If You Must Leave San Francisco, Chew On This

Every time we leave San Francisco we’re reminded just how great this city is, and sometimes we write posts about it. We often have our words taken out of context and are continually blasted for being selfish, sleazy Realtors, and we must always aim to please everyone all the time, because anyone is a potential client. Not so any more. We don’t care if we don’t see eye to eye with you. So here goes…

Aside from property values plunging and being able to snatch up homes for pennies on the dollar (albeit in ghost developments where every home looks alike), there is limited cultural life to speak of outside of San Francisco, and no compelling reason to leave the city (by choice). Do what it takes to stay here, life is not better out there! Cars, people, portions, roads, stores, EVERYTHING grows in size exponentially, and we are 100% convinced America is still primarily Ford F-150 country. If we San Franciscans think we have this global warming, let’s all be greener than thou, thing in the bag and the tide is turning…think again. The rest of the country is so far behind it is not even funny, and most of them (bet they voted for McCain/Palin) just don’t seem to care. It’s saddening and maddening all at the same time.

We are convinced if you move out of a city center, or urban area, your chances of getting overweight, lazy, uncultured, and bored grow with every day you spend driving your car to the store, shopping at Sam’s Club, eating at less than stellar restaurants (did we mention the huge portions), and generally living the American dream of excess. Are there exceptions? Sure, there always are, and we applaud those people living in “Red” America that are trying to make a difference and live a good, healthy life full of culture, stimulation, exercise, and education. We also applaud those people that have helped build and protect our country as many of them live outside of our Urban hotbeds.

Are we perfect? Absolutely not. Are the residents “out there” any less of a person than we are? Absolutely not? Are we better than them? No. But you can’t help notice these things when you leave San Francisco (pick a highway and drive East), and it reminds us, every time, how nice it is to be in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, if you or your friends are thinking of leaving this city to have a “better life” outside of San Francisco, have them give us a shout. We’ll set them straight. It’s not all roses on the other side of the grass.

Of course it is a lot cheaper and easier (not to mention the land is available) to take this


and make it this,


so perhaps we stand corrected.

If you must leave, we hope some of you departing San Franciscans can take some of the things you’ve learned here, and transplant them “out there”, so Americans can learn a little style, shrink in size, and realize this global warming thing is for real and it is no longer cool to consume, consume, consume.

If you live “out there”, and have proof to prove us otherwise, feel free to share in the comments below, or send us the proof via email. We’ll gladly hear your side of the story too.

With that, it’s on with the show….

[Editor’s Update: Chew on this too.]

31 thoughts on “If You Must Leave San Francisco, Chew On This

  1. isn’t it wonderful to be back home after your vacations?
    welcome back to the city where you don’t need A/C, you don’t need whole house ventilation because it’s provided for free with free ocean flavoring, you don’t need 4 cars because you can hop on any public transportation, you don’t need to import bottled water to fill up your swimming pool because there is a drought restriction, you don’t need an army of cleaning ladies to dust those used-once-a-year-for-Xmas 23 bathrooms and powder rooms.
    Welcome back to the city where you don’t need to carry your cellphone at home in case your wife (at home too) needs help with her zipper.

  2. Welcome back to SF where you pay high property taxes but you don’t get to pick where your kids go to school, where the state govt is handing out IOUs, where public transportation is a joke, where the IPO market has gone belly up and where RE agents will tell you it’s a great time to buy even when they are not buying :)

    But hey it beats Oakland.

    [Editor’s Note: That video is hilarious!]

  3. I love living San Francisco. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. But the attitude expressed in this entry is one my least favorite aspects of living in the City. Humility, apparently, is not a San Francisco value.

  4. @eddy,

    Nothing out of the ordinary for a trip along I-80. We truly live in a bubble here in SF in more ways than one. As stated, there are exceptions, but generally my eyes call it like I see it. Jay Leno would likely agree.

    @Tim, it’s actually the nanny’s cottage you’re looking at. ;-)

  5. is this post a joke? why do americans hate on america? plan on living anywhere else in the world? trust me, been there, done that, and it’s not pretty. just be glad you live in the USA and deal with the people who drive F-150s and voted for someone else. when did we forget that it takes all kinds to make this world? jeez. if the rest of the country was like san francisco, anyone with a moderate point of view would need to move to canada.

  6. Agree, overall San Francisco is, on balance, a good place to live.
    But, it’s far from Utopia as this post paints, and there is an element of ‘we are better than everywhere else’ whoch comes through in some of the comments too.

  7. Or, in other words,
    The worst thing about living in San Francsico is that its full of people constantly telling themselves and each other how awesome it is to live in San Francisco…

  8. SF is good. However, it’s always difficult to get over the human feces everywhere, the bums, drug addicts, beggars, corrupt city government, lack of privacy, personal space and quiet. But yeah, otherwise, SF is perfectly situated, geologically speaking.

  9. nokids ?!?!?!?
    what has this to do with kids? SF is a really cool setting for raising kids. you have opportunities like few other places. they can go to a mandarin, russian, spanish, italian, japanese etc school (all, or most of all, for free). By 6th grade, you just kick them out of the house in the morning, and you don’t see them till dinner, because they can go on their own to school, sport, music, art, on their own, for a ridiculous price of a monthly $15 muni pass. (summer babysitting is a whooping $95 a week at silver tree etc).
    True, it takes some work to figure it out as parents. But once you have, it’s world class parenting.
    Nice bonus? you save about $500 per kid per year in clothing. all you need is a pile of jeans, a pile of tshirts, 2 survivor jackets, 1 waterproof jacket. You never have to bother with snow suits, snow boots, tank tops, umbrella, pull overs etc. When it’s time to leave and you have 3 preschoolers to dress/put shoes on – you appreciate daily not to live anywhere else – same clothes sams shoes year round. And your PGE bill reflects the hundreds of dollars of savings (never using the dryer, running few laundries, no A/C etc).

    I haven’t figured out another place on earth I’d raise my kids. I’m checking out Seattle this summer tho.

    DoTheMath. your nick says it all. If you are crazy enough to want to live in SF, you need to do the math. And while doing the math, and trying to make some sense out of it, the number of reasons to stay in SF gets overwhelming. I guess when you don’t have to write such a list to justify such a ridiculous financial decision, you don’t even check if you like city X or Y before coming. People who stay put in SF are not there because of a random decision. It’s a very deliberate decision. Considering that few people will deliberately choose a situation/city they don’t like, they can’t be happy with, then CQFD: SanFranciscans love their city more than the average person. (same goes for a few other cities of course).

  10. Kudos to you Sophie..I have heard the term ‘world class’ applied to many things in SF..some I agree with, some I don’t.
    e.g world class views, restauarants, museums(?!), architecture, shopping…
    But ‘world class parenting’…that is a new one on me!!!

  11. ;)
    for me, architecture or museum are not world class. there are 4 star tourist class. In fact, most tourists will enjoy it more than the locals. Those could actually be built anywhere on the planet, and still have tourists coming.
    But what matters is daily stuff like food (out and home), work ($$ but also the good environment), dating, weekly entertainment (bike on weekends and also bars/nightclubs/movies etc) . I guess you get what I mean. That the stuff that makes your life hell or great.

    An easy way to list those: what do you have to flee from when you go on vacation? and what do you miss the most when you are on vacation. The best possible city/place/home to live in is a place you miss the minute you go away, and during vacations, you count down till you are back home.
    And I don’t know many places beside SF like that ((SF in the broad sense as people will choose PA, berkeley, SantaCruz etc as their dream location while still living some benefits of SF city [like how many time a month would you go to the SFMoma anyway?] ))

    parenting is an important aspect of your daily life (for those 15% of SF households with children). Of course, I’m not aiming at the quality of Camp Obama for my own children, but it’s never too early to put a child on a plane, in a museum, to teach him 1, 2, 3 foreign languages, etc. The only thing we really miss is a choice of good swimming pools (for families!). But who needs pools when you teach your children to surf on the Pacific? ( Alex?? ;-) )

  12. we hope some of you departing San Franciscans can take some of the things you’ve learned here, and transplant them “out there”

    But isn’t it wrong to impose our values and culture on others? Isn’t that the problem we have with the people “out there,” that they think their corny ideas like “democracy” are so great that they try to impose it on the rest of the world?

    In this article, aren’t you doing the exact thing that you despise when it’s done by other Americans? Doesn’t that make you a great big steaming ball of hypocrisy?

    [Editor’s Note: Huh? We ain’t talkin’ other parts of the world! We’re talkin’ ’bout Kansas! Sheez!]

  13. this article is wrong in so many ways. the beauty of free speech is that alex can say whatever he likes, but the beauty of free will is that i also don’t need to read such blisteringly close-minded opinions in my daily dose of SF real estate updates. sheesh.

    [Editor’s Note: Well you already came back twice to the same post that sent you packing (under different names), so you’re will must not be as strong as you say it is…]

  14. Hi Apartments Barcelona. I am in need of an apartment during the third week of September, por Las Merces.

  15. I’m glad you like it here. I’ve been here 13 years and have had a blast but would move in a second if I could get paid the same salary and live in Manhattan Beach, for example. SF is ok, but it’s a big world out there. Main reasons for leaving are the worst city government on the planet (SF will one day be devoid of all businesses and any intelligent people), too-cold weather (like to wear shorts every day in the summer) and SF values. As they say, SF is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.

  16. Re: Kids. As a native born in ’81 who was moved to the burbs, Fairfield, Ca in ’93 I would say the city is a much better place to raise kids. Everything is here in the central bay area. I was utterly bored and did nothing but get into trouble. Not that I couldn’t find ways to get myself into trouble here but come on people, options! That, and you don’t have to fork over the cash to get your teen a car! I was so happy to return here. Basically my impression of suburban life was all of the problems of the city with none of the benefits.

  17. You live in a shit-hole. I have visited nearly every major metropolitan area in the country, and I’m sorry to say that you live in one of the worst. I absolutely love the architecture, and I can’t think of a place with more potential than SF. But potential that is never realized doesn’t count for much. There are plenty of “cultured” cities in this country whose streets are not teaming with homeless grifters who defecate all over the place. The next time you leave the confines of your toilet of a city, avoid your obviously natural inclination to compare San Fran to incomparable places, and visit Madison, Boulder, Santa Fe, Austin, etc. We all know San Fran is better than the suburbs, but that doesn’t say much.

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