It's not uncommon for Western New York to be late to the party when it comes to catching onto national trends. But the entire East Coast is lagging behind on the "Boo your neighbor" phenomenon that has hit suburban neighborhoods across the West Coast and Midwest.
To "boo" a neighbor, one sneaks a basket of treats onto their porch in the dark of night for them to discover the next morning, along with some type of clever sign that says, "I've been Boo-ed!" That neighbor then pays it forward by "booing" two more neighbors.
If you don't believe me, just check Pinterest.
But Tops Markets is trying to get the concept going (while building some buzz for itself) with a "Let's Get Booing" marketing campaign.
"As a nation, booing has been around for over 20 years but the East Coast is just jumping on the bandwagon and we hope to help keep that momentum going," said Kathleen Sauter, a Tops spokeswoman.
Revived for a second year, the campaign centers around Boo Bags stocked with candy, drinks, snacks and other goodies; paired with free, printable Tops-branded brochures explaining the booing process.
To get the word out, the company "Booed" the highest-spending customers from each one of its stores across New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. It found its biggest spenders using Bonus Card data, and ended up leaving a total of 1,800 Boo Bags.
The promotion is already working to build goodwill among customers, Tops said. The company received a message from one recently widowed Boo Bags recipient.
"She said it turned her day around and made her so happy. That's all we can hope for," Sautter said. "You never know what a small gesture can do."