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Nov 8, 2010 06:24 AM

Penzy's is a chain, and Entenmann's isn't?

Two old topics resurface.

The Penzy's topic was posted in 2008 to let people know a store opened in the SF Bay Area.

I know there are no hard and fast rules on this, but usually that is allowed. So it has happily resided on the SF board for almost two years

So a few days ago somone posts to the thread about a recent visit AND compares it to two other LOCAL spice purveyors, neither of which have a presence outside of the Bay Area. The thread gets moved to the Chains board.

In the meantime, a 2007 topic on Entenmann's remains on the General Topics board. If there was ever a chain bakery it is Entenmann's.

While I think the chains board has its place, I'm sorry to see a quality spice purveyor like Penzy's get condemned to that board which is mainly about junk food.

I learned about Penzy's before there was a Chains board and there were posts about it on General Topics. If I was new to Chowhound, today, I probably would miss out on learning about Penzy;s because I'd assume it was just another low class chain.

I know where things go are not easy to determine. Though Pnezy's has been busy opening stores recently, it is still primarily a mail order business. It is not in every state and in mosts states there is only one lone store. Does that make all mail order businesses chains?

Yet, Entenmann's is on the shelves of every major market nationwide ... and that topic was moved from Nat About Food to General Topics, tho IIRC< that move was done a while back.

I just want to know for future reference so I post stuff to the correct board. I would have posted about Penzy;s opening in SF on the SF board. If I was talking about Penzy's online, I would have posted on General Topics. If I was posting about Entenmann's today, I would have posted on chains.

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  1. It's kind of funny/aapropriate that Entenmanns had been on the Not about Food board. I think of chains as having a brick and mortar presence, not a national presence in stores. I don't think of the chains board as necessarily "low quality" food, although it often comes to that. But, I understand what you mean because I rarely go to the Chains board and would miss a thread about Penzey's. Added to which, prior to opening so many brick and mortar stores, Penzeys would have been under General Chowhounding, as a mail order source. But, to those who don't live close to a Penzey's store, it hasn't changed at all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Hmmm ...the brick and morter thing makes a little sense.

      Still look at chains ... McDonalds,Wendy's, Quizno. TJ, Costco, Fudruckker's, Dunkin Donuts, Sonic, Applebee's, Starbucks, KFC, Carl's Jr. .... Penzy's? There's something wrong with that picture.

      And that's just the thing, most people don't live near a Penzey;s.The usefullness of this topic was that one had opened in the SF Bay Area. McCormick spices would get discussed on General Topics because those sly foxes don't open their own shops and sell in supermarkets, yet Penzy's gets discussed on Chains.

    2. Entemenn's isn't really a chain, so much as a nationally available food product, so it would be discussed on General Topics, in much the same way as, say, Kraft products. In general, Penzey's would be discussed on Chains, though we do usually allow an announcement thread on the regional boards when a much anticipated local opening of a chain happens.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Jacquilynne

        Clearly, the emotions stirred up about the whole "Chains-call" are heated and more often than necessary, negative. Why interject subjectivity and arbitrariness into play? Why not, as a policy, allow for one thread when a place, that happens to be a chain, opens in an area? Why must a heart-felt, laborious write-up be subject to the crap-shoot embodied by "Generally/usually an announcement is allowed"...and only if it deals just with the act of the impending "opening of the chain," and only then if it is one that is, "much anticipated?"

        As you can sense, I have an ax to grind, because I spent valuable time informing Detroit people reading the Great Lakes board (not readers of the Chains board, I can assure you!), of a restaurant (happens to be a chain) which opened seven months ago in Auburn Hills, MI. Nobody on the Great Lakes board had reviewed it, so I took the initiative.

        Immediately thereafter, a vigilante stated it should be moved to the Chains board. Minutes later (hardly time to even read it), "Poof." Gone. Now, nobody within driving distance of that location ever will read the info (test this yourself, by posing that question on the relocated thread.)

        I've had a lot of postings deleted, usually deservedly, and have of course said nothing, because I appreciate the challenge faced by the mostly unpaid moderators. However, I raise this particular item, because it is of a wider structural issue of the board. One which is contrary to rationality and sensibility, never mind membership-ness. Granted, not hardly a "big deal" in broad terms. Just a sticking point for people who approach this site with enthusiastic seriousness.

        1. re: vtombrown

          There's always grey area on stuff -- if you're looking for cut and dried, 100% rules, we just don't work that way.

          We do generally allow an announcement thread, as I said, but nothing about your thread looked like the kind of announcement thread we typically leave -- it was a review of a place that had already been open for many months, and we had no reason to guess it was the first and only review of that place.

          Announcement threads that we leave usually take the form of actual announcements -- people saying things like "Hey, did you hear? They're building a Trader Joe's at The Crossroads Mall out on route 6! I'm so excited." And then people the where and when of the chain's arrival. When it gets down to really discussing the product offerings, which don't vary much from location to location (it's what makes chains chains), the Chains board is a better place for it, so that information can be shared amongst all the hounds who are interested in a particular chain, rather than amongst local hounds on any given board, most of whom aren't interested in chains at all.

          1. re: Jacquilynne

            Posters are also permitted to leave a "pointer" post, which is a short post on the local board directing posters to a post that would be of particular local interest on another board. When you make such a post, you can include the URL of the post on the other board, to help readers find it easily.

            1. re: The Chowhound Team

              vtombrown, I see you posted in another comment about the same issue in another thread. As The Chowhound Team said, you can always do a short post directing others to the chains board as I did with Penzy's

              Link to Penzy's Menlo Park post

              You know, in the big picture this type of thing works. When I frist started posting in 2002 there was less of a separation of stuff. Some really fascinating discusions on cuisine in general and cooking from that time are buried in my home board, San Francisco, rather than being on the General Board or Home Cooking boards.

              It is nice that the local boards don't have to deal with discussions about chains however good they may be. And, for a chain, it is better to get an larger national or international viewpoint.

              I was just confused on this particular move because the thread was two years old and the newest post discussed other local, non chain spice vendors ... and all the other issues I mentioned earlier in the thread.

              I wasn't anguished about it. I just wanted to get a better feel on what to post where in the future. I'm just busy lately and in a hurry, so I'm not paying close attention to the tone, so to speak, of my posts. Estoy ocupada. No etsoy atormentada.

              Anyway, try doing a similar link on your local board to your post. People on the Detroit board who might be interested in that restaurant will know where to find it. Sit back a while and see how that works. I'll bet over time you will get some interesting national replies to that post in addition to comments by locals from your area.

              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                Pointer posting addresses all my original concerns. I shall do so, and I shall graciously extricate myself from the larger debate, without further comment. Thank you CH Team and rworange for the considerations.

              2. re: Jacquilynne

                I think a lot of the actions the Mods here make are also directed by other CHers "reporting" posts. Obviously, I can't confirm, but I'm sure it happens more often than not. Up to the mod to agree or disagree, but I also understand sometimes if a Mod chooses an action based only on one member's "report" just to avoid some sort of controversy later on. It's the nature of the internet, really.

                1. re: yfunk3

                  Mod actions are directed by user reports in the sense that we often don't see a problem unless someone reports it, but we never take action simply because something was reported. If the report is of a post that isn't a problem, we don't action it.

                2. re: Jacquilynne

                  when does a chain provide enough regional variation that it is NOT helpful to push posts off into "Chain-land"? I go to a "kosher" Costco -- there's no beer there(pa) and I cannot buy cornmeal there (which southron Costcos carry).
                  How much overlap between stores is necessary before a "aha, I found it!" doesn't need to specify which store, in which county?

                  Why not allow cross-posting? [put one thread in Chains, and the other in LocalBoard]

                  1. re: Chowrin

                    We don't push every mention of a chain off to the chains board. If someone is asking "Where should I get seafood near X?" and someone's answer is "Legal Seafood", we're not going to move that to Chains. Similarly, if you're looking for an inexpensive source of cornmeal in Atlanta, and someone suggests Costco, we're not going to move that, either. Even some chain specific threads remain local like 'Are there any McDonalds serving shamrock shakes in the Bay Area?' or similar threads that are tracking down local anomalies.

                    But when the discussion is about the chain, like the frequent 'Is a Costco membership worth it?' and 'I have a Costco membership, what are the best deals to be had?' threads, most of that content is going to significantly overlap from region to region, so it's better served by the Chains board.

                    As with all things, there's grey area, and we do our best to get the posts onto the board that'll serve them best, while keeping the local boards as focused as possible on the chow that's unique to a given area.