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Shame shame shame, shame on minimarts and me


Fat Guy
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I just paid $1.65 for two small potatoes at the local minimart/bodega/grocery/whatever. Hey, it was supply and demand: I didn't want to go to a real supermarket where I could have bought 5 or more pounds of the same potatoes for the same price. I just wanted to take the dog for a walk and get two potatoes in order to transform the other day's leftover brisket into brisket hash. But I feel dirty. Please help me share the pain, horror, and humiliation by contributing an NY minimart pricing story of your own.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat Guy, spent $2.99 for about an ounce of mint at Garden of Eden. Moved away from NYC a few months ago where mint is considered a weed and goes for about $.50 for 8 oz. Even bunched tightly it’s hard to hold in on hand. Rhubarb is about $.75 a pound. That said, when you’re in NYC you have Zabar’s, Whole Foods, Garden of Eden, Citarella, and Balducci’s. All over priced. Don’t feel silly for buying exactly the amount you need. If you buy more they’ll just end up sprouting and you’ll have to throw them out.

That mini-mart has to pay the rent :smile::smile:

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FG, I rationalize (irrationalize?) the whole thing. I get forty to sixty bucks an hour when I'm working so I consider that when I'm picking up some outrageously overpriced item closer to home. I could have driven 1/2 an hour each way and gotten something for three bucks less, but where does that leave me?

Were they good potatoes?

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Sometimes, on my way home from work (if I'm stupid enough to take the 1/9 line instead of the B/C), I stop at the little market on the corner and buy Fresca for $2.00/bottle.

If I just walked past my apartment and across the street (or, if I would just consistently take the B/C, which approaches from the other direction), I could get it at the scary Bravo market for 99 cents a bottle. Sometimes even less.

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Yes, we all have to go into 7-11 or stores of that ilk from time to time....

The proprietors will explain away the high prices by claiming that they can't buy like the supermarkets, they have high overhead, and they don't do the volume the big stores do--

And we all pay it from time to time, for convenience, to save time, to avoid those supermarket lines, etc.

Don't feel bad, FG. I just paid 99 cents for a can of cat food!

(Also, the coffee is usually undrinkable in these places-- who's drinking it??)

Edited by menton1 (log)
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Were they good potatoes?

They were good. One problem we thankfully don't have in my neighborhood is the problem of bad minimarts. The places near me in the East 80s and 90s on Madison, Lexington, and Third are mostly quite good in terms of product quality. This is an affluent neighborhood where consumers are willing to pay top dollar for quality. So when I go to the Apple Tree Market on Madison between 93rd and 94th I can be sure the produce I get there will be as good or better (at two or three times the price) than whatever is being offered at the upper-level supermarkets. They also sell Eli's bread and other gourmet-market staples. Indeed there are plenty of Fifth- and Park-Avenue types who do their actual grocery shopping at these places, because they don't care about the difference between $1 and $3 per pound, the level of convenience is excellent, and most everything is good. This is emphatically not the case everywhere in Manhattan.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Not a story from NY, but I was recently in the Bahamas and the woman in front of me bought 4 tomatoes..........$20.36 !!!!! And this is everyday pricing. I understand it is due to importing, but what a shock !

Today is going to be one of those days.....

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I paid at least a dollar for a lemon at Krauszer's -- why, oh why do I always forget my parents don't keep lemons in the house anymore?

Though it hurts the bargain hunter in me, I rationalize like Nick does. I would rather have less money and more time. I ask myself "would I pay someone a dollar to go to ShopRite on a hectic Saturday and get me a lemon?" The answer is almost always yes.

Edit: didn't read the category -- don't mind me; I'm from NJ.

Edited by babyluck (log)

Queen of Grilled Cheese

NJ, USA

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Not a mini-market, but I paid over $4 for a quart of heavy cream at Shop-Rite in Englewood, NJ in June. I then made a stop at Fairway on 125th where the same quart was about $2.20.

But in the reverse, in a desperate need for canola oil, I paid $4.50 for a quart at Food Emporium, which is how much I pay for a gallon when I shop in Jersey.

C'est la vie.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Just a story. Back in the sixties when I was living in the South End of Boston I shopped mostly at a little grocery up the street. The South End was a diverse community and the owner of the grocery was an older man who came from some place in Europe - it could have been Spain, or Greece, or Rumania. I can't remember.

At any rate, he was a good man and I got my stuff from his store. At that time I was really into green peppers and he always had really good green peppers (he knew his produce.) So one day I went to his shop and there were no green peppers and I asked why. He went into fit and almost shouting told me, " they want 18 cents (a pound, from the wholesaler) for those peppers, so I would have to charge 35 cents. I can't charge people that much money, so I didn't buy them."

A man with a small shop, and a man of principle.

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Good story. I like him very much.

Me, I never shop for convenience. Plus, I have two cheap supermarkets in my neighborhood. PLUS, I collect circulars every Sunday, compile a list of what I need that is on sale, and do my shoping later in the week.

No, I do not do convience. :biggrin:

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Dog for a walk, and not two potatoes in the house?

Shame on you.

Why do you feel violated?

With convenience comes a price, and expect to pay it.

Twenty pounds of white potatoes, over the weekend at a local farm stand, eight dollars.

Man walking his dog through the streets of NYC, expecting the same bargain, priceless.

woodburner

:biggrin:

Edited for weight

Edited by woodburner (log)
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....... One problem we thankfully don't have in my neighborhood is the problem of bad minimarts. The places near me in the East 80s and 90s on Madison, Lexington, and Third are mostly quite good in terms of product quality. This is an affluent neighborhood where consumers are willing to pay top dollar for quality..........

But Of!Course :biggrin: Move to Clinton - Neither UWS, nor Chelsea. Walk to Lincoln Center/Broadway/Central Park :smile:

anil

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That said, when you’re in NYC you have Zabar’s, Whole Foods, Garden of Eden, Citarella, and Balducci’s. All over priced.

In my experience, of the places you've mentioned only Balducci's is exorbitant for items which it is does not uniquely carry - which aren't many any more. Instead, I have found the Food Emporium and A&P in my neighborhood to be the over priced culprits.

A couple of weeks ago I was making dinner for some family when I realized that one little girl would not eat what I was making. My wife ran to the A&P on West End and 70th and bought a package of chicken breast. The best quality they had was something called "Perdue Natural." The price was $6.99 per pound! The stuff was truly horrible. Afterwards, I felt violated.

Edited by JosephB (log)
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Yes, I think if you live near the West 70s and 80s you're extremely lucky in terms of food-shopping options. Between Fairway, Zabar's, and Citarella you can beat the best suburban supermarkets (places like Wegmans) on both price and quality on just about any product other than paper goods and cereal (the bulky stuff), and of course you have access to a whole universe of products that are never seen outside the big cities and in some cases outside New York. We have nothing comparable on the Upper East Side. We do have Vingear Factory, Eli's, Agata & Valentina, a Citarella branch, Grace's, etc. -- we've got plenty of quality, no doubt about that -- but we don't have places that are priced in a particularly competitive manner when you look at Fairway and Zabar's as the benchmarks.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My local bodega is on a corner that marks the unofficial end of gentrification in my neighborhood. As such, it serves two distinct markets. They have about ten different flavors of mad dog and thunderbird (including red banana) next to several dozen imported and microbrewed beers. Foodwise, there's nothing really worth buying.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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The Fairway in Harlem is a great example of a supermarket serving a bifurcated constituency. On the one hand you can get caviar, USDA Prime dry-aged beef, and something like 400 mostly-imported cheeses, and on the other hand you can get all these vegetables that are almost exclusively used in Hispanic ethnic cooking (shelved right next to the $20 per pound wild mushrooms and the organic baby carrots). Not to mention all the firefighters do their shopping there. It's a cool place.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The Fairway in Harlem is a great example of a supermarket serving a bifurcated constituency. On the one hand you can get caviar, USDA Prime dry-aged beef, and something like 400 mostly-imported cheeses, and on the other hand you can get all these vegetables that are almost exclusively used in Hispanic ethnic cooking (shelved right next to the $20 per pound wild mushrooms and the organic baby carrots). Not to mention all the firefighters do their shopping there. It's a cool place.

And don't forget the freezer room!!

:wub::wub:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Refrigerator room, yes, it's AWESOME. On a hot summer day I could live in there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Refrigerator room, yes, it's AWESOME. On a hot summer day I could live in there.

It is kind of strange though that you are walking IN a refrigerator and stuff like meat is just sitting on shelves and not IN refrigerated cabinets.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I'd love to know which system is more efficient: refrigerating the whole room, or refrigerating a bunch of open cabinets.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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how do you all feel about wearing the jackets they provide for the refrigerator room?

Everyone I bring there refuses to put them on, but it doesn't bother me.

yeah, this is off topic.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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