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Key Food
Key Food

There is a store in Brooklyn called Key Food. It is the closest grocery store to Jen's place so we tend to go there quite a bit. It is not a "good" grocery store. It is not an "efficiently run" grocery store. It is not "clean". It does not have "good prices". It isn't staffed with people that "give a damn" or "care". They do not "have" maraschino cherries. The deli guy does not "sweat the details". There are no "managers" on duty. Cashiers do not greet you, smile, tell you the total or in any other way acknowledge your existence.

So why do we keep going? As I stated it is the closest grocery store to her house. "What about the second closest grocery store to her house?" You ask. Good question. The answer: it is also a Key Food.

Yesterday's Key Food incident is locked in my mind as particularly memorable. Here is how it went:

Jen and I were having a relatively incident-free visit to Key Food when I decided that I would stop by the deli to get some olives--a single container of olives. I took my place as the third person in line and waited as the first person went on virtual world tour of deli meats. "I'll take a third of a pound of capicola."

"Anything else?"

"Yes, a ninth of a pound of pancetta."

"Anything else?"

"Um. One fifth of a pound of sopressata."

"Anything else?"

"One eleventh of a pound of Budapest smoked turkey sausage."

Etc. This was relatively annoying and by the end of the exchange I wanted to strangle this guy by wrapping a half dozen bratwurst links around his neck.

Compounding this annoyance was the deli worker. I am convinced that the deli of Key Food must contain a knee-high moat of mashed potatoes. This is the only explanation for the speed of the deli worker. An additional fact: Every single deli meat or cheese requested by this patron was so rarely ordered that it had to be fished out of the depths of the reach-in cooler and cut open by the worker. This killed my "mashed potato moat" theory as his upper body seemed to move in perfect synchronicity with his dawdling legs.

When this man was satisfied that he had enough variety for what I can only assume was his entry in the World's Biggest Yuppie Antipasto Contest, the next woman stepped up to the plate. Her tactics were slightly different. She would simply look off in the distance and say: "What is that?"

The deli worker would then slowly crane his neck and then say, "What is what?"

"I want some of that?"

"The salami?"

"No, not the salami!" The woman sighed, clearly annoyed by the worker's inability to read her mind.

"The genoa salami?" The worker asked.

"No! The one I'm LOOKING at!" Apparently the age-old trick of pointing was lost on this woman. This went on for about five minutes as she rivaled the man before her at being the world's most annoying deli customer.

Well that wasn't so bad. A mere fifteen minutes had passed and I was already at the front of the line! The only thing that could have made this experience any worse was if there was some sort of super annoying brat-child and his idiotic pseudo-hippie father standing behind me the entire time. I would imagine--and this is all conjecture, of course--that the child would say, "Why do we have to wait in line?" The dad would then answer by telling the child: "We need some stuff at the deli." "Lets just get other stuff." Two seconds would pass and then the child would ask the same question and the father would give him the same answer for the entire duration of the wait in line. This child, who would be about seven years old, would also have apparently been smoking filterless cigarettes for 25-30 years so that his voice was suitably gravelly and annoying.

In my ideal hell this hippie father would also repeatedly refer to the little boy as "honey", breaking the centuries old convention of only 60+ year old women calling little boys "honey".

All in all--a fairly typical Key Food experience. This time the majority of the crappiness of the visit was mostly brought upon by the suckiness of shoppers as opposed to the usual crappiness of the employees and that was a refreshing change.

Chefelf Suplemental: I'm not one to merely point out the negative aspects of something. I like to highlight both the positive and negative parts of any experience as is my nature. So I will say this: The olives were delicious!

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