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Bigger is not always betterby Open-Publishing - Sunday 4 February 2007
By Mary MacElveen
Have you ever heard of the term, bigger is better? It can apply to many things we often take for granted. Should a large store open up within our community, we as human beings are curious and we will visit these larger stores at the expense of the smaller one we have always shopped at. This is the case as the smaller Waldbaums in Miller Place. It has now closed its doors. It could no longer compete with the Stop N Shop that was built in close proximity to it.
Being a curious human being, I tried Stop N Shop just to see what the buzz was about and it was that, just buzz. It was overwhelming to me and where I felt disconnected. In my case, food shopping was up until my Waldbaums closed an experience. It was a time where I could connect with those who have worked there each and every time I shopped. It was akin to the small grocers of the past and now it is gone. As you will see bigger is not always better.
Going food shopping at my little Waldbaums was not a chore since I love talking to people and often did with the lady behind the deli counter, the butcher, those at the customer service desk as well as Fred who used to manage that store. Fred loved to tease me and made shopping fun. Since I do not drive for medical reasons, one time while waiting for a cab, Fred drove me home. Now that was customer service. Who will replace him as I now have to choose another store to shop in? Most likely it will be the Waldbaums in Rocky Point.
I often think that in shopping at these bigger stores, through the large volume of goods they sell, it loans itself to one blowing their food budget. You almost feel like a little kid in a candy store. How many of you who grew accustomed to shopping at smaller stores when a bigger one opened up, you then visited that larger store, got hooked and then tended to buy more than you actually needed?
I think the reason why this one particular store’s closing has hit me hard is that in 1991 my family and I moved out here to Sound Beach. We came from Uniondale and we wanted a slower pace of life for our two small children who are almost adults now. When we visited that small Waldbaums which was then A&P, it was like shopping in a country store. Even the community was different, but slowly overtime it has become the very thing we left. Route 347 is just as busy and as dangerous as Old Country Road, Fulton Avenue or Front Street. The stores that were smaller out here have been replaced by the large box stores. How sad.
In closing, what I am trying to convey here is don’t be dazzled by the larger stores when you have so loyally shopped at the smaller ones. You know the stores where to borrow a phrase from the long gone TV show, Cheers “Where everybody knows your name” To those who made food shopping fun at the Miller Place Waldbaums, I want to say thank you.