I’m madder than a subway rider stuck on a bus during one of the MTA’s “fast track” repair programs over the fact that it takes me quicker to get to the BJ’s in East New York than it takes me to get to the new one in my own backyard right here in Bensonhurst!
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher has got a hankering for buying things in bulk, especially when it comes to things that end up going in my mouth. So it should come as no surprise to you that I was please as punch to learn the new BJ’s Wholesale store had opened up on Shore Parkway, just a hop, skip, and a jump from my beloved home at the beautiful Harway Terrace. Now, I wouldn’t have to load my lovely wife Sharon into the car and trek all the way out to the Gateway Mall in East New York to shop, thus saving me tons on money in gas.
Or so I thought!
Turns out that the traffic is so bad on Bay Parkway and Cropsey Avenue that I would have been better off hopping on the Belt Parkway anyways — and then I wouldn’t have to park the Plymouth in some lot that’s a few stories high!
But that doesn’t mean that once I got there I wasn’t excited about all the delicious, free morsels they were giving away that I read about in the ad in the insert in my favorite newspaper, the Brooklyn Graphic.
I couldn’t wait to get my chubby little hands on all the things they give away as you walk down the aisle so you don’t have to stop for lunch on the way home!
Or so I thought!
Turned out the samples couldn’t feed a squirrel, let alone a Screecher!
I gotta hand it to the Del Monte lady who sliced up a fresh grape, a piece of fresh pear, a fresh piece of apple, a fresh piece of peach! To think I waited 10 minutes for that tiny bite!
They were giving out hummis samples, the bakery department was giving out inch a and half squares of their sheet cakes, and the popcorn vendor was giving out 7 kernels of popped corn sans any seasoning.
One lady gave out inch portions of macaroni and cheese, but you had to wait for it to be warmed in a microwave. From another vendor I tasted a very tangy tuna blend, and another gave me a small piece of chocolate chip cookie, a piece of sliced snickers, a small piece of ice cream cake, and by the time I finished all these appetizers … I was famished — and my trusty steed Tornado almost ran out of battery life!
BJs like Costco sells everything in bulk sizes without giving you any idea of where to store it in an apartment. I couldn’t help but notice one guy with a two large shopping carts filled large boxes of Oreo cookies. I’m sure I could help him give them a good home!
Giving credit where its due, BJs bakery, meats, fruit and veggies, frozen foods and its whole gauntlet of foodstuffs have a reputation for being truly delicious.
However, I was perturbed to see the size of the produce section — a shockingly inadequate 10-by-10 room. Shocking. I do not want to bore you listing their entire inventory, nor all the bargains you’re likely to catch, it all depends on how much time you have to shop and how strong are your legs.
Don’t forget, BJs in competition with Best Buys, Walmarts, and many giant store chains that have a “We’ll match any advertised price policy.”
The store is huge, dwarfing the great pyramids, and those who ventured to walk there along Shore Parkway were absolutely flabbergasted to find the entrance to the store opposite Staten Island in their Bay City park.
So here’s the Screecher pro breakdown of BJs good, bad, and ugly.
The good: Good prices if you shop all in one place. Anything you would possibly want to buy is there.
The bad: The mile-long lines to taste free samples, the lines to get your picture taken or to join the BJ membership program, and the lines just to check out, not to mention some menacing scooter carts.
The ugly: The traffic to get there. This weekend, it was horrendous. We’ll see how it shakes out in future columns!
Screech at you next week!