Supermarket taxonomy is an inexact science.

We’ve all stood at the mouth of a seemingly infinite grocery store aisle, transfixed by the six or so organizational terms floating above us on a hanging sign.

We stand there flummoxed, lost in slovenly calculation. What is a lentil? A bean? Is it lumped with the canned goods? An organic specialty? Hell, does it qualify for the “ethnic” section?

After draining consideration, we either deem the aisle invalid and refresh the process elsewhere or step down a corridor of uncertainty with gnawing self-doubt.

Management at the Associated on Flatbush between Hawthorne Street and Fenimore has clearly run into similar complications when it comes to shelving conundrums.




Faced with demands for a vast array of alien items from recent PLG arrivals, a staffer at the store told that brass eventually threw up their hands and created a section that might as well have a sign reading “Recent Lease Signer Specialties.”

It is a chaotic assembly of goods that share no defensible kinship other than the fact that demand for them in PLG was all but nil until recently.

The aisle makes for comically disparate neighbors. Kale chips are carefully placed next to tins of Illy coffee. Macaroons share bench space with obscure hot sauces. Whimsical Euro wafers jostle for position with organic wheat pasta elbows.





It is a study in extreme gustatory dissonance – and a rare window into the latest desires of the discerning Flatbush arriviste. This is not a color issue, mind you. At all.

A woefully unscientific Zogby/ investigation with a margin of error of 69-percent revealed diverse engagement of the area.




Black people purchased quinoa. An Asian mulled dizzying muesli options. A woman speaking German studiously squatted in front of fine mustards. An impressionable mixed-race toddler muttered incomprehensibly while staring at something called sprouted pumpkin seed butter.

No, this isn’t a matter of skin hue, it’s a matter of taste – and the abstruse challenges of grocery store classification.





  • rox

    hilarious. the NSA on bedford between clarkson and lenox has a similar Young Urban Professional With Fair Trade Concerns aisle. all along the shelves there are little printed signs that say something along the lines of “if there’s any item you’d like to see please inform the management”–signs that don’t seem to pop up on any of the other aisles.

  • TC

    Is that Quinoa flour really $15.89? Should be around $10. You can actually get it shipped from Amazon cheaper.

  • Rmangi

    That isle went in at NSA 2 years ago, I call it the white people isle.

  • flatbushed

    Rmangi – I hear you on the white people aisle – but I’m telling you, it’s more of a mix than you think. At least at the Associated. It’s more about catering to newcomers than race specifically.

    And TC – I saw that price tag and winced. You sound versed in the product – what does one do with it? Flapjacks? Quinoa bread?

  • Rmangi

    yeah I say white people isle tongue firmly in cheek, as I am a white people :-)

  • Anonymous


  • John Mark

    Western Beef is organized by brand, best as I can tell. There is some sort of hot sauce on every aisle.

  • Ell


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