Within the last year I’ve had two experiences that I hope, hope, hope are not indicative of a trend.
I need some things done around my reasonably modest dwelling, and I went looking for quotes.
For the first undertaking, I got one quote from a young man, who was highly recommended, it was 7.5 to 5 times higher than other quotes. This was a young man in his 30s. Apparently he felt that, if I was willing to pay such an exorbitant price, it was gravy for him, otherwise he wasn’t interested. I said no, and told everyone about him, and everyone I told was pretty shocked.
It happened again, about 10 months later, a completely different sort of task. Another young man in his 30s. This time it was only 4 times the going rate. And when I asked if the person would accept a lower price, because it was so outrageous (and I was very, very tactful), the reply I got, “It just doesn’t make sense for me to spend anymore time on this so I’m going to pass on the job.” Believe me, as a consumer, I am allowed to asked questions, get quotes. I’ve never before felt as if I’d been “fired” by someone I asked whether or not they might be able to assist me.
If I lived in Salisbury or Amesbury, would I have gotten this same treatment? I’m guessing, probably not. But then again, if I lived in Salisbury or Amesbury, they might not have even bothered to return my phone call, because apparently so much money can be made off of the people who now live in Newburyport, MA.
I was talking to a friend about the “chutzpa” (shameless audacity, impudence) and dismissiveness, and they said, it’s probably because of the kind of people moving into Newburyport now. There is now a gorgeous multi-million dollar home within sight of where I live (it was not a multi-million dollar property before, see earlier post), a middle class family is not going to buy that one.
It feels as if Newburyport has gone over a tipping point. It feels as if this is not a place for the middle class, i.e. teachers, nurses, accountants, middle class professionals to find a home anymore. There was once a spot where there was a balance of the “old guard/natives” and the new arrivals. The carpetbaggers had come in, but they were teachers, nurses, accountants, people with small businesses, artists, craftsmen, writers, even some doctors and lawyers. It feels as if Newburyport may soon no longer be hospitable to those folks either.
Are we going from gentrification, which has been described as “the conversion of working class areas into a middle-class area,” to an exclusive, luxury municipal location that only the very wealthy can inhabit–what Nantucket has now become? And Stephen Karp hasn’t even started to build yet.