Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Crank on the Broomstick

Crank offers a first lesson in marketing and enterprise organization:
Years ago I met a well-to-do man who told me how his struggling immigrant family put him through college.

“Mom and Dad owned little New York corner deli. Mom hung a kitchen broom next to the cash register. As each customer checked her stuff out, Mom would add in the price of the broom.

"If a customer balked, Mom would say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I thought that was your broom,’ and she’d give the money back, but customers didn’t catch her often. Well let me tell you something, that broom sent me and my brothers to college.”
It's a good first principle except--they sell broomsticks in a deli?

1 comment:

New York Crank said...

They evidently did in this deli. But perhaps the fault is mine for misusing the word deli.

Back in the day—before significant supermarket penetration in New York, which really didn't happen until the late 1950s—there was the corner "grocer."

The grocer sold canned goods,fresh vegetables, occasionally meats(some such as what was then a deluxe chain of boutique groceries called Gristedes, now just another supermarket had a butcher counter), sometimes detergents, sometimes brooms, on occasion even fly swatters or fly paper (remember that stuff?), any thing that would get the cash register ringing.

A "deli" back them meant Jewish deli and was usually a sit-down place for corned beef and pastrami. (Think Katz's delicatessen on the lower east side.)

The "deli" in questionh was an Italian-owned enterprise, as it happens. And I absolutelyu believe the guy who told me the story. He was from a famous name family. Or at least famous in New York

I'm almost out the door for the airport and Paris. Why am I bothering with this stuff?

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank