Saturday, July 25, 2009

how to know you're not in Manhattan


You find jumbo paks of lowbrow snacks in a grocery store . You never see shelves stocked like this in my neighborhood. Truffles? Yes. Organic popcorn? Twelve brands. Kumquats? Year round. But just try and find pancake pockets or peppermint stick ice cream or peanut butter with jelly swirled inside the jar. Pigs in a blanket? Try a specialty store. No wonder Manhattan was just found to be the skinniest place in the nation. (Not that all of us are so svelte. I was recently intrigued by a new way to see yourself thinner. In a mere 30 seconds!

One reason there are fewer supersize people is: no supersize groceries. Not that superstores haven't tried to move in. Target got close by setting up shop in a boat. Wal-Mart flexed its muscles here a few years ago but were soundly pummelled by union leaders railing against undercutting and community activists calling it a blight on their neighborhood. Wal-Mart threw up its hands and retreated to a suburb two miles away. Where bargain-starved customers were so glad to receive it, they stampeded the doors and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death.

11 comments:

Makolyte said...

Money buys healthiness.

Poor people are not going to spend $5 on organic tree bark when they can buy 5 double stacker cheese burgers off the dollar menu!

CORPORATE ROCK said...

thx for Thinner site -- 2-3 days + $15, though ...

Kim said...

Interesting. I live in Minnesota and, unfortunately, have Wal-marts minutes away in every direction. I wonder if New Yorkers are also thinner because they need to do more walking. Where I live, it's essential to take the car everywhere.

California Girl said...

You are happy about this aren't you? I don't know about twelve kinds of kimquats (nice alliteration, don't you think?) but the lack of Wal Mart and Target is not a tragedy...although I do love Target. Actually, I love TJ Maxx, I like Target.

I live in Tiny Town USA, pop. 5,000 with surrounding environs totalling approx 30,000 and we have a Wal Mart, a Lowes, a Home Depot and a Christmas Tree Shoppe and TJ's. The only one I like is the TJ Maxx store where I shop for cool mark downs. I try to spend my money with local retailers and mom and pops as much as possible.

I miss the city (I've lived a number of places but originally from LA) but only in small bites. We can go to Boston or Portland, ME when we're really hurting, or I just get on a plane and go home to CA.

This is an amusing post and I love the way you ended it and I do recall that incident. It was at Christmas, I believe. Ahhh, bargain hunters.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Makolyte Good point about economic realities impacting the shape of more than one's bank account...

@Corporate Rock Not that *you* need it :)

@Kim Probably the walking helps, you're right. Wal-marts in every direction? I'm envious!

@California Girl Thanks for the read and for sharing your own story. 5000 pop and all those superstores...gotta love America, right? ;)

Susan Ellis said...

We have a huge Buy Local campaign that is working to contain WalMart as it pummels traditional North American retail markets and manufacturing to death in favour of cheap products produced off shore.Downtowns in many many towns and cities throughout the world are disappearing, and I find that very sad.Cheaper goods cost far more than the buyer suspects.

indrablog said...

Now in India also organic food is a big fad. We have retuarants serving organic food as well. Occasionally, there are organic food festivals too.

Teenie said...

Gad--there's nothing worse than travelling to a brand-new city only to have it feel like any other city at all. We visited New Orleans (just before Katrina) and I was so disappointed to find the Wal-Mart.McDonald's aura there too--with a touch of fake Louisiana heritage, packaged from $4 and up per souvenir.

It was only when we drove out to smaller places that we felt things were a little more unique. So, for me, I say bring on the independent grocers and a little variety. Long live unpredictability!

Susan the shoppe owner said...

I enjoyed this post very much. But how did I miss hearing about Target in boat form back in 2002??? I really dislike Walmart. I don't care what anybody says about how much money you save going there - and, by the way, I've price checked for the day to day things I normally purchase and they do not, in fact, beat Target out. That being said, I do like Target very much. I don't think I could go for very long without stopping by. I especially love that it is always clean (at least mine is).

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Susan Ellis Good luck with that campaign, what a boon for shop owners...and the shoppers who love them.

@Indrablog Organic food festivals in India must be quite the taste-treat experience!

@Teenie Good timing for a trip to New Orleans!

@Susan Amazing what competitive advertisers sometimes get away with saying, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

The funniest example of that notion for me was when in Moab, Ut I needed to visit a local "department" store. On the way out I passed an entire wall of beef jerkey. Yum.