From The New York Shitty Inbox: Expelled From The Garden?

October 26, 2009 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 


STORE, that is. R writes:


we don’t patronize the deli on the corner anymore (the one with the window above the train staircase at nassau and manhattan).  the garden store, it’s called, right?  i went in to get some juice and was followed in by a guy with a lit cigarette dangling from his filthy mouth.  the clerk was talking on the phone and the smoker asked for a pack of cigarettes.  the clerk wordlessly went to get the requested pack.

a third customer: “you shouldn’t be smoking in here.”
clerk (momentarily leaving his telephone conversation): “hey!  why you asking the customer like that? [sic]”

at this point, i pipe up, thankful that the third customer relieved me of my burning obligation to raise the issue with the shopkeep.

me: “because it’s against the law, that’s why.”
clerk: “you don’t talk to my customers in this way!”
me: “you are abetting a violation of the law and could be fined.  heavily.”
third guy: “yeah, it’s against the law, that’s why.”
offending patron (to the third guy, puzzlingly): “i’ll remember you.”

he buys his smokes and exits.  the clerk then begins to berate the third customer, finger wagging and all.  above the tumult, i announce that my deli needs will henceforth be met elsewhere.  as i leave, i hear the clerk tell the third guy to get the hell out of his store and never come back.

truly bizarre.

I have a confession to make: I have only been in this bodega maybe twice in all the years I’ve lived here. I got a creepy “vibe” from the place and haven’t been back. Is R’s experience (and my gut instincts) par for the course for this establishment? Thoughts, anyone?

Miss Heather


7 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: Expelled From The Garden?

  1. rutila on Mon, 26th Oct 2009 6:19 pm
  2. This is barely neighborhood “news.” I am not a smoker — I’ll keep my lung function as high as possible, thank you very much — but grew up in a smoking household and am somewhat sympathetic toward those who choose to smoke tobacco.

    So a smoker walks into a bodega with a cigarette, yes, breaking the law, but how long would the transaction be without interruption, thirty seconds? Is it worth it for the proprietor to tell the guy to finish his cigarette before entering the store?

    R is making too big of a deal by writing to you, and R’s bias is too forward by describing the smoker’s mouth as “filthy.” This isn’t an egregious incident; it’s akin to someone stepping on your foot on a crowded subway train and not apologizing. Rude, yes, but worth a formal complaint to a well-read blog that was recently labeled the best neighborhood blog? Hardly. R, that scene is Greenpoint. I’ve seen too many scenes of public urination, also rude and against the law, and chalk it up to city life.

  3. Tony From Kent Street on Mon, 26th Oct 2009 6:37 pm
  4. This deli is small, creepy, filthy and stinky just like ALL smokers’ mouths!

  5. bitchcakes on Mon, 26th Oct 2009 8:27 pm
  6. I am totally with Customer #3. I’m put off by not only the indoor smoking, but the counter-person’s lack of saying something to the smoker (and then getting mad at the customer who did- WTF?!). I mean not only is it against the law and a health hazard to all those in the vicinity; but is it acceptable for cigarette ashes and food to come into contact? Of course not.

    Despite the brevity of the transaction, I still say the smoker and worker were completely wrong. And how do we know the transaction would have lasted 30 seconds? He could have ordered a sandwich. And he (and all those present) could think it’s acceptable to walk into this place with a lit cigarette, setting a precedent.

    I will admit I have never been in that particular establishment and this story will ensure that I stay out of it.

  7. SpillConspirator on Mon, 26th Oct 2009 9:22 pm
  8. “…chalk it up to city life”? No way! Smoking in a store is illegal for a reason. Smoking causes and aggrevates all kinds of physical conditions and diseases. It’s a disgusting, filthy, offensive behavior that I pray is made illegal on the streets as well. Why should anyone have to deal with nasal irritation because someone is too thoughtless or lazy to put their cigarette out before they enter. Bad enough we have to smell that shit outside!

  9. greenstreeter on Tue, 27th Oct 2009 7:20 am
  10. It’s bullshit.The more that people stand up to incivility, the more respect they get in my opinion. Why wouldn’t the store owner realize that he has two potentially solid customers that don’t like the fact that someone is smoking in the store? And yes, it’s not only against the law, but an asshole move. I’ve been in the city for years but that doesn’t mean I look the other way when someone is rude. Calling it out is the way to go.

  11. rutila on Tue, 27th Oct 2009 7:37 am
  12. Bitchcakes, if the smoker’s ordering a sandwich from that place, cigarettes are the least of his worries.

  13. lottieda on Tue, 27th Oct 2009 11:08 pm
  14. I feel like the anti-smoking ordinances have made things worse for non-smokers. I smell more cigarette smoke now than I did seven years ago, thanks to Bloomberg’s law restricting smoking in bars. It didn’t rid New York of smokers, they just congregate on the sidewalks now and cause minor traffic jams (another unintended consequence of the law.) I also think that the ever-growing dictates the city puts on people (and I am not only referring to non-smoking laws) causes them to rebel and lash out in unfortunate, and obviously illegal ways, as R describes above. What’s worse, there seems to be an increasing expectation among some people that the government should regulate all aspects of life they find inconvenient or distasteful.

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