Starting Over Writing About People In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have lived in Dickinson, North Dakota since 2011.  I have been writing blog posts about living in Dickinson for the past three years.  I have been seeing such a significant change in the people in Dickinson during the past several months, that I believe a transition has occurred.

There was an oil boom in North Dakota from 2007 through 2014.  In 2015, there was a sharp drop in the price of oil.  The number of operating oil drill rigs decreased, work in the oil field slowed down, other businesses slowed down, and many out of state workers returned home to the states where they came from.

Dickinson became less crowded, less busy, quieter, and calmer.  However, the attitude, outlook, mood, and behavior of people in Dickinson did not change that much from what it had been during the oil boom years of 2007 through 2014.

In 2015 and 2016, people in Dickinson wondered and speculated whether the oil boom would come back.  People’s opinions would change daily depending on what they had heard, read, or what other people had persuaded them to believe.  No matter what we thought, we were all waiting to see what actually happened.

In 2017, I believe that most people in Dickinson had concluded that the oil boom was not coming back, whether they admitted this out loud or not.  Reaching this conclusion, every individual considered what this meant for them, how would this affect them.

In the Fall of 2017, it was like everyone in Dickinson had changed overnight.  It was like they had all changed in unison, their attitudes, outlook, mood, and behavior.

In Dickinson every winter, there is a work slow down, and a work shut down.  It becomes so cold, that it is difficult to work outside.  It begins to snow, and the ground freezes.  Farmers don’t do any work with their fields, construction companies can’t do many types of work because it isn’t practical, personal work projects and commercial work projects can’t be done due to the weather.

In the winter, there are fewer jobs, it is harder to find a job, there are fewer ways to make money, and it is harder to make money.  It is a time of financial hardship for many people in Dickinson because they are not working.  This year, as winter approached, people in Dickinson had already been thinking that the oil boom was over, and it wasn’t coming back.

I think that this is why, I saw a sudden universal change in everyone in Dickinson during the past couple of months.  I think that everyone in Dickinson is preparing for hard times.

I wrote about this some in my previous blog post.  For the past three years, I had been writing that the people from Dickinson were unfriendly, and that they did not like the workers who came from out of state during the oil boom to work in Dickinson.  The unfriendliness, hostility, lack of cooperation, hatred, and undermining of out of state workers that I had written about for the past three years, all of sudden got worse and more severe.

What I thought was happening, was the local people from Dickinson had their wages reduced, hours reduced, overtime hours reduced, they had lost their job, or they were unable to get a job, and they felt that they had more of right to make money and earn a living than the workers who had come from out of state.

With the realization of the local people in Dickinson that the oil boom was not coming back, that there would be fewer and fewer jobs in the oil field, that winter is coming where there is a work shut down and reduced work, the local people from Dickinson universally decided all at once that their “benevolence” toward people from out of state was over.

Approximately one-half of the employers and companies in the Dickinson area, are not from Dickinson.  Examples are:  Menards, Wal-Mart, Runnings, Marathon Oil, Continental Oil, Whiting Oil, Tesoro Oil, Conoco Philips Oil, Lufkin, Halliburton, BJ, Nabors Drilling, Scull Construction, JE Dunn Construction, Knife River Construction, MDU, BNSF, Family Fare Grocery Store, Cash Wise Grocery Store, Sanford Health, St. Alelxius Health, and Dickinson State University.

However, even though approximately one-half of the employers and companies in the Dickinson area are not from Dickinson, some of these companies do pay attention to whether they are hiring local people from Dickinson, or non-local people.  One reason why they pay attention to whether they are hiring local people from Dickinson, is because their management and their workers are from Dickinson, and these people already working at the company have collectively started enforcing the “Dickinson Rule”, whether the company owners wanted this or not.

Non locally owned companies in Dickinson that appear to try to hire mostly local people from Dickinson whenever possible are:  Runnings, Whiting Oil, MDU, Family Fare Grocery Store, St. Alexius Health, and Dickinson State University.

Non locally owned companies in Dickinson that appear to have slight favoritism to hiring local people from Dickinson are:  Marathon Oil, Continental Oil, Conoco Philips Oil.  This slight favoritism may be because these oil companies want people who work in the field to be familiar with the area, knowledgeable about the area, and accustomed to the weather.

Non locally owned companies in Dickinson who appear to have no preference in hiring people based on where they are from:  Menards, Wal-Mart, Tesoro Oil, Lufkin, Halliburton, BJ, Nabors Drilling, Scull Construction, JE Dunn Construction, Knife River Construction, BNSF, Cash Wise Grocery Store, and Sanford Health.

Because of the large amount of people that work at Menards, Wal-Mart, Tesoro Oil, Halliburton, BJ, Knife River Construction, Cash Wise, and Sanford Health, these businesses could not stay open if they tried to only hire people from Dickinson.  For that matter, all the other non locally owned companies in Dickinson that have some preference for hiring local people from Dickinson, Runnings, Whiting, MDU, Family Fare, St. Alexuis Health, DSU, Marathon, Continental, and Conoco Philips could not stay open if they tried to only hire people from Dickinson.

The local people from Dickinson almost unanimously do not want people who are from out of state to be living in Dickinson now, but the non locally owned companies in Dickinson need the out of state workers in order to have enough employees to stay open and function.

The locally owned companies in Dickinson, they still have some out of state workers employed with their company.  Several example are MBI, Nuverra, Winn Construction, Northern Improvement, and McDonalds.  These companies would not have enough workers if they did not hire some people from out of state.

I believe that I just explained rather thoroughly up above, that both the non locally owned companies and the locally owned companies in Dickinson have had to hire workers from out of state in order to keep their businesses open and functioning.  I explained that some of the non locally owned companies in Dickinson, do have a preference for hiring local people from Dickinson.  Because some non locally owned companies have so many local people from Dickinson working in them, these local people at these companies have begun applying or enforcing the “Dickinson Rule” in hiring, and also in the work place.

The point that I want to make, the “Transition” that I believe occurred in 2017, the almost universal and unanimous change in the people in Dickinson that seemed to occur overnight, was the passing of the “Dickinson Rule” into law in Dickinson.

The “Dickinson Rule”, is that the local people from Dickinson are to be given preference in all things over people from out of state.  The local people from Dickinson should be the first to be hired, the first to be promoted, the last to be reprimanded, the last to be demoted, the last to be let go, the last to be fired.  In all dealings, business, financial, social, medical, religious, and enforcement of law, local people from Dickinson have precedence over people from out of state.  People from out of state are not due equal treatment.  Whenever and wherever possible, the people from out of state should be encouraged to leave Dickinson.

4 thoughts on “Starting Over Writing About People In Dickinson, North Dakota

  1. I think you did a pretty good job describing companies which hire locals more than they hire newcomers. I’m not well-familiar with many of the non-consumer type companies you described, but have to say that I think you’re accurate with regard to those most all of us patronize.

    I may be repeating myself, and sorry if I am, but I have a few opinions regarding some of the local businesses.

    CashWise. TERRIFIC. Well-run, beautiful produce department. Love that guy Bilal (I am guessing at spelling of his name) who is always smiling, always helpful. He runs around to help me find something nearly any time I’m in there. Their meat department is FABULOUS. They have seasoned employees working in there, some guys who’ve been professionals for many years (prior to CashWise) and they are first-rate in every respect. Their cashiers are always cordial, smiling, happy to see you (one of my favorites is a lady I call Suzie-Q, what a nice lady). Their manager does an outstanding job selecting his employees and I’ve told him so more than once.

    FamilyFare. It is a beautiful store with many wonderful employees. I have noticed that most of their cashiers are local. My favorite is Allen. He is a character and I just love him. I LOVE the kids (they’re kids to me, lol) over in Starbucks. They are unfailingly a bright spot, always professional, service as it should be.

    Runnings. I love this store. However, it is a running joke (no pun intended) between hubs and me whether the cashier will say anything to us at all, other than the amount we owe. If the cashier is under 55, she/he WILL be nice, professional, cordial. If the cashier is a woman over 55, she will (9 times out of 10) be so disinterested in us, one would wonder if she is a robot, or heavily medicated. Oddly, and I KID YOU NOT, she will have been yucking it up with the LOCAL person who was just in front of us. The person who goes to her church, or went to her high school 40 years ago (or both). That smile will snap right off her face the moment I step up to pay (and trust I’ve given them no reason not to be cordial to me). I am convinced that those older women at Runnings were born and raised in Dickinson. For some reason, I only notice this phenomenon at Runnings. There are older local women who are completely lovely, just not at Runnings!


    1. S,

      Yes, you have told me about Runnings before. It doesn’t harm anything to say what you think or feel more than once. Many people read my blog website. People from around the world, and local people. Even people that don’t like me, don’t like my website, and don’t like my views, read this website. They read the comments too. On many websites, the comments are actually better and more interesting than the articles themselves.

      As far as Runnings goes, the local people from Dickinson who work there who choose to not be friendly to people from out of state, I actually get entertainment out of it when they carry it too far. I no longer feel the obligation to act right or normal. Sometimes when I am in a good mood, I feel like doing something to validate their unfavorable opinion of people from out of state. When I want people to not like me, I rub my belly and moan Ohh, Ohh, Ohh, I have worms, Ohh. Then they have something to talk about when I leave. Stores that sell hardware, you have all kinds of opportunity to make up things.

      However, another way to look at it, if you are having a bad day in Dickinson, and everything is going wrong, and everything seems like it is going against you, like many, many out of state workers have experienced in Dickinson, it could really make you feel worse if the cashiers and employees in a store appear to not like you and not want you in their store, or in Dickinson itself for that matter.

      I have written warnings to everyone in Dickinson, that they need to consider the consequences of a collective negative attitude towards people from out of state. If more and more people feel that Dickinson is too unfriendly and that they should move some place else, this could cause a domino effect where people move away, more businesses close, more people lose their jobs, more people move away, more businesses close, more people lose their jobs, more people move away…until Dickinson is full of boarded up stores, boarded up businesses, and vacant apartment buildings.


  2. Thanks. I reread what I wrote and realized I’m glossing over a bit. While there are predominantly sourpusses of a certain age at Runnings ( they’re native to Dickinson and may be younger than 55, but seem a lot older) there are several just like them scattered at stores/venues around town. They’re so sour that I’m sad if I learn they’re married, pitying the man who puts up with that.

    A large number of the friendly people I’ve met in Dickinson are from somewhere else. The immigrants from Africa (like Bilal over at CashWise, only for one example) have stood out for their kindness, their optimism, their gratitude. Last winter, on one of the coldest days imaginable, wind blowing like to end all time, I saw a skinny man walking south down 10th ave. W.. He wore khaki, boots, all bundled up on top. I couldn’t even see his face as I pulled over to pick him up. I knew he was likely an African on his way to work. I bet you know exactly what I mean, too. The Africans tend to dress like they’re going to church, all the time (wonderful). They’re so glad to be here and they work so hard. I gave him a ride to his work. Ordinarily, I don’t pick up men walking along the road, lol. I don’t recommend women do that. It was just so dam* cold that day, my car practically stopped itself, I couldn’t pass anybody up. I guess I’m saying I really respect hardworking people who greet you with some joy in their heart. In Dickinson, a lot of those types are not indigenous.

    P.s. The pharmacists at the new Family Fare. FABULOUS. So smart, so kind, so helpful (and joyful).


    1. S,

      Yes, the pharmacist at the new Family Fare was very helpful to me too. I explained to him that my allergy attacks were so severe, causing my eyes to swell shut to where I couldn’t see, wasn’t there an antihistamine that was almost like what people who are allergic to bee stings take. He wrote down some recommended prescription medications that I could go and see a doctor about getting a prescription for. ( In many foreign countries, I believe that Mexico is one of them, pharmacists discuss people’s medical problems with customers, and can dispense medication, without the requirement of a doctor visit. It is like, people are permitted to make the decision about how to they want to handle their problems.)


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