1. Ties that Bind
A single vote tipped Sonoma’s City Council to ban “chain stores” on the historic Sonoma Plaza. This begs the question, “What’s next, whip stores?” Seeing as whips and chains are paired in the popular imagination as frequently as wine and cheese, it stands to reason that the council would soon follow their Puritanical purge with a similar ban on not only whips, but cat-o-nine-tails and riding crops as well.
Clearly, what this amounts to is wholesale prejudice against the Valley’s Bondage, Domination and Sado-Masochism community. Statistically speaking, one out of five adults have introduced pain and pleasure at the precipice of a blushing buttock, which would theoretically make one of the dissenting voters a hypocrite – or two of the non-dissenting votes totally bummed. And by bummed I mean “having experienced a bummer” not a spanking (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
How does the Sonoma City Council expect Sonoma’s practitioners of BDSM to outfit their dungeons if they can’t proudly stroll into a chain store on the Plaza and say, “Please sell me 15 feet of our finest, stainless steel link, for I am having an adult party, sir.” By blockading the sale of chains to responsible, consenting adults, the council is effectively sending that business elsewhere, or worse, to the Springs, which, is presently the only place in a five-mile radius where one can still buy chaps since the so-called Plaza “western wear” ban of 1974.
Chain stores and the chains they sell are what bond us together as a community. And to the wall.
2. The Weakest Link
Sonoma’s City Council has spoken. There shall be no chain stores on the historic Sonoma Plaza. Except for Ben & Jerry’s. Yes, Ben & Jerry’s is a chain store. Yes, it’s on the Plaza. And, yes, according to a call I put into their customer service line, it has more than 300 “scoop shops” nationwide and an additional 500 globally. This far exceeds the 250 stores that the council uses to qualify a chain as a “large-scale formula business,” which it forbids. Will anyone grumble about Ben & Jerry’s? No. Why, because it’s ice cream? No. Because they’re owned by Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch multinational corporation with enough legal and financial firepower to turn the historic Sonoma Plaza into the “Unilever ‘Don’t Fuck with Us’ Plaza” inside of two phone calls – the first to the city attorney and the second to thank me for the idea.
3. Chains of Love (and hyphens)
You married into our fine burg, you hitched your name to ours, then you took our Wine Country culture right out the kitchen door and skipped town. You broke our collective heart Williams-Sonoma. And now you want to come back? Well, you listen here buster, you can’t just waltz back into our lives after setting up shop with every strip mall in every town east of Napa and expect us to just jump back in bed with you. We’re not that naïve, small town you took advantage of anymore. We’ve got a city council and majority vote that says you’re going to have to get a “special use permit” to even come near our Plaza. And this time we’ll be doing the special using, Williams-Sonoma. By the way, remember Sur La Table? Yeah, well, we’ve been talking too. And Sur La Table speaks French, not B.S. like you … Oh, Billy-S. Don’t look at us like that. You know we can’t resist your coy smile and promise of a “flagship store.” Oh, Billy-S, why did you ever leave? We love you, Williams-Sonoma. We love you and we never stopped loving you … Take us – now!