Saturday, January 1, 2011

Oh Grocery Shopping We Will Go

So I was lucky enough to have a day off. What should I do. I know go Grocery shopping. I mean how hard could it be. Go, put stuff in a cart, pay, and have my groceries delivered. Simple. Well not so simple in Crown Heights. Some would say...why the hell go grocery shopping erev shabbos. And I reply because its my only fucking day off all year...who cares that its erev shabbos!!! So I did it, I braved the crowds and went grocery shopping.
Now on any normal day one can buy their groceries and get them delivered. It's New York no one has cars and there is no way I am shlepping bags down the Boulevard. So I planned...go shopping...get groceries delivered. Simple.
As I arrived at the largest kosher supermarket in Crown Heights, I was greeted by throngs of people getting their last minute shopping in before shabbos. I did not let this stop me. I walked the crowded aisles and took what I needed and placed it in my cart. After about an hour I had everything I needed. Keep in mind this was my shopping trip for the week so I grabbed everything from soda to tampons. Nothing was left behind.
Now that I was finished It was time to check out. I walked to the front of the crowded store and waited in line. I stood their listening to a tween girl begging her mother to buy her the newest Shweky compact disc as if Shweky was the new Britney Spears. The girl was going on and on about how bored she was of her Avraham Fried compact disc. I was kvelling...get her some Backstreet Boys and let her live a little. I continued to amuse myself by reading some Chabad magazines until it was my turn in line.
Ahhh finally time to unload the groceries onto the conveyer belt. Beep beep beep...$130 later everything was bagged and I was ready to go. Oh wait request delivery and pay...ya that's important. I swiped my debit card and then said delivery please. The answer was no sorry, no delivery after 1 on fridays and now its 1:45. Umm what the hell I have two not one but two boxes worth of groceries how the hell am I supposed to carry them. Well apparently this was not the cashiers problem. I called some friends and unfortunately no one was around. So what do you do. I called a car service. I waited and waited. As I waited an old bubby approached me.
"Are you waiting for a car?" "Ya I am." she then explained that she was also waiting. Not for a car and well not for moshiach, but to see if one of the passersby or other customers who had come with cars would give her a ride as she could not afford a car service. NO ONE AND I MEAN NO ONE WOULD HELP HER!!!! My car service arrived the manager of the store scoffed at me "you called a car service?" "Ya I did (asshole), cause you wont deliver my groceries." "Listen," he said "I have all of these other deliveries to make." "Listen," I said, "if your making those deliveries anyway why not take my stuff Crown Heights is a six block radius." For whatever reason the answer was still "NO." I picked up a box to put it in the car service. The manager picked up the second box and mumbled under his breathe how the least he could do was help me. I told him to put the box down that I in no way would enable him to do a mitzvah and that I don't live on chesed alone. I then walked over to the old bubby and her boxes and told her to get in the car.
She wasn't sure what to do, how would she pay. No problem, Ill pay. Pay it a a good person. Who cares about the score card...I'm doing a good thing that's all that matters. I'm not doing it to bring moshiach...I'm doing it because I'm a good person.
She got in the car. She quickly asked in a hushed whisper so the black driver wouldn't hear (this a topic for another blog) what my name was. I told and she whispered me hers. I can't remember it but if I ever do see this woman again I will hug her and thank her for the following conversation. She asked about my words with the store manager. I told her the story and then said "I thought I moved to a community based on chesed...I was wrong." She then asked my age...I told her 23...she said I should move not because I don't belong here but because I am one of the lucky ones. I realized the faults of this community at a young age...young enough to walk away and chart my own course. Will I leave, the answer is no. What will I write about if I leave. As I was dropped off she embraced me. Kissed both cheeks, wished a good shabbos and left me with the following words..."This community is like community of lepers." I am completely sure what she meant. But I do know if she were 23 she would leave.


  1. "This community is like community of lepers."

    Oy, so sad... =\

  2. not sad, honest, and true...rejoice Lillian that you are 23 and can leave if you want to, and that you have this, about which to write...the lepers can only infect you if you let them...rejoice that you have the courage and the intellect to know it, and to share it, so that others will learn from is what the old bubby hopes of you...