9.18.01 tuesday evening

I've been considering buying stock.

Sort of ridiculous, since I really don't have any money and don't expect to be getting any any time soon, but I like the idea of buying stock as a gesture. Yeah, I know, I'm the same person who is offended daily rollerblading past the obscene clothing shops in Soho, (have you checked out the grotesque faux-apocalyse window at Diesel Style Lab? wonder how long it's gonna take them to pull THAT down? or perhaps they still think it's cool?), hates the culture of hyper-capitalism that has choked this country, but at the same time, I don't want to see the markets tank, don't want us in a recession. Partially, selfishly, because I know that this time the government won't be setting up any WPAs or RAs or whatever. I won't be transcribing folksongs of the Appalachians on Bush's payroll. God, can you even imagine that?!?! What a different world it must have been.

So anyway, I've been thinking about what stock to buy. And I've decided that if Food Emporium is owned by a public company, that's the one I'm buying.

Here's why.

I live a block from Jefferson Market, one of the wonderful old privately owned markets that has been in this community for probably a hundred years. You know the kind of place, friendly butchers in back, excellent cheese counter, the vegetable man who's been working there for thirty years and greets you when you come in the door. The public library across the street is called the Jefferson Market branch.

And I live three blocks from the vaunted Balducci's, at which the sons of the family who lives downstairs from me both work, in front of which during the Christmas season the Lexuses and Mercedes SUVs are triple parked while the uptown ladies pick up their hams or mince pies or whatever.

And last Tuesday, both those fixtures of the community shut their doors and went home by noon. Closed up tight. While the ratty old Food Emporium across the street, which I normally don't even go into, was full of people buying milk and bread and bottled water, and when I asked the checkout girl, who probably doesn't make six dollars an hour, where she lives, she said the Bronx, and went on ringing up the long line of customers.

How long did it take her to get home that night? You understand the subways were not running. In what way is SHE not an emergency worker, in her admittedly less heroic way, but nonetheless...She worked like a dog all day, waiting on scared, confused people in lines that snaked all the way through the aisles to the back of the store, and then figured out how to get home to the Bronx.

I have not been in Jefferson Market since last Tuesday. It's the 24-hour Korean deli (which also stayed open of course: I have never seen the Korean deli closed in the thirteen years I've lived here except once. For a hurricane.) and the Food Emporium for me from now on.

[PS: I found out the company is owned by A&P, whose full name is the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. The stock symbol is GAP.]

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