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Directing My Dollars Away From Fresh Direct



Just when I thought I’d found a good food company to patronize… I learn that Fresh Direct is the subject of multiple and varied employee complaints, relating to discrimination and union busting.  I had filled up a virtual grocery cart with a couple bags full of goodies (largely veggies and “sports candy” as one annoying kids tv show has taken to calling fresh fruit) to maximize the $25.00 coupon I’d gotten in the mail for ordering from Fresh Direct.  I envisioned myself getting an awesome sweep for a just a few bucks, when I went to check out and *BAM* I found out I had to spend a hundred dollars to make use of that quarter coupon.  So the coupon’s been sitting on my desk, and I had big plans to spend it, when I needed and had room for a hundred dollars worth of new groceries in my pantry (a/k/a kitchen — this is the city where, for most, pantries only exist in the magazines in our cramped bathrooms, our imaginations, or under the sink). Then suddenly, this bad news appeared….–and_how_workers_and_the_community_are_fighting_back


So I guess I am out of the loop. I did not know all the problems with Fresh Direct, which seemed to be well poised to be a nifty alternative to the megamarkets we’ve been trying to escape.  There’s been controversy brewing over at a little local grocery store, Golden Farms, where word on the street is that management has hired undocumented workers and is paying them well below minimum wage.  The availability of decent channels for food procurement seems to be growing narrower and narrower.

I was at Union Square green market on Wednesday, and up at Grand Army Plaza on Saturday, but it is hard to make it to market a couple times a week.  The allure of Foodtown a block and a half away is hard to resist.  Still, trying to make better choices when it comes to buying food.  Back to the drawing board…

QUESTION:  where do you get the bulk of your food these days?  How much will that change with the warming weather?  Are you availing yourself of the vast increase in farmers markets?  Which is your fave? Go ahead…gimme the dirt!

6 responses to “Directing My Dollars Away From Fresh Direct

  1. Ralph ⋅

    A combination of Stop & Shop, Pathmark, Waldbaums, and Top Tomato. I really need to check if there are any farmer’s markets out here. Little by little grocery chains are being bought up, then a year or so later a handful of the stores are closed. If I had to guess I would say it’s a combination of a tax write off scheme and getting control of the food market.

    I’ve had mixed opinions of unions (I’ve been in a couple), mostly against them. However, seeing what is going on in many businesses and how they treat employees I have to say there is becoming an increasing need for unions. For a long time I’ve heard ‘there was a time when unions were needed but…’. I think the need is coming back.

    I’ve never done business with Fresh Direct, but if I did I would stop after reading that story. Money/ profit are the only things many companies care about. That’s not to say companies shouldn’t make profits, just not at the expense of their employees. About the only recourse people have is to stop doing business with companies cutting into their profits. A large part of the problem is news like Fresh Direct doesn’t get to enough people to make a difference to companies.

    As for politicians, if anyone still believes they are watching after the people’s best interests they are mistaken. Just look at what they’ve done to the richest most powerful nation on Earth- that used to be us. Unless there is something that threatens their re-election and it happens to benefit people they couldn’t care less. Ancient Rome had the right idea, two years in office and out you go. The idea was to prevent anyone from getting too powerful.

  2. test ⋅

    Check your facts. The article is from a union website and union activist.

  3. Ralph ⋅

    I re-read the story, and the followup of Fresh Direct now staying in NYC but moving to the Bronx. Not using them I cannot give them less business than I am now, but I am curious about your (test) check the facts statement. I did take a quick look at the link from author Sarah Jaffe. Nothing struck me as her being a union activist, and a quick look at the publication AlterNet seemed to indicate it as an activist site dealing with social issues. I am not sure if the facts we missed are the union ties which I did not see any obvious indication of, or some facts within the Fresh Direct story. I will gladly read both stories again if you can point out any incorrect information I can look for. Even if this story came from a union rep and was posted on a union website that does not automatically render everything said incorrect. The source of information can and does make me more or less accepting of what is said, but it does not make me flat out disregard or accept everything either. I would imagine if something in the story were so far from the truth Fresh Direct themselves would say something to that effect. Anyway, please let us know what we are missing.

    • Revel

      I agree that the source, as well as the target audience, should be considered in turning up or down one’s skepticism meter. That said, nothing struck me as out of whack either but I’d be happy to investigate further. I was up in Long Island City today, checking out commercial kitchens (looked at one across from the Fresh Direct warehouse). It’s a hard place to get to, and traffic was a mess. Other than that, it was uremarkable. For the most part, I currently walk my groceries from the corner store to my house (a block & a half away). I do consider that each household that delivers from Fresh Direct gets their groceries delivered to them, which is probably not great for the environment. That, and this article, and the fact that I have to spend $100 to get $25.00 off, when I’m not sure I want $100 worth of food from them, is enough to direct my dollars away for now.

  4. Ralph ⋅

    When I used to live in Bklyn you could walk to buy pretty much anything you needed. Now, in Staten Island (at least where I am) there’s little if anything within walking distance. A bus or car/ car service is needed, especially since the few ‘local’ stores have been bought out and then closed. However, if fast food was part of my regular diet I could walk to that. I have seen stories about neighborhoods where there was no healthy food around to buy and people resorted to fast foods. My area is pretty much there now. Luckily (?) most everyone here has a car. They are convenient, but also expensive to keep and no matter what type, not very good for then environment.

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