Sam Burnham, Curator
Over on our Instagram and Facebook pages, I posted a story with a James Oglethorpe Quote. Oglethorpe was, of course, the founder of the colony of Georgia having secured a charter from the king, sailing with a group of settler to present day Savannah, establishing friendly ties with the native Yamacraw, and fighting the Spanish for the security of the colony.
Since the stories on social media only consist of a picture, a quote, and a hashtag, I thought I should expand on the quote just a bit.
"If we allow slaves, we act against the very principles by which we associated together, which was to relieve the distressed." - James Oglethorpe
Oglethorpe had a plan for Georgia before he ever sought out the charter. He wanted a land based on hope and Christian charity. The idea that Georgia was a prison colony is erroneous. The original settlers were not criminals by our modern interpretation. The original settlers were indebted in Britain and came to Georgia for a chance at a new life. This meant the first Georgians were seeking an escape from bondage. Therefore it was essential to Oglethorpe that the new colony did not use an even more brutal form of bondage in order to free people from their debts.
The new colony was to be based in the idea of personal enterprise. No large plantations would be allowed. Businesses would be small family operations. Lawyers were also prohibited. Georgia stood in juxtaposition to its neighbor, South Carolina, which was a haven of big plantations and big money. That difference would eventually be the downfall of Georgia's original plan as greed and competition overrode the founding principles and led to slavery in the colony.
When we talk about the small things - small towns, small businesses, small family farms, we aren't just enjoying an abstract daydream. We are discussing the very principles that our state was founded on. While Columbia, Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson, and New Orleans may run the Deep South, it is still dependent on places like Due West, Talking Rock, Smut Eye, Iuka, and Lafitte. Our celebration of the small things is an attempt to draw attention back to the basic, the intended, the original.
Sam Burnham, Curator
So we went back to Ate Track beneath the bridge in downtown Cartersville. We just love the atmosphere in this quirky restaurant. We were looking for a quick bite while in Cartersville and this is one of our favorites.
Ate Track is decked out in so many signs and logos that I remember from the electronics store in the mall, windows of roadside bars, television commercials, and restaurants I remember visiting as a kid. It is like a museum of retro pop culture and it has the music to match. Pabst, Hamms. Stroh's, Old Milwaukee, JVC, and Panasonic. It's so retro you expect Johnny Bench to come up to bat in that ballgame.
There is an entire corner of old Schlitz logos and ads. They even have one in Spanish, complete with the 1970s mustache on the face of the hero. Old furnishings and decor team up to send you back to the Carter Administration.
Yes, that is a television. Yes it has rabbit ears...and a handle. Could they interest you in a Blatz or a Falstaff? Olympia?
Sam Burnham, Curator
I was listening to the radio the other day. I do that often. If you've followed this site or our social media accounts, you know I'm a public radio nerd. And I'm not a freeloader, I'm a member. They cover a lot of stories and topics that you'll not see other places, especially on cable TV news. And it is precisely one of those topics that brought about this story.
The story was on these new online shopping sites that buy products directly from the manufacturer and offer ridiculously low prices. It's kinda like the old guy with the awesome baseball card booth at the Collinsville Trade Day back in the 80's. Nolan Ryan rookie card for half the Beckett Monthly listed value? Yes sir, I'll take two. But instead of a baby faced version of the Big Tex Express, you're more likely buying a dress, or a smart watch, or a lawnmower part.
Here's the catch. Many of the products are manufactured overseas, mostly China. While the Chinese factories can pump out smart watches that cost the same as a regular watch, you wind up breaking even because that's pretty much how it works. Maybe the tan dress you ordered arrives three weeks late and it is hot pink. But maybe you get exactly what you needed and the price is fantastic. But maybe it doesn't work that way at all. Then you have to try to track down some factory in Hunan Province that you can't even pronounce and try to get a refund. And the guy on the other end of the line isn't at all impressed when you sling the "just how big a boy are ya?" line at him. He knows you're not coming to Hunan to put knucklebumps on his forehead. Again, it's a dice roll, a risk, buyer beware.
And then it happened. A caller gets through and asks that most asinine of questions. "Is there any proposed regulation of this industry? Will there be any more consumer protections?" Really. They are already in place. It's called go to the store and buy from a person who lives in your town. It's called have a human interaction with a clerk who knows the product and can put it in your hands so you can judge the quality, color, size, condition. It is called common sense and buyer beware. It's called if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Why is it that everything has to be regulated? Why must the government always be called us in to protect us from our own lack of judgement? Buying online is a gamble and we all know that. Part of the low price is due to a lack of overhead and regulation. If you want a sure thing and decent customer service, you have to pay for it. If you need the government to regulate the online Chinese import market for you, you probably don't need to be out running around unsupervised anyway.
That's enough of a rant for now. I just got a new book from...*squints*...Snake Nation. Off to go read some so I can write some more for y'all. Y'all keep it between the ditches.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire