A Myrtle Walgreens Manager’s Method of Customer Service Angers Me

I’ve been going to the Myrtle Walgreens at least 3 times a month since it opened over 2 years ago and I spend a silly amount of money there.
Last night, on my second visit this week, I asked for 10 dollars cash back before I paid with my debit card. I was given my receipts and 3 or 4 coupons and my shopping bags but not the $10.

But I didn’t know this until I was almost home and I stopped at the corner bodega to buy one last thing, intending to pay with the 10 dollars I’d requested at Walgreens. When I went to pay I had ones and a five in my wallet, no ten dollar bill. I dug into my bag thinking maybe the bill had been wadded up with the receipts and coupons which I’d stuffed into the bottom of my bag – but there was no 10 dollar bill anywhere.

I was close enough to home and also had my dog and was carrying a heavy 12 pack case of diet coke that I didn’t want to turn around and head back up to Walgreens. I figured I could just call them up and settle the matter! I am an optimist by nature but I had doubts I would be believed since it would be a case of my word against the store employee’s. Still, I phoned, got customer service and Brian picked up my call. I told him my story and he said he would check the register if I’d like to call back.

I called back and he said the register came up even and he had also checked the security tapes and the tape showed the sales clerk handing me the 10 dollars. I asked him why would I make up a story about not getting 10 dollars cash back if it weren’t true? A very silly question I admit. There are many reasons for someone to lie about not getting money the main reason being in order to acquire more money. At least he didn’t laugh. He just replied that his information showed the opposite and that was that.

Of course the main responsibility was mine: I should have been more observant. I should have remembered the clerk’s face and name and noticed if he’d handed me the money. But once I got to the line for the register I zoned out and began thinking about work and other stuff. So I didn’t even really look at his face.

So I was a little ticked off at myself I guess but I was more ticked off at that Walgreen’s manager. That he said he had checked the security tapes for the time of my transaction and had seen the clerk hand me $10. Since I had not been handed the money his statement was a false one. I also doubted he’d reviewed the security tape at all. I think he says that to people in similar situations to mine in order to get rid of them. I don’t think it had anything to do with the money – I think it was more important to get rid of me and also shame me a little bit. Conclusion: people can be real dicks and store managers (of large retail chains) are almost always dicks.

Greene-Ville Gardens’ Prices Climbing Steeply

Greene-Ville Gardens
373 Myrtle Avenue

As anyone who lives in Fort Greene can tell you, it is not easy to shop for food around here. Considering how residential this neighborhood its kind of shocking that there are only 2 real supermarkets within walking distance.

When I don’t feel like dealing with the crowds at Associated, I go to Fresh Fanatic even though they’re not stocked as well as the chain supermarket and they are definitely not cheap. When I am on Myrtle Ave and need to buy fresh vegetables for less than 40 dollars a pound but want slightly fancier fare than Bravo offers (if it is not on the WIC program you will have a hard time finding it) I go to Mr.Coco’s.

But Bozzio, our beautiful 70 lb Pitbull has not been very tolerant of stranger affection lately and it started to be risky to leave him tied up outside Mr. Coco’s. A certain Mr. Coco’s employee with a mischievous nature likes to come out and visit with Bozzio while I’m inside. So even though Mr.Coco’s has the lowest prices for produce, I decided to patronize the newly opened Greene-Ville Gardens for a while – because sometimes you just want to be able to leave your dog unattended while you buy some food without having to worry that someone’s going to get growled at or worse.

I’m not always shopping for just vegetables so I appreciated being able to purchase a few staples in one store without getting cleaned out at the register. One thing that pleased me the most about Greene-Ville Gardens was finding Eli’s Bread for less than 4 dollars a loaf even if my cynical tendencies told me that this would not last. And it hasn’t.

Greene-Ville Gardens has raised its prices. A day ago in Greene-Ville Gardens, I was kind of shocked to see that loaves of Eli’s Bread are now 4.79 when they used to be 3.79. Looking around the rest of the items in the store, I noticed everything seemed to have gone up 1 or 2 dollars. They’ve also decided to go exclusively organic in the produce aisle which of course means 1 head of humble Iceburg lettuce costs almost 4 dollars. Applegate Farms items such as 7 oz packs of cold cuts are 5.79, no matter what kind of meat. Even Fresh Direct (bargain hunters beware) charges less. Greene-Ville Gardens charges almost 15 dollars for a 10 oz can of Lavazza Premium Drip Coffee, other shops show a little more restraint, charging only 5 to 6 dollars for the same.

Shopping for healthy food on a budget is a challenge and with prices of food at a 3 decade high, looks like it will continue to be. If you can buy nutritionally devoid Wonder Bread, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and cans of Chef Boyardee for the price of one head of broccoli, which do you think people earning minimum wage will be buying?

Get out your tire irons, we’re going to Brooklyn

Photo credit nytimes.com

My mom had been dragging her feet about coming East for a visit for so long and giving me a series of lame excuses as to why she couldn’t come that I was beginning to think she’d secretly had a sex change and wasn’t ready to let me see her in man drag. None of her reasons seemed legitimate and I was getting very suspicious: I knew it had to be something so weird & crazy that she just didn’t want to say what it was. But I kept on kibbutzing encouraging her to come here to visit Grandma and me anyway because its been 5 years, already.

After a lot of pouting (mine) and outright tantrums (also mine) she finally told me she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to leave her hotel — which only served breakfast–and would have to wait hours to get something to eat until I was able to stop working and escort her to the nearest restaurant. It turned out that she was afraid of the minority peoples of Brooklyn rising up against her and tearing her limb from limb if she stepped foot outside her hotel –or if not of dismemberment by crazed non white mob maybe getting mugged a little bit.

My mother’s ideas about how awful it would be to have to walk around in Brooklyn by herself are possibly similar to my own ideas about how awful it would be to have to fight to the death like *Mad Max vs Master Blaster in the Thunderdome, two men enter, one man leaves!!

My mother was raised in NYC by white, upper middle class people and she knows Manhattan really well but back when she last actually lived here, around 1979, people did not go to Brooklyn unless they needed to dispose of a body. Now that that is what Staten Island is for, I’ve been trying to convince her that 2010 Brooklyn is pretty nice.
I mean, I’m not saying Brooklyn is totally crime-free but it has come a long way from the way it used to be. At least we in Brooklyn don’t murder people and stuff their bodies into cardboard boxes and leave them by the park …or at least not as often as we used to! I’ve always wondered how many poor choices you have to make in life before you end up dead in a cardboard box by the park or if it’s something you can avoid by eating vegetables and exercising enough. But anyway it’s been absolute AGES (October 2008 was 2 whole years ago!) since anybody and especially a little old **white lady from UTAH was murdered and stuffed into a cardboard box!

Actually, if you read anything about Brooklyn these days you’d think that its is full of people who enjoy living in fancy renovated brownstones while working as restauranteurs or architectural designers or making sure their ***outfits,tattoos,fauxhawks,artist/singer/writing slash bartendering careers are way cooler than yours.

When I found out what was really stopping her from wanting to come I told her she was completely wrong!

Here is what she wrote in response [Direct Quote]:

I’m just not used to that neighborhood you live in. I went to graduate school for three years in a high crime lower class black neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Very scary. There were muggings, apartments cleaned out, rapes in the library. I walked around with a tire iron for protection. I once almost got my purse snatched by a group of young girls. To me from the outside your neighborhood looks similar. Don’t forget you did have that jewelry stolen. I just assumed that it is a high crime neighborhood. You say no. That’s good.

What? Comparing 2010 Fort Greene to Chicago in the 60’s?! You can’t even compare 2005 Fort Greene to 2010 Fort Greene! And the record, I was also robbed during the year I lived on 27th and 7th avenue by a Latino. He was still in my place when I came home, demanded cash while holding me at knife-point and left with my brand new Sony Sportsman instead since I and my roommates had little else of value to steal and I certainly didn’t want to give him my last 20 bucks.
Curiously, I was never robbed during the year I lived on 3rd st between C & D (in the early 90’s this was as bad as living on [enter the name of the worst street you can think of] ) what with all the open heroin use and drug dealing.

I know I don’t live in a rich, white neighborhood (those renovated brownstones are really expensive!) and it has to be somewhat alien somebody like my mother who lives in a 98% white state in a 100% white neighborhood to come here…but I don’t think it’s very intellectually responsible to immediately assume the presence of a lot of black people means you’re going to get mugged!

You’re probably going to get mugged on Adelphi if you are trying to get your dealer on your BlackBerry at 4 in the morning. You’re probably going to get your purse lifted if you leave it in your shopping cart at Target and look the other way for a second because at the Atlantic Mall you really have to be on your toes! Your fancy SUV is probably going to get broken into if you leave it parked overnight on Flushing, esp. any block between Navy and Washington. Patrol cars from the 88th precinct are scarce, you probably won’t see any cops until they are called out. This is not a Crime Free city! So Mom isn’t totally out of her gourd to be apprehensive. Thing is she wouldn’t be doing any of the previously mentioned activities, she’d be staying at the new NuHotel on Smith St as described by the Observer [Direct Quote]:

The 93-room, newly built hotel, owned and operated by Hersha Hospitality and designed by Datumzero Design Office, is located on stylish Smith Street and sits squarely at the intersection of four intriguing Brooklyn neighborhoods: Downtown Brooklyn, home to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Courthouses, and the offices at MetroTech Center; Boerum Hill, where streets are lined with elegant brownstones and French bistros; Cobble Hill, a blend of old-world shops, bakeries and gardens; and Carroll Gardens, an old-fashioned Italian neighborhood with wide streets, chic restaurants and antique shops. Together, these areas possess all the requisites for a unique, insider’s experience.

Basically, that corner of Smith street is quite nice– just like the corner of Fulton and Greene is really nice and Dekalb and Clermont,too. Lots and lots of places about 5 blocks from my house are actually as nice or nicer than any block you have on the Upper West Side– as nice as they are they are far outside my price range. It always makes me laugh how people seem to resent you a little bit for living in a “bad neighborhood” as if you’re doing it to spite them and not because you’re slightly less rich than you’d like to be. In the decades I’ve lived in New York I have never been able to afford to live in a good neighborhood. I’m not complaining about it because I’ve preferred to look on the positive side: living in various poor neighborhoods has allowed me to be able to afford to live in New York while at the same time not having to miss out on the amenities available in nicer neighborhoods that aren’t that far away.

On a serious note:
The most hard hit victim of mugging crime was a Pratt student 2 years ago.
Around the same time there were reports of groups of teenagers surrounding victims and kicking and punching them and grabbing anything they could from them.
My boyfriend and I witnessed an attack like this on one of our neighbors who lives in the same building we do. It was about 5 teenage boys against one man. We ran out of our apartment to help him while calling 911 but his attackers had run off. Again, not a Crime Free city. Where is this Crime Free city? I probably wouldn’t be able to afford to live there even if it existed.

* Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome – Mel Gibson,Tina Turner – George Miller and George Ogilvie (directors) – Warner Bros – 1985
** My mother made the choice to be a white lady from Utah about 30 years ago.
*** The Moderne Hipstur, Piggelswerth-Wagstaff (pub.1924) .

Random Things of Possible Interest to a Few People

This might be my first link round up. I can see the appeal of a link round up. But I prefer to rattle on endlessly about some boring subject until your eyes cross.

If you sell things online:
Don’t “give your customers a reason not to buy“.

NYC Parties
See pictures of the parties you couldn’t go to because you are too insert appropriate adjective here to go out anymore.

This is very name droppy of me
I met this actress when her mom started dating the middle son of my grandmother’s late husband. She was 16 at the time I think. The actress, not her mom. That would have been strange.

15 Books You Must Read in 2010
http://www.good.is/post/the-15-books-you-must-read-in-2010/. If you don’t read these books you will not have read them, then where will you be?