Key Food on Montague: Diana Ross Fans?

We received this photo of an upside down sign at the Montague Street Key Food over the weekend.  Perhaps they’re just crazy about this classic Diana Ross nugget:

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  • michelle

    I don’t get it. I don’t have sound at work…whats the punchline?


    Eager in Bklyn

  • Jazz

    Thanks for sharing your ignorance.

  • loopy

    Ignorance of 80’s music isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For the not-old (or speaker / search impaired), in 1980 Diana Ross had a #1 single entitled “Upside Down”.

  • WaterBoy

    So this could be an interesting game. How long will the Key Food sign remain upside down? (And yes, I got the Dian Ross reference immediately.) The new signs go up on a Friday, as I write this it’s Tuesday evening and the sign was still upside down.

    Which illustrates an interesting point about this particular Key Food: no one who works there seems to care. Not one employee mentioned it to their boss and no one bothered to correct the error.

    Others on this board have complained about numerous issues at Key Food: cleanliness and expired food are the two biggest issues. My biggest complaint though has to do with the rude, surly and slow service at Key Food. Not sure why lines as long as 15 or 20 people are allowed to form while other cashiers count cash or clean their stations. (Yes, I understand at one level why it’s probably happening: end of a shift and the don’t have a place to count cash.) But that’s when management should know that they get crowds at certain times of the day and can schedule accordingly.

    Starbucks, which also has lines, seems to have extra help in the morning anticipating that people might actually want a beverage on the way to work.

    I’ve started thinking in recent months that businesses that have lines actually HATE their customers. Yep, an extreme position. But look at the Regal/United Artists Theatre on Court Street and the ridiculous lines that form there. And think about other industries with lines: banks and airlines. Naturally they’re troubled too, but some banks and some airlines can actually handle a steady flow of customers with reasonable wait times.

    The more interesting question perhaps is how much more would I or any customer be willing to pay in order to have shorter lines? And would I actually follow through by patronizing that business? But bottom line is that slow service and long lines has me avoiding Key Food whenever possible.

    As a follow up let me say in passing that businesses that don’t have organized lines don’t just hate their customers, they actually DESPISE their customers: Rite Aid on Montague or Court Street falls into that category. One day it’s line up at the cash register, another day it’s one line and go to the first available register.

    But back to my original post. It will be interesting to see if the upside down sign at Key Food can go the whole week! If it makes it to Wednesday that will be 6 out of 7 display days in which the sign has been upside down. Nice going Key Food!

  • keyfoods hater

    Is there a single friendly cashier in the place? If so, I’ve yet to encounter him or her in two years of patronage. I have been shopping at the Fairway in Red Hook since they opened, but there are times when you just need to duck in and grab something, and I almost invariably come out of Key Food angry, having just been stuck in a long line and having been “helped” by a surly (and often completely silent!) cashier. I know that it’s a tough thing to work behind a cash register — I did it in high school and college — but to treat your customers with such thinly-veiled contempt only serves to reveal your own lack of self-respect.

  • Clarknt67

    Sorry Loopy, I gotta disagree, ignorance of 80s music (and Diana Ross) is a shameful admission. Don’t take it as an affront Michelle, I’ll learn ya. Meet me at the Pyramid Club (Ave A btw 6 & 7th) Friday night at 11 pm. They run a phd program.

  • AB

    Agree with posters about cashier truculence/rudeness.

    The job can’t be fun–but all I ask is that the cashier ACKNOLEDGE me in such away that our transaction occurs with a degree of smoothness.

    The dominant cashier MO seems to be talking with other employees while working the register, or removing oneself mentally from the situation so that frequent reality-prompting is required on the part of the customer.

    Then there’s the unanswered “thank-you” issue: the customer expresses gratitude and the employee…says nothing.


  • TS

    Couldn’t agree more about Key Food. I always leave there feeling mistreated and pissed off. Is it that hard to look at the customer – even just once? Or respond to ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ or ‘have a good day’. I just don’t understand how the management couldn’t care less about this. There are several cashiers that I avoid if at all possible because they just piss me off. I do have to say that a few of them (usually younger ones) are more pleasant. Fairway in Red Hook is great, I agree. When I need something quickly, I try to hit the Key Food on Atlantic, though.

  • Jen

    I agree with all the comments about the cashiers at Key Food. The deli employees, on the other hand, are very pleasant. If only they could just get my order right.

  • AB

    Oh! Forgot to mention the time I asked the KF “floor manager” where the cat litter was.

    She looked at me blankly–it was clear she didn’t know what I was talking about.

    So I began to explain what cat litter was–a bit awkward when I got to the…excretory details.

    Her face was still blank–but she decided to ask a second employee, who recognized the product and was able to direct me to it, not three feet from where we were all standing.

    Look–life offers more pressing difficulties. But still….

  • Jazz

    No one in that store knows where anything is. They realize that their tickets in life’s lottery were counterfeit. They are only marking time until their creator calls them home. Perhaps you should all just accept this and pity these poor lost souls.

  • Nelson

    Ok, I have to share here…over the holiday weekend I went through check out at Key and had a wonderful experience. A very young boy with long blonde hair quickly and professionally checked me through(even noticed that one of my salad bags had a hole in it and asked if I would like to get another) and this all happened within 5 minutes tops!!!! Just like the old days! I looked around for the manager to praise this worker(maybe a summer job kid) but alas didn’t see anyone. Generally, though, it can be an incredibly exasperating experience and a study in “in your face”slowness.

  • chi chi

    Total agreement with the whole “Feeb” Food feedback.
    We lived in Bay Ridge for almost ten years and, after one or two visits to the local (ugh) Key Food, we would actually go out of our way to shop at the (only) other grocer store (Food Town) strictly because of the rude, disconnected attitudes of the cashiers. The worst. And the merchandise wasn’t much better. The reason “management” does not care is b/c they have a captive audience there in the Heights. I mean, where else would you /could you grocery shop in that nabe?
    Having said that I seriously urge you all to vote with your wallets and stop giving them your money, honey.

  • hoppy

    @ Nelson-

    If I heard right, that striking blond boy at the Key Food checkout is the son of one of the store managers. I don’t know if he’s on a first paying summer job or if he’s just stuck in the store with dad all day and finds working a register to be fun and interesting. Under any of these circumstances, however, the unaccoustomed display of speed and courtesy would be seem logical, for you are not dealing with a bitter “career” cashier.

  • No One Of Consequence

    I was wondering who that kid was. Maybe they should hire more 12 year olds. Damn child labor laws.

    Peas’n’Pickles seems to have responded well to the “loss” of Grosstede’s and added extra staff and even a “cash only” checkout option when the line gets long enough.
    Seems like they’ve also expanded their product offerings, too, which in a place of that size is commendable.

  • Bee Heights

    I agree with the fact that KF cashiers are nasty but I put up with it because after all who is going to do that job for min. wage? That’s even what the manager said to my wife.

  • WaterBoy

    Well how about that. Either it was the power of the Brooklyn Heights Blog or attentive management and concerned employees at Key Food that finally got the sign “downside up!”

    Walked by this evening (Wednesday evening) and Key Food had fixed its sign. Didn’t go the full 7 out of 7 display days as I thought it would, but it did go 6 out of 7!

    And to borrow a line from Dianna Ross… tonight Key Food “turned me inside out and round and round.”

    I went in there to pick up just one item this evening and guess what? No line at the checkout and even a smile and a thank you from the clerk. WTF? I’m not used to it!

    Could it be a new philosophy at Key Food? Did this blog prompt the fixing of the sign? Are we going to see a new customer-centric attitude that will have us singing:

    “Instinctively you give to me
    The love that I need
    I cherish the moments with you…
    Upside down youre turning me…

  • AB

    …and let us never, never forget:

    “…respectfully I say to THEE….”

    I mean, who knew that the archaic form of the second-person singular would find a home chez Ross until it did?!

  • Sgt. Pepper

    so glad people are talking about this crappy place again. everything said above is dead-on. we all shop there only when we need to. it is a fact of life that something will go wrong with your experience and u will exit feeling pissed.

    re: min wage…there are plenty of other stores paying min wage where employees are friendly, have store knowledge and don’t peddle expired goods. the environment there suffers from 1 thing…Terrible Management. Someone at some level…either the store level or corporate, thinks that the store will bring in the same $ even whether or not these issues exist. The saddest thing is that it makes us all wonder “whats wrong with these staffers” but the truth is…in most cases all they need is management who is willing to train them. Take those same people…put em in starbucks, at jetblue or trader joes and they will turnaround. Im sure if u bumped in to 1 of them on the street, they would tell u that their job sucks.

    So…a big FU to Key Food management losers, and i’d love to see if we could stage a boycott so they shut down, and we let someone else move in. As it is, Im going to Fairway anyway, so how could it get worse?

  • WaterBoy

    How quickly my Key Food positive buzz wore off. 3 posts above this one you’ll notice the nice comments I made about Key Food.

    Well, guess what? Returned to Key Food and it was back to reality. Was thrilled that NO ONE was ahead of me at the 10 items or less checkout. But nope, the line wasn’t moving. The surley cashier didn’t acknowledge my presence, didn’t offer an explanation and didn’t make eye contact. Turns out someone had cashed a paycheck and a “special card” was needed to deposit the check into the register.

    The line then started to build to about six people. But she didn’t even bother to explain to me or anyone else that there would be a delay while she waited for the card to complete the previous transaction.

    So here I am waiting to pay for one thing of cat food. Bottom line is that my transaction was eventually completed with not one word from the cashier: no “thank you,” no “sorry for the delay,” no “have a nice night.”

    So naturally I thought I’d take the high road and say “thanks… have a good night.” And of course that didn’t even garner a grunt of acknowledgement.

    If there was a local alternative on Montague I’d be there sooooo quickly…

  • jw

    WaterBoy –

    You couls buy your cat food at the pet store across the Street from Key Food – maybe 5-10 cents more per can but you would be supporting a mom and pop store v. a big company….