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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Future Is Now!

Amazon launches grocery service for Prime members
Associated Press
By MAE ANDERSON 10 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is taking aim at grocery stores and discounters like Wal-Mart with a grocery service that lets its Prime loyalty club members fill up to a 45-pound box with groceries and get it shipped for a flat rate of $5.99.

The mega online retailer says the service, called Prime Pantry, will offer Prime users an expanded selection of items that they usually pick up in grocery stores, in addition to larger in-bulk groceries more commonly ordered online, at competitive prices. Some items now available are single boxes of Cheerios, a six-pack of Bounty paper towels and Coca-Cola fridge packs.

Amazon calls the offerings "low-priced, everyday essentials in everyday sizes."

When Prime members shop through Prime Pantry, it shows how much space each item takes up in the grocery box, and how much room is left. Items are shipped within one to four business days...

This brings back my fancy about Waldbaum's, the store of the future:;postID=1156537606100354710;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=link

On Long Island, in New York, round about where Manhasset lies, was a gathering of grocery stores that filled in part of the mid-20th century saga of "Life in these US of A" : Bohack's, Grand Union, etc.

They were the grocery of the time and the place, not with overly wide aisles, and they had windows that only took up the upper portion of the front wall; the side wall abutted another building, and had no windows, but did have some joyous depictions of fruits and vegetables...maybe a pilgrim in November. Maybe a Manahatta Indian, too. Sometimes the floors were wood, but maybe that was the Woolworth's. I remember our Woolworth's had wood floors, and it had the vermilion and gold 5 and 10 sign, and there was a soda fountain beyond the ribbons.

The grocery stores were a conundrum to me: they were obviously part of the age of "Air-Flo" and "Aerodynamic Design", yet they were decidedly stodgy and firmly rooted in a past of foodstuffs and comestibles, not to mention "hardwares" and "softwares" in the For the Home section. It seemed no epistalsis of time had moved them forward.

And then there was Waldbaum's !

Waldbaum's was the promise of the City of The Future of the 1939 New York World's Fair come true - one of the few promises of that enormous amalgam of good wishes, good hopes, and Flash Gordon design that saw the light of day; just as going to Old Navy reminds you of the Andrews Sisters and going to Willow Run to catch a Ford Tri-Motor flight to Chicago, Waldbaum's puts you in mind of waiting around in the Gold Star Flyers Lounge in 2001.

The architecture stunned the eye, going beyond the novelty of "Modernistic" into the rarified reaches of the galaxy called "Futuristic": it was like a Moebius cross-section of a teardrop from the Horn of Plenty! It filled with glass those places other stores had brick, and leaped to vitrefy the surrounding space-time where other stores had never lifted up their heads to gaze upon, much less conquer with steel and glistening panes of glass.

And it was on a hill, so as we approached it, we were imbued with the sense of driving from the profane to the fane of groceries. To go there after Sunday services was a continuing of the cathedral-"gothic-rocket" church; to go there and buy challa and exchange a shabbas shalom on Friday afternoon was a foretaste-memory of the temple of the Diaspora in Andromeda.

It's all gone now.

We're lucky. We live elsewhere. We remember and dream of the old days, when a quarter was worth 25 bees...or 32 yellow jackets. And we have the last Waldbaum's around, far as I can tell.

However, it isn't a retail store. All the retail are gone. It is a grocery warehouse-type thing, and it was built around the time the developments around here were designed...and each unit in our development has groceries delivered from Waldbaum's.

If you remember the milk chutes, or milk boxes from the old days, that's what it is. Each unit has a glorified "milk box" built in - with security - which is refrigerated. We schedule our needs of dairy, meat, seafood, and other perishables, send in a list, get a verify, and we have the stuff delivered...for a price. But the price is pretty good, since there are so many people living in the area that use this service; far more than would probably merely drive to one grocery store. They probably would need 3 stores to cover this area, but they only have the one warehouse.

Things which aren't perishable are put into a smaller receptacle, and that's it. Some people use part of the refrigerated unit as extra storage. Doesn't matter. The food comes as regular as clock-work, as regular as the government pension check. We sit in the park and discuss philosophy, and -say! - when's the rest of the country gonna get with this Waldbaum thing?


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