We’ve all heard the cultural reference by now: “What a Karen!” I don’t think the meaning needs explanation any longer, except to note that the “I want to speak to the manager!” customer in question need not be a woman, and need not be named Karen (in fact, I know a very nice woman named Karen myself). But if “Karen” culture is so common that we can reference it nationwide with a single word, it’s got to be a bigger problem than just a certain personality. Where did all the Karens come from and how did it become so widespread?
The answer is that corporate America created its own demons.
It started with the mantra “the customer is always right,” a marketing tactic dating as far back as 1909 that has since been adopted by many a retail giant. Though much has been written about the inherent problems in this idea, it has endured now for over a century, weaving its insidious lessons deep into society. It created an army of entitled consumers who now firmly believe that every business exists solely to cater to their every whim. We demand perfection; we demand instant gratification… and when the business fails to live up to any number of these impossible standards, they ought to be vilified.
...The original idea was to assure customers they would be well-treated, and it was valuable in a time where consumers didn’t have the power they do today. But it has since warped into something completely different and a little ugly. Business have come to fear the Karen so much that they fall all over themselves to please them. Over-the-top apologies accompanied by a pile of freebies became the new norm for even the slightest of mishaps. Consumers have come to expect it.
This tyrannical relationship contributes to an elevated sense of power and importance on the part of the consumer. It fuels the ill-treatment of waiters, fast food workers, or generally any customer service employee who stands in the way of whatever they want. Ironically, individual customers are in fact powerful and important to small businesses... not so to the corporations that created this mess. From the corporate point of view, I get the logic: the bigger the company, the more it makes sense to just give the tyrant whatever they want, so that the company can move on. Fairness doesn’t enter the equation.
But that’s a problem… Because small businesses can’t operate that way. The independent contractor that had to leave in the middle of your job to pick his sick kid up at school? He can’t come back tomorrow because he’s caring for a sick child now. You’re going to have to wait a few days. And no, you aren’t supposed to come first right now. The bike shop owner whose “Sale $499” sign got misplaced on the $1,200 bike that just came in? She can’t afford to give it to you for that; the loss comes out of her pocket. And by the way… no, she doesn’t owe it to you because of a misplaced sign.
The reality is, she is not a faceless corporation. She’s a human being trying to make ends meet. A few hundred dollars’ worth of high-end steak is probably a drop in the bucket for Omaha Steaks; but it matters to us. A lot. I know you didn’t see the 12-hour days in 120 degree heat that we spent building fences by hand; you didn’t experience the near-financial collapse when we had a freezer outage that took out half our inventory; you weren’t there for the 40-hour course in web design or the crash course in butchering or the 8-hour days in cold storage or the 2am panicked realization that I forgot to mark the filets as sold out on the website the night before. I know that you don’t know every last detail that goes into putting that perfect steak in your hand, and that’s ok. But respect all the time and care that went into it, and give us some grace on the small stuff. We aren’t robots. We’re people, just struggling to get by too.
So I know this may be breaking the mold, but our guidelines at Perry Land & Cattle are these:
Real wars are fueled by creating a distance – a sense of “other”-ness between sides. The same logic is operating when you see the person behind the business as less than human. When you frame all businesses as some sort of faceless corporation, it allows people to put their common humanity aside and treat the owners (and employees) differently than they do a friend, family member, or even stranger on the street. In wartime, that’s how governments get people to view each other as unrelatable, less human. They know that when we recognize the humanity of the individual on the other end, it becomes harder to kill. It’s the same poison that divides our politics: otherness. Sure, it’s easier to simplify and vilify each other -- and in the moment, that can feel satisfying. But the truth is always more human and more nuanced than we’re led to believe.
Let’s just stop. Let’s drop the smoke screen that lets us de-humanize the business owner, the store manager, the customer service rep, or the person on the other end of the computer screen. Let’s treat each other with a little more compassion, understanding, and kindness. Let’s be a little bit less demanding and a little more grateful for all that we already have.
Consumers themselves seem to be becoming more aware of this problem, at least in the business/customer relationship. Awareness is being helped along post-Covid by supply shortages, shipping delays, and other such problems outside the control of the business. Will this mean a permanent shift in attitudes from both corporation and consumer? Will it mean redefining what “customer service” means? Maybe. Either way… the Mom & Pop Shop is finally pushing back.
Alicia Ellis Perry
Perry Land & Cattle
You've heard it before: buying local is better. But why exactly?
This is the new Perry favorite... yet even we had never heard of it before last week. The education we're receiving in the "butcher's cuts" is life-altering! We debated keeping it a secret so we could have them all to ourselves, but who can resist talking about a newly discovered love?
Most people turn their noses up at cuts that come from the chuck, since most of the chuck section is a tougher part of the steer. But even the chuck has got little niches here and there that get more tenderness, richness, and marbling than the rest. Fortunately for butchers, the 101-level knowledge most consumers possess means they often get to take those choice cuts home…. No more!!
The short answer is: it depends who you ask.
The Delmonico steak was first introduced by Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City in the mid 1800’s. Known for its richness and marbling, it became a staple of their menu.
Its popularity has risen and fallen over its nearly-200 year history; today, it is little known outside the butcher’s cut room. But any butcher worth their salt is well versed in this valuable cut of meat.
Most commonly, people think it’s ribeye, a misconception that probably came from it’s common nickname “poor man’s ribeye.” Others claim it’s a chuck steak, though there’s a bit more to it than that. Adding to the confusion, restaurants do actually use different cuts of beef for their Delmonico, and even butchers argue over what part of the cow it should come from.
A small part of the most tender part of the chuckeye, it is well marbled and usually cut thick. It is closest in appearance and flavor to the more expensive Ribeye, making it a great choice for family steak night.
The best way to prepare it is on the grill, or to pan fry. Read more below for one of our favorite recipes for this beautiful cut of beef. You can also order your own Delmonico cuts from our shop here.
Like many important issues, agriculture is a hot spot for differing opinions. Conventional and organic farmers are both passionate about their beliefs, as are the consumers who support them. But this isn’t a debate about organic vs. conventional. Here, we want to talk about the importance of sustainable practices in agricultural and why it’s really something that all farmers, and the consumers who support them, can get behind. It’s something that allows a farmer’s way of life to continue and to thrive for generations to come.
Growing up in a family that hunts and fishes, we understand the importance of having a freezer full of food. My dad would get us an elk or a deer almost every year and he was always hauling home the fish he’d caught from spending many of his weekends out on his boat. But everyone’s favorite was when he’d buy a side of beef once a year from his buddy in the Midwest and have it shipped out here to Arizona. We had two freezers full of meat/fish at all times. I remember the convenience of just walking to the freezer to get that week’s meat out and put it in the fridge so it was ready when we needed it. Now, as an adult, I still keep a freezer stocked full of protein. One of the many perks of raising our own beef is that we always have a stock of our favorite red meat on hand. Did you know that with a cattle farm right down the road, you can take advantage of that too?
Like many people across the world, tacos are a staple in our house. We make our favorite skirt steak tacos literally every week, and most weeks find us trying a 2nd variation on taco night. Even though we are big fans of the tried and true versions we know and love, we dug a little deeper recently to find some less common taco recipes that we really enjoyed and thought you might too! And of course, since we raise the finest beef in AZ, our focus was on exciting new ways to prepare our beef, for the extremely important purpose of ‘taco-ing’. So here they are, in no particular order, from our family to yours.
Of course, the biggest secret to a great taco night is still good old-fashioned quality beef... some great options for these recipes are flank steak, skirt steak, a mini-brisket, or even our pre-cut fajita meat (less tender than a slow cooked brisket, but soo convenient).
What could be better than a dreamy, romantic gourmet Valentine’s Day dinner out on the town? How about a no lines, no waiting, no mask, no crowds, special night in? We know you’ve had a lot of those lately… but elevate it with gourmet steak from Perry Land & Cattle and it will be memorable. After you spend the day doing one of AZ Central's suggested Valentine's Day 2021 dates, a quiet night at home together is just the ticket.
Here are the top 5 reasons to have Valentine’s Day dinner at home this year…
Hi all! We’ve decided to update and re-share one of the most useful blog posts we did in 2020. We were surprised to learn that a lot of people were very interested in buying a side of beef but didn’t know where to begin their research or how to start the process. So here, we outline the most common questions we get asked.
Here’s the ‘skinny’ on buying a side of beef:
First of all, it will simplify your life once it’s done. Imagine this: It’s Monday morning and you’re starting to think about dinners for the week. You walk to your freezer, scan the contents, and easily decide on Taco Tuesday, Burger Thursday and plan to smoke a brisket on Saturday. You grab a package of carne asada, a pound or two of ground beef, and a 4-5 lb brisket and place them in the fridge. It’s almost too easy! Buying a side of beef (or even a whole cow) is a great way to make life easier – it saves you those multiple weekly trips to the store and gives you the peace of mind that your yearly supply of protein is already in your freezer! But getting your beef this way is a little different than grabbing it from the supermarket.
Here are 5 things everyone should know about buying a side of beef.
1. It’s classy. If the person you are buying for someone who loves to cook or enjoys gourmet food, they will be delighted to receive something so tastefully chosen for them; something that they might not ‘spring for’ themselves. This is exactly what gift giving is meant for-- to spoil the recipient.
2. It’s unique. We chose this season’s best steer for the 2020 Holiday Gift Box. When opened, they’ll find a mini card in each box about where the steer came from, how it was raised, and what it took to bring it from ranch to butcher to their kitchen. This year, we’re also including a jar of our favorite secret seasoning, straight from the rancher’s kitchen.
Alicia Perry, PhD, Owner/Operator and all around Hay Maven (see my blog post on the time I fell off a haystack...). I share industry insights, tips & tricks on grilling great beef, and my personal journey into the ranching world.