Not Missing Swarthmore’s Michael’s

Not Missing Swarthmore’s Michael’s

By Bob Small

We’ve been discussing the proposed 5-floor condo in Swarthmore for quite a while, but a recent letter in The Swarthmorean adds a new perspective.

In the May 27 issue of The Swarthmorean, John Brodsky made reference to a former pharmacy in Swarthmore. 

“When Michael’s — with its soda fountains, news stand, phone booths, etc. — was replaced by doughnuts (Dunkin Donuts), Swarthmore was pretty much sunk!” he wrote.

Not Missing Swarthmore's Michael's

My experience at Michael’s in the early 1990’s was not a happy one.  The main cashier I always ran into there was our Swarthmorean version of “The Soup Nazi”, a man who always had a nasty word to share with customers.  Upon discovering The Medicine Shoppe about a mile away in Morton, which did not have a “Soup Nazi”, many of us Swarthmoreans transferred our business there.

Now there’s another store down the block from Dunkin Donuts for all us “urban apartment transplants”. Any time I’ve gone into Swarthmore True Value Hardware and asked for “something that you use to fix a?!” and name the item, or try to, or ask for a “whatchamacallit” or maybe even a “veeblefetzer”, Charlie and all his employees are unfailingly pleasant and helpful. What they can’t locate, they will try to order.  

Because of their attitude, I generally avoid going to Office Despot or some such big-box store unless absolutely necessary. This is one way a small business can continue to thrive, but it requires some effort.

On another topic, I’ve finished my Ivermectin regimen prior to the latest recount. I’m waiting to get back to a stronger version of myself, when I’ll have some more thoughts on lesser-known Pennsylvania politicians and politics.

Not Missing Swarthmore’s Michael’s

3 thoughts on “Not Missing Swarthmore’s Michael’s”

  1. I like the kind of hardware store you mention. We have a True Value out here also, and I remember going in and telling them “I told my (then 8 yr old) daughter that if she piled one more thing on that flimsy closet unit, it would collapse. Well, she did and it did!” They sold me a super-heavy-duty seven-foot rod to go the full length of the closet, steel end pieces and also two large triangular brackets to hold it up in the middle and also hold up a single solid-wood shelf that I got at the lumber place down the road from them. Nothing new and complicated, just something old-fashioned that worked. Thirty years later, it’s all still there

    1. Dang, there was supposed to be a Smiley at the end, but it didn’t show up. Here’s one that will:


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