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Hoylman: Stop the hoarding! Let the seniors shop!

Brad Hoylman really hopes this letter registers.

On Tuesday, the state Senator wrote to the city’s leading supermarket owners urging they voluntarily cap purchases of essential items, plus create shopping hours for seniors and the immunocompromised, so they don’t risk infection while inside the stores.

Hoylman sent his letter to the chief executive officers of Fairway, Whole Food Market, Trader Joe’s, D’Agostino, Cactus Holdings/Western Beef, Key Food, Gristedes and Westside Market.

“Unfortunately,” Hoylman wrote, “there have been many press accounts in recent days of mass hoarding by shoppers in your stores of basic necessities.”

In addition to urging market owners to cap customer buys of the coveted commodities, he asked them to make special accommodations for “your most vulnerable shoppers.”

“First, due to the enormous influx of shoppers at your stores, elderly, disabled and immunocompromised individuals have found it difficult to go to their local grocery stores to purchase the supplies and food necessary to self-segregate themselves and avoid crowds,” Hoylman wrote. “I’ve heard from many constituents who are unable to stand in long lines because of a disability or unable to go into busy grocery stores because of the danger of infection.

“A solution to this problem undertaken by grocery stores in Jersey City, N.J., is to implement special times to allow particularly vulnerable populations to shop without the crowds that put them at risk and allow them to buy the goods they need to survive. Stores like ShopRite of Metro Plaza will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for shoppers that would benefit from less-crowded stores.

“Second,” Hoylman’s letter continued, “I also ask that your stores implement reasonable restrictions to the amount of certain goods, like toilet paper, bottled water and hand soap, that can be sold to any individual. In addition to crowds, excessive purchasing and hoarding are also impeding access to essential goods for the vulnerable populations I mention above. Walmarts across the country, H-E-B in Texas and Wegmans here in New York have already instituted these restrictions with the result of protecting the supply chain for all consumers.”

Meanwhile, New Yorkers have been in awe of the brave and hard-working employees who have kept the supermarkets running throughout this unprecedented health emergency.

Trigger, former owner of The Continental cheap-shots bar (and before that the punk music venue of the same name), at Third Ave. and St. Mark’s Place, expressed his gratitude and admiration to the workers at the East Village’s Key Food supermarket. He sent the following letter to The Village Sun:

Dear Staff at Key Food:
(Avenue A & E 4th St)

I live just 2 blocks away on Ave A.
I’m in your store 3, 4 times a week and everyone is always very professional, kind and courteous.
But since the impact of Coronavirus and ALL supermarkets getting overrun and overwhelmed you guys rose to such a high level of professionalism, always being polite and courteous in spite of the nonstop lines, questions and people’s unique needs.
Well… it blew me away and everyone else I’m sure.
And you didn’t raise one, single price! That’s true Integrity.
Keep up the great work!
We all appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

Gratefully, Trigger
East Village, NYC

Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s — at least at its relatively new Hudson Square store — was doing things the right way, Mary Clarke, a Soho resident and Village Sun reader, posted on Facebook on Thursday.

“At the Trader Joe’s on Spring [St.], they’re limiting the number of shoppers allowed inside, but anyone 55 or up doesn’t have to wait on line outside,” she wrote. “This was the situation yesterday evening, in any case. Social distancing is totally achievable inside. It was extraordinary.”

One Comment

  1. Martha Danziger Martha Danziger March 19, 2020

    i am glad to be reminded by Trigger of the East Village how much the Key Food staff deserves my praise.
    i am retired,, 70 yrs old, well fed, live in apt on
    5th floor of a walk-up bldg and i use a cane.
    can go to any store at any time but i found myself in KEY late last Friday afternoon to pick up cat food….
    the store was crowded and the check out lines were long. but cats do not care.
    after an hour of trying to find what i needed but in a size and quantity that would fit in my three cloth shopping bags, i headed for the checkout.
    after an hour in the store, i was feeling bad about all the pressures on fellow shoppers and the chocolate bar was not helping.
    i noticed that the guys in line behind me had a shopping cart piled high with at least 30 pieces each of basic household products. i was impressed to hear that they were Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association staff members who were buying supplies for their low-income tenants.
    when i finally arrived at the cashier, i did what i could to speed things along. i had a big order with two 10-pound bags of cat litter which i planned to have delivered.
    all was going as planned, i.e., almost all the food
    fit in my shopping bags but when i went to pay, my debit card did not work.
    i looked at the pile of purchases and the long line of shoppers behind me and considered just giving up and coming back another day but the staff — the cashier, the bag packer and the delivery person — all helped me resolve the problem.
    not once did they show any impatience or annoyance or frustration with the fact that my problem was putting more demands on their already-hard job.
    i still owe them a tip for the extra time they spent voiding the first bill and then recharging all the items after i went home — up the five flights — and back to the store with working credit card.
    i shop in KEY because it is local, the prices are fair, the products are varied and there are still humans to provide help when needed but…
    i will never go shopping there again without two means of purchase.

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