Kent Strickland welcomes all types of patrons at his Long Island bagel shop, and yes, he told Daily Voice, that even includes Mets fans.
That’s why Strickland, who has owned Miller Place Bagels & Deli in Miller Place, on Route 25A, for four-and-a-half years, was baffled to see a recent post on the Facebook group, Long Island Foodies.
“What do you think about an owner of a business harassing customers for wearing a hat of a sports team he doesn’t like and demanding you take it off?” reads a post from Amy Lee, of Stony Brook, that has garnered nearly 400 comments.
“The first time he did it, I thought he was joking. The third… not so sure.”
Lee later told Daily Voice that the bagel shop in question was Strickland’s Miller Place Bagels & Deli.
She alleged that each time she visited, Strickland was “rude” and demanded that she take off her Mets gear and refrain from wearing it on future visits.
“It isn’t funny and as a customer, he shouldn’t be rude in general,” Lee said.
“Maybe he’s got a terrible sense of humor,” she continued, before claiming that Strickland did the same thing to her fiance. “That’s not how you treat a customer.”
Strickland, though, said his comments were all in good fun and the entire ordeal has been blown out of proportion.
“I’m not an idiot,” Strickland said. “I know that the customer is always right and you don’t get into somebody’s face and you don’t make it an uncomfortable situation.”
“Obviously I’m a Yankees fan,” he said. “If I see somebody wearing a Mets or Boston hat, once in a while I say, ‘You gotta take it outside,’ and they’ll laugh and we’ll get into a little banter. That’s all it ever is.
“I try to build a little rapport with some of the people who come into the store.”
Among the many responses to Lee’s post was one asking her why, if what she alleged was true, she keeps going back.
“Ya know… I don’t know lol,” she replied. “I’m not going back. I guess it was because I liked their bagels and sandwiches.”
Another commenter joked that they planned to visit Strickland’s shop while donning their Red Sox gear, to which he replied, “I draw the line at the Red Sox!!!”
Strickland chalked Lee’s claims up to a society that he argues has gotten too sensitive in recent years instead of just enjoying life.
“Haven't the last two or three years taught everybody, do we really need to be hyper-sensitive about everything?” he said.
“Can’t we just laugh every once in a while? Can’t you just have a little bit of fun?"
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