About Cracker Barrel Restaurents

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My fiancee loves the Cracker Barrel restaurants. Last week we went to Kentucky to introduce each other to our respective families and friends. Since Kentucky is rife with the Cracker Barrel places, we ate there a couple times. We also ate at one in Albuquerque NM last year.

The food is pretty good and well done. What I find "interesting" is the atmosphere and some of the details.

First, every one of the restaurants we visited have been exactly the same. The same layout, the same decorations, the same paraphernalia in the gift shop area in the front, etc. What, they don't allow for local variations? Country folk in New Mexico are very different from the country folk in Kentucky. Why not use localized country paraphernalia?

The second thing I've noticed is even more astonishing. Most of the doodads in the gift shop area were made in China or Thailand or whatnot. So, let me first explain the gift shop area of the store.

The first area you enter in a Cracker Barrel is the "gift shop" area. It's a largeish room with a bunch of stuff, toys, clothing, funky gifts, music, cards, etc. The stuff seems geared towards gift ideas. Further, the general theme is "Country", as is the whole Cracker Barrel experience.

The whole experience of those restaurants is the olde timey southern U.S. style of country living. This stereotype is embedded in every aspect of the stores.

So what astonished me was -- here's this store extolling that stereotype so strongly, and so just what are they doing selling stuff made in China?

And, please spare me the global economics lecture. I know very well that getting the stuff made in China is a lot cheaper. That's not the point.

The point is that Cracker Barrel is being very hypocritical to extoll that stereotype so thoroughly, yet not support the people from whom they stole the stereotype.