Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Waldbaum's, Huntington Station

Waldbaum's, at 711 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station, NY.

This store's qualities are mixed. It does seem a store in transition, aiming to serve its demographics a little better.

First, the prices aren't bad. They compare favorably to the nearby Stop&Shop.

Second, a while back, the store's managers redesigned the layout and upgraded, in response to the arrival of the new stop&Shop. It is much cleaner and, mostly, better organized, except for some reason, the bread wound up near the produce area. I'm still looking for it somedays.

Third, a big improvement was the elimination of the rabbit warren design of the produce area, which, until the change, forced shoppers to weave and bob down every row of produce to escape the area. Now you can bypass, or, more important, go more directly to the wanted item, without cutting off contact with other items.

Fourth, it has added a lot of Latino products in recent years, clearly trying to woo the growing Hispanic population of Huntington Station. This doesn't seem to have cut into other products for shoppers not interested in Goya or other products.

Fifth, it does seem to have resolved its freezer problem. More than once, I've bought less than frozen food and either tossed it or even taken it back. Often, the lights in the freezer (breakfoods, pizzas, etc.) were off. Whatever the problem was, I haven't seen it lately.

Through no fault of its own, the store lost a lot of meat when we had a huge power failure a year and a half ago. But the handling of it was weird--I went past two checkouts where workers were wearing gloves and figuratively holding their noses as they scanned meat packages. Apparently they had to prove that the product was lost to the outage by scanning it first--it was pretty disgusting to see dripping packages work their way down the counter.

On the downside:

First, the entranceway is jammed. Get behind a slower shopper and it's tough to clear the entranceway. Good luck trying to get around someone who's decided to stop right there to read the advertising fliers.

The store has other spots that are hard to navigate, with too many things parked near the checkout or filling the aisles that too often make it difficult to get around.

Second,the checkout aisles are wretched, extremely tight, to the point of silliness.

The store has a deli but no pharmacy, Coinstar, Western Union and an ATM.

The staff is mostly helpful, especially the more seasoned people working at the courtesy desk. The checkout people are mostly good.

We go here occasionally, mixing up our shopping among various stores in the area.

Waldbaum's on Wikipedia.

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