ABC News at Key Food

ABC News recently held a sting operation at the Montague St. Key Food, and no, it wasn’t about who was playing fast and loose with the produce sell-by stickers. (Possibly because that was at another Key Food.) This was regarding a topic that I didn’t know had been on people’s minds: “Who stops grocery clerk abuse?”

It’s part of ABC News’ “What Would You Do?” feature, where actors play hideous people and cameras film the hilarious results. And by “hilarious” I mean awful. In this case, an actor with Down’s Syndrome is a Key Food bag boy victimized by “customers” who berate and demean him within 10 items or less. The object is to see which noble soul will step in to defend the honor of the bag boy.
There were indeed those who rallied on his behalf (and bravo to them), though if I were one of those who stepped in and then found out I was being filmed for some kind of Candid Camera, I think I would open up a can of Reddi-Whip all over that operation. My most hated job was working the checkout of the A&P, where a routine day revolved around obnoxious customers and getting told off by little old ladies. Why do you need actors, ABC News? Just bring a camera and film any old Tuesday.

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  • tb

    ABC *News* makes me sick.

  • lcd

    before I clicked to open the full article, i thought the story referred to abuse BY clerks OF customers. Either way, trashy journalism. Focus on something useful, like smelly chicken.

  • Leucas

    Wow, just wow. Is this what ABC ‘news’ has come to?

  • mrmcd

    Yet another reason not to go to Keyfoods. The lines might be long at Trade Joe’s, but at least you don’t have to worry about secretly being used as some smug and deceptive TV news channels guinea pig.

  • Jonny

    I saw John Quinones (sp?) walking out of Key Food sans groceries a few months ago. Now it all makes sense! Darn you ABC. First you cancel Better Off Ted, now this?

  • tb

    A situation like this could have easily come to blows. Seriously. What the hell were they thinking?

  • David on Middagh

    Question: Should one of the KF customers have “abused” John Quinones for manipulating them in the worst way?

  • xochi

    ditto on all of the above, but woo hoo miss e!

  • Clintonious Wow

    How dare Key Foods allow their customers to be abused this way? And as for ABC News, I hope that whoever had the idea for this show and segment feels the shame that he should and drinks himself to death.

  • my2cents

    Isn’t this ironic considering the management of this same store was accused of mistreating its employees? Maybe ABC should do an inquiry into that instead of staging sensationalistic histrionics.

  • aliG

    LCD, totally my thought. Horrible of ABC to do since the story really should have been how abusive Key Food clerks are to their customers.
    On a different Key Food note:
    Two days ago I was in the 10 items or fewer lane and one of the deli guys was in line behind me and called the checkout girl a b*tch, and she returned the volley. They were obviously flirting.. ?
    I miss Dags.

  • my2cents

    They are lucky they didn’t film this at the Park Slope Food Coop. Those actors would have been stoned to death with organic rutabagas.

  • nabeguy

    I can’t even load this video but the concept behind it is so repugnant that I think I’m better off.
    Did Quinones somehow think that he was empowering a person with
    Downs Syndrome by putting them in a position of being abused? Did he
    really believe that he, or any one of us, can understand and feel the same way as the person that he chose to exploit? This kind of journalism is worthy of a public boycott.

  • Notshygurl33

    Many of you mightier-than-thou jerks seem to think that it should have been the other way around where the show should have portrayed the clerks as the ones being abusive to the customers. I can’t tell you how many times I have been belittled by some customers who seem to think that just because you work for the public give some of you the right to think that you can treat us like a doormat. To earn respect you have to show respect.

  • nabeguy

    I just viewed this video, and am embarrassed to admit that I recognized two people in it, one who kept silent and one who didn’t. Irregardless of that, I still think the most despicable person in it is Quinones. His attempt to justify the premise behind this scenario by using a person with Downs Syndrome smacks of exploitation, irregardless of the fact that the person has prior acting experience, especially given that those experiences were a celebration of his differences and not a condemnation of them.

  • Tarek

    I couldn’t watch more than 60 secs of this BS.

  • WillowtownCop

    Notshygurl33- checking groceries doesn’t make you a public servant. You work for Key Food, not its customers, and no matter what a jerk the customer is, the customer is always right. Store clerks should be professional and pleasant and make the customer want to return to the store to do more business. I don’t need or want to earn your “respect” – I want you to do your job without a surly attitude and pack my groceries without crushing the tomatoes.

    Too many people these days think they’re entitled to a job no matter what kind of job they do when they’re at work. There are some people who collect a paycheck from the police department (I won’t say they work there) that are the most useless people I’ve ever met. Things would be a lot different if I were in charge.

  • George Earl

    Key Foods has sunk. Not just in the quality of its so-called “fresh foods” but in the number of check-out lines it operates, but in the oft-heard “So why ya askin’ me?” responses its employees provide. I know that Brooklyn Heights is a myriad of cultures and levels of education, but can’t Key remember that what put it in business are the needs of paying customers for foods and home supplies? And from those bucks given to Key come the salaries of its employees, from president on down. I think a few good old “1-2-3″ manners classes are well in order. As well as daily changing of fresh (?) vegetables and fruits.

  • zburch

    Geeze, this is a pathetic excuse for journalism. The Key Foods on Montague serves its purpose. After not finding peanut oil at Fairway, I was surprised to find it there, along with agave nectar. I also like a couple of the young men that work the check outs, relatively friendly and efficient. Often it just takes saying hello, have a nice day…there are a few that resist general niceties, but on the whole, I think its fine for what it is. I mean, its a grocery store, I go in, buy my stuff and leave.

  • EZ

    The truth is that if you visit a supermarket in any other city, you will find that they are these really nice large clean places, with people who possibly even “like” working there. The shelves aren’t dusty, the floors aren’t dirty, the customer is always right and the employees are nice and possibly even might “like” working there. Now compare that experience with the local keyfood…

  • Mr. Esplanade

    Very interesting social experiment.

    Lot’s of sheeple in this neighborhood who won’t even stick-up for a mentally challenged person trying to work. Is that why everyone is angry at Keyfood, because we were shown to be a neighborhood of mostly wimps?

  • GHB

    Nabeguy, you DO know that there’s no such word as “irregardless”, right?

  • David on Middagh

    @Mr. Esplanade: We don’t know what the actual stats were. ABC picked and chose for their own dramatic purpose.

  • Tom

    This is so retarded.

  • Andrew Porter

    They wouldn’t have filmed me, because I’d be busy tearing her a second butthole, if ya know what I mean. And my language wouldn’t have been broadcastable, either.

  • David on Middagh

    Andrew, if by “butthole” you mean one of those nasty burns you get when someone’s cigarette rests against your sweater, then I’m flummoxed, because I know you’re not a smok—OHHHHHHH.

    Never mind.

  • Andrew Porter

    “Tearing a new butthole” is a euphemism for a surgical procedure using a rusty razor blade or other sharp inappropriate object, and no local anesthetic. But then WillowtownCop would be taking me off to the Tombs…

  • Arch Stanton

    @ WillowtownCop…
    Sorry, I don’t believe “the customer is always right” philosophy… especially when it comes to rude abusive behavior. Just because someone is spending money at an establishment does not give them the right to treat the employes in a disrespectful manner. I used to own a restaurant and if a customer was overly abusive to one of my staff I would throw them out (it happened a few times)…. True, it is protocol for employees to initiate respect by being polite, courteous and ignore minor rudeness however, if a customer is insulting or abusive they are wrong and should be refused service… Some people are mean spirited jerks and should be treated as such…

  • Arch Stanton

    @ GBH
    Apparently “irregardless” is a word:
    irregardless |ˌiriˈgärdlis|
    adjective & adverb informal
    ORIGIN early 20th cent.: probably a blend of irrespective and regardless .
    USAGE Irregardless, with its illogical negative prefix, is widely heard, perhaps arising under the influence of such perfectly correct forms as : irrespective. Irregardless is avoided by careful users of English. Use regardless to mean ‘without regard or consideration for’ or ‘nevertheless': : I go walking every day regardless of season or weather.

  • George Earl

    Are Key Foods’ costly green beans all that fresh? Well, let me put it this way: they’re so limp that they take one everyday kitchen chore away from this Heights cook. I no longer have to “steam” them before throwing them into a buttered frying pan, along with some fresh garlic, and giving them a quick turnaround before serving. But then, I have heard neighbors suggest that Key’s green beans fit into the “antique” category.