RORY: Too bad Grandpa’s not here. He likes weird food.
LORELAI: Yeah, where’s he eating his weird food tonight? Argentina? Morocco?
EMILY: Akron … The amenities are atrociously lacking. He had to eat at a coffee shop last night. The whole thing’s terribly insulting. He’s miserable.
Akron is a city in Ohio, with a population of nearly 200 000, although the Greater Akron area is around 700 000. It has a long history of rubber and tyre manufacturing, earning it the name Rubber Capital of the World. Today it has an economy based on manufacturing, education, healthcare, and biomedical research, with many polymer companies. Racially diverse, it has been the site of several key scenes in African-American race relations, including being the place where Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Society in 1914. Like many manufacturing centres, it suffers from the effects of air and soil pollution.
It is one of many cities which claims to have invented the hamburger, which might be one reason why Gilmore Girls doesn’t rate it as a place for fine dining. They do seem to be lacking silver service restaurants, although with a selection of delicious-looking steakhouses and grills. I feel as if Richard should have been able to find something decent to eat there, but this is the man who ate chocolate pudding with an expression like it was rat poison. Maybe his hotel wasn’t situated near any good food options.
It is one of the few times that Richard needed to travel for work within his home country. Richard seems to travel overseas an inordinate amount for someone who’s an executive at an insurance firm – is that much European travel really necessary in insurance? (Especially when a problem at their office in China was sorted out with a phone call from Richard). I wonder if being sent to Akron is another symptom of Richard being “phased out” of his job.