Ron Chandler argues that the arrival of such competition as Whole Foods "definitely made a difference" in the fortunes of his health food store ["Peculiar' health food store is no more," June 6, 2002].
I would counter that denial is a vitality-sapping disease. It is unfortunate that Chandler's store did not carry any products designed to fight it, else it might be clear to him that other forces contributed to demise of his establishment.
Some seven or eight years ago, I happily patronized Unlimited Vitality and shared the news of its selection and affordability with anyone and everyone. That is, until the day I turned around in one of the store's narrow aisles to see Chandler standing in a menacing pose inches from me. From our brief conversation I gathered that he was sure I was shoplifting, and my initial protest was met with a surly command to leave.
I immediately left, and I never returned.
What's more, to all those people who heard my praise of Unlimited Vitality, I recanted, and I suggested that what happened to me could easily happen to them, if they dared to enter the store.
It is often debated what evils may be visited upon a town when a mega-store opens its doors. However real those evils may be, Charlottesville is still a small town, and word gets around.
I wish Ron and Uldine Chandler every success in the larger realm of e-tailing. They will benefit from indirect customer contact. As for me, I must politely decline to patronize their website because I am sure that I, like many others, will be accused of trying to hack it.