REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Lost in the shadow of the blockbuster

Bigger isn't always better. Usually you hear that from the little guy trying to survive in a world of big guys.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Bigger isn't always better.

Usually you hear that from the little guy trying to survive in a world of big guys.

But sometimes the little guy's right.

Sometimes the little guy's just trying to survive in a world where the rest of us have bought into the idea that you're either a blockbuster or you're nothing.

We flock to the giant-budget movies with the special effects and the big stars, because they're big and everyone says we should. The smaller movies, the ones that never play in Sandusky-area theaters or go straight to DVD -- or is it MP3 now? We're so confused -- we deride as unworthy, or just ignore, because they're off the hype radar which is all most of us see because it drowns out everything else.

We see that trend expressed today with the story about the closing of Admiral's Daughter after 23 years downtown.

We saw on last week's business page, as the owners and operators of the area's smaller hotels bemoaned the fact that they're off most tourists' radar because of the bigger, glitzier offerings from the big chain hotels.

The Coronado on Venice Road, for example, can't offer the deluxe rooms and the breakfast buffets of the big chains, and doesn't have the power of a national advertising campaign behind it, so it's ignored by the legions of tourists and makes its living off fishermen.

There's nothing wrong with places the size of the Coronado. It's simply on the wrong side of the blockbuster-or-nothing equation.

Leave super-destinations like Kalahari and Great Wolf out of the argument for the moment. They're destinations in and of themselves. But what does the average coaster-hunting family looking for in a place to stay, really? A roof that doesn't leak, a door that locks, toilet and TV that work. Do you really use the rest of the amenities for which you pay? Or is it the name which makes you spend your money?

It's been called the Wal-Mart-ization of America, but the big-box superstore was only taking advantage of the trend. We may bemoan the big box, but we vote with our wallets.

Blockbuster or nothing, and nothing in between. It's accepted as a truth, but it doesn't have to be.

Poke around in that vast "in between" land. There are still things there worth our attention and respect.