2010-10-01 / Letters

Already Have Schlock Merchandise

Dear Editor,

In The Wave of September 10, the Beachcomber column informs us of the apparent community outrage over the attempt by a Neponsit businessman to open a $.99 cent store on Beach 116 Street.

I guess I’m not surprised. In fact, I have smelled a big, fat, nasty rat ever since I noted a stop-work order posted on the front of the not-as-yet opened store.

Of course, as usual, the complaint is that anything less than a Starbucks or a Bloomingdale’s cannot be permitted on our precious, gold-paved streets. This is because, allegedly, such a business will draw undesirable people from the four corners of the Earth to further contaminate our seaside paradise.

After all, crazy folk, poor folks and especially the detestable crazy poor, are the cause of all of the problems on this peninsula anyway.

Hey, I live here too and fully support and appreciate all reasonable and responsible activities to improve the community. But, can we please stay within the boundaries of reality. Can we please stop slamming and demonizing our neighbors who are already burdened by low incomes and medical disabilities?

Reality: There are tens of thousands of us who fall into the working class, down to those who live near and below the “poverty level” and shop in the area of Beach 116 Street. We need – very badly need – some relief from the inflated prices charged by most of the merchants on the street, as well as by the two local chain supermarkets. Healthy competition discourages price gouging.

Reality: Those of us who actually travel off the peninsula occasionally should already know that there are perfectly respectable dollar stores all over the place, including such hightone shopping areas as Howard Beach, Glen Oaks and Forest Hills. Beachcomber reports that the elite (my word) are very upset that “schlock” merchandise might be displayed on the street. I had a good laugh over that one. What do you call the cheesy, overpriced beach toys that are only now being put away by merchants, to be dusted off and offered again next beach season, probably at higher prices?

Reality: The type of discount stores in question tend to carry things like inexpensive food items, paper goods, cleaning supplies, toys and school supplies. So, I suppose that those of us who shop in such places are guilty of some awful offense: trying to keep clean, stay nourished and encourage the learning and happiness of our kids. How dare we want those things to be affordable?

Reality: Low income workers as well as the poor and the crazy have to eat, do laundry, get haircuts, send greeting cards and may occasionally (forgive us) crave a slice of pizza or a burger. Thus, we are already contributing a significant chunk to the local economy. And, frankly, while I believe in the clean-up and improvement of our shopping street, (especially the block closest to the ocean – which has nothing to do with the new store), I really don’t think that a Bloomie’s or Tiffany are looking to rush into Beach 116 Street anytime soon. Get real!

Best wishes to all for good mental and physical health and financial prosperity all of your lives. Trust me, you don’t want to know what the alternative is like.

WILLIAM FOREST

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