10 Reasons Small-Town Living Can Be Frustrating


So I live in a small town.  Most of the time I love it.  There are times, though, that it gets a little more than frustrating.  My reasons are below.  Stay tuned next week for my top ten reasons I love living in a small town!

1.  If I want to go shopping at a mall, I have to drive an hour…one way.  Not that I love shopping, but every now and then I just like to go somewhere other than Wal-Mart.

2.  Speaking of Wal-Mart, I avoid it like the plague, but there are times where I have to venture out that direction.  Like in the event that my fridge is empty or I need new underwear or makeup or diapers (for my friends baby showers…not for me) or milk or a new case for my iPhone or…

3.  There are only about 5,400 of us here in this small town.  It kind of seems that everyone knows everyone else’s business.  And it’s not like I’ve mentioned before on how I’m grateful that my friends KNOW me.  A lot of these are strangers, and a lot of it is talk.  Fortunately I’m perfect and no one ever talks about me.

4.  Being that there are just a handful of sit-down-and-enjoy-your-friends restaurants in town, every one of them is full on a Friday night.  If you want to go in and not have to weight, you have to go at like 8:00 or 9:00.  Not prime eating time for my digestive tract.  However, for good food and friends I will make those sacrifices.

5.  The nearest Starbucks is also an hour away.  ‘Nuf said.

6.  We have a movie theater.  Sometimes you can hear it.  Sometimes you can’t.  Sometimes the picture is centered on the screen.  Sometimes it’s not.  On the upside, it is a movie theater, and we can go and watch new movies a whole lot cheaper than driving, you guessed it, an hour to get to another one and pay twice as much.  All in all I’m totally grateful for it.

7.  If I want to go to any sort of professional sporting event, I have to make the two-hour drive over to St. Louis, MO, to watch the (gag) Cardinals or the Rams or the Blues.  Granted, two hours isn’t bad, but it makes for a long day.  And I’m not cut out for the late nights like I used to be.  Besides, I’d rather be watching the Cubs…as horrible as we are this year.  It’s only five hours up to Wrigley Field!

8.  One day I’d like to be able to find an awesome conference I want to go to and not have to drive 8 hours (like I’m doing for Catalyst) or fly somewhere.  While St. Louis offers great conferences, it was just labeled the most dangerous city in America.  I’ll take my chances in Atlanta.

9.  Did I mention the nearest Starbucks is an hour away?

10.  I pay a lot of shipping costs to avoid travel.  However, most of the time it is worth it to me to not have to go into a store and physically shop.  Pay $10 shipping?  Does that mean I don’t have to drive an hour and burn $15 in gas to go get it?  Heck yes, I’ll pay $10.  I’d even pay $20 to avoid having to deal with crowds.

Do you live in a small town or a city?  What are your frustrations about where you live?

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  • Bethany Meeks

    For the sake of being argumentative…

    1. When you live near a mall, they are overrated, and you seldom go. When you do go, you are annoyed by the crowds.

    2. I’m not sure how this is a frustration with a small town.

    3. I get what you’re saying here, but I could go for days in the city without seeing anyone I know. Nice for a few days, but long term you feel lost.

    4. Restaurants are full in the city as well.

    5. Do you know how much money you would waste if you lived near a Starbucks?

    6. I get excited when I’m able to get a $10 ticket during matinee with my student discount.

    7. I’ll give you this one. (Regarding the distance, not the Cubs)

    8. What people know as “St. Louis” and what St.Louis City is are actually two different locations. The FBI, whose statistics were analyzed for that study, confirmed that the study was not an accurate representation.

    9. See #5

    10. There are some stores I still pay the shipping cost to avoid the crowds.

    It’s all in how you look at it.

    • A rebuttal to your rebuttal, if I may:
      1. Yes, mall’s suck. But it’s still better to live close than have to drive over an hour to one, or anywhere.
      2. You’re right, Wal-mart is not a frustration in a small town. It is a frustration in any town or city. Having to go to Wal-mart is like having to go to the dentist. You don’t want to go ever, but sometimes you just have to. In a city at least, you have more options for shopping, and if you choose, can skip Wal-mart much more than in a small town where Wal-mart is one of the only games in town.
      3. Maybe it’s the introvert in me, but I like going days without seeing people I know. But then again I like going to the movies alone on a Tuesday afternoon also, so perhaps I’m weird. Ok, I’m weird.
      4. At least you have more than 4 restaurants to choose to wait at.
      5. I cannot defend the evil empire that is Starbucks. Anything more than 50 cents for a cup of coffee is highway robbery. C’mon Julie.
      6. St. Louis’ movie theater scene is ridiculously expensive. In Memphis and Lexington, I could go to a matinee for under 6 bucks. It varies by city, and which movie theater company controls said city.
      7. and 8. Again, its always better to live closer than to have to drive over an hour to, especially with gas prices so high. However, in both Lexington and Memphis, I frequently spent an hour or more driving places depending on traffic, so apples and oranges.
      About St. Louis’ safety concerns–after spending 7 months there with Dad in the hospital and getting to know the city, I would say I never once felt unsafe, and I know that I ended up going through some rough neighborhoods several times. Heck, the area around BJC is rough. But I never felt unsafe, even downtown or traveling by Metro.
      9. See 5. Again, c’mon Julie.
      10. I avoid crowds anywhere I go. I am crowd adverse. But as we have previously established, I’m weird.

      • I actually agree with both of you on just about all of them. And I have never once felt unsafe in St. Louis either. I had just heard that statistic and thought it would be a great add for the list 🙂

      • Bethany Meeks

        This was a fun one. I look forward to next weeks list. I’ll probably reply in list format again. I think I do that because that’s how my brain functions.

      • Bethany Meeks

        I totally agree with you on Walmart ALWAYS being a frustration, but if I had to choose between fighting the crowds at Fairfield’s Walmart and my Walmart in Chesterfield I would choose Fairfield. After spending time in the Chesterfield Walmart, every time I’m in the Fairfield Walmart I feel like it’s deserted.

    • See my response to Herschel’s response to you. fyi, I love it when you make lists in response to my lists! Always makes me smile 🙂

  • Having only a few restaurants to choose from is frustrating, but not liking some of them makes it even worse.

    • True. And some of the ones that you like, I’m not a huge fan of.

  • Nate

    You could only think of ten?

  • Debbie Legg

    AMEN x 10! Great job Julie! LOVE it! 🙂

  • First of all, I have to tell you that I saw on Twitter on my phone that there was a new top 10 and I immediately had to go read it. I don’t read blogs on my phone because it takes too much effort, but for Julie’s top 10 I’ll do it!

    Living in an inbetween town, not small not big, is just right for me. There are people that we see regularly at the store, at church, etc. The mall is here and a few other stores, so I can pretty much find whatever I need. Of course there is a crowd, but it normally isn’t too bad. Movie theaters are overpriced and Wal-Mart is always crazy. We don’t have cool conferences, but we do have a minor league baseball team. But there is one thing that our hometown has over my current city, RESTAURANTS!! Almost everything here is chain restaurants. Nothing family or locally owned. Nothing original on the menu. AND it is always busy, like even on Tuesday night busy. So we’re looking forward to visiting at the end of the month if only for the food!

    • I hadn’t thought of having all chain restaurants. I do love our family/local restaurants. I think in-between would be awesome, too. Close enough, but still out of town.

      Oh, and I think it’s awesome that you think my 10 Things is worth reading on your phone! Thanks! 🙂

  • I grew up in a small town, but now I live near Seattle and I’m never going back! I live HALF A MILE from a grocery store, and I get to bike everywhere. Rural PA–you’ve seen the last of me! 🙂

    • Biking everywhere would be awesome. I don’t think my real estate clients would appreciate it as much as I do, though. My grocery store is about 15 miles away. And if I want to go to a Whole Foods, I have to drive to St. Louis. It’s crazy!

  • Jamie

    I grew up in a small town and this list reminded me why I only visit occasionally. You now need a list of why it’s awesome so we can feel more than pity for those who actually choose to do it…

    • Next week is the like list. You’ll be so jealous…or totally right.

  • Cathysnyder80

    a few things i miss about living in a city….

    variety of restaurants
    the ability to run to the grocery store looking like total poo without the fear of running into someone you know
    grocery stores, multiple ones to choose from
    racial and cultural diversity…the midwest just doesn’t offer much in small towns

    • Diversity is one thing we do not have unless we’re talking the difference between farmers, factory workers and office workers. That’s about as diverse as we get!

  • hahaha love this and can so relate. and the starbucks thing….same here…makes it so not happy except it is an extra special treat when i do get it then!

    • Oh, it’s totally a special treat whenever I get one! The funny thing is is that I normally don’t even drink coffee, but I LOVE Starbucks’ Venti White Mocha!

      • haha funny! i don’t drink coffee either. i always get their vanilla chai, passion tea lemonade, or a vanilla bean frappucino with a shot of mint. =)

      • Nice. I guess we’re just addicted to the atmosphere…lol

  • Jmepruitt

    I love where I live! The only downfall is that we have zero family here so when we all get sick at the same time, we just have to suck it up because there is no one to help. Plus, it would just be nice to visit my mamma whenever I want. Other than that, I’ll stay right here in Nashville =)

    • Yeah. I can understand that. I still want my mom to take care of me when I’m sick!

  • Two words for you, girl: Amazon Prime! I like reading your blog. Hopefully, I will talk to you soon!


    • Man, I love me some Amazon! 90% of my online shopping comes in boxes with a smiley face on them! : ) Thanks for stopping by, and hopefully I’ll talk to you soon, too!

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