things to think about

today i am thinking about: where to buy my bagels
September 11, 2009, 9:16 pm
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the trevi

the trevi

There’s this deli by my job. The Trevi Deli, 17th and Union Square East. $2 for an everything bagel toasted with scallion, which is a little more than I like to pay. They scrimp on the cream cheese. I’ve been going there two years at least once or twice a week and they still have no real idea who I am, which makes me grumpy. I got an egg and swiss there once, only I told them egg and cheese, and they got mad at me because they thought I was trying to cheat them out of the 10c or so. There was no sign saying deluxe cheese was extra!

The Trevi seems to be run by two women who are always put together and have lipstick on and do not make small talk. They are bagging and cashiering machines. I am always so impressed by them. In the 2 years I have been going there, I have made a conversation with them maybe twice, and I can talk to ANYONE. I am not sure how much English they speak, but they seem to speak English when they need to. I figure they are just not that interested in me.

They have a lot of bougie snacks at the Trevi. They don’t sell Cheetoes, but they sell organic cheese puffs. Those Terra Chips that are radishes or sweet potatoes and fancy chocolate that says the cocoa content on the wrapper. They have M&Ms and Wise chips too but it’s all about the mochi. And it’s all expensive! Not as bad as it could be for Union Square, honestly, but still — although honestly, I can get a sandwich for $5 or less, and for Union Square that’s a miracle.

But then, coming out of a storefront that used to have $8 plates of baked pasta and $3 sandwiches, an interloper:

dunkin dunkin

dunkin dunkin

That’s right, folks. Dunkin Donuts is moving in.

the block -- you can just see the DD orange

the block

So now I have a new option, or I will whenever they open. I can go somewhere else, pay slightly less probably. The Dunkin is about half a block closer to my work than the Trevi, which makes a difference (and you New Yorkers know what I mean.) I don’t know if DD has scallion cream cheese, and their bagels aren’t great, but then neither are the Trevi’s.

This is where it is, right? It’s easy to get sentimental about your favorite deli if they know you, if they love you, if they say hi to you when you come around, if they make eye contact with you. But here is this deli, I assume owned by a family, that has no real affection for me. And I feel challenged by that! I feel challenged by the idea that I don’t matter to them, that maybe I should just go to the Dunkin when it opens, that it’s a little closer for me and it doesn’t really matter anyways and who doesn’t love a boston cream donut in the morning?

The Trevi started carrying Krispy Kreme donuts — just a few boxes — within maybe a week of the DD sign going up. I wonder if they’re worrying or not. I thought of pulling a Jeremiah and just asking them, but we don’t have any relationship that I can tell — despite me being in there, everything-toasted-with-scallion, no-thanks-no-bag, day after day. And I hate to think of interrupting those ladies when they are such machines.

I feel weird about the DD moving in even though, as I said, I feel ambivalent about the Trevi. I don’t like the idea of a chain store coming in and taking over, especially a chain store that has plenty of locations in the area (14th and Irving, I think 17th and 3rd.) I don’t see the point of all this mindless sameness – yeah sure, it’s nice to know I can get the same thing no matter what, but not when it’s always so generic. I just want the DD to back the fuck off! Leave the Trevi alone so I can dislike it in peace!

It makes me an angry activist, right – I want to flyer, I want to put up stickers, I want to harass the DD into submission. But I don’t even like the Trevi that much! I go because it’s the closest and cheapest place to get a bagel on my way to work — not even always on my way, although since the 16th street park crossover has been closed I go right past it — and I feel grumpy every time. I can’t imagine how many $2 bagels I have bought there and I guess I just feel slighted, grumpy and slighted, even though I am sure they must see thousands of people a day.

So I guess I’ll see. I hope the Trevi sticks around, just to stick it to the man, so I can keep disliking it and wondering what those two women at the front of the ship are thinking. I will keep you posted. Maybe I’ll even work it out and do that interview.