Why I think Chicago sucks

So, you’ve just Googled “Chicago sucks” or clicked the WordPress tags link “Chicago sucks” and you find yourself here. (It’s extremely unlikely you got here with any other search term.) Or, possibly, you clicked a link from City Data or Windy Citizen.  Now what?

Please allow me to give you a little friendly advice. If you actually love Chicago and were only Googling “Chicago sucks” for the giggles, please keep moving, find another blog. You WON’T like what you read here. Please don’t comment, because this is NOT a debate site, it’s a commiseration site for people who feel the same.

It’s also NOT a public forum, it’s a post on my personal blog, so 1st Amendment rights do not apply to you here. I don’t allow flames, or name calling – such comments are deleted. I’m also not particularly indulgent when people think they need to “defend Chicago” or “offer a rebuttal” to my opinion of Chicago. First of all, Chicago doesn’t need you to defend it; secondly, you can’t say anything that anyone here hasn’t heard thousands of times already; and thirdly, I don’t need a “rebuttal” because I AM the rebuttal to the starry-eyed “Chicago is the greatest city in the world!” attitude.

Still have something to say? Here, go to www.wordpress.com and get your own blog.

For the record:

  • No, I haven’t dedicated an entire blog to Chicago sucking.
  • No, this is not all I think about. This is but one post out of more than a thousand on my blog.
  • No, these are not the only comments on this post. The comment thread got so huge I had to move them to another page in an attempt to shorten the length here, so add about 1500 to the total you see here. (Prior to WordPress changing their comments format)
  • No, I’m not a native Chicagoan.
  • Yes, I live in Chicagoland.
  • Yes, I’ve lived here for decades.
  • Yes, I’ve lived in other cities around the country.
  • Yes, I’d love to move.
  • No, circumstances don’t permit that right now.
  • Why, is really none of your business.
  • It’s enough that if I could move, I would.
  • But since I’m currently stuck here, and a tax-paying citizen here, I AM free to express my opinion with the state of things here, since I’M paying for it.
  • Don’t like that? Then move along, nothing for you to see here.
  • Yes, we know Chicago has bars, museums, restaurants, parades, the El, and a big, shiny bean.
  • No, those are not the things we particularly care about.



Yes, we know other cities have problems too, but we don’t live in other cities, we live here, and are concerned about issues here. It’s not enough to say “It’s not as bad as Cleveland, or Detroit,” when the reality is, why aren’t we as good as Houston or Salt Lake City? They have lower taxes, lower unemployment, lower crime. Why do Chicagoans settle for less, and apparently like it?  Why are they, in fact, proud of it? 

So, you want to say, “Get the f*ck out if you don’t like it here!” as though (a) I didn’t think of that and (b) I’ve never heard that before?

Here’s a thought for all of you who say that to me – How about YOU leave so we can fix the place up and make it so it doesn’t suck? Just sayin’.

If, on the other hand, you don’t care too much for Chicago either, and need a place to vent your frustration, want a group of like-minded people to share your thoughts with, then by all means, scroll down and say hello. 🙂

 

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If you’ve come here to argue with me, be rude, hostile, or a smartass, please don’t bother. You’re never going to change how I feel about a place, or undo what I’ve dealt with.

And please don’t make the mistake that I am a miserable person and “so unhappy.”  FORBES called CHICAGO a miserable city, it did not say I am a miserable person.  Are we clear on this now?  Plus, it’s not like you care whether or not I’m happy, so it’s okay for you to ditch the “if you’re so unhappy you should just leave!” lines.

How about this – if you’re so unhappy with my post, you should just move on to another blog. 

If you want to love on Chicago, I’m more than happy to point you to www.wordpress.com , where you can get your own blog and praise Chicago to the skies. No hard feelings. 😀

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(The original post from Feb. 2008 , in its entirety, follows.)

Recently I did a little post called, " Proof That Chicago Sucks ." It has turned out to be one of my most popular posts, and I get daily searches for the phrase "Chicago sucks" in my search engine terms. So I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to the subject, with my reasons for disliking Chicago, and not simply Forbes reasons for listing it in the Top 10 Most Miserable US cities.

fireshot-62.jpg

The unemployment rate is higher than the national average. I can speak from personal experience that this is especially true in the tech industry. And even if you can get a job, the pay rate will be below national average.

Housing sales are down more than 22% since the same time period last year. The average home price is close to $260,000. And property taxes are through the roof. (Pun intended!) Can’t afford a house? Plan on paying at least $1000 to rent a half-way decent apartment.

The commute time is horrible, on roads that are more pothole and patchwork than actual road. Plan on an hour, each way, just to get to work and back.

The weather is terrible. A local joke is that Chicago has 2 seasons – winter and road work. Um, it’s not a joke and it’s not funny. I have calculated that temperatures can vary as much as 200°. I have seen -80° wind-chills in winter, and 120° heat indices in summer. Often it is colder here than in Alaska.

Jackets? You like jackets? Good, because you’ll need at least 6. One to wear to and from the car, one to wear in the car, one to wear inside, one for fall days, one for fall nights, and one for rainy days. See, if you get one heavy enough for outside wear, it’s too bulky to wear in the car, but your car’s not warm enough to ditch the coat entirely – you still need something to stay warm. The weather varies so widely that you need a coat, jacket, or sweater for every 10° variance.

In the summer, the heat and humidity can be so stifling that it’s almost difficult to breathe. It’s no surprise that Chicago has one of the highest asthma rates in the nation.

How hot is it? In 1995, it was so hot that nearly 600 people died in less than a week from heat related causes.

Spring? Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Autumn’s not a whole lot different.

The City That Works? ROFLMAO Yeah. I remember when this story about sleeping on the job hit the air. Pictures and video of sleeping city workers were all over the news. Officials leave work early, if they deign to show up at all. They put friends and relatives on the payroll. No, they don’t give them jobs, just put them on the payroll.

Government corruption in Chicago, and the Illinois state government? Notorious. One of our former governors is sitting in prison right now for his role in this truck license scam that cost a family 6 of their children.

Taxes? Chicago has one of the highest tax rates in the country. (And it’s gone up since the linked article was written.) Someone has to pay for all those relatives and friends on city payrolls.

It seems like everything costs more here, from milk to gasoline. Utility rates are sky high. Take natural gas, for instance: one year I lived in a place that had electric heat. The years before and after I had gas heat. During that one year with electric heat, gas prices had doubled. Before, I paid about $75 to heat my house. The year after? About $150. Bigger house? No. I checked the bill – the rates were 100% higher. And that was 10 years ago.

People think the food here is wonderful. I suspect the only people who feel that way are the people who have lived here all their lives, and never eaten anywhere else. Chicago pizza isn’t all that hot. It’s more sauce than cheese, and sausage seems to be the topping of choice around here. Saucy sausage on dough. Does that sound appetizing to you?

And did you know, it’s offensive to put ketchup on a Chicago Style hot dog ? I kid you not: "It is taboo to put ketchup on a Chicago hot dog; there are actually some hot dog shops and stands that will refuse to provide service if the customer makes the request." They aren’t kidding – I’ve been to such places. "We don’ got no catch up heeah. You ain’t from Shikahga, air ya?" No. No I’m not. (Yes, folks actually speak like Dennis Franz around here. He’s from Chicago, not New York. The "accent" he has is native to here.)

I would love to get out, but it’s like living in a black hole.

There’s some sort of weird arrogance in Chicago too, at least on the news. Everything has to have some kind of Chicago connection. When the September 11 attacks happened, I expected my local news to carry the story of what was happening across the nation – New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. Nothing was happening here, the big news was elsewhere. What was the news about? The Sears Tower and how it might possibly may have maybe at some point thought to have been we think on the speculated we assume target list. Oh and by the way, some planes made the World Trade Center collapse. But they were headed to Chicago! It was nauseating.

Those are a few of my reasons. I have more, but I think this is enough for a post. No doubt you’d say, "More than!" LoL 🙂 That’s why I hope someone who’s searched for "Chicago sucks" comments here. Hey, we’re in one of the Top 10 Most Miserable cities! Let’s chat! Tell me why you think it sucks here. 

Some people like it here. I doubt they’ve ever lived some place else to compare it to. I’m happy for them, honestly. It’s good to like where you live. I know of families who’ve lived around Chicago for generations. I wish I could live where I liked and like where I lived. It must be a great feeling. One day I’ll get out, and find that place for myself as well.

If you like Chicago, try these links: Why I Love Chicago , or you can to Chicagoist , or to Chicago Adventures . They like Chicago too, and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to have you visit. 🙂

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Categories: Chicago, Rant, Thinking out loud | Tags: , , | 1,919 Comments

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1,919 thoughts on “Why I think Chicago sucks

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  1. Susan H

    I know this is an old blog but I just want to assure you Chicago still sucks. I didn’t read the entire article word for word but invade you missed it I wanted to add one thing. People who live here aren’t only miserable, they are also insane! Now not everyone of course but I feel like there is a much higher rate of mental illness here in general. Mental health providers have no lack of clients that is for sure! How does the women in my building have issues with everyone on our floor but she is the victim not the instigator? It doesn’t help that she is always home because someone else pays all her bills. I too have lived other places in apartment buildings and have never known anyone like this woman. It really pisses me off because I pay my own 1300+ rent for my one bedroom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Susan. 🙂 I’m sorry you’re having to struggle with such neighbor issues! Maybe your landlord can step in somehow? You are paying rent and have just as many rights as any other tenant. I hope you get it resolved soon!

      Vanessa aka DarcsFalcon

      Like

  2. Lunchy McLunchface

    Chicago sucks because it could be a much nicer city than it is if only somebody addressed the corruption. If only somebody did *anything* differently than the way it’s always been. But they will die on that hill of “but this is the way we’ve always done it“.

    Nothing changes there ever, unless it’s been done first in New York or Los Angeles, and it was proven to successful. Only then will Chicago acquiesce to look at doing something differently, and will probably just do it in a half-assed manner.

    I remember when mayor Daley went to Europe on vacation and then came back and declared that there should be Christmas lights on Michigan Avenue. Everyone talked about how amazing it was. No mention that we finally started doing something that everyone else had been doing around the world for decades. And the Christmas lights are only on that tiny strip of land, not in any other big shopping areas in Chicago. It’s like nothing outside of the tourist area matters to the mayor or his wife, who wanted to build a children’s museum in the least car and public transit accessible part of downtown, just because her office overlooked Millennium Park.

    Oh, and there are trust fund kids everywhere. You can’t swing a hotdog without hitting one. These kids never have to work because their parents make enough money to support six or seven people indefinitely. These people are the reasons why the rents are so high. They can pay anything because they don’t have to actually work for the money, and the drives the price is up for those of us who have to actually work to support ourselves. And it’s not like buying a place is any better. You’ll be told that your property taxes will only be about $200 a month, and then at any time they can jump to $2000 a month, and you’re just expected to pay it. There’s no recourse, and there’s no limits on what the city government thinks it can steal from its citizens.

    If you’re not from around there, and God forbid that you’re an immigrant, you’ll be working for pennies and then told you should be grateful for the chance to work for almost nothing.

    If you work in tech, your salary will be lower than the national average because there are only a few big companies in the area that need a decently sized tech workforce. It’s not possible to job hop until you get the salary you want because you’ll run out of places to hop to in two or three moves.

    This leads to absolute mediocrity in terms of innovation and everything else tech related. The biggest start up success story in Chicago is Groupon, and they’re basically just an online coupon site. Coupons. That’s Chicago’s tech innovation success story answer to Facebook or Google. Mediocrity through and through. And for some reason, most people don’t seem to mind! They’re just proud that someone outside of Chicago has heard of something that happened in Chicago. But it could be so much better People!

    P.S. I moved away in 2012, and I still have an angry and sad visceral reaction when I think of how much Chicago sucks.

    Like

  3. Lunchy McLunchface

    Chicago sucks because it could be a much nicer city than it is if only somebody addressed the corruption. If only somebody did *anything* differently than the way it’s always been. But they will die on that hill of “but this is the way we’ve always done it“.

    Nothing changes there ever, unless it’s been done first in New York or Los Angeles, and it was proven to successful. Only then will Chicago acquiesce to look at doing something differently, and will probably just do it in a half-assed manner.

    I remember when mayor Daley went to Europe on vacation and then came back and declared that there should be Christmas lights on Michigan Avenue. Everyone talked about how amazing it was. No mention that we finally started doing something that everyone else had been doing around the world for decades. And the Christmas lights are only on that tiny strip of land, not in any other big shopping areas in Chicago. It’s like nothing outside of the tourist area matters to the mayor or his wife, who wanted to build a children’s museum in the least car and public transit accessible part of downtown, just because her office overlooked Millennium Park.

    Oh, and there are trust fund kids everywhere. You can’t swing a hotdog without hitting one. These kids never have to work because their parents make enough money at cushy mediocre jobs to support six or seven people indefinitely. They’re not making that much money doing brain surgery. These people are the reasons why the rents are so high. They can pay anything because they don’t have to actually work for the money, and that drives the prices up for those of us who have to actually work to support ourselves.

    It’s not like buying a place is any better. You’ll be told that your property taxes will only be about $200 a month, but then at any time in the future they can jump up to $2000 a month, and you’re just expected to pay it. There’s no recourse, and there’s no limits on what the city government thinks it can steal from its citizens. See also: red light cameras, exorbitant fees for when your iPass transponder doesn’t work, parking meter price hikes to pay for a deal that only financially benefits the mayor, etc., etc.

    If you’re not from around there, and God forbid that you’re an immigrant, you’ll be working for pennies and then told you should be grateful for the chance to work for almost nothing.

    If you work in tech, your salary will be lower than the national average because there are only a few big companies in the area that need a decently sized tech workforce. It’s not possible to job hop until you get the salary you want because you’ll run out of places to hop to in two or three moves.

    This leads to absolute mediocrity in terms of innovation and everything else tech related. The biggest start up success story in Chicago is Groupon, and they’re basically just an online coupon site. Coupons. That’s Chicago’s tech innovation success story answer to Facebook or Google. Mediocrity through and through. And for some reason, most people don’t seem to mind! They’re just proud that someone outside of Chicago has heard of something that happened in Chicago. But it could be so much better People!

    P.S. I moved away in 2012, and I still have an angry and sad visceral reaction when I think of how much Chicago sucks.

    Like

    • Spot on, Lunchy! The corruption is the biggest problem here, and unfortunately, too many people are proud of it, proud of “getting away with” something, to be willing to change it. As long as they get theirs, they don’t care if it makes things worse for someone else.

      And I can personally vouch for what you were saying about the tech industry here. My husband struggled with these very things before he passed last year, and a couple of friends of mine have also.

      I am glad you’ve achieved “escape velocity” and have found success somewhere else. I would encourage you not to get an angry reaction toward Chicago anymore. Don’t let it steal one more moment of your happiness by making you angry!

      Thank you for visiting my humble old blog! 🙂

      Like

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