The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Tale of Two Supermarkets...Or Is It One?

Nearly three years ago I pondered the supermarkets around here. As a member of the Park Slope Food Coop I shop there whenever I can, often riding my bike home with crap hanging off the kid seat in the back. But even the Q has to pick up essentials every day or two, or gets lazy, and so The Associated and The Pioneer are my locals of choice. Now, over the past couple years I've heard folks say they have the same owner. Seemed like a good story, so I asked Sammy at the Pioneer when he worked there. "Nope." Still the rumor persisted. I asked the manager at The Associated. A very wooden "no sir." After a couple more questions, he shut down completely. Hmmm. Then after a nice conversation, Hector at Pioneer said "no, why would you think that?" I looked him right in the eye, a la Larry David. Something wasn't right.

Since then I've asked three cashiers, when the managers aren't around. And guess what? They all said, casually, without thinking and without a doubt in their minds, oh yeah they're the same owners. So...what the hell is going on?

I mean, I can understand if maybe they want to give the impression that they're competitors, so we the people think we've got a real choice. But to lie, blatantly? I mean, for all they know, I might be some kind of official or inspector. For all they know, I might be the sort of damn fool who might write a blog or something and might want to call attention to their deceit. What do they get from lying? Seriously, now, I'm looking for out and out speculation. If there's something they're hiding, this amateur sleuth wants to know. It's very, very suspicious if you ask me...



9 comments:

MadMommaCarmen said...

Have you noticed that they swap their sale prices each week? They never have the same sales, thus never actually competing with each other and moreso swap customers between them. A couple of times I've seen the cashiers at both places and when I ask they openly have shared that its the same business owner at both locations. I agree that something else is up 'cause why would it be such a hush-hush situation. In either case, I avoid shopping at both whenever I can.

ElizabethC said...

I KNEW IT!

But I still prefer the Pioneer. The manager there actually took the time to explain to me why the was a lack of Diet Coke sometimes. And he will try to order stuff is people ask for it, even if he does things like stock Kombucha on a shelf next to the green beans.

The Associated lost my business forever after asking me for a license when I wanted to use my credit card...and then telling me I had terrible handwriting. I mean, I was recovering from almost having the top of one of my fingers bitten off but WHATEVER.

diak said...

I suppose there's some benefit in the illusion of competition, but it seems to be a race to the bottom.
And both stores are up against a very strong opponent: Western Beef.
I avoid all of them unless it's for a last-minute missing ingredient or I'm out of milk on a Sunday morning.

Anonymous said...

I go with ElizabethC...Pioneer is a way better store.

theoldspeakjournal said...

The owner of those supermarkets is unremarkable in that he's part of the zeitgeist of our time. Emulating the behavior of larger businesses that surreptitiously own many others. Walgreens owns Duane Reade. Kellogs owns Kashi. Clorox owns Burts Bees. Sears owns Kmart. News Corp owns the NY Post, Channel 11 and channel 9. Etc etc etc ad nauseam. A handful of giant multinational corporations control most everything we see hear, read, our food supply, energy, and much of goods and services we consume.... The illusions of competition & choice are all around us. The illusions benefit the owners most, hence their reluctance publicize them. Buy n Large soon come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi7LTr3SfK4

Anonymous said...

Same owner or not they clearly have price differences on some items. One in the produce isle at Pioneer, which I wont single out for fear that the price will increase, is the cheapest I have ever seen in this city at 1.50lb while at Associated its well over 2.40lp. For the life of me I cant figure out why such a dramatic change and always wondered why they wouldn't drop their price as would happen in a true competitive environment.

marlowe said...

Regarding the ownership of the Pioneer Supermarket at 199 Parkside and the Associated at 650 Flatbush -- both businesses are owned by AFS Holding Corp, Hewlett, NY.

Anyone with access to PropertyShark.com can confirm ownership of the property and the businesses operating therein.

Anonymous said...

Q, Word of your investigation must have reached management and now they're looking to deter the types of folks who read blogs from shopping at Associated. I can't believe it...but a 'worker' asked me to check my bag before shopping on Friday evening. WTF?! I only wanted a pack of beers (thanks Aden Grocery). I can't wait for that new grocery to open on Lincoln, Associated can keep their customer-friendly bag policy. I don't care if they suffer from shoplifting, it would have been less insulting if they had followed me around the store, watching my every shady move.

Seth said...

Yes, it is the same owner.