How To Be A Basic Rochesterian


Fall is upon us, so it’s time for all your favorite fall activities: drinking pumpkin beer and hot apple cider around a bonfire, apple picking, pumpkin carving, crunching through leaves, haunted hay rides, and most importantly, stereotyping all these activities as only for #basic white girls. As an extremely white girl myself, I have found myself fitting this stereotype to a T since Fall started. And honestly, I embrace the stereotype, because being a basic white girl during the Fall is FUN! I love pumpkin beer and s’mores, so more for me, bitches! I do, however, draw the line at Uggs. Apologies to all my basic brethren reading this, but some things are just too far.

So this weekend, as I was eating a garbage plate at 12:30 AM in Fairport Hots, I got to wondering why it seems that only white girls are basic as of late. And it occurred to me that what I was currently doing was pretty damn basic for a Rochesterian. So, I’ve written up this handy little guide to identify if you, too, are #RocBasic. Cause let’s face it: deep down inside, we are all a little basic.

1. You shop at Wegmans
OH MY GOD. Wegmans is the GREATEST GROCERY STORE EVER and I need it in my liiiiiife. I would literally die without it. Have you ever said anything like this? Of course you have, because you live in Rochester (or did at one point), and realize the pure glory that is the Wegmans prepared foods bar, or having 20 different varieties of every product imaginable to choose from. If Wegmans doesn’t carry something, it probably doesn’t exist. Thank god my Wegmans sells yoga pants. Wegmans is, like, the Lauren Conrad of grocery stores.

2. You had your first “legal” drink in Canada
Even if you started drinking before you turned 21, your first legal drink on your birthday is usually a big deal…unless you were in Rochester when you turned 19, in which case it’s just your first legal drink in the US. I actually had my first Canada-legal drink at 18, because I went to Montreal, where the drinking age is a year earlier than the rest of Canada. That’s right, you can get your legal fall beer on a whole three years earlier in the Great White North. Oh, Canada.

3. You’ve gotten late-night, post-booze garbage plates
You’ve just finished punishing your liver with copious amounts of alcohol, so what better way to round out the evening than to punish your stomach with copious amounts of greasy food? (Unless you’re the DD, in which case you’ve been sipping sodas in the corner and simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this part of the night.) And when you have friends from out of town visiting, this is how you initiate them. Welcome to Rochester! Here is approximately 3 lbs and 3,500 calories of mac salad, home fries, cheeseburgers, hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, and onions. EAT UP. You’ll have some kale chips tomorrow to make up for it.

4. You seriously talk about the weather…
Talking about the weather might be for boring people in other parts of the country with boring weather, but when you’re in Rochester, it’s pretty much 50% of every conversation you’ll have. Besides, how else will you know when it’s cold enough that you can break out your favorite scarf and sip a PSL?

5. …And you’re totally superior about it
Oh, you got 3 inches of snow and your entire city shut down?

I can still see the goddamn grass!

I can still see the goddamn grass!

How adorable! Let me tell you about my commute this morning through 18″ of snow, slush, and crazy drivers.


Oh, and I still stopped for Starbucks on the way. I’m lookin’ at you, Pennsylvania, Jersey, and especially Atlanta. Our white girls actually wear Uggs for warmth, because we don’t stay inside like little pussies at the first sign of a snowflake. What’s your excuse?

6. You correct other people’s pronunciations

20131106 Wingardium Leviosa

It’s Chai-lie, not Chil-lee. Honestly. I bet you also pronounce quinoa as “quin-oh-ah.”

7. You go to festivals in the summer
Because how else are you going to show everyone how much summer fun you’re having without Instagramming pictures of your shandy, fried dough, and recently-purchased kitschy lawn ornament? If you spent nearly every weekend over the summer in a maze of tents, beer or slushy lemonade in hand as you contemplated buying a handmade wooden cutting board after your Italian sausage…welcome to the #RocBasic club, my friend.

8. You’ve damaged your car on a pothole
Sure, potholes aren’t a Rochester exclusive thing. But giant, three-feet wide, car-eating pits of despair cause enough front-end alignments in this town that your mechanic probably eats lobster every day in March. Or, if you’re really unlucky, you’ll lose a wheel. Just remember to call AAA before taking a selfie for those oh-so-important sympathetic comments on Facebook.

9. You stock up for snowstorms…with booze
Conventional wisdom tells us to stock up on the essentials before a big snowstorm: Milk, eggs, and bread. That way, in case you’re stranded in your house, you can make some kick-ass French toast while you text your boss that your Internet is out, so you can’t work from home. However, stroll into any Wegmans the day before a major snowstorm, and you’ll see where a Rochesterian’s priorities are. The average cart contains two 12-packs of beer, a few two liters of mixers, and enough junk food to keep your one-person Netflix watching snow day party going into the next month. Looks like Gilmore Girls was just added to Watch Instant, so you’re gonna be busy.

10. You’ve gotten into a vehement argument over “pop” vs. “soda”
Our city has the curse being smack on the border where Team Pop and Team Soda collide, and boy, can it get nasty. I have seen friendships nearly dissolve over what to call a carbonated beverage. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the truth is that you better be careful which word you pick in this town. No matter how which side of the debate you fall on, at least we can all agree that people who say “soda pop” are dirty, dirty heathens.

You know what else is totally basic Rochesterian? Sharing this list with everyone you know from Rochester, cause you know they all do this too.


19 thoughts on “How To Be A Basic Rochesterian

  1. Steve Fix

    I was born and raised in Rochester. Have lived in Atlanta since 1973. I got a kick out of your picture of an Atlanta traffic jam! I’ve long since learned that if the word “snow” is ever mentioned on the news – lease the office immediately!

    • Tim

      I grew up in rochester all my life and now I go to college near syracuse. I’ll be straight with you, no place I have ever been to in this country can compare to rochester. Sure we have some of the worst weather, but the food and the people make up for it because both are amazing. Along with that, the rochester area has been by far one of the most beautiful places to live and no other city area compares to its sheer beauty

  2. All perfectly good reasons to move far away. The weather is horrifying, you get get booze and crappy food anywhere, and only Rochesterians think Weggies is the greatest. Most metro areas have very good supermarkets.

    • Scott, I lived in California for two years and I can tell you unequivocally that Wegmans is better than every other grocery store in the state combined. But to each their own 🙂

      • Sandra

        I’ve lived in CA, TX, and in Rochester, and I love and dearly miss Wegmans. California at least had Vons which still doesn’t compare to Wegmans, but the scrap we have in TX is ridiculous!

    • danielle

      Scott, I just recently moved to the D.C metro area a year ago after living in Rochester for 23 years. And let me tell you, these people are in totally amazement of Wegmans, and are wondering just HOW they have survived without it this long. The other food chains out here…don not stand a chance!

  3. RRogers

    This list is pretty good, but I dare say that people from lots of other places in the North damage cars on potholes and go to festivals in the summer (and probably a few other cities along the border have lots of kids going for their first “legal drinks” in canada as well as stock up on booze when the snow hits). I bet we could make one even more tailored to us! The pronunciation, our particularly occult love of Weggies (yes we love it more than any other city because it started here!), and garbage plates are all right on track. Seriously those are perfect.

  4. techdevil3

    I find that when I tell friends in other states that we occasionally get “Thunder Snow” they are completely fascinated… I’m sure many other places have summer festivals, but here it seems there is one every single weekend from late spring until the snow flies. Also anytime we visit friends or family out of town we are begged to bring a cooler full of Zweigles red or white hots because no one else has them 🙂

  5. AJT

    Lol, lighten up on the South…IT HARDLY EVER SNOWS THERE!! Atlanta isn’t all set up with equipment the way a snowbelt city is, bc snow there is a once-in-a-10-year event.

    Lol, and you can keep your winters. Snow on the ground from October to April? I’m glad you’re a better driver in the snow than me, so points for you. I’m from East TN and could barely handle the (mild) winters there; my husband is from ROC and I really, really love it there. But the winters I could just never handle in ROC. Was there last New Years for the big snow and loved it (just bc I never see it), but it would get old very very fast dealing with that 6 months out of the year.

    We both live in LA now, though :).

    And yes, Wegmans is unequivocally, absolutely, positively, without a doubt the greatest grocery store EVER.

    I dream about their subs with the Everything bread….NOMMMMMMMMMSSSS!

  6. Tim

    All of the things you say are true and even though I have lived in Florida for 18 year I find myself drawn to Rochester. I just visited and it was comforting! My only dissapointment was Campi’s it is not the same place, even though it has the same name. The steak was still pretty good but the good hearty Italian bread wasn’t!!!!!

  7. Steve Jones

    Born and raised in the ROC for 23 years. Moved to Florida 11 years ago. We have Zweigles (red hots and white hots), Abbotts, Pontillos, a huge amount of ROC residents down here, pot holes, but no snow and no wegmans.

  8. Talia

    I’ve lived in Texas, South Carolina, downstate NY, and now in Florida. Wegmans is definitely nice, but to me, a supermarket is a supermarket? When I go home to Rochester to visit my family, it’s nice, but it’s not something I RUN to! You learn to survive without it. I’d rather have Palm trees, beach, and beautiful weather any day, over Wegmans! Sorry…lol. 😉

    • Tim

      and giant cockroaches, tourists who drive terrible and hurricanes!! Ahh yes Florida is so great!!
      I can’t wait till the time I get to move north again!

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