As I get settled in my new apartment, I have been doing the usual neighborhood reconnaissance to determine where the closest shops and services are. In the groceries department, the closest supermarket (about 3 short blocks) is a place called “C-town“. I believe the “C” stands for “community”, as the stores are meant to be responsive to the needs of the communities in which they find themselves. If that is the case, this community needs food help badly. The vast majority of items they carry are processed, pre packaged crap I haven’t seen since the early 80s. There is a ton of space devoted to Little Debbie, and none devoted to any kind of decent milk or cheese product. The produce was sad (although it is winter in New York and this may be true everywhere). Here and there you would actually see things that tell you a little about the community, in the form of imported items from Mexico, and the cereal selection was mostly ok. A lot of things looked as if they had been sitting years and years on the shelves with little to no movement. It made me wonder about stocking decisions. Who makes them and how? What is the evolution of these things? If someone was stocking some product line since the 70s, let’s say Birds Eye (something we grew up, and whose products are truly horrible) for example, what is the likelihood that over time they would stop stocking it? Do they notice buying trends decreasing or increasing for their products? Do they wait for the customers to demand a change? Is it likely that in poorer neighborhoods people are less likely to bring these things up to the store owners? Do they just buy what is in the store because it is in front of them? Perhaps the owner is looking for the greatest profit margin. And I should mention that prices didn’t seem less here than in other parts of Manhattan. Whatever the case, it really makes you think about the total environmental picture of neighborhoods, and the variety of things that go into making a neighborhood a compelling place to live.