Good, better, best
What does it mean to be the “best” of Northern Nevada?
The dictionary says the superlative means to excel beyond all others, but it’s not as simple as that.
Marketers will tell you “best” is a pretty slippery term—best can be, after all, a noun, verb, adjective or adverb—but folks in general seem to recognize that there’s a certain level of competence required to earn the title.
For the last 10 years, the Reno News & Review has polled readers as to their opinions on which businesses, organizations and individuals are the best at doing what they do here in Northern Nevada. Sometimes, the answers have been surprising. For example, it’s hard to believe that certain chain fast food restaurants can do anything better than the local mom-and-pop, nose-to-the-grindstone eateries that pay close attention to every burger, burrito or latte they serve. On the other hand, sometimes it’s the very ubiquity of a chain that shows that it may, indeed, be the “best”; in other words, it’s hard to argue with success.
Other times, it’s just the weirdness of the answer that makes the winner surprising. Who’d have ever thought there’d be enough smartasses filling out ballots to vote “home” as one of the best places to watch Monday Night Football? But, again, maybe the answer is less counter-intuitive than first glance would suggest.
Still, when it comes to actually writing in someone’s name on a ballot, the bottom line is personal preference, and voters must have some hope that their nominee will succeed, and their conviction will be validated with a win. “See,” the effort seems to say, “I was right to invest my dollars, time and interest in this place.”
While the concept of the “best” is somewhat hard to nail down, there is no doubt about the importance people attach to earning the description. You hear business’ radio commercials touting their “best” designation. You see banners hanging on businesses all over town proclaiming their “best” status. Many organizations work very hard all year ’round to be the best; some just work harder in the month leading up to the contest.
Americans love champions, and Northern Nevada is no different. It’s the thrill of victory that’s important. So, congratulations to all you winners. You have something that adds to the diversity, quality and richness of life here in Northern Nevada.
Likewise, thanks to all you readers who participated in this year’s poll.
You truly are the best.
By the numbers
Ballot box stuffers