Fear and loathing at the Fairway
I’m writing today to clarify certain events leading up to the recent unfortunate situation in your Red Hook store involving myself, the assistant manager, six grocery carts, some allegedly stolen beer and my car. First, I’d like to assure you that my personal liability umbrella policy is up-to-date and all damage to your property and medical expenses incurred by your staff will be covered. This is, however, in no way an admission of guilt. I maintain I was provoked, even driven to despair, in the hours leading up to the “incident” in the parking lot, and in the interest of avoiding further such problems would like to explain. I know I am not alone in my feelings about your store.
Let me begin by saying that the converted warehouse by the water is a lovely location, and at first glance a beautiful, inviting store. Your merchandising scheme, however, appears to have been hatched by a bunch of fun house planners in collaboration with inmates of a state mental hospital who have been off their meds for some little time. For example, there are spices in at least four locations, and I can only assume there may be more. By the time I get to display number three on any given trip I’ve forgotten whether I need cumin or coriander, not to mention where I am and the correct spelling of my own name.
Not convinced? Let’s consider the oatmeal: On my last trip I discovered several varieties in the organic annex, right after I discovered the organic annex. I haven’t kept count or anything, but I would guesstimate that I had visited your store approximately 100 times before the day in question and it was only on visit number 101 that I realized you segregate the organics in their own gated community. Speaking of which, isn’t your little grocery apartheid just a bit antiquated? Organics in their own cozy, separate enclave, carefully screened and at a safe distance from the regular grocery item ghetto? Who really benefits when the Old Wessex porridge is kept at a remove from the Quaker oats? Is Fairway truly safer or better for it? I think you know the answer to these questions. Look deep within yourselves for the truth, gentlemen.
Since we’re having this little chat, I’ve got a bone to pick with your inventory priorities. Who exactly made the executive decision to have upwards of 500 brands of yogurt, but only one type of kitchen sponge and no rye flour? Or is the rye flour in the organic section? Perhaps it’s kept in some special room that only executive key holders can access. Who knows? I can tell you one thing: it is NOT in amongst the baking supplies, say next to the whole wheat flour or just above the granulated sugar.
On the subject of sugar, I’d just like to say that putting the ruinously expensive gram-measure-only packets of muscovado and demerara well ahead of the affordable Domino versions does not trick me into buying the big ticket items. And yes, I am the shopper who routinely leaves the imports orphaned among the hoi polloi. If you think I’m going to walk all the way back to return the bag of whatever I grabbed in desperation from the gourmet rack in aisle 3-a after I’ve finally found its domestic equivalent in aisle 57-b-1, you’ve got another think coming. And if you’re hoping I’ll opt to just pay more to avoid said extra miles, you have lost your mind. I’m entirely willing to leave the princess to her fate among the rabble, pal. Besides I couldn’t possibly find my way back through that rat maze of dead ends and blind turns to replace said item even if I wanted to. Note to Fairway site planners: If you have to provide a map of the store on every shopping cart, you’ve got a layout problem.
This, I believe, was a crucial contributor to my somewhat frazzled state at the time of the incident. You see, I was physically and psychically exhausted by the time I made my way to the check out line. Two hours previous I’d been looking for Brillo pads, but must have taken a wrong turn at imported gluten-free crackers because somehow I ended up in the Lambic specialty section of the Belgian beers. At least that’s what the investigating officer surmised. Anyway, this is probably a good time to clarify that those bottles of Hefeweizen must have already been open when I put them in my cart – I suspect the stock boys might have had a nip between shifts, and who could really blame them?
So getting back to the little incident. In closing I would like to say that I had not had too much to drink when my
altercation conversation with your minion manager got a little fraught; rather, I’d say I hadn’t had enough. By the time the tow truck and EMS arrived, the sun had long since set and everyone, I think, was steadied by their little nips from my hip flask.
Now I know passions were running high and things were said that perhaps would have been better left unsaid, but I don’t think any of this merits a lifetime ban. You’re the only game in town, you know. (The Pathmark is really dirty.)
Hoping you will reconsider, I am most sincerely,
Mrs. NAME REDACTED PENDING LITIGATION
Want to read more about the agony and the ecstasy of grocery shopping in New York City? Check out Patricia Marx’s article, A Bushel and a Peck, in the January 16 edition of The New Yorker. You’ll need to subscribe, but you should at least be pretending to read the magazine anyway.
Posted on February 10, 2012, in Drudgery, Words to live by and tagged Cocktails, Drink and Food, Fairway, Fairway Market, Humor/Commentary, Life, Local, Opinion, Pathmark, Police blotter, Quaker Oats Company, Red Hook Brooklyn, Sherpa, Shopping cart, Sugar. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.