportunities. But no one can convince me it’s the friendliest place to live. When my father moved us here, I was in 6th grade. School was torture all the way through high school because I was always an outsider. Pittsburgh is one of the most clique-ish towns around. I don’t give a shit what anyone says. It’s true. I can totally see that happening to Jeff. It also amazes me how many poeple that have never traveled any further than their respective neighborhoods. Families live within blocks of each other their whole lives.
THIS! I’ve been here since 2006 and I’m definitely still an outsider, despite being Pennsylvanian by birth. Pittsburgh is the only place I’ve ever lived where I caught flak for my Philly accent. And then there’s that further micro-regionalism via neighborhood, i.e., North Hills vs. South Hills, everyone against Monroeville, etc. Yinzers never traveling further than their respective neighborhoods, SO true. They won’t even go to a nice restaurant if it’s more than 10 minutes away or if, gawd forbid, there’s a bridge to cross! The fuck?!
Skippy in WV says
My sister lived in Plum for a couple of years and informed me of the flack she caught from locals oveer being “an outsider”. I always thought she was just being the overdramatic person she really is, but I went to visit one time and being unfamiliar with PA laws on alcohol, such as a non-resident is, when I inquired as to the location of cases of beer the guy working the register looked at me as if I were from Mars. Then proceded to belittle me infront of a Sheetz store full of customers. When I went to a bar to get a case I had to but four 6-packs. One of the most ridiculous laws by the way. Even though they are well into WV by now, that was and will be my first and last Sheetz experience.
Sounds like it was a really Sheety time…
Rat Bastard says
Thirded, if that is a word. I just moved across town after being in the Southside for over 10 years because it was turning into year-round Bourbon Street. Now I’m in Larryville, and I think that out of our entire block, we are some of the only “new” people that have moved in within several years. Generations of these families have lived in the same houses, and they were looking at us as if we were going to burn down the whole block, watching out of their windows, etc. I though we had escaped the dreaded Southside parking chair (in mid-summer, mind you) but no — some old hag up the block uses one year round, and another white trash family painted their own “Handicap” space out on the street using white house paint. PGH can be really weird at times.
Did they say anythings about gargoyles???
Skippy in WV says
Dirty Frank says
This is a completely unrelated question but i haven’t been around for a while. What the heck happened to Charlie West? Was that it? The little guy that used to be on the side of your site in the hilarious little one liner comics. Where did that guy even come from? Is there somewhere i can go find him?
Bill in WV says
Charlie West was a daily front-page comic in the Charleston Daily Mail, up until around the 1990’s, then they discontinued it. I agree, Jeff needs to add that little feller back to the site.
WV Bumblebee says
Charlie West had to be the first politically incorrect cartoon we ever had!
I always looked at Charlie West, Love Is and my horoscope, lol
Wow, I’d completely forgotten about Love Is. Does it get the prize for Strangest Newspaper Comic? It’s definitely in the running.
He got put away for killing that Hippie back in the 70s. Never post your dirty laundry on the internet!
Killing hippies is illegal?
“metten? That’s not Dutch is it?” “Huh? Um, no…it’s German.” “Really? What church do you guys go to?” “Um…we’re really not all that religious….” “Well it’s been nice talking to you.”
That was about 7 out of every 10 conversations I had when living in NW Iowa.
Church of Deez Nuts.
And people think Southerners are weird.
Are they mistaken? Just wondering.
Miss Q says
They are not. Mistaken, that is.
Ok, yes, weird, but usually in an entertaining way. There’s still comments about the difference between Yankees and Damn Yankees (the damned variety are the ones that come to stay), but we’re overall pretty friendly.
Root 66 says
C’mon over to Columbus, Ohio! All are welcome!! I’ve never heard of such strange practices as this. When we moved here over thirty years ago, I don’t recall any of this shunning and xenophobia that y’all are talking about. Maybe we were so boring that nobody cared…or perhaps the government witness protection program is extremely effective!
I grew up next to an Air Force base, so people came and went all the time. We were always meeting new folks and many of them came from some really strange and exotic places. It was actually kind of cool. Many of my friends growing up were born in places like Guam, Japan, Germany, and the Philippines.
I honestly love it here in Columbus! I think it’s great to go to the grocery store and see a ton of different people from different cultures.
And the restaurant variety… so cool!
Root 66 says
Columbus probably has more restaurants per capita than any city in America. You could eat at a different place every day and almost never run out of variety! We’ve got it all: Mexican; Chinese; Japanese; Thai; Vietnamese; Ethiopian; Brazilian; German; Italian; and let’s not forget my personal favorite–greasy-spoon diners!
WB in OH says
Are their any Damon’s left in Columbus?
Root 66 says
I think the closest one is in Newark, Ohio (pronounced “Ne’rk” by the locals!)
WB in OH says
Those things used be everywhere, I don’t think too many are left. I haven’t been to C’bus in a few years, I’m sure the dining options are unbelievable.
We may be spending saturday in columbus. Any recommendations?
Root 66 says
Schmidt’s, Thurman’s or Katzinger’s are all good choices. They’re also close to downtown in German Village.
I will forewarn you, Thurmans is STUPID busy on the weekends. The nice part is, if you don’t mind doing take out they have a new part of the restaurant right next door that will make you a burger and you can take it home.
If you need some more ideas: http://www.columbusalive.com/content/topic/best-of-columbus/2013.html
We’re looking for a house in Rhode island but I’m starting to reconsider becuse they HATE new Yorkers. I mean HATE. First visit, we pull in to get gas and some over rouged tartlet tried pulling up to the same pump even though we were clearly there first. She had to pull around and as she started pumping she gave Beloved a death stare and said “You know, you aren’t in New YAHK anymore” He would have told the bitch to F off but she was a known local.
Flash forward to the second visit. I had my blinker on to go into a strip mall. Some dude that eerily resembled “Quint” from Jaws waved me on and as I started to go, the fucker floored it and roared past me.
Wait until they hear me speak with my heavy Bronx accent. Oh this should be good.
The closest thing like that I’ve experienced was at a Dairy Queen in Fort Stockton, TX.
Here’s how I remember the conversation going:
Me: “Hi. I’d like a chicken strip basket meal.”
Townie with no shoes wearing on a set of coveralls and chewing on a piece of straw: “We’re all out of that.”
“You’re all out of chicken?”
“Yeah, we don’t have any chicken left.”
“Okay. Can I have a double cheeseburger meal.”
“We’re all out of that too.”
“You are all out of hamburgers?”
“We’re all out of everything. If you leave now you won’t miss much.”
The DC area sucks in many ways, but one of the good things is that a very large percentage of people here are “outsiders” – recent immigrants either to the region or to the US – so people are generally not so clannish and provincial as in some other places. I’ve heard it said that in Vermont, you’re still a newcomer if your family has only been there a mere five generations.
Regarding those recent immigrants to the US, I’ve long suspected that some came to DC by mistake, thinking the nation’s capital would be the cultural and economic center the way it is in most countries. I figure that if they knew better, they would have gone to New York.
Completely off subject, so I apologize ahead of time, but I’m going to Charleston SC next week. Is anyone familiar with it? Where to eat/drink, things to see?
They probably don’t like outsiders there.
Miss Q says
Love Charleston. Love it.
Eat: Cru Cafe. Make a reservation. Get the mac’n’cheese.
Drink: the Gryphon. Nicely poured nightcaps and friendly bartenders. At least, that was our experience.
See: take the ferry to the Fort. You won’t be disappointed. Also, this time of year, the shark fishing is pretty good, if the weather will let you get out on the water.
Buy (I know you didn’t ask, but still…): a sweetgrass basket. There’s a woman who sets up shop across from the HarborView Inn, named Trudy. She’s awesome. The baskets are a bit pricey, but talk to her for 20 minutes and you won’t mind paying for one.
Billy Joel says
Eat at the Hominy Grill for some southern comfort food.
I’ve lived a lot of places. OKC proper was pretty accepting but the burbs not so much. Nobody in Atlanta was actually from atlanta so they were cool, same with most of St. Louis and the ones who were from there were some of the best people I’ve ever met.
Cincinnati can be a little cliquey and I’m in a suburb of cleveland now which is kind of white trash cliquey.
Swami Balogna says
Only one update this week? I want my money back.
I seriously need a pick-me-up. If Jeff is MIA, someone tell a joke or something!!
See, Jeff, we are always watching! 😉
Two peanuts was walkin down the street, and one was assaulted. Peanut.
If Lady Gaga married John Rzeznik, she’d be Lady Gaga Goo Goo. Just saying.
Hahaha! So worth the price of admission! Keep ’em coming!
This one is from my mom, who is still just on the candy-coated side of 80: “Chinese guy goes to the eye doctor. After the exam, the doc says, ‘Well, sir, I’m afraid you have a cataract.’ To which the reply comes, ‘Oh no, not true! I drive Rincoln!'”
I’ll just be damned if I can figure out which side of 80 is candy-coated. I wish your mom well in either case.