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 Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW...

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ClemsonRecruiter

  • Total Posts: 7
  • Joined: 8/1/2003
  • Location: Fort Mill, SC
Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Mon, 03/15/04 2:59 PM (permalink)
Is it just me or is this guy angry at the world? In his latest issue, he attacks a guy about an old clock. Most of the time, I enjoy his articles and think he is a gifted writer however he seems to come off angry at times. I was just curious if I am the only person who notices this.
 
#1
    CheeseWit

    • Total Posts: 1393
    • Joined: 4/10/2003
    • Location: West Chester, PA
    • Roadfood Insider
    RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Mon, 03/15/04 3:09 PM (permalink)
    This topic was discussed at length in the fall. The thread might still exist. I enjoy Randy's writing and his coverage of diners. There have been times when I did not agree with his thoughts (specifically when he took the Sterns to task), but he is entitled and if you don't like what he says, don't read his stuff.
     
    #2
      ClemsonRecruiter

      • Total Posts: 7
      • Joined: 8/1/2003
      • Location: Fort Mill, SC
      RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Mon, 03/15/04 3:14 PM (permalink)
      For the most part, I enjoy his stuff however at times he seems to come across as very angry (like he is in his latest installment on his website http://www.roadsideonline.com/) I was just curious if I was the only one who noticed this.
       
      #3
        CheeseWit

        • Total Posts: 1393
        • Joined: 4/10/2003
        • Location: West Chester, PA
        • Roadfood Insider
        RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Mon, 03/15/04 3:17 PM (permalink)
        I see where you're coming from, but I also see Randy's point. Here, some guy absconds with a clock from a vintage diner and displays it in his home and on ebay. Randy is a big proponent of keeping some of our history intact. I agree with him on this one.
         
        #4
          Diner

          • Total Posts: 6
          • Joined: 12/13/2004
          • Location: New York, NY
          RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Mon, 12/13/04 1:41 AM (permalink)
          Roadside/ By The way Magazine after it's 2nd go around is no longer published. Seems the "taste" of the magazine did change..
           
          #5
            noncentz

            • Total Posts: 15
            • Joined: 12/14/2004
            • Location: Los Angeles, CA
            RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Tue, 12/14/04 3:45 AM (permalink)
            Hey Fellow Roadfooders,

            I respect Mr. Garbin's right as a publisher to voice his opinions and to express his rights of speech. With those rights come responsibilies however...to be fair, honest, unbiased and factual.

            As the alleged "thief" of said clock, I'd have to mildly agree with the comment that Randy is angry at the world. Well, perhaps not angry, but certainly frustrated. He's a writer in search of a cause and he's managing to alienate a lot of the more passionate diner fans out there. Many of them wrote to me after he published his essay, deploring his unwarranted attack. I don't think he realizes how much of an embarassment his is to himself.

            I was always an avid supporter of BTW and its less-flashy predecessor Roadside Magazine. I met Randy about 10 years ago at, ironically enough, a diner auction. We were both there to be sure the diner ended up in appropriate and loving hands. I had written him previously and subsequently, a few of my photos, and the occasional letter to the editor appeared in Roadside. He always seemed like a decent guy.

            I eventually moved to California to continue my career, following the death of my wife at age 26. (Randy used to have a link on his site to an essay I wrote about my wife and I visiting more than 500 diners while she was ill, and the great people we encountered, no pun intended). He was a friend in the diner world.

            We occasionally kept in touch and I kept him up to date on film projects I was working on. He eventually sold out Roadside to a seed company and then the magazine quickly folded (just after I renewed my subscription, darnit!).

            A couple of years ago, I was strolling through Ebay and came upon the clock. I couldn't believe that there was actually a Worcester Lunch Car clock up for sale. A flurry of emails began with the seller. I was worried that the clock had indeed been stolen from an existing diner and was trying to ascertain his valid ownership. Eventually, he faxed me documents that proved his undeniable ownership of the diner (even Randy admits that he once owned it). Eventually we talked on the phone. According to the seller, he had purchased the shuttered diner with the hope of fixing it up. Health problems got in the way and now the diner was set for demolition because he couldn't find a buyer. He also stated that he couldn't afford the land payments. He had removed whatever items he could and was now forced to sell those that he had kept. Honestly, once I saw all of the paperwork, I had no reason to doubt him.

            In other words, I had done as much as I could to prove the man's valid ownership of the diner and of the clock. When final bidding came down on the item, it was a hotly contested bidding war. Finally, I made the highest bid, and it was indeed high - a few thousand dollars. Part of the reason I wanted the clock so much was because of its origins. It came from a diner that was originally from the town where I went to college and where I met my wife. She and I actualy fell in love over coffee at a diner!

            I felt that if that clock was to be sold anyway, which it was going to be, I would make a ridiculously overpriced purchase and see if I could get it. I truly didn't want it in the hands of someone who couldn't realize the magnificence of the clock. (I had thought about all of the conversations that clock had witnessed. Wow.) It was one of those purchases where you empty the wallet to fill the heart.

            Well, a couple of years later, I got an email from Randy, who had visited my personal website and saw the photo of the clock. He essentially called me a thief in that first email and told me that if I had any conscience, I'd return the clock. It seems that the diner did eventually find a buyer and was not demolished after all (I live on the other side of the country so I had no way of knowing. I had even listed the diner on my website as demolished). I replied to Randy, telling him about the investigation I made into ownership, and that it had in retrospect been an unfortunate sale but that I had spent a good deal of money on it, and what exactly did he expect me to do, having rightfully purchased it from its rightful owner who claimed the diner was to be razed? I also mentioned in passing that if the clock was going to be sold anyway, at least it went to someone who truly respects it.

            I was awaiting a valid response (he may have written once and said simply, "Let your conscience be your guide") but instead, a few weeks later, I recieved an email from one of the nation's diner experts, who I had corresponded with on occasion. He was outraged that Randy had written a scathing essay about me, calling me a thief. I couldn't believe it. I rightfully bought something off of Ebay, and now I was a thief? I wrote a letter to Randy explaining my side of what had happened and he refused to publish it.

            Do I wish the clock was never removed from the diner? Of course I do. Randy has decided to target me for some reason, simply perhaps because he had my email address, when the person he should be centering his complaints on is perhaps the seller. I bought something off Ebay. that's it. My whole website is about the preservation of not only the buildings but about the aura of those fabulous eateries and I would NEVER intentionally harm one of these places.

            Randy, in my opinion, is a guy who wanted to make a name for himself as a writer and publisher, and he is indeed a talented individual. His magazines have always been entertaining love letters to the places I love on America's back roads. I do think he's frustrated that his magazines have never really taken off and I also agree with another diner fan who wrote to me, that Randy, if he had had the money, would have been my "biggest competition for that clock".

            I truly understand his side of it, at least in the way he sees it, and to him it should be easy for me to just throw money and memory away to make some frustrated writer happy. He calls me greedy (conveniently forgetting that he sold his first magazine to make a buck and ended up cheating subscribers out of forthcoming issues)

            The ultimate punchline is that a month or so after he blasted me for doing what millions of people do every day on Ebay (though I wager few investigate as I did), he sent me an e-mail, asking if I wanted to renew my subscrition to BTW!

            I respectfully declined. Well, maybe not respectfuly.

            I'm sure if he sees this posting, he'll blast me again. If it makes him happy, I'm glad to oblige. A man who uses his responsibility as a journalist so inappropriately needs all the publicity he can get, I suppose. I do wish Randy the greatest success and I hope he sticks to wahat he does best and keeps spreading the word of the road. It's important.
             
            #6
              noncentz

              • Total Posts: 15
              • Joined: 12/14/2004
              • Location: Los Angeles, CA
              RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Tue, 12/14/04 4:04 AM (permalink)
              quote:
              CheesWit wrote:

              I see where you're coming from, but I also see Randy's point. Here, some guy absconds with a clock from a vintage diner and displays it in his home and on ebay. Randy is a big proponent of keeping some of our history intact. I agree with him on this one.


              Respectfully, your facts are just a bit off. But had it happened as you say, I'd agree with you too!
               
              #7
                RC51Mike

                • Total Posts: 443
                • Joined: 3/10/2003
                • Location: Wilmington, DE
                RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Tue, 12/14/04 9:44 AM (permalink)
                noncentz, you have my sympathies being the subject of Mr. Garbin's easily inflamed ire. I suspect most on this board do not know him and many aren't likely familiar with the somewhat insular and esoteric world of roadside architecture and, in particular, diner lore. I did the Philadelphia diner conference and tour in 1993 but, haven't been actively involved in commercial archeology for several years, mostly due to work. While the majority of the folks are genuinely pleasant, Mr. Garbin's self-righteous and supercilious screed about something that in the big scheme of things doesn't warrant that kind of public outrage or accusation, usually based only on his suppositions and speculation, leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many. There are several people who actively and successfully save and restore diners and educate their owners about the historic and cultural value of their rare structures. Mr. Garbin's approach has been, in writing or in person, to berate and browbeat uninformed owners for not following his instructions to the letter. He has a right to his opinions. He does not have the right to libel and slander others. One hopes that folks read what they will with a healthy dose of skepticism.

                Didn't mean to belabor a thread that should just die anyway. Maybe I'll go visit the mayonnaise thread.
                 
                #8
                  CheeseWit

                  • Total Posts: 1393
                  • Joined: 4/10/2003
                  • Location: West Chester, PA
                  • Roadfood Insider
                  RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Tue, 12/14/04 4:45 PM (permalink)
                  Noncentz and RC51 Mike, thank you for setting the record straight. I, too was on board with Randy's publications and twice now have not had my subscriptions fully completed due to the demise of both magazines.
                  I am a big diner fan and appreciate roadside architecture.
                  Noncentz-I want to especially thank you for giving me the full story about the clock.
                  I'm disappointed that Randy has a slanted point of view regarding your purchase. I live about 20 minutes from Randy (now that he is in the Jenkintown, PA area), I'd love to discuss his views with him in person.
                   
                  #9
                    noncentz

                    • Total Posts: 15
                    • Joined: 12/14/2004
                    • Location: Los Angeles, CA
                    RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Tue, 12/14/04 8:40 PM (permalink)
                    Thanks for reading my epic tale Cheeswit. Regardless of how Randy feels about the purchase, and I imagine nothing has changed, he's a dedicated preservationist and that is to be commended. He apparantly knows more about the history of the seller than I and had I been privy to his knowledge, perhaps it may have altered my purchase. There comes a point where, following the facts, you take people on faith. Randy decided to base his slanderous article on two brief, casual,reasonably unimformative emails from me. As a former reporter myself, this is incredulous. I cant change the past, but like Randy believes, it's important to preserve these magnificent places and like Randy, I do what I can to spread the word. That's the important thing here.

                    What I've always admired about diner lunch counters is that a guy in a suit can sit next to a construction worker and they are equal. They are elbow to elbow and are both in reach of the sugar. There's very little judgement. Randy seems to have forgotten this aspect of dinerdom.
                     
                    #10
                      Diner

                      • Total Posts: 6
                      • Joined: 12/13/2004
                      • Location: New York, NY
                      RE: Randy Garbin of Roadside Online and BTW... Wed, 12/15/04 7:28 PM (permalink)
                      Glad to hear your side of the story.. I never thought the National Enquirer would check their information better than a diner magazine would.After bashing you, Garbins now backs out of his Dan Rather type journalism read below.
                      _____________________________________________________________________
                      Heritage theft confirmed

                      Last spring, I penned a commentary on the scourge of "heritage theft," citing the removal and sale of a genuine Worcester clock lifted from the Windsor Diner to Paul Coyne. Fingering Coyne was easy because he bragged about his purchase on the web, but I hadn't then confirmed the person responsible for actually removing the clock (not to mention the diner's builder's tags) from the diner and selling it.

                      Until yesterday, when that person told me so himself. Josiah Lupton called in an attempt to take me to task for the "libelous" article, which despite his claim otherwise, did laud him for his "admittedly impressive restoration effort." And thanks to the call, he handed me yet another opportunity to raise the issue of heritage theft and his own culpability in the deed. When he accused me of failing to properly research my article, I seized the opportunity. "So, what happened to the clock?" Without hesitation, he replied, "I took it and sold it." He also said he had the tags.

                      End of story.
                      _____________________________________________________________________
                       
                      #11
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