Foreword by Stan Lerner: first let me say that I did not assign this story to Vaughn. But as a rule downtownster does not pull back its’ writers—I leave that to the New York Times. And the LA Times for that matter. I remember what a great day it was for the community when Ralphs opened up, but I have to agree with much of Vaughn’s attitude below. Ralphs has, since the day it opened, been lowering the bar. Gone are the samples and the great service. Here now, are the lines and no service. Vaughn does not mention this in his blog, but he should add ridiculously staffed checkout lines at night. I agree that it’s time for a downtownster to open a market downtown—then maybe Ralphs will get serious again.
Good day downtownsters, this was a slow week for me, I had a lot of outside work to do, and didn’t end up getting out of the loft very much. I did however, make my weekly trip to Ralphs on Flower, and perhaps because of the stress of the week, or maybe because I hope to begin a dialogue on our fair site that puts the wheels in motion to give all of downtown residents an alternative market at which to shop, this post will be about how much I hate Ralphs. Specifically, the Ralphs Downtown. I’m not a huge fan of nationwide supermarket chains to begin with, but I feel the our Ralphs, Downtown’s own is a particularly odious example of development gone awry, of convenience becoming contentment. For brevity and efficiency’s sake, two ideas apparently foreign to our local supermarket, I’ll make a list.
1. The Parking Entrance on Flower
This is preposterous. I suppose one could give me a little bit of sh*t for driving down there in the first place, as I do live within semi-(not by LA standards) walking distance, but I don’t have one of those wheeled-cart doohickeys that would carry the usual bevy of groceries that I purchase. Nor do I own a yak or an ox. My lack of beasts of burden aside, whoever designed the entrance to this place should be tarred and feathered. Unless your Shaq, or have freakishly long arms, there’s no way you can reach the button that you need to press in order to receive a parking validation ticket. You have to open your car door and, at times, physically remove yourself from the vehicle in order to press the button and receive the ticket. They might as well put the machine by the elevators in the basement. It is not only an inconvenient truth, but ends up pissing everyone off as they drive into an underground parking lot a little bigger than a bumper car track. Kudos architect/foreman of the construction project. As if neither of you realized this, or couldn’t have done anything to rectify the mistake.
2. The Dry Cleaners
Again, I can already hear the voices from the cheap seats screaming, “There are a hundred different dry cleaners downtown, why would you go with the dry cleaners at f**king Ralphs?” The answer, nose-bleeders, is trust. I believe that once one goes through the imaginably difficult and rigorous process of obtaining a dry cleaning license, let alone with the innate association of a publicly held and traded mega-corp., that my trust in that particular dry cleaning establishment should reign, inviolate, for all time. Maybe I expect too much from these mavens of martinizing, these charlatans of cheap cleanliness, but the bottom line is this: Every time I take my shirts to that godforsaken counter, it takes at least 5-7 minutes to get proper service—in the middle of the day. God forbid what that place must be like on Sunday morning. After a few minutes, staring around in agony, as folks happily make their way out onto the street, food and cleaning supplies and pharmaceuticals aplenty, finally someone who knows absolutely nothing about dry cleaning comes to take my clothing. I prefer my shirts boxed, one would think that they might catch on after my 10th or 15th trip. No, I was told the last time that I went that if a shirt is dry cleaned it can only be transported on a hanger. I’ve been getting my shirts boxed and paying dry cleaning costs for a full year. Either someone was lying to me previously, or I was being swindled for dry cleaning costs. Either way, it’s a f**ked up situation. Along with that aspect of the dry cleaners bullshit, on multiple occasions I’ve dropped shirts off with a few paint stains on them (I occasionally paint) and they’ve returned them, not cleaned, citing the stains for the reason they didn’t clean them. Last, but not least, the bastards took a pair of pants of mine and didn’t return them for two months. This place is a travesty. Some a-hole developer tried to make a one-stop-shop and ended up making everyone’s life ten times more complicated. I want his head.
3. The Self-Checkout
First off, I’m a huge fan of the self-checkout. I use it almost every time that I go. The things that kills me, is that every so often there’s a rocket scientist in front of me who can’t figure out how to enter in his/her green onions. I love the self-checkout they should just institute a licensing policy for those that use it. If you can’t figure out the checkout your first time, you don’t get a license and can’t hold up everyone else.
4. The Deli Counter
Nothing wrong with the meat, cheese, or employees, I just wish there was always someone tending to it. I’ve waited for service for at least 15 minutes at the place. Hire more people. Please.
5. The Meat and Fish Counters
I love the guy behind the counter, he’s given me great advice from preparation to cut and definitely knows his stuff. I just want some veal. Please for the love of God, as a personal favor to me, everyone who reads this, ask for veal. They say they need to see a demand for the stuff. I need to make my Saltimbocca on a regular basis.
Lastly, I truly hope that a motivated reader, after reading this, decides to start a local market. We need it, and like I said before, “Who the f**k is Ralph?”