Chatting up a potential contributor at a Panera Bread this afternoon.

I was impressed because the contributor has often donated to the other party (albeit not exclusively) and has actually given money to the candidate’s opponent.

From what I could see from across the room, the conversation appeared to go well.

The body language was positive; there was a lot of laughter; and they seem to have departed on very good terms.

I wouldn’t be surprised if an entry eventually shows up on VPAP.

But I noticed something else.

On the way our of Panera, the candidate and the staff member did not bother to introduce themselves to the patrons in the room and take the time to chat them up.

A missed opportunity.

It could have a special moment in the day of 20 people- something to talk about with their families and friends:  “Hey, guess who I spoke to today….”  Perhaps the 2o people would have turned into a 100 who would have heard about it.

There are a million reasons why the candidate may not have taken the time-

Schedules are tight-

You wanted to make sure that you walked the potential donor to the car

Maybe they had spoken to people on the way into Panera before I arrived…

And maybe retail politics are overrated.


It is an election and why not take the opportunity to say hello to every voter that you can meet.

Last year there was a mayoral election in Richmond and onc evening a candidate stopped by Can-Can on Cary Street when the restaurant was hopping with about 200 people.

The candidate sat down, talked with his friends and never made the rounds of the patrons.

Over the course of the campaign, I must have head about this from 10 different people who used the story to illustrate that maybe the candidate was a great person, but really didn’t like politics.

There’s a lot more to an election that introducing yourself to strangers.

But it may be easier to run for office if you truly enjoy retail politics and instinctively never miss an opportunity to connect.

Anyway, who knows where that next donor might be.?

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One Comment

  1. i always knew it was impt in Southern Va. to talk to everyone because everyone here is related or goes to church with the next guy or is their neighbor…

    but its good to know that good manners is also required in Richmond mayoral races.

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