Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Gentile's Fine Foods: The Grumpiest Store in Manhattan?
WHEN I owned a store, I sublet space from an antiques dealer who was one of the best salespeople I've met. The secret, she said, is to repeat to people what they've already said. They say, "Oh, that's a beautiful chair." You say, "Yes, it's a beautiful chair, isn't it." Or they say, "I don't know if I'm ready to buy yet," and you say, "Yes, it's a big decision to make."
Today I went in to Gentile's Fine Foods (1041 Madison Avenue, between 79th and 80th Streets on the Upper East Side) to buy a Coke. While I was digging out exact change for the $2.16 they wanted, I said, calmly I thought, "You charge more than most places."
The cashier said, "You should go across the street and see what they charge." (Note: there is no store across the street that sells Cokes.)
"I buy them all over Manhattan, I know what they cost."
At this point, the man standing next to me said, "Then don't come back.'
"Are you the owner?" I asked.
"Yes, and we don't want your business."
I had paid for the Coke, so I left, obviously not feeling like it was a place I wanted to come back to.
On the way home, I stopped at Dean & Deluca, which has a store a few blocks up on Madison. Of course they are one of the most expensive food stores in Manhattan. They charge $1.63, while my corner store at 85th and Lexington charges $1.50. In other words, Gentile's charges 33% to 44% more, but considered it insulting that a customer had said they were charging more than most places.
My old landlord never would have said that, even though she charged more than everyone else.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Gentile's Fine Foods: The Grumpiest Store in Manhattan?:
I've been to Gentile's. They don't believe the customer is always right. That's why I don't go there anymore.
Posted by: steve at Nov 7, 2007 4:34:00 PM
They can charge whatever they want because people pay for it. It's not a huge chain. They need to make as much as they can off of each item in order to stay in business. I go there several times a week for fruit, bagels, drinks, their little salads are great. They're always so nice. Yeah it costs more than gristedes or the drug store but it's a Madison Ave premium. There are plenty of people who don't mind paying a few cents more to be shop in a small neighborhood market where they see & know the owner. You made an obnoxious comment. If I were the owner I'd be irriated too. He's aware of what other shops charge. If you can't say anything nice...
Posted by: Gentile Lover!! at Jan 6, 2008 4:39:32 PM
I made an obnoxious comment?
Are you an employee there? Perhaps you're married to the owner?
"You charge more than most stores" in a quiet voice is not an obnoxious comment.
"Don't come back" is an obnoxious comment.
Posted by: john at Jan 6, 2008 5:15:59 PM
Puhlease! Good stores don't tell customers to go away.
Posted by: Gentile customer at Jan 7, 2008 8:53:26 AM
I love shopping at Gentile's. They have wonderful fresh food and fruits and I have always found their employees to be kind, courteous and always accommodating. TC
Posted by: Thhelma at Nov 12, 2008 2:29:47 PM
interesting post bookmarked
Posted by: Acai Berry at Dec 26, 2008 11:24:32 AM