Fine Fare

Fine Fare is a supermarket at the end of my block. I’ve never liked this store, for many reasons, some of which are: 1) they used to make you check your bag when you went in; 2) they used to make you pay for your deli purchases at the deli counter, instead of at the register; 3) the baggers used to shake you down for tips, especially this one woman who was not quite well and would chase you out of the store if you didn’t tip her. The workers there are not unionized, the way they are at Key Food and Associated. It always seemed to me that they should organize and demand more money from the owners rather than from the customers.

Well, I say “used to” because now things are changing. I wish I had a photo of the entrance before the new gates and awning were put in a couple of weeks ago. The previous gates were set up to deter shopping-cart theft, and you could barely fit through the opening. That by itself made it undesirable to enter, in a feng shui sort of way. Now you can see that they’ve opened it up quite a bit.

finefare-entrance1

finefare-entrance2

Take a look at photo above. Where that man is standing there used to be shelves. I don’t even remember what was there, but it limited the entrance-way only slightly less than the gates you would have just passed through. And there stood one of the employees, who would ask for your bag, and give you half a playing card as your receipt. I’ve lived on this block for over ten years, and after the first time I went in and refused to turn over my bag and was told I couldn’t come in, I never went back (with my bag) again. I was so annoyed by it that I would go to Key Food, until Associated opened on 8th Street, even though both were more expensive. This past year, I decided I was just going to refuse to give my bag to them and see what happened. Twice they asked for it and twice I declined (politely, of course), and both times they let me in. They were already softening!

Well now that’s all over. Where the people’s bags used to be stashed are now shelves with… food!

I saw the owner (manager?) and told him I really liked the changes. He was quite proud of it himself, and gave me a brief tour, showing me where the new refrigerator units would go, and where the new five-level shelves would go, replacing the existing, two-level shelves, and told me they were putting in new floors too, although that would be the last thing they do, since he didn’t want them to be ruined by all the materials coming in. The whole project should be completed by March, he said.

I tell you, I’m quite pleased by this. I’ve bought plenty of stuff from Fine Fare over the years (it’s only when I had my bag that I wouldn’t go in) but I’ll be glad to do all my grocery shopping there in the future. We might not even have to go to Fairway any more!

Fine Fare, like no other fare!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. renecalvo
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 10:47:03

    I am a little shocked by your fine fare story. There is a supermarket near me in Harlem called BRAVO that is still old school ghetto. It is the last one with those narrow gates on the entrance. Inside the baggers are also working there as a last (or only) resort. They are marginal people with obvious social deficits. High above sits a guy in a booth with 9 video screens and a PA system monitoring the relatively tiny store. They have about 80 different kinds of beans and huge bags of inexpensive rice. I will mourn it’s inevitable demise. I miss scary new york. I really do.

    Reply

    • shmnyc
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 12:28:41

      Rene, Other stores in the neighborhood did not behave the same way. I mentioned Key Food and Associated, but there was a Pioneer on Avenue D and 2nd (which I used to go to until they closed), that didn’t treat its customers like suspects as soon as they walked in the door. And why would workers want to be so badly paid that they have to ask for tips, or be kept under video surveillance? As these stores improve, the conditions of the workers improve too.

      Re scary New York: Everything looks better in the rear view mirror. 🙂

      Reply

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