Fruit, family and sacrifice
Adjacent to the Chase branch at the corner of First Avenue and 23rd Street an about 45-year-old man stands in front of a cart and sells the most delectable produce available in the area — at about half the cost which supermarkets and stores price them.
His name is Quddus and he is from Bangladesh. His fruit and vegetable enterprise is open from about 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. I have purchased his goods for a long time. This past Friday I bought 10 bananas, two pounds of green grapes, a carton of snow white mushrooms and a box of red ripe tomatoes. The cost: seven dollars.
Always polite but not effusive, if I don’t have cash because I have come to use my debit/credit card when buying almost anything, he trusts me. Working seven days a week, about 80 hours. Wow! I couldn’t even do it for one day. I wondered why he does this. So on Friday I said, “Do you have any children?” and “Do they go to school?” “Yes, one boy attends Queens College; the other is a senior in high school.”
I queried him because I suspected that by working so many hours, this was in pursuit of a goal beyond himself. I may have surprised him when I offered the following: “You know that they will never fully appreciate what you are doing for them.” He didn’t respond as he just filled two bags with my requests. And I gave him the seven dollars.
What was my motivation in commenting as I did? It was due to my own experience and observing other families. My mother who became a widow when I was 10 went back to work so that my brother and I would be able to attend college. And it was only when following her passing at age 88 that I fully recognized her significant sacrifice.
This seems to represent a pattern with the lives of children as they mature into adulthood… Eventually their parents die… It is then that they demonstrate such feelings. Something to ponder.
David Chowes, PCV
When stores won’t redeem bottles
To the Editor,
I would like advise neighbors about a very troubling situation at Gracefully, which is the nearest specialty grocery to our community of 25,000. I urge everyone not to shop at Gracefully until the store makes a pledge to obey state law about redeeming bottles for the 5-cent deposit.
I recently bought some of the “craft beer” sold at Gracefully at 314 First Avenue. A week later, I brought the six bottles back to Gracefully for the 5-cent deposit back. I asked the first woman at the counter where I could return the bottles. She shook her head, “no.” I said, “What do you mean, ‘no’?” The woman shook her head again and said “We don’t do that.”
I said to the second woman, “I’m here to redeem these bottles, which I bought here.” She shook her head and said, “no.” I said, “Let me talk to the manager.”
I then had a long discussion with the manager, and he ultimately agreed to take the bottles back and give me a nickel for each of them.
A few days later, I bought another six-craft beer. On February 1, I brought back the six bottles. The first woman at the store said no. The second woman said no. The third just shook her head and pretended not to speak English. There was no manager on duty, so I was ultimately not able to return these bottles.
I phoned 311 and registered a complaint against Gracefully. Under the New York Returnable Container Law (enacted in 1982, nearly 36 years ago) “a consumer can return empty containers to any store or vendor that sells the same type of container.”
I urge all of my fellow residents not to shop at Gracefully until it comes into compliance with the law.
Name withheld, ST
Town & Village reached out to Gracefully, and a man who introduced himself as Shin, the manager, said he remembered the customer. Shin added that he wasn’t sure which cashier refused the customer’s refund the second time, but said he has told the cashiers to take bottles back for deposits and that he would make sure the weekend cashiers are trained to do this as well. “I’m sorry this happened, but I’ll keep training the people,” he said.