To go straight to the juicy story, start reading below the photo. If you're in for the long haul, begin here:
The most convenient, yet highly priced and minimal selection store near us is Key Foods. It is between our house and the subway, so it's easy to pick something up on my way home. We have a C-Town within a few blocks which has a bit more selection, but it is still only half a block long and carries say, 2 cuts of beef and 4 salad dressing choices. There are several other little bodegas- corner stores, if you will. Each bodega carries different things and the prices really do vary. If I want to spend as little money as possible (which I very much do) I could go to 7-8 different places to find the cheapest eggs vs. the cheapest cereal vs. milk. Cereal is literally $5.49/box which is more expensive than Costa Rica! We used to eat cereal as a cheap breakfast- now it's a total luxury! There is also a fruit stand which gets the extras from the stores which is cheaper and usually good quality. I used to buy a carton of strawberries over the summer for $1 which is a win since I used to pay 2/$5 in Utah.
Usually every other week, I'll walk 1.5 miles to Fairway-- the biggest and best grocer in New York. They sometimes have good sales, but the main reason I go there is because they carry a wide variety of food options (have I told you about PopCorners? World's greatest chip?) and good quality meat for the cheapest I've found (other than Costco, to which we don't have a membership). I shove, squeeze and balance all my goods into the stroller for the uphill walk home (so dramatic, right?) Sometimes I even make Tatum hold the milk.
Here is a little sneak peak from our photo shoot the other week. We love the photos and have a Christmas card winner!!
In order to avoid the walk in the cold (have I mentioned it's cold here? Thanksgiving day/My birthday has a high of 33.) I went to Rite Aid for a 2 for 1 deal on Cheerios. They didn't bag my items, but knowing that I'd stop by some other stores who also carry Cheerios, I cognitively stowed my receipt so as not to cause a scene. I think we can all see where this story is going...
I exit Rite Aid, pay cash for a few veggies at a stand outside and head over to Key Foods. The 2 cereal boxes and bagged veggies were in the bottom of my stroller, and I put all my Key Foods items in the reusable grocery bag I'd brought from home. When it was time to check out, I placed my bag of groceries on the conveyor belt, made eye contact with the checker to tell her that since my stroller won't fit through the narrow check out line, I was going to walk around the front of the store and come around to pay, and collect my food. I then hurried around toward the entrance, and back to my checkout line.
Once I got there, the manager was looking me up and down and looking under the stroller. "You're trying to get out without paying for these, huh?" I was so prepared for this issue that I calmly said "Oh no, I actually bought those on sale at Rite Aid earlier today." "Oh yeah? What's in that black bag then?" I told him it was produce from the stand, and "Not to worry, I have the Cheerio receipt." "Well where is it, then?" At this point, Tatum was crying, it was time for me to swipe my card, and now I was being interrogated by the manager and assumed a thief. I quickly looked through my stroller console for the receipt, sure I'd put it there. The manager was now calling over his friends, and making hand signals to the person in the booth, overlooking the store. He asked me why my eyes were darty. Obviously, because I'm in a stressful situation. Times were tough. Now, I'm scrambling, trying to calm T and find that stupid receipt! I felt flustered and with each passing moment, I felt more and more like a criminal, even though I knew I didn't do anything wrong!
The men started to circle around me, and I had visions of them taking my baby under custody and handcuffing me right there. I finally found the receipt (right there in the console...) and showed him they were in fact paid for at another store, and I even told him that I'd bought a Dominican avocado, which Key Foods doesn't even carry.
I strolled T out, very frazzled and grateful to be going home.
Once I got home, my sister Heather called for the details. She was basically outraged that he interrogated me like that and asked me questions to intentionally get me frazzled. She thinks it was a shame that I apologized to HIM about the situation, and that I didn't tell him that "I will never shop here again and I'll tell all my friends to do the same." Well the truth is, I will shop there again. It is the most convenient place, and who knows how long we'll live here. I don't want to burn bridges in the neighborhood. Especially in Harlem, if you know what I mean.
Scott got home from a long day, took off his shoes and started to relax. When I finished the saga he got right up, put his shoes on, ready to march out the door and tell that manager to apologize to me for assuming me a thief and tell him a thing or two about how to treat me, and customer service in general. It took all my pleading to stop him from going- like I said, I don't want enemies. It was already a big enough ordeal, I don't want to make it bigger.
In other news, I now primarily shop at Trader Joe's to save money. Who dos that? I do, now. TJ's is about a 20 min subway ride each way, but the quality of the food and the price are both the best around!