Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Our street is lined with empty storefronts interspersed with small mom-and-pops. In the space of one block, there are two seamstresses, two small groceries, two fruit-and-vegetable marts, a butcher’s shop, an internet café, two regular cafes, two clothing shops, a used-clothing store, and a “dyqan ndryshme” – I suppose you’d call it a variety store? They sell laundry baskets, mops, plastic tubs, house slippers, clocks, knick-knacks, hair accessories, makeup, mirrors, sewing thread, scissors… it’s our own little micro-Wal-Mart. It’s easy to run down and buy a quart of milk or a bag of çubuk, or any of those random little things you need but don’t want to make a long trip for.
Here’s my problem – the food stuff, it isn’t always fresh. Every time I’ve bought produce, dairy, or meat, I’ve been disappointed. The rope of onions I bought one day all had rotten centers. The plums and nectarines grew mold overnight. The chicken breasts and ground beef sat in my fridge for just one day before I put them in the freezer, and upon thawing smelled bad and I had to throw them out.
And I feel bad, because I walk past the empty storefronts with big “FOR RENT OR SALE” signs in our building, and I don’t want these other shops to close for lack of business. But slow business is the reason their stuff goes bad – they probably buy the cheap, low-quality stuff to begin with, and then it sits too long because the turnover isn’t fast enough. So I feel like by not shopping there I’m contributing to the problem. But I can’t feed my family tainted meat or rotten fruit. So… I go around the corner to the nicer shops on the main avenue. And feel guilty walking past the local guy.
(Although I guess as long as I can avoid the Italian chain grocery store I’m still more or less ok.)