Tuesday, March 2, 2010

There Goes the Neighborhood

On the way to do my laundry last Saturday, I wandered past one of the various half-completed steel-and-glass condo buildings going up on Bedford. But wait-- a development. For the first time, it looked... sort of almost done. And there was a big old shiny sign hanging over the lintel; apparently, there's a Duane Reade going in.

Aha! I thought. So.

King's Pharmacy, which is a Williamsburg staple, lies directly (literally) across the street from the future site of bad customer service and jarringly sharp overhead lighting. There also happens to be another new Duane Reade a few blocks away on Kent, squatting in one of the huge condo buildings that will be forever destined for actual squatters and I-Banking rich people who live there.

It went up this summer amidst great fanfare and free water handouts during the Pool Parties. King's has had "keep local business alive" signs hanging since then. I just assumed they were leftovers from the Kent Ave store opening. No one told me there'd be another addition to the neighborhood, and so soon.

Here's my dilemma: at the risk of sounding Brooklyn, let's keep business local.* I wouldn't choose Starbucks over a Fabiane's coffee, for example. I get my stupidly overpriced foreign magazines from bodegas on Bedford instead of Barnes and Noble.

(*I do, however, occasionally patronize my local Subway on weekends. Sometimes I'm too tired/gross to brave a crammed lunch place.)

HOWEVER. King's Pharmacy... kind of sucks.

They never have what I need. My typical drugstore shopping trip: I go to King's, truck down the same aisles a few times because the layout is confusing, not find what I came there to buy, and then walk to the Duane Reade. I'm nostalgic for local business, but come on: if King's doesn't have the lotion I want, then I flip the realist switch and just go to fucking Duane Reade.

But will a new store brazenly stealing local business change my mind? Maybe I should just put up with sullen service (yes, EVEN worse than Duane Reade service, if you can imagine that) and poor stockage practices. Look on the bright side, me-- the King's playlist always sprinkles in a few gems. They play The Smiths on rainy days! That's got to mean something!

Most importantly: will I be shot on sight as I attempt to enter the new Bedford Ave Duane Reade? I am guessing yes.

My decision is probably made for me.

(Image via)

1 comment:

James said...

Kicking it up a notch, all of our Duade Reades will become Walgreens very soon.

Duane Reade was horrible, but at least it belonged to NYC. Now our street corners are one step closer towards looking like Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, and everywhere else in 'merica.

Duane Reade's service is so thoughtless and zombified, it's a wonder anybody goes there at all. I bet many New Yorkers would love a DR/Walgreen's boycott. Or more constructively: can we convince our local shops to carry the products we want?

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