I travel to your fair city for 14-16 days each January over the last 3 years for NAIAS. I come in with the masses for press, industry, and preview week and then stay to greet the public with the latest and greatest in the automotive industry. Your city has had a tough time over the last 20 years and I know the current economy has not helped either. But I have to say, for a city that is broke and needs a renaissance, you sure don't want my money. I don't get it. Don't you want me to spend $4 on a small hot chocolate? I was happy to pay for it, but your Starbucks at the Ren Cen had a line close to 45 minutes long. I tried to get soup and a panini in the lobby at Presto Deli by Andiamo at 6:30 PM. You told me...."Closed". That's odd...industry night went until 9 PM. I would figure that there is money to be made in the last 3 hours of the show. My hotel closed their coffee bar at 5 PM, their restaurants at 9 PM, the one place that does serve good food late won't do take out. I'm tired, I worked all day, why can't I take the food to my room? I am happy to tip the server. I know, I know, you want me to pay $18 for a small salad delivered by room service, but you didn't even offer bread with my expensive greens.
So, here's what I don't understand. NAIAS funnels millions of dollars into your city for two weeks, why aren't you trying to accommodate your visitors? Tell your staff they are going to work longer hours, extra days, make more money, and cater to the visitors to your city. Did you ever see Field of Dreams? Remember, "If you build it, he will come?" Trust me, it would work. I will happily give you my dollars. I don't mind spending a couple of extra bucks for conveniences like shorter lines at Starbucks or grabbing a soup at 9:30 PM when I get off of work. Sometimes I feel like at lot of you just quit trying to make this city shine.
While you are at it, please tell your cab drivers to stop trying to rip me off. I know how much it is from Cobo to my hotel. Don't tell me it is $5 more. I am going to only pay you what the meter says. Oh wait, you forgot to run the meter? I am still only paying the metered rate. Cab drivers are the ambassadors to any city. Just ask the Big Apple. Regulate your cabs and visitors will walk away happier and less disgruntled.
I will be back next year, and I hope to see more businesses open, your city flourishing, and a maybe a few more smiles for the guests who just want a hot meal after 12 hours at work. Come on, Detroit, I know you have it in you!
Now, not all of my experiences were bad. Here are a few gems in the Motor City that deserve my money and your money the next time you visit. They were open extra hours, or they had great customer service, or they just added something special to my trip.
Slow's.....Best St. Louis ribs not in St. Louis:
Zoom Cafe for staying open on the weekends so we had a place to eat lunch:
To The Whitney for being the most fabulous place to eat if you are a "Lady Who Lunches":
And to the pastry chef at Iridescence for making my tummy happy with my lantern dessert and to my server who offered up some great suggestions with enthusiasm and a genuine smile.
Thanks for letting me vent, Detroit. See you in 2011!