A strategy begins to clarify...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A strategy begins to clarify...

...after I received a telephone poll just now from EG Research who wanted me to respond to a brief survey about...

(Wait for it, as "Radar O'Reilly" used to say.)


I mean, are they kidding me?

I suspected it was a prank call instigated by one of my old craap cohorts, but 877-759-2780 originates from EG Research, an outfit which seems to track back to George Soros.

While my routine for handling such calls is to politely but pointedly inform the caller that we are on the "Do Not Call" registry, and to please respect our wishes, I had to see where this one was headed!

It was very simple, but not very professionally constructed, as polls go...

?Do you or your wife shop at Waldbaum's in Westhampton Beach?

"Not if we can possibly help it!"

?What are some of the supermarkets you do patronize?

"Anyone but Waldbaum's, though there's a King Kullen and two nice Stop & Shops with­in driving distance, and a Pathmark in Medford my wife passes several times a week."

There were two other similar questions posed, then came the key to the whole call.

?Would you be in favor of a competing supermarket opening in Westhampton Beach?

(Anyone who believes in coincidences, you can stop reading and click on to your Daily Horoscope right now.)

This was the very subject which was discussed at last week's Village Trustees Work Session when Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller said that he had been approached by an un­named developer about the possibility of build­ing a supermarket on a 1.6-acre parcel on the West side of Old Riverhead Road just South of the LIRR bed.

Village Attorney Richard Haefeli explained that there would have to be a comprehensive change of the B-3 Zoning District in order for that to happen, and for a variety of reasons, the Board did not embrace such legislation.

It's an odds-on bet that the "mystery devel­oper" isn't tossing in the towel on this idea, and commissioned the simplistic survey which happened to ring my home this afternoon.

This pitch will be along the lines of:

"In a professional poll undertaken in West­hampton Beach in May, 91.3% of those questioned favored the Village permitting a new supermarket in the current B-3 District on County Road 31."

That's the easy part... as far as it goes!

Hey!, who wouldn't prefer a local alternative to Waldbaum's!

I concur... but what price a completely empty building in Sunset Avenue.

O, I almost forget the final survey question:

?Are you in favor of local government taking action in this matter?

And that's where guys like George Soros and I differ... and always will!

Look what happened the last time "local government" (in the person of Trustee Joan Levan) got involved at that location!

The quality of the goods and services didn't improve, but the windows of the former National store are covered with brown craft paper with drawings in crayon.


1. Beth Flanagan said...

omg, I've got 10 calls from this number today on my caller ID. I must answer the next one, I's love to give my opinion about Waldbaum's!

Good! But listen carefully to the questions... record them if you can... and you'll see where they're headed.

And before you tell the nice fellow from EGR that "Yes, it'd be fine for local government to get involved," ask yourself if you want local government anywhere in your home?
– Dean

2. Allan S. said...

We're from the government... We're here to help.smiley

Right! We saw how helpful it was post-Katrina. We can but hope that its "help" has improved for the tornado victims.

3. Crabby said...

Yes, it appears the government, from local to national, has promptly helped as the Midwest has been rocked with horrific storms.

Enough with the snide government comments, already.

You're doin' a heckoffajob, Brownie.

Anyone here watch Treme?

Crabby again remains inscrutable.

4. UsuallyQuietOnQuiogue said...

omg, thanks to caller ID, I haven't picked up calls from that very same number! I'm answering next time -- I can't wait!

Sounds like you can't wait to contribute to the data the person who commissioned the poll is seeking to brandish at the Village.

Just remember, the caller represents EGR, not Waldbaum's.
– Dean

5. Seeker said...

Dean -

  1. As a candidate for a government office, will you be a self-hating Trustee, should you be elected?
  2. Seems that the private sector in this country isn't exactly a shining example of how to help John and Jane Q. Public - other than to help empty their pockets into the eager hands of stockholders and CEOs.
Ahhhhhh, Crabby's comment above becomes more scrutable.

I think I understand the role of Government (as opposed to "government"), and if successful, my role would not include interfering with the private section, i.e., mounting an armed force and marching on Waldbaum's!

When Waldbaum's ran an insane barbeque promotion some Memorial Days back with charcoal and lighter fluid blazing beneath the overhang at the store entrance, the Village quite properly shut it down as a fire safety hazard.

When Trustee Joan Levan and her coterie cynically launched her Shame On Waldbaum's campaign two years ago, it was all political eyewash, and ultimately accomplished nothing but a display of kraft paper and crayons.

Westhampton Beach Waldbaum's will only improve if their raison d'κtre is in danger, and unless that store is tied-in to some corporate A&P executive with a vacation home in the area, and who is using it as a tax write-off, the private sector must exert financial pressure on the store.

So, Seeker, how do you see Village Government making a difference there?

O, as for the "self-hating Trustee" crack (cute!), that's not why I seek the position. Why would I?
– Dean

6. David Reilly said...


I too received that call aroung dinner time yesterday. Not wishing to waste any of my time, I quickly told the caller that Waldbaum's is a dump and hung up. Now I wish that I had hung around for the rest of the call. I love messing with these guys by giving them completely off-the-wall responses. I keep hoping that there is some sort of list these guys share and that they will put me on their internal Do Not Call list on the grounds that I am nuts. No such luck yet. "‘Que Lastima!"


Do Not Call lists have become largely ignored, Dave, #1, and, #2, given the type of survey it was, you likely allowed the person you hung up on to complete it was the responses they are seeking. ("'Dump,' huh? O, this guy would definitely be in favor of another store in Westhampton Beach!")
– Dean

7. Seeker said...

Crabby is still inscrutable - to me anyway.

I agree that Levan as a Trustee went about trying to alter the "status quo" at Waldbaum's in a totally inappropriate (Joan-like) manner, and your reference to the lighter fluid incident is an example of a completely appropriate "occasion" for Village Government to step in. In the latter instance the Village was doing its job, in the former a Village Trustee was looking for personal/political gain.

It seems to me that sometimes government/Government must step up to the plate in a more pro-active and less re-active fashion. On the local level (in the case of Waldbaum's), if they did nothing else, perhaps the Village could offer a forum for a community meeting, inviting a Waldbaum's representative and the building landlord to participate, and inviting some representatives from other chain markets to attend.

As for my initial comment - I wish there was an "intent-check" like a spell-check for the written word. But, of course, even spell-check doesn't always catch what we thought we were saying.

Thank you... I think we may even be in accord, as alarming as that may be to each of us.

Corporate A&P has no incentive to participate in any such meeting as you propose. The only thing which would get their immediate attention is if Staller & Associates, or whoever their present landlord is, would threaten their lease.
– Dean

8. Hampton West said...

I assume the site is South of the tracks and North of the Match Box... whoops - Finn McCool's... recall there was a lumberyard shop there years ago. I would assume the idea may have been to cater to the weekend/second home crowd by being on Old Riverhead Road or perhaps to appeal to those who leave the Village to shop in Riverhead. Would have to wonder about the traffic impact.

That's the site... N.B. Rogers & Son was there for decades, Old Riverhead Road to Depot Road.
– Dean

9. Nutbeem said...

I wonder whether Waldbaum's owns the Sunset Avenue location, or whether they lease it?

If it's the latter, then maybe this shameless push-poll is in fact their doing. What better exit strategy from a tired and shabby location than to persuade some developer to build out a new location somewhere else that would become... a brand spanking new Waldbaum's? The only inconvenience is that the proposed location isn't zoned for that use - hence the effort to encourage a change.

Frankly, even if they do own the Sunset Avenue location, maybe they would prefer to sell off an asset that reached the end of its useful life long ago, and rent a new one elsewhere.

I'm crediting them with a lot of smarts here....

Yes, you are... and I don't think "smarts" is involved.

As I noted elsewhere, upon information and belief, Waldbaum's has a lease, but I have no idea of the duration.

I don't really consider yesterday's survey a true "push-poll," which is why I didn't use the term.

One thing I should note about A&P corporate's thinking about the Sunset Avenue store, even though I've mentioned it before. When they upgraded some of the fixtures, they didn't make new installations. They brought in "previously-owned" (the current term of art for "used") frozen food cases. Westhampton Beach is not one of their "showcase" locations... and it "shows."
– Dean

10. Hank Beck said...

Montvale, NJ is not the end of the A&P corporate chain. Tengelmann (Germany) is largest single shareholder, with an interest of 38.6 percent and Yucaipa of California holds 27.6 percent. Does anyone care who owns the other 33.8 percent? And do they, Tengelmann and Yucaipa, even know or care that Westhampton Beach exists?

And even if they did, would they care?

In respect to Waldbaum's Westhampton Beach, Montvale, NJ is the end of the A&P corporate chain! When, instead of the blue suits from Montvale show up for an in-store promotion, there's guys in leidnehosen and Ttyriolean hats, then you've got case! Otherwise, your information is irrelevant.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hermann Beck, representative and general factotum of the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce and omni-present gadfly, what is the Chamber doing to ameliorate this intolerable situation?

Has the Chamber's charter changed since I was one of its Directors 35 years ago? "Commerce!" Look it up! Roll it around on your tongue! Get familiar with its meaning and usage. And then do something in furtherance of the concept. Farmers' Markets are nice, but what does it do for that "thing" on Sunset Avenue?
– Dean

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