Friday, October 30, 2009

Now I can breathe....

I got the packing removed from my nose today. After waiting about an hour at the ENT clinic (which stands for Ear, Nose and Throat for those interested). Funny how whenever you make a doctor's appt. you rarely ever see them at the time you schedule for. My appointment was for 9:30 am, I got in to see them at about 10:30 for something that took all of about 2 minutes. I mean, seriously, it really only took 2 minutes tops to remove the packing. Then more waiting to get a phone number of a plastic surgeon I will never have to see because my nose looks fine as it is. Ugh, doctors. Thank god I have health insurance!

I was near Atlantic Avenue and Court and figured I should go into Trader Joe's. Never been there before but heard great things (mostly because of the Simpler Times beer, wicked cheap). It dawned on me how different supermarkets are based on socioeconomic location. Where I live, near Parkside and Flatbush, the population is mostly Hispanic/African American, I, being Caucasian am in the minority. The supermarkets there, Pioneer and Associated have most of the basic staples of food but the variety is less, there is only so much you can get. They have no lean meats, at all. At Trader Joe's, they had 80%, 90% and 96% (I got the 96% and made myself some healthy burgers for lunch). What amazes me though is a particular item that Pioneer carries as well: Morningstar.

For those who don't know Morningstar is a company which makes veggie burgers and other foods. They are great for breakfast or a quick snack, not a true substitute for real burgers. At the Pioneer, they are 4.99 a box, at Trader Joe's, they were 2.99. Milk was even cheaper at Trader Joe's. Now, here's what I found a problem with: Why is it more expensive for a product in a high minority neighborhood as opposed to a high caucasian neighborhood. It could be demand, sure, but is there something else at play? And why is it Trader Joe's can offer more variety? Is it because they are bigger? I've been to Walmart's where they didn't have much variety, and while Target has Morningstar products, they have very few of them. Which is shocking because out of all the veggie substitutes, Morningstar has food that actually tastes like food (as opposed to cardboard).

It's caused me to maybe have my economic kids do their own personal study of the markets in their neighborhoods and do a cost/variety comparison with markets in markedly different neighborhoods. See, and people think taking a day off does nothing for teachers.


  1. Did you go to Sahadi? I would have, at least to walk through what a market could (should?) be... and Damascus for zataar bread... I wish I were at Atlantic and Court right now...

    ps, congrats on unpacking.


  2. Trader Joe's has the best prices on almost everything they sell; it doesn't matter what neighborhood they are in. They have a fairly limited stock, and nationwide they carry the same products in all their stores, so that's one way they save and pass those savings on to their customers. There are other things they do to keep their prices low, but in short, TJ's is not the best way to judge comparisons in prices. They are not a typical grocery store.