Unlearn Everything: Spending in EC

This petty edition is warranted

More stories from Sabrina Ftouhi

Unlearn Everything
November 1, 2023

Photo by Submitted

I’ve lived in Eau Claire for four years now, and I’ve always been adventurous when it comes to spending money. I’m a sucker for restaurant food and material items. 

Nevertheless, I would say I’m qualified to tell you the best places to spend some coin, but I’m going to tell you places to stay away from instead.

Before going into detail, I am merely writing about my experience at these establishments, you can take what I say with a grain of salt.

First on the docket would have to be The Broom and Crow. I actually do like shopping here, but the establishment could really do better. 

The Broom and Crow is a safe space for the queer community, I’m not so sure it caters as well to POC communities though. Whenever I’ve gone there I can’t help but be underwhelmed by the paper-thin African spirituality section.

I once bought a tarot card deck that was dedicated to African deities, or Orishas. To my disappointment, the deities and characters were drawn so light or white that I became confused. 

I have a poster of Orisha Yemaya hanging in my room. She is a beautiful goddess with dark skin and the artist made her look like Jennifer Lopez.   

When I searched the author and illustrator’s names, they were both white. The owner of this store told me personally how they are an ally and want to be socially conscious. You’d think some more thought would go into the African spirituality section.

There’s also no POC staff that I’ve seen. I remember going into the store with another black person, and the cashier was following her around, and always kept an eye on her.

White people in the LGBTQ community aren’t excused from being racist.

Speaking of racism, if you are looking for a good burger and some ice cream, don’t go to Roadside Diner. I had heard from POC classmates that the owners were racist and It didn’t surprise me considering some of the clientele and the neighboring establishments.

I’ve never eaten here, but word of mouth and my experience with them as a delivery driver doesn’t give me any desire to. Whenever I would have to pick up an order for delivery, the owner would make me wait in the drive-through for twenty minutes and would always ask me how far I had to drive.

I suppose it’s a harmless question, but the man’s vibe was overbearing. The guy looks like a beardless Frank Gallagher, and I’ve seen him eat food right in the middle of the kitchen, being no help at all.

One time I was late picking up a delivery from Roadside, and the owner came to the driveway and began yelling at me about being late. All I needed was for him to hand me the order so I could be on my way. Instead, we got into a heated verbal exchange because this childish man thought he could lecture me like I’m his employee or daughter.

Roadside Diner also sells rock-hard overpriced sundaes in grocery stores, I wish Kitchen Nightmares wasn’t canceled.

Last and probably the least, Cabin Coffee. 

When I worked at TJ Maxx the majority of our Karens came into the store with a Cabin Coffee cup in hand. They were freshly caffeinated and ready to discriminate. One of them literally approached me and told me to keep an eye on some “suspicious” Black boys. 

My one and only attempt to purchase something resulted in me waiting almost a half hour until I decided to just leave.  I then found out this establishment is owned by a retired cop, with Karen’s as the main clientele. I am proud to say I’ve never spent a dime at this place. 

The only reason I know so much is through a roommate and friends who’ve experienced what it’s like to work there.

The icing on the cake is when I left a review of my negative experience, the owners threatened to take legal action against me. Good luck trying to sue me for my opinion.

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected]