OK…here’s my rant!
Whatever happened to the friendly local merchant? I’m not talking about the large national retail stores like Macy’s or Target where the sales associate couldn’t give a rat’s behind whether or not you bought from them or not. I’m talking about the neighborhood Krauzer’s or Seven Eleven or local Deli that you visit on a daily basis for the last 10 years and the owner bareley looks up when you hand him a 20 dollar bill, let alone says thank you for your business. I asked my son Joseph about this and he tells me I’m making too much of it. That’s the problem. People don’t connect anymore. I’m not saying all local merchants are like that. Thank goodness there are still some out there that take their work personal and give you that personal service and greeting. But for the most part some of these local merchants make you feel like they are doing you a favor by being there and having to sell you their merchandise. There is no connection. You might as well be taking their goods from a vending machine. And these aren’t high school teens that are getting minimum wages I’m talking about. These are the owners of the establishments.
I stopped going to the Krauzer’s down the block from me after I had to hear for the tenth time the owner carry on a conversation with his wife in another language without even making eye contact with me while he took my money and gave me change. Enough is enough. Don’t do me any favors.
I could remember growing up in Brooklyn and going to the neighborhood deli and bakery and local candy store and people actually addressed you by your first name. They knew your mother and father and grandparents as well and always asked how they were doing. Or if they didn’t see your grandfather come into the store for a while they would ask with concern how he was doing.
Just by the fact that my son doesn’t have any concern about this tells me that we have lost something, and I’m not sure why. We lost the care and concern that people have for each other and the interaction that comes with a familiar face or acquaintance. We live in a world of I pods and texting and cell phones and the person who walks past you with a cell phone in their ear bumps you and doesn’t even look up to say excuse me. This is progress?
I guess I’m old fashioned. I guess I have experienced the “old way” of growing up in a neighborhood that was really like a village, where your neighbors actually cared about you. A neighborhood that when you ventured out in the street at an early age when you were not supposed to, your mother didn’t have to catch you doing that. It was a neighbor who saw what you did and told your mother about your misbehavior. And your mother didn’t take offense that someone scolded you for misbehaving. She was grateful for that person keeping an eye on you. And when i got home and was punished for my wrong doing I never did it again. I lived in a neighborhood that you addressed every adult that you saw as Mr. and Mrs. or Signora because that showed respect, the same respect we held for our parents and family. The people on our block was an extended family, and we never realized it at the time. There was always eyes looking out the windows, people sitting on their outside porches and kept an eye on things. You can call it the original neighborhood watch.
I guess we have the freedom to shop where ever we want, but it’s getting harder and harder to find the type of stores we had growing up in Brooklyn. Wonder if they are still in Brooklyn?
Mom’s Chick Pea Salad
- 2 cups cooked chick peas, if canned, drained and rinsed
- 1 cucumber, diced, seeds removed
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup pitted oil cured olives, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Peel and cut the cucumber in half. Cut a V in the center to remove the seeds. Cut each half length wise into four pieces and cut into a 1/4 inch dice. Do the same with the other half.
To pit the oil cured olives smash each olive with the side of your knife like you would smash a clove of garlic to remove the skin. The pit can be easily removed now.
In a large bowl add the chick peas, cucumber, red onion, oil cured olives, and mint. Toss gentley. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Chill the salad at least an hour before serving. When ready to serve, mix well and serve with plenty of Italian bread.