Thursday, January 2, 2014

I did not buy anything and I will probably go back and not buy anything again.

In my senior year in high school I worked in a local book store. (it was 1980, local is redundant, there was only one kind of bookstore, there was only one Barnes and Nobel)  It was Sheepshead Bay Discount Books.  Does anyone remember Mike Sims?  He claimed to have coined the phrase "Why pay full price?".  That's all another story.  The real reason I am bring this up is because the owner had a real strict police on how customers behaved in his store. We could not let people eat in the store.  No drinking either.  Smokers were physically removed.  (remember this was 1980.)  Also, as an employee of the store I was not to let people open the books.  They had to buy them, it was a store, not a library!

Things have changed.  Now you can go into any Barnes & Nobel and take any book into their cafe and read it all day.  You could buy their coffee or bring your own lunch. You can read the whole book over the coarse of  many days and put it back on the shelf when you are done.  They don't care.

Well, we saw which model worked.  If you treat your customers like shit they don't come back.  If you make them feel good they might come back, and they might spend some money.

Lets move to 2013..................................................

I finally made my first visit to the New Wholefoods on 3rd and 3rd.  It's opening was a big deal.  Who would think to put a supermarket next to a toxic canal and on ground that is likely to be toxic. Really A gourmet food store on the backs of a Superfund Site. Whatever, they are going to do very well.

It's really a no brainier that they are going to be successful.  It's kinda weird because their success is based on two contradicting reasons.

First, they are a new giant gourmet supermarket with a parking.  That's it.  We already have a Trader Joe's a few miles away, but it is not gigantic and driving there is not an option.  There are also already more than a few Wholefoods in NYC, but no parking.  (I watched them build the one in Union Square and I think the unlimited MetroCard influenced their success, people go off the train to shop and then go back on the train with their groceries.  Back in the days of the subway token nobody would have done that.)  A lot of people like to buy a lot of food at once and then drive home.  This supermarket will fill that need.  Unfortunately, they will driving past my friends house to bring their food home.

Second, Wholefoods is "natural" supermarket.  Weather or not their products are more natural than the stuff is a different debate. (and weather or not organic food is better for you is also another debate.)  But the debate is over, people like to buy organic food.  They don't just have some organic food, they have 5 kinds of organic this and 4 kinds of natural that.

Yea, so people who like to use their car to get their organic, gourmet food are going to flock to the new Wholefoods.

There is another reason they will do very well.  Because they charge more for food. They are not called Wholepaycheck for nothing.  I think people, especially people in this part of Brooklyn, like to spend more money.  Or maybe they are not just more expensive, they have products for people who want to pay more.  Really ....
When [told] that he often chooses shopping at privately held Trader Joe’s over Whole Foods because it’s cheaper, Mackey disagreed with the comparison.  “They’re a limited-assortment store,” he commented, saying that Whole Foods is able to match Trader Joe’s prices on thousands of items. “Everything you find at Trader Joe’s is a low price, where Whole Foods is a spectrum of prices. That creates the image of Whole Foods being more expensive.”
And the Pathmark that is a mile away form the new Wholefoods has a giant parking lot has lots of organic stuff, But they let the riffraff in and sell no frills ramen noodles.

The reasons I am not going to buy my food there are the same as the reasons that so many people are.  I never shop for groceries with my car.  I don't have a personal loading dock for my car so even with an elevator making multiple trips with bags of food is crazy.  I have no problem shopping a few times a week and buying what I can carry.  Also, I don't need 10 kinds of peanut butter to choose from.  I prefer to have a committee of people at the Park Slope Coop choose what peanut butter is best for me.  But really, I have no problem saving a little money on my groceries.  I am lucky enough to be able to shop in a place that is "a buying agent for our members and not a selling agent for any industry.  Wholefoods exists only to increase the profits of its shareholders.  It's CEO is also a Wingnut, He actually compared Obamacare to fascism. 

But,  will go back and I might spend some money.  I won't go back for the groceries.  I will go back for the view from the rooftop bar

There is more.  Looking down from the rooftop
cafe..  What's that??

It's a air pump and some tools to fix your bike.  (Yea, I caught the perfect Park Slope moment.)

And a water fountain that works in the winter!!!

 What's next here?

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