Pittsburgh's Little Disappointments

Late this afternoon, at John McGinnis & Co., a great food store on Route 88 in Bethel Park:
Me (approaches deli counter in an empty store).

Counterman: Can I help you?

Me: I'd like to buy some salami and pepperoni.

Counterman: Sorry. We closed the deli at 5:45.

Me (checking my watch, and noting that nothing has been moved from the deli case): My watch says that it's 5:40.

Counterman (holding up his clock, which shows the time to be 5:45 on the nose): Sorry. The deli's closed.
I guess the store is doing so well that they don't need the business. The counterman wasn't rude. He was just indifferent. I'll buy my sliced meats somewhere else from now on. When I can, I like to help out local businesses that are looking to help me.

Comments

12 Responses to "Pittsburgh's Little Disappointments"

T Murray said... 1/05/2010 6:50 PM

My, oh, my. My guess is, he wasn't one of the owners. Regardless, it must be nice to turn away business. Funny, I'm at work until 11:00 or later some nights.

Jack Auses said... 1/05/2010 6:55 PM

It's extra special that the whole store closes at 6. Is the deli also closed for the first 15 minutes after the store opens in the morning?

jet said... 1/05/2010 7:41 PM

Yet another PGH business that thinks they deserve your business at their convenience.

John Morris said... 1/05/2010 8:16 PM

I hate to put it this way, but the Pittsburgh work ethic is a myth. I just don't see it at all.

The best single reason we need more immigrant owned stores here is that they at least stay open.

Jonathan Potts said... 1/05/2010 11:01 PM

The new Mexican grocery in Brookline appears to be open until 9.

Joe Polk said... 1/06/2010 12:12 AM

Mike -- It's really sad to hear this. I've enjoyed going to McGinnis in the past, but hearing stories like this makes me not want to go there.

Any chance you'll let management know about this?

Mike Madison said... 1/06/2010 11:22 AM

Not planning to go out of my way, partly because I'm not a consumer crusader, partly because I don't have the time, partly because I doubt that it would make a difference. There are some things that I can get at McGinnis that are difficult to find (conveniently) elsewhere, so I doubt that the family will give up the ship entirely. The point of the post, though, isn't really McGinnis; it's the complacency, which is far too prevalent in Pittsburgh. From time to time I post stories about stores at the other end of the service spectrum; they deserve to be rewarded. Example: Asti's Pharmacy on Mt. Lebanon Blvd in Castle Shannon. These folks are rock stars!

Anonymous said... 1/06/2010 1:19 PM

Blogs: for the little defeats.

Tom Moertel said... 1/06/2010 8:11 PM

I keep hoping, naively perhaps, that technology will eliminate the "my clock trumps yours" problem by bringing all clocks into agreement. Most cell phones, for instance, provide an accurate time reference, being synchronized with Universal Coordinated Time.

Imagine how differently things might have turned out for Mike, had his watch and the counterman's clock agreed on the time:


=== begin dramatic re-reenactment ===

Mike (approaches deli counter in an empty store).

Counterman: Can I help you?

Mike: I'd like to buy some salami and pepperoni.

Counterman: Sorry. We closed the deli at 5:45.

Mike: (checking his watch, and noting that nothing has been moved from the deli case): My watch says that it's 5:40.

Counterman (holding up his clock, which also shows the time to be 5:40) Sorry. The deli's closed.

Mike: But your clock says it's 5:40!

Counterman: Yeah, it runs five minutes slow.

=== end dramatic re-reenactment ===


I guess technology isn't going to solve this problem.

Darn.

Cheers,
Tom

Ken said... 1/06/2010 10:08 PM

The really funny part is: "Can I help you?" I dunno: can you? Apparently not.

Dean Jackson said... 1/08/2010 10:32 PM

5:45?

What kills me is that the housewife is gone, and city folks are largely two-income households these days.

But businesses largely hold to the hours of a generation ago.

It's okay to open later and close later, guys; we're not steelworkers going in at 5:30 AM anymore, and there's not a missus at home who's going shopping in the afternoon for us.

Anonymous said... 1/09/2010 1:14 PM

I was in Giant Eagle in N. Huntingdon last year while visiting. The only grocery store in the township. One (1) deli worker for 20 customers. Everytime I go back I see this indifference. And I look around and people wait with a look of numb resignation.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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