I’ve realized that one powerful symbol of urban life is the little convenience stores that are on about every tenth corner throughout the District. They’re tiny and the cashiers are often boxed in by bulletproof plexiglass, but the shoppers are regulars and the stores are packed to the gills with necessities and odds and ends. They are a neighborhood institution that only exists in a walking—ie, urban—culture.
I recently had a brilliant idea of doing an irregular series of posts that would investigate neighborhood stores from time to time, looking at who shops there, what they buy, and what the general neighborhood vibe is.
I started at my own neighborhood shop, the Euclid Market, but now I’m not sure how great my idea is. The Korean guy working there, Joe, was happy to talk to me, but the shoppers were not; one of them asked if I was “the police.” Also, while the market sells a very wide variety of goods (sardines, Yellow Tail wine, Van Holten’s Pickles in a Pouch, Luna bars, the obligatory pasta/oil/beans/etc, wristwatches, male enhancement herbal supplements), the best sellers weren’t surprising: singles of IceHouse or Budweiser 211, and Newport cigarettes. I have a feeling those goods might be ubiquitously popular throughout much of the city.
So I’m not sure how well this series is going to proceed, or whether the Logan Circle market I had in mind next will really be much different. Perhaps I need to look under the surface a bit more. Suggestions are welcome!