Main Street Merchants To Earth: Screw You!

The 1st selectman endorses it. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce does too.

So do the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, Green Task Force and Earth Guardians, a Toquet Hall-based youth group.

All back an initiative asking local businesses to keep their doors closed on hot summer days. Air conditioning is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions that lead to global warming.

And open doors are a major contributor to wasteful air conditioning.

Yet despite reminders from all those folks, this was the scene last Saturday on Main Street:

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

That’s 3 stores in a row with wide-open doors — including Blue Mercury, which has been doing it since at least 2010.

There were many more as well.

I know the usual suspects will jump into the “Comments” section, declaring that unless there’s a law against it, stores can do whatever they want to attract customers.

Of course they can.

But that doesn’t mean they should.

55 responses to “Main Street Merchants To Earth: Screw You!

  1. What do you expect? This is no longer the artsy, mom and pop Main St of the past. We have been overtaken by Madison Avenue merchants who don’t give a squat about anything other than themselves and drawing in people to pay for their overpriced garbage.

    • Bob Stalling

      They’re the only ones who can afford the rent…. maybe you should start a petition to chase the damn merchants out of town, that will teach them!

      Meanwhile, I think we should end all night games at Staples, ban Christmas lights downtown and throughout town, shut down any night events at the Levitt…and maybe force town businesses to shut down early to save electricity.
      We should also attempt to shame all those with big homes, second homes, boats, and even those who vacation often….

      Anyone who has a problem with any of these suggestions, obviously doesn’t “give a squat about anything other than themselves”…

      • Clearly, you are one of “the usual suspects”. When things get slow, Dan offers up a post like this to get the sanctimonious meddlers all riled up. They are truly “the usual suspects”.

        • Bob Stalling

          I’m thinking of heading up a night patrol to shut down pool heaters…

        • Sorry, Michael. This was hardly a slow news day. I prefer the term “caring for the environment” to “get(ting) the sanctimonious meddlers all riled up.” I hope you don’t live too close to the coast in your new Florida home.

          • I am quite sure the sky is not falling. How many times have you run with this open-door-evil-merchants post? Once per year?

            • Russell Gontar

              It’s Dan’s blog. He can do what he wants with it. And nobody is taking it from you whether the sky is falling or not or anything else for that matter.

            • Nancy Hunter

              No, the sky is not falling today, but beware of sinkholes in Florida tomorrow.

          • Nicely played.

    • Nancy Hunter

      “drawing in people to pay for overpriced garbage” … Who? You.

  2. Do we need yet another law on the books to protect ourselves from those without common sense?

  3. Here, here! … And how about another reminder — and plea! — not to constantly let cars idle, even though it may mean a slight decrease in one’s auto air conditioning for … oh, maybe a minute!

    • From the Connecticut DEEP website:

      “Connecticut regulations prohibit vehicles of all kinds from unnecessary idling for more than 3 minutes.

      “Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (RCSA) 22a-174-18 applies to all vehicles in Connecticut and is enforced by DEEP field staff; however, provisions are made for weather extremes, certain service vehicles and health-related conditions.

      “Additionally, Public Act No. 02-56 (An Act Concerning the Idling of School Buses) gives ticketing authority to police who witness school buses idling for longer than 3 minutes.”

      There are signs at schools warning bus drivers that idling is illegal. They are about as effective as the signs in parking lots that say “60 Minutes Maximum. Violators will be towed at owners’ expense.”

  4. Peter Barlow

    Maybe anyone on the street who sees an open door could just go up and close it. If enough people did that it might be noticed.

  5. John Terpening

    Westport, the land of the great “entitled”. Please let them keep their doors open. With global warming it will not be long before they will putting sand bags in those doorways.

  6. Celia Campbell-Mohn

    I vow not to walk into stores with doors open and AC on. Perhaps if others feel the same way……

  7. Anne Currie Rowlands

    The stores on Main Street have done this since (at least) the mid-1990s. They didn’t care then and it sounds like nothing’s changed.

  8. Joshua Stien

    MANY cities have laws against doors being left open when the AC is running. NYC makes merchants put stickers on their doors. I agree with @Peter Barlow : personally, if I saw, I would probably just shut the doors as I was walking by.

  9. Perhaps it should be a law…by way of a code compliance procedure. While Westport professes to want to lead CT in reducing their carbon footprint, maybe our municipal code should contribute. Through code compliance you can force stores to use LED lighting, install vestibules to save heat and air conditioning and energy-efficient windows, as well as many other items including keeping doors closed in the hot weather. We’ve started down that avenue with low-flush toilets, maybe it’s time to add to the list? In the meantime interested parties should stop by the offenders and tell them until they close their door Westport shoppers won’t open their wallets. Money talks! Thanks for shining the light on this problem Dan.

  10. Jacques Voris

    I am not advocating the practice, however….an open door significantly increases the number of people entering the store

    • It also increases the chance that, a couple of generations from now, there won’t be people around, or stores.

    • Jill Sherter

      How about they just put an inviting sign outside the door like many restaurants do?

    • Russell Gontar

      If that’s the case, why don’t they leave their doors open in the winter?

  11. Westport banned plastic bags a few years ago. I would think banning open doors would be a no-brainer.

  12. Nancy Hunter

    It’s difficult to reason with someone who lacks common sense (in this case a surprising number) but good luck in solving this on-going problem.
    p.s. better not to show your temper, rather pretend you’re convincing a toddler of … anything.

  13. Cindy Mindell

    Let’s not waste all the great activism on this page! Please consider bringing your passion and energy to the Westport Green Task Force and other local efforts. While it can be frustrating and often ineffective to speak out as a lone voice, this truly is a case where “strength in numbers” can make the difference. Main Street Door-Shutting Brigade, anybody?

  14. Joan Tricarico

    There are other more important issues such as the chemicals and pesticides in our foods. I wish as much attention was put to this issue because no one has to worry about global warming if we don’t clean up our food from pesticides.

  15. The retail markup of 200% – 500% on goods their customers pay enable the stores extravagant spending (forget the social statement SAVING THE PLANET!! ) so letting the outside air into the A/C air (waste) doesn’t affect the bottom line / profit sigh. Marshalls anyone?

  16. I agree with Peter Barlow. Just close the doors as you walk by. If enough folks do it , maybe it will make a difference…

  17. Seth Goltzer

    There is absolutely no evidence that carbon dioxide affected the climate. The whole thing is proven a hoax over and over again. But now it has taken on the aspect of a religion. Facts never get in the way of misplaced faith.
    I certainly hope that none of the practitioners use air conditioning or energy if any kind.

  18. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    This dialogue seems sincere on both sides but I think, misses Dan’s point. At the “individual action” level micro side, its possible that if people could motivate themselves toward greener behavior at least they could feel, with some justification, that they were “part of the solution.” I’m guessing that’s Dan’s intent. The storekeepers are making their numbers even with the doors open or they’d be out of business. They only care about what brings in customers.
    As to the macro side, we really as individuals can’t take action other than being well informed and transferring our views to elected officials and business leaders (who may be starting to get the message). I think that political behavior and sanctimony on the part of unnamed politicians (but we all know who they are) has not motivated action but has in this, as in so many other cases, polarized the body politic. We need our leaders to lead, not scold and we either have to vote them in or vote them out.

  19. Bill Strittmatter

    It is possible, of course, that the merchants (or their parent companies) have signed up with a green electricty supplier in which case their air conditioning related carbon footprint is nominally zero. That would be lower than “green” Tesla drivers that just buy power off the grid or use Tesla superchargers that do the same. Or like Al Gore, who purportedly neutralizes his sizable carbon footprint the same way.

  20. I’m confused. Why do stores leave their doors open when they use AC? Does it increase traffic?

  21. Rob Mitchell


    The same stores have their doors open today.


    • Of course they do. It’s 95 degrees out. They have to cool all of Main Street!

    • Nancy Hunter

      How about installing a misting system up and down the Main Street sidewalks?! Anything to cool off this ridiculous problem.