November 10, 2011

Fairway: The Crowded Amusement Park of the Upper East Side


When people think of the Upper East Side, they think of a quiet remote neighborhood. Family oriented, kids running around everywhere, The Gap. Well, now Fairway can be added to that list. Fairway replaced the space where the bankrupt Circuit City once stood. Throughout the summer, everyone waited in anticipation for their new mecca and had a small celebration when the brown paper came off of the window. Opening day, everyone and their mom, literally, strolled in to check out the produce section.

There’s no denying that Fairway is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Usually, due to my schedule, I find myself sauntering into Fairway at approximately 10:30 / 10:45 on a Monday night. I walk in like it’s nobody’s business, hit the deli counter to get food for work for the week and then casually meander over to the pickles & olives section, which if you haven’t checked out already - you’re a fool. Based on this late night shopping routine, I always pictured Fairway as being a peaceful shopping experience.

Due to stupidity and the foresight to do grocery shopping on a weekend - I made the mistake of going to Fairway on Sunday. I saw that it was crowded but figured, I’ll be fine, plus I’m already here. Three words: I was wrong. Fairway on a Sunday brings out the worst in of all of us - kind of like drinking on an empty stomach, it’s a bad idea.

Immediately when I walked in, I was pushed by small children, started dodging shopping carts like I was in the US Army’s boot camp, and was even yelled at by old patrons with canes for moving too slowly. Though I was trying to hit the deli counter - I felt that I was the one being slaughtered. After getting my body bruised and my ego harmed, I made it to the counter. This was the first time that I actually experienced having to take a number. It felt like being at an auction house, shouting, pushing and trying to make yourself visible until you get what you want, be that smoked salmon salad or a couple knishes.

After waiting for a little while with still a long time to go until my number was called, I realized that there was a way to cheat the system so to speak. If you wait for a lull and no one answers when a number is called, you just raise your hand and pretend it’s yours. I had weaseled my way to the front while I thought of this carefully mastered plan, then after waiting an additional five minutes - I sprang into action. “Number 42?” “…THAT’S ME.”

Lesson learned: Everything is fair game at Fairway on a Sunday.
Also, probably avoid Fairway on a Sunday at all costs.

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