Monday, February 02, 2009

Silver Spring Safeway: Lipstick on a Pig?

Super Bowl Sunday means homemade salsa, and I once again made the mistake of thinking I could procure the necessary ingredients at a downtown Silver Spring supermarket other than Whole Foods. As they say, fool me twice, shame on me. I had just finished dinner at Manadalay Friday night and figured it would be easy enough to just pop over to Safeway and grab a few salsa components. As that Safeway had recently undergone a facelift, perhaps the quality of their produce had improved along with the store's aesthetics. Sadly, that proved not to be the case.

What is the point of spending untold thousands to retrofit a store's produce aisle with wood flooring if employees are going to leave vegetables on the shelves until they turn the same color as said floors? The following photo, while blurry, clearly shows the awful brown hue of Safeway's bushels of cilantro.

This is an essential ingredient of the salsa, and I couldn't in good conscience serve anything containing this crap to Super Bowl partygoers. The spring onions and jalapeño peppers I required didn't look particularly appetizing, either. Needless to say, I was once again forced to make another visit to Whole Foods (and the parking lot from Hell) for my produce, but look at the difference:

Everything was the appropriate color, and though it may have cost me more, at least the stuff was edible.

I didn't try the also-renovated Giant's produce department this time around, which may have been for the best anyway. The Giant does seem improved from what I've seen so far, and I find it amusing that they've added what essentially amounts to a "Whole Foods" aisle. If you've been there recently, you know which one I'm talking about.


- Let the Silver Spring Starbucks deathwatch begin anew! All of our Starbucks survived last year's purge, but corporate has just announced that 300 additional stores will be closed nationwide. The Woodmoor/Burnt Mills/White Oak Starbucks corridor came through unscathed last time, but can they avoid the bullet twice?

- I was surprised to discover that the Google Street View car actually drove down Mayor Lane, which is really just a street in name only.

- Three Alliance Comics employees have created their own comic book. Comic books and pro wrestling - what's not to love? The comic's website can be found here.


laura said...

my money is on the starbucks at burnt mills closing.

Silver Spring Penguin said...

That Safeway cilantro looks disgusting.

Saul said...

I've been very happy with the Giant in the Blairs since being renovated. The produce is clearly better than when Giant started its "Everyday Low Price" campaign, although the strawberries remain very hit or miss. And they have a Kosher slicer in the deli!

Anna said...

What about the Thai market across the street from Safeway for cilantro?

Springvale Roader said...

I go to Safeway or Giant for exactly two items: seltzer, and hot pepper rings. What is it with Whole Foods and no hot pepper rings?

Otherwise, WF is where it's at. Like you said, it's pricey, but the produce really is top notch.

Anonymous said...

I know its a bit up the way, but if you want produce, you've got to try the Hanah Reum / Super H-Mart on Georgia, just above the Wheaton Library. They have stuff that you just can't get at Giant or Safeway, the produce is fresher, and cheaper too.

Much better, though can be a zoo on weekend mornings.

Corona said...

Honestly I don't find Whole Foods to be that much more than Giant or Safeway for produce. The produce at WF seems to amount to maybe $.50 to, at most $1 more than Giant's produce, so why not go for the stuff you know is fresh and quality. It's just so worth it in the long run. The parking lot from hell is just that, but usually you can catch someone coming out after a couple trips around if you are lucky.

There is absolutely no reason to ever go to Safeway over Giant again, unless you happen to live right next to it, now that Giant has introduced the hand-held scanners. We take our own bags to the Giant, scan the items and place them in our bags as we go, then just pay at the cashier and leave. It seriously cuts down on 50% of the stress and time at the grocery store. One knock though is that the system they use to scan produce always seems to down, but nothings perfect.

I will second the awesomeness of H-Mart up Georgia. They also have an amazing seafood market.

Anonymous said...

Out of sheer curiosity, why not park at Safeway and walk to Whole Foods? It's just a couple blocks up Fenton.

brh said...

This seems to be the trend with Safeways in general... Saw similar things with the renovations in Frederick, they put a new face on the store that looks like it would've seemed modern and fresh ten years ago, and they don't improve any other aspects... None of the philosophies inspired by Bloom etc - the handheld scanners Corona mentioned, wider aisles, better layout... None of this seems to be of any importance to Safeway, while many of the other big grocers are implementing them. And of course, as mentioned, the produce isn't getting any better either.

I still go to Safeway fairly often because it's about half the distance to walk there compared to Whole from where I live... But for anything important, it's definitely worth going the extra distance...

Eric said...

I dunno, I really, really hate going to the Blairs Giant. That was a true lipstick on a pig situation - shiny new interior, but the same horrid service and prices. It seems like I spend far more at Giant than I do at Safeway.

I think the service is the biggest thing for me at Giant, though. I worked in a grocery store for years in high school and college, so it's something I notice. There are a good number of places in the area where the staff hate you for imposing on them by being a customer, but this Giant is by far the worst example I've found. Safeway staff is usually just neutral to me, which I'll take.

laura said...

i'd rather pay for an hour of parking in one of the garages, than try to find a spot in that lot. maybe that's what they were going for.

Sligo said...

Well, when they built the lot it was attached to a large parking garage which was subsequently torn down.

Also, despite claims to the contrary, churchgoers continue to park there. I've watched as they come out of the church and get in their cars (while I am stuck in the lot waiting for a space).

Thomas Hardman said...

All: I don't do Whole Foods (I am not some filthy rich yuppie) so I can't comment on them.

In Aspen Hill -- technically Silver Spring in most parts, though not DTSS -- I have a choice of 3 Giant stores within a 3-mile drive, one Safeway, and one SuperFresh.

Safeway in general is pretty infamous for lackluster produce. Usually it's not actually bad, as in the article, but usually you can do better elsewhere for anything that isn't in local peak harvest season. Also, the Safeway in question was recently given a major facelift and makeover, but the Rock Creek Shopping Center is a stomping grounds for, well, the culturally inbred or something like that. you can go into the Safeway on one day and everything is just fine. The next time you go the place could be overrun with people who clearly need more and better medication, and I'm not talking about the psychotics on relief that wander over from 751 Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville, either.

I have not shopped in the SuperFresh in Northgate Plaza Shopping Center but generally it seems to be doing a booming business. One therefor presumes it can't be all that bad.

Across Aspen Hill Road in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center, there is a Giant which was just extensively renovated and enlarged. I do not shop there. There is a pack of assholes that flocks to that center who are comparable to the ones that occasionally infest Rock Creek Village SS. For what it's worth, I think this is fallout from the anti-group-home movement in the community; basically if you aren't a filthy-rich yuppie or one of their personal friends, people seem to presume that you are a bum and must be made to move along. They can renovate that store all they want but until they run off the jerk customers, I'm not shopping there.

The Giant in Plaza del Mercado Shopping Center actually has a very sensible layout, pretty decent selection of anything you might want, and the produce and dairy are usually excellent. However, the neighborhood is pretty sketchy and in the same way that the customers of the Aspen Hill Giant seem to hate anyone who looks poor that they don't know, the Plaza del Mercado Giant, in my personal opinion and years of experience, is at times mostly staffed with American-hating foreign racists, or maybe they were mistaking me for one of those jerks that lurk around the Aspen Hill Giant. Great selection, but the service is best characterized as "watch your back".

And then there's the Giant at Seizure World. It's immense, it has a pharmacy, the produce is at least passable and usually verges on excellent, though recently it's been impossible to get fresh limes.

However, the place is full of old folks who seem to not be shopping so much as they are looking for anyone who seems to be in a hurry, and then they converge at chokepoints and clump up like bad drivers in rush hour. Navigating the place is like playing Pac-Man and $DEITY help you if you need to pick up a prescription. But they also have some of the best and freshest meat I can get without having to drive into Rockville to the Magruders near Montgomery College (and then being really picky).

All of this being said, I really want to know who it is that hires for Giant, because someone needs to go put a boot up their ass. As near as I can tell, their policy is "hire everyone and then fire everyone who turns out to be decent". Look, I'm a 50-year old man with a bad back, and I've had new hires actually break bad on me in a store that caters to the 50-and-over set. Who knows what kind of disrepect he's giving to the folks in power-wheelchairs, but months later, he's still there. And he's not alone; much of the staff has developed pernicious local culture to the point where they sit there and rank on customers as they come and go. I expect they intend to turn it into the same openly hostile environment as you see at the Del Mercado Giant, where they can all stand around saying "that's right, we bad" in a store where nobody wants to shop. Then when that location is abandoned by the clientele and gets shut down as an unsupportable loss leader, they'll all transfer to another location and make the customers miserable there, as well. Based on that assessment, I think I'll go buy a wad of Royal Ahold and their suppliers and "short" it until not even the Dutch Royal bank will lend them a guilder.

So, Safeway is usually better in terms of staff that aren't poor folks thinking they can get away with a power trip, but the produce is marginal. Giant has great stuff but the staff are out of control boneheads in some locations and the customers are freaks on a rampage in some locations. (The two phenomena might be reciprocal/related.) SuperFresh seems to be alright although it's seriously busy most of the time and that shopping center is kind of sketchy.

I haven't been into the Lotte Plaza in the Aspen Manor Shopping Center but everyone I know who goes there says the prices are excellent, especially for things like eggs and milk, and the produce is supposed to be very good if often unfamiliar to the average American shopper. It also has the reputation of being a Full Contact Shopping experience like the Han Ah Reum or Korean Korner.. Keep in mind, though, that shopping center has a reputation even more sketchy than Del Mercado or Northgate Plaza.

As for Starbucks closings, my money is on seeing the Plaza del Mercado Starbucks go swirling down the tubes, mostly because no business ever survives long in the little stand-alone building.

socoblogboy said...

I also want to throw my support behind Thai Market. While not the ideal place for salsa, their cilantro is cheap and fresh. In my book, TM is the place to go for ingredients for almost any Asian dish you want to serve. And for the refrigerated stuff, you can almost always find scallions, bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, lime leaves, misc Asian greens, ginger, I think peppers, and other items too. And trust me, their prices are cheap! Just watch out, they close pretty early. I think 7:30 most nights.

Springvale Roader said...

Thai Market's frozen waterbugs are the cheapest around!

(I like TM, but I skip the edible insects).

Silver Spring Penguin said...

Thai Market also has frozen grubs, for when you can't score the fresh kind. Will try those some day.

Re: waterbugs, I don't think they're meant to be eaten. Like bay leaves, they're added as seasoning but not actually consumed.

Thomas Hardman said...

Ah, Penguin:

When we had the last Cicada Emergence a few years ago, the streets of Aspen Hill were full of middle-aged Asian folks in surgical gloves with a collection bag in one hand and chopsticks in the other, plucking the plump red-eyed arthropods from any surface they could reach without having to hop fences or go into back yards.

I've heard of people roasting 'em or stir-frying or barbequeing them, evidently all you need to do is clip off the heads and wings and legs, batter 'em up, and fry em fast. They don't even have digestive systems as adults so you don't have to clean them, otherwise. Sorta like little lobsters without shells. Just pop 'em in your mought and chew. Only slightly crunchy. (I ate one raw on a bet, once, back in 6th grade. Not recommended. Cook 'em first, eh?)

Hey, am I the only one here who remembers when the streams of Montgomery swarmed with crayfish? Mmm, mudbugs. Taste of New Orleans, indeed.

perrik said...

Aspen Hill... once upon a time I worked a 2nd-shift tech support job in downtown Rockville. The Giant in Aspen Hill was open late (24 hours, I think) so I'd shop there on the way home. Can't remember much about the store, but as I'm starting a new job in Aspen Hill next week, it'll probably become a regular stop. I love Wing Zings.

Ahem. I HATE SUPERFRESH. As a Calverton resident, I have a SuperFresh mere moments away. Instead, I'll drive pretty much anywhere else. The produce section is very good, but the rest of the store just seems shoddy and the customer service is routinely lackluster. After my interview for the aforementioned job, I stopped off at the Aspen Hill SF - and wound up leaving without buying anything. If anything, it was more irritating than the Calverton one. (I spent 15 minutes looking for honey - would have asked a store employee if any were visible)

The Lotte in Aspen Hill has a great little food court, but the supermarket aisles are narrow and I can never quite find what I'm specifically looking for. The parking lot at H-Mart is a pain and the store is often a zoo regardless of the day of the week, but it's still my favorite supermarket. (but be wary of buying strawberries there - cheap, but they seem to spoil within two days!)

When it comes to old folks, the Plaza Del Mercado Giant has nothing on the Calverton SF and Giant. One word: Riderwood.

I think the Calverton and Burtonsville Starbucks are safe, as is the one in College Park by the Shoppers Food Warehouse. (the one that closed by IKEA was a pain to access) The DTSS one is not going anywhere. The Burnt Mills one is actually not too inconvenient if you commute down Rt 29 - it's on the wrong side of the road, but it's an easy left turn into the shopping center during morning rush and you've got a traffic light for getting back on southbound 29. The lease for Plaza Del Mercado is probably cheap, but I wouldn't be surprised if that Sbux gets the ax and the Giant there gets a licensed Starbucks.

Gah. Now all I can think about is how much I want a skinny hazelnut latte and some roasted chestnuts from H-Mart... (truly the breakfast of champions!)

hugo said...

I've actually never been to either the Blairs Giant or the Safeway. We shop at Trader Joes in Burnt Mills and the Asian Market (it's just called Asian Foods) on University right off Georgia. Asian Foods isn't as big as H-Mart, but it is ridiculously cheap (Bok Choy, Snow Peas, Thai Peppers, and Chinese Broccoli for $1 cheap) and works well for what we need. It's pretty similar to the Thai Market across from the Safeway, though not as convenient for downtowners. It also has a decent wine and beer store next door, which is handy. So we have to make two trips (we do it all at once), but it satisfies all of our food needs (other than pasta, which I have to get separately because I'm a little particular about that, being a native Italian) and does so extremely affordably compared to what one would pay at Whole Foods (where we go for seafood). TJs is solid because they have a lot of inexpensive organic produce, which is mostly what we feed our daughter.

Snider's is also pretty close to us (we live in Rosemary Hills) and I've heard good things, but have never been there.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

The freezer section at that Safeway is just as bad as the produce. I've tried a couple times to buy frozen items there but each time, the containers were filled with those big crystals of ice and clear signs that the food had thawed and been refrozen.

Anonymous said...


Silver Spring desperately needs a new grocery store. I have issues with every grocery store in town.

Giant at the Blairs:
Crowded, poor customer service, mediocre produce, and way too much high chemical processed junk food in the aisles.

Safeway: The original post summed everything. Although, I will occasionally visit the Safeway on Georgia Ave. in DC. I go there because they have a decent selection of wine and beer at cheaper prices than Montgomery County beer/wine joints. Plus, it's just really cool to add a six-pack of Anchor Steam and a bottle of Merlot in your shopping cart at the grocery store. I have to shop in DC to buy liquor thanks to the fucked up liquor laws of Montgomery County.

Whole Foods: Pure yuppie hell with the crowded aisles and rude customers. I like the meats and produce sections but the prices really hurt the wallet. This is not a good place to shop during a bad recession.

Trader Joe's on Colesville: I really dig the laid-back, almost-hippylike vibe of the place. But the product selection is very limited and the prices are not suitable for people with limited incomes.

Sniders: Never been there. Although, I get the impression that it is similar to TJ with weak product variety.

HMart: Never been but I am willing to try this place out.



Sligo said...

I Hate Yuppies:

Snider's sells beer and wine.

Chaz said...

WF has better produce, to be sure--but they're often out of things you'd expect them to have. I've needed cilantro, leeks, or fresh thyme on several occasions and they've been totally out. Who's buying up leeks?

Snider's is pretty good. It strikes a nice balance between "being able to find what you want (i.e., not Giant)" and "being able to buy zip loc bags and non-hippie soap (i.e., not Whole Foods)." Plus, beer and wine; and it's not expensive. It's little, though, and the parking lot is waaay more treacherous than WF's. Park across the street.

Anonymous said...


Snider's sells beer and wine? I don't get it because I thought there was a blanket ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in grocery stores through out Montgomery County. How is Snider's exempt from this rule?


Sligo said...


Grandfather clause. That is why the Giant in White Oak also sells beer & wine. There are 2 other stores, but I don't know which ones they are.

Mortis Olaf said...

I think most of the weird alcohol laws only apply to Liquor, but I'm no expert on the subject. I like the Harris Teeter near Rockville Pike a lot. Open 24/7 and really big.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why folks like Sniders, but I shopped there once, and the produce I got went bad faster than anything I have ever bought anywhere else.

squirrelist said...

The four are:

White Oak Giant
Briggs Chaney Safeway

Thomas Hardman said...

Perrik: The Plaza del Mercado Giant isn't the one with the old folks on a sort of slow-motion rampage of getting in younger folks' way. That would be the Giant at Leisure World, a slightly older (and I think smaller) version of Riderwood.

That being said, welcome to Aspen Hell, yikes. If you see some clearly clue-free individual wandering around with people talking smack about 'em, try to ignore them and don't be mean to me. ;) And I strongly advise against going into the Rite-Aid unless maybe you're a new manager sent to clean up the place.

Anonymous said...


I Hate Yuppies-

Snider's sells beer and wine.

RE: But it ain't Harris Teeters or Wegmans.

Anonymous said...

I've shopped at Sniders forever partly because I don't need all the extra stuff in the prepared food aisles in the big stores, I can get through the store fast and it is the only place I would buy meat. (Amish Market has the best chicken,though. Camerons probably for fish.) Trader Joe's has some interesting frozen entrees, not available elsewhere. Whole Foods I like, but find some of the deli stuff strange. I go to Safeway and Giant for sale items only. On Monday I went to Harris Teeter for the first time and wasn't impressed, but I didn't go to the second floor where dairy and deli are.
Today the Washington Business Journal reported that Wegmans may be coming to Germantown. Hoorah. At least they may have their foot in the door. Either the county is changing the maximum size rules or Wegmans is reducing its size.

On wine and beer in grocery stores: Some time ago I was told there was a county law that allowed groceries to sell beer and wine in only one of their stores if they were a chain. That is why only one Giant and Safeway carry them. I don't know if that means that the newer stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods could sell them in one of their stores. ...Or has the law been changed? Rodman's was chain of beer and wine stores; one morphed into a grocery then disappeared.

Mike said...

Trader Joe's could get a license to sell beer and wine (I believe you're allowed two locations under the law). But it won't, because they would have to buy from the county under the truly bizarre laws here. Which means they wouldn't be able to get many of the labels they try to sell, like the infamous Two-Buck Chuck, or take advantage of special deals somewhere, because they can't get them through the county.

So it ain't gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

1)Why is it called Plaza del Mercado? Always wondered.
2)The Giant in Wheaton is the best in the vicinity of close-in Silver
Spring. While far from ideal the checkout people are much nicer and more efficient than the ones at the Blairs Giant in downtown Silver Spring. That place is the pit of Hell, no matter how they try to gussy it up.
2)Try to go to Snider's other than high noon on a weekend and the parking lot is tolerable. Just watch out for expiration dates on milk, cheese, beer, etc.
3)Trader Joe's is not expensive--I don't know where that's coming from. Excellent coffee beans. Interesting people watching.
4)Hve you been in the new Safeway in Kensington? It's pretty good though the produce was kind of iffy when I was there.
5)The Safeway in 4 Corners always makes me feel like I'm back in the 1950s. No lines!

Thomas Hardman said...

A note about history to "anonymous" Feb-7-8:53

Plaza del Mercado was built in the general timeframe of the late 1960s to very early 1970s. I'm thinking actually completed in 1970 or 1971. By 1973, it was definitely open for business, with a rather large and nice theater in the unit now occupied by Blockbuster, Quiznos, and the upstairs office suites.

For some reason, the architect elected to conform to the then-popular "Spanish Colonial" motif, with red clay roofing tiles, etc. Remember, this was built in a time when both Mexico and Mexicans were actually popular, along with "spaghetti Westerns" such as "For a Fistful of Lasagna" and "For a Few Ravioli More" and other such made-in-Sicily vehicles for Clint Eastwood.

At the time that Plaza del Mercado was built, is was one of the outermost outposts of civilization, most of the surrounding communities being barely sketched in on the Master Plans. As we had just moved into the area from New Mexico a few years earlier, my dad tended to refer to it as "Fort Apache", in part due to the isolation and remoteness from everyplace except nearby Aspen Hill.

To the surprise of almost everyone, the place flourished, in part due to the burgeoning (if hardly urbanized) populations around Norwood and Sandy Spring. As the neighborhoods grew up around it and infill development proceeded, Plaza del Mercado and the immediately surrounding areas took on an air of shabbiness and as the State and County added more and more subsidized housing (see also Bel Pre Square, Layhill Village, etc.). Yet the shabbiness was offset to some degree by the single-family detached residential housing tracts generally located a bit farther away, usually just outside of an easy walk to or from the shopping center.

See also a history of Aspen Hill Maryland.

pia said...

We live a block from Giant and since November have been getting vegetables delivered from How bad is it when you have to have the veggies delivered because the ones at the store are so terrible?!?

Saul said...

pia: It sounds like you haven't been to Giant in months. Their produce has greatly improved since their attempt at 'Everyday Low Prices'. We buy over 1/3 of our fruits and vegetables from Giant (other 2/3 from Sniders and farmers markets) and we're quite satisfied with all three sources.

Tina & Drew said...

T. Hardman "Whole Foods: Pure yuppie hell with the crowded aisles and rude customers. I like the meats and produce sections but the prices really hurt the wallet. This is not a good place to shop during a bad recession."

What's your beef with Yuppies, Hardman?

I LOVE Whole Foods. And Trader Joe's if I feel like making the haul down Colesville.

I swear to god I've tried Safeway and was thrilled to see the self-checkout lines but MY GOD some idiots will cart their overstuffed grocery carts and then proceed to take an hour to check out... I saw one woman just put produce on the scanner and then just stare at it for minutes.

(probably the same people who want a bridge to the library...)

Thomas Hardman said...

Um Tina and Drew, I didn't say anything whatsoever about Whole Foods. Attribution checking is a valuable social tool.

As to what I have against yuppies?

Let's see. For starters, a hundred thousand dollars in debt the day they graduate college, they max out their credit cards dressing up all GQ or Vogue, they somehow manage to remain broke on a hundred thousand dollars a year, and the only real difference between their college days and their careers is that now they are a little better dressed as they swarm around a slightly different campus.

Now, you take these people that owe hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they're walking around dressed in fancy clothes on which they still owe money -- like they owe money for everything else they have, from their ridiculous McMansion to their ecology-devouring SUV, and then they see me walk by, and call me a bum.

I don't owe anyone anything.

The house where I live is paid for, as are both of my vehicles. I am running my own stack of servers out of the basement of the paid-for house I live in and I pay all of my bills in full on time and I neither need nor use Credit. I have a patent that I fully own and to which nobody has interests, liens, nor attachments. I have a limited income and cash-flow stream but that doesn't concern me because it's not paying off debt; it's all mine.

I don't need a spellchecker, and unlike 2/3rds of college graduates, I am deeply literate. I at least can get my attributions straight.

I do not work for someone else, and I do not have someone telling me that I have to go into debt to wear a suit to get a job. I dress for comfort and when I go out for a drink, I can and do pay cash and carry.

And when I show up someplace dressed for comfort, and pay cash because I neither need nor want credit, I have to sit and listen to people who don't merely own nothing but actually owe everything commenting on the fact that I'm not dressed according to someone else's demands, and not paying 21-percent interest on a credit card, when I hear these destitute paupers who have nothing that's actually theirs calling me a "bum"...

Let's just say that it doesn't make me like them any more.

Are we clear, now?

Tina & Drew said...

Not to hijack the thread but damn, there's a lot of wildly ignorant stereotyping in there Hardman.

"Simplicity is the mastery of brilliance."

Thomas Hardman said...

By definition: YUPpies == Young Urban Professionals.

With the exception of Rich Kids -- who still have no excuse to badmouth people about whom they personally know nothing -- YUPpies almost certainly had to borrow heavily. Some few may have made it through college on Merit Scholarships or have had other financial aid for tuition and college expenses, but as a rule, Young Urban Professionals come out of college with immense debt load -- though that may change if the credit markets, on which Yuppie Puppies mostly rely for college loans, don't egt freed up.

So frankly, Drew and Tina, I'm just doing exactly what is so popular among people who have been trained to see people and processes as statistics rather than discrete individuals or occurrances. If they want to say "statistically, anyone who isn't a yuppie like us is a bum; therefor Mr Hardman is a but because he's not a yuppie", I can just as easily say "because the majority of yuppies haven't yet paid off their college loans and/or have just immersed themselves into even more massive debt, thus the yuppie I see before me parks an SUV in their McMansion and thinks they're rich though they actually owe money for the shirt on their back".

"Tar" isn't so much fun when it's being brushed on you, now is it. So next time you see me don't call me a bum.

And if you haven't called me a bum, I apologize to you-personally, though for everyone who has, my vituperation remains current.

Peace out.

Springvale Roader said...

Young: we all are or were.

Urban: lots of people, like me, prefer urban to suburban or country.

Professional: the world as we know it needs white collar workers (unless you want a mechanic to remove your appendix, or a waiter to defend you in court).

There is nothing wrong with being one, two, or all three of those things. Nothing at all.

And as an added bonus:

In debt: most people are, and only the very wealthy can pay for college and/or graduate school with cash. Should only they be allowed to attend such institutions?

Anonymous said...


Damn, I thought I was the only true Yuppie Hater in Silver Spring. Thom Hardman hates yuppies more than I do.

btw...I think Tina was responding to my post about Yuppies and Whole Foods.

I don't mind a yuppie as a person. I just hate their cultural tastes, arrogance towards working-class people, and the damage they have wreaked on communities because of gentrification. They truly have no clue that their lifestyles cause tremendous hardship on other people of socio-economic means.

And don't get me started about yuppies and politics.


Springvale Roader said...

IHY, you can't fool me. I've figured out your real identity: you're George Pelecanos!

Sligo said...

OK, that's funny.

Thomas Hardman said...

Springvale Roader wrote, among other things:

[ ... [

In debt: most people are, and only the very wealthy can pay for college and/or graduate school with cash. Should only they be allowed to attend such institutions?

Wow, that's a neither-here-not-there question, akin to a strawman but for a strawman you have to set it up and knock it down and pray that nobody notices you changed the subject. This is merely irrelevant. But to answer the question, "of course not".

My point was, people who are all pimped out on borrow money should not cast aspersions on people who are not well-dress but who have no debt.

As for professionals and professionalism, I have only the highest regard for doctors, scientists, engineers, etc. I even have respect for lawyers, librarians, and police management staff.

While laying out a conclusory irrelevancy you concealed, perhaps inadvertendly, a distinction to be made between the individual yuppies, and the yuppies as a social class and social phenomenon. One has to admire the fact that the yuppie generally did in fact graduate college. One cannot admire it when as a class such persons wear borrowed wealth as a badge and disdain those who do not.

For example, I have a sister who spent more than 35 years with the Federal goverment, in the sciences and administering research grants to scientists. However, if the average yuppie of the sort I despise saw her on the street outside of workplace or work-hours, you'd probably say "scary old cat lady", or at least the sort of yuppie I accuse would probably say that. She is in fact sort of scary and she does indeed have cats, but she's probably seen more opera and Shakespeare in the last year that most yuppies will see before their own kids are off in college. Her hard-science degree was earned about 40 years ago at UM, when they still had high standards.

My excess and clearly over-long outrage at the acceptance of classism and elitism have boiled over for your entertainment if not for your amusement. But keep in mind that the next bum or scary cat lady that you see might be me or my sister, and we don't appreciate the classism, and both of us know enough hard science to degauss your credit cards while you're standing in line at Whole Foods. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thomas Hardman,

A person who has disdain for people who have done them or others no harm is never admirable, regardless of that person's education or income level.

Springvale Roader said...

That last message was from me. The internets gremlins done did me dirt.

Thomas Hardman said...

And you're so right, Springvale Roader.

Now tell that to the yuppies that label "poor white trash" the Marines that fight and die in Iraq so that the yuppies have gasoline for their SUVs.

Tell that to the yuppies that hound off-duty cops that have the audacity to wander into their bars.

Well, never mind that last one. The County needs revenue so go ahead and annoy someone into ticketing you until you sell your SUV so that the Marines can come home permanently.

*kiss kiss* to all of you that have to wear a tie.

Tina & Drew said...

Damn, I need to start living up to my label and harrasing folks now...

Although the fact that I have no debt, except the house (but I'm young so cut me some slack) does that put me into another bucket of yuppie-dom?

I love labels and gross generalizations. Thank god this isn't a threat about ethnicity - I think we could have TONS of fun with that one.

Anonymous said...

And Thomas Hardman's real identity is comic book guy!

I'm sorry, but on the rare occasions I actually read that dude's rambling pseudointellectual posts, that's the voice I hear.

Anonymous said...


I don't think Yuppies harbor a conspiratorial bias against the working class. They are simply ignorant of the daily struggles of working people and the starving-artist class of people.

The social costs of debt are pretty familiar to working class families as well. There are many low-to-moderate income people who have crushing student loan debt in addition to house mortgages and health care bills. Working class Americans have shown reckless decision-making when it comes to handling debt as well.

I get angry when Yuppies claim that gentrification is a good thing for communities. This argument paints an incomplete picture because many older residents and working class families with limited incomes have sustained local businesses in Silver Spring for many years. The gentrification wave brought double-digit rent increases on the small business owners and residents alike. As a result, the businesses and residents who were fabrics of the Silver Spring community were pushed out by higher income buyers. "This is creative destruction and this is a good thing", so say the Yuppies moving into Silver Spring.

Bull shit.

I am an ardent opponent of real estate segregation based on socio-economic class. We would not have ghettos if people of different classes and races were allowed to share the same neighborhood. Our society should have more economic equality. Yuppies prescribe to the "I got mine: tough shit you ain't got yours" attitude. Yuppies who voted for Obama and claim that they are Democrats go into a "hissy-fit" if you ask them to pay more taxes so the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, and our public safety are taken care of. Seriously. There's a huge price to pay if we want universal health care, affordable college education, a more vibrant social safety net and improved public transportation systems. I don't think these Obama-bumper sticker people who drive their Audis to Whole Foods are willing to sacrifice their earnings for the greater good of society.

Yes, I am being a big jerk with these generalizations. I shouldn't stereotype and generalize about people, but I am tired of the individualistic, materialistic nature of our country.


Anonymous said...

BTW: Clint's spaghetti western trilogy was actually filmed in Spain, not Sicily -- in an area that looks like the American Southwest. The flicks were largely an Italian effort -- most of the money and much of the production -- hence the term Spaghetti Western was born.

Springvale Roader said...

Speaking of Clint, I strongly recommend "Gran Torino" for anyone who hasn't yet seen it It's full of deliciously nasty humor along with fine acting and a touching story. It's Clint the Squint at his best.

Thomas Hardman said...

Anonymous February 12, 2009 12:19:00 PM: Hi, Foolio! It's not my fault that your illiteracy makes you hallucinate a cartoon character voice when your lips move while reading! You know, there's medication for the hallucinations and there's school for the illiteracy.

Drew & Tina, so sorry if you're the exceptions to the rule. Thus, you shouldn't feel insulted by accurate generalizations to a class of which you're not really a member.

Re; "Spaghetti Westerns": "I stand corrected". Spain it was.

I Hate Yuppies: You've got it soooo right.

Gentrification has its drawbacks.

For example, during the height of the recent Housing Bubble, some Yuppies moved into my part of Aspen Hill, and spent a wad on their new property and that definitely improved the property values.

Then right as the peak of the bubble passed, they tried to sell their house. They're still trying. Yet somehow they and their yuppie friends decided that the fact they couldn't sell for their asking price was all because of the people who already lived in the neighborhood. By their definition, possibly most of their near neighbors who were under retirement age were Poor White Trash, dragging down their sale prices.

Thus, they could kill two (or more) birds with one stone. These newcomers could badmouth the neighborhood "Aspen Hill is a dumping ground for group homes of welfare mental cases", and they could badmouth individual longtime residents "and that right there is one of those mental cases, who else would maintain their own grounds". And if they managed to get us longtimers run out of the neighborhood, they could buy our properties for a song and flip it and speculate.

It's a variation on blockbusting".

But frankly all it's done is make people despise them, once they figured out that it was all a big Gaslighting.

And I am still here, and they still can't sell their house. And anyone Choicepointing them is going to see people in debt way over their heads with a longstanding set of problems in their neighborhood, and anyone choicepointing me is going to see pretty much bupkis. The funniest thing at all is that I'm not looking for a job and my choicepoint could come back reading four simple words "he is satan himself" and I don't care, but these Yuppies that tried to take on a neighborhood need their own choicepoints to be a bright and shiny. Good luck working and good luck selling that house for more than you paid for it, fellahs.

Meantime their repeated reductions in price massively contribute to the overall decline in real-estate valuations here in Aspen Hill, and those other declines require them to reduce their own price again, and feedback synergies are de-leveraging all of the properties bought on speculation for "flipping" are depreciating at unprecedented speeds to values not seen since they were originally built in the 1960s.

And once we're done crushing the yuppies who thought they could take on a neighborhood and tried to do it with lies and scheming and illegal real-estate tactics like "blockbusting", what shall we do? Well, they did do a nice job fixing up that property. Fair is fair, considering what they were saying, and probably we'll donate the use of that property to a group house of welfare mental cases.

'Cause frankly, we think they deserve it more than those nasty yuppies did.

Line, sinker, hook, bait. Any other fish that need to fry?

Springvale Roader said...

Jeebus, this thread is getting rank.

Sligo, perhaps you should rename your blog, "Class divisions in Silver Spring and the Politics of Resentment" and make it available to psychology and sociology scholars around the nation.

I'm looking forward to your next article on zombies.

lilkunta said...

Thomas Hardman:
woah. You have alot of anger. It is fine to not like ppl who are rude or wrongly judge ppl by looking @ them(4 ex, your sister), but to just make a broad generalisation is wrong!

also, you have servers business in your basement? Did I read your "11:04am wed 11 feb9 " comment incorrectly? do u mean your ahve a waitstaff company?

nothing is wron w having a credit card. in fact, isnt it needed as if u never have 1 u wont have a credit history?

lilkunta said...

now 4 the matter @ hand: i think the Burnt Mills Sbx will close. The woodmoor/4korners sbux has a BIG community around it ( blair high, woodmoor residents ) who frequent it. The same for the White Oak Sbx, as there are all those hi rises there will hundreds of families, ie customers. Yes Burnt Mills does have the jews community there too, but IMO the burnt mills sbx is harder 2 get 2 IMO. WhiteOak is LITERALLY 2 min away so I think putting a Sbx in burnt mills was stupid in the 1st place.

Also, I think there was never a chance of the DTSS or SSMetro sbxs closing. Both do great in business: DTSS has all the ellsworth customers; SSM has all the commuters. I think both these locations will stay open.

lilkunta said...

o yea, the thayer ave safeway has alwaye been bad IMO. It is tooo cramped.

Anonymous said...

Be nice to Thomas. He is going through a rough patch. Most dyed-in-the-wool "W" lovers are. Put yourself in their shoes. They are struggling. Economically, of course, (On a side note, the amount of idle time Thomas seems to have on his hands these days makes me wonder if he is working) and this in turn is also making them tussle with their political beliefs. To make things worse, this is not going to stop anytime soon. As the clouds continue to gather, it gets tougher and tougher to blame the Democrats for everything. So be nice to Thomas.

ForestGlen said...

Dude, can you post your salsa recipe? It looks really promising if the pic of the ingredients is any measure...

Sligo said...

2 14.5oz cans stewed tomatoes
3/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp salt
2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
1 habanero pepper, chopped (optional - HOT!)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend on "pulse" for a few seconds at a time until desired chunkiness is reached.

ForestGlen said...

Awesome, thanks!

Thomas Hardman said...

Hmmm, yummy salsa! Thx!

Um, to Anonymous of February 16, 2009 8:36:00 AM:

You think I'm a "W lover"? Ah, no. While I was not a supporter of Mr Obama in the last election, he's turning out really well so far, and I'm so impressed by his Radical Centrism on most counts, that I have registered Democrat.

Further, as to me working, please tell me you're not yet-another one of the idiots who thinks that nobody's a worker unless they're someone else's employee? If people with that attitude are the majority around here, no wonder the country is almost intellectually bankrupt as it is economically devastated.

Ever hear those stories about guys who don't seem to have a job but later they start some company called "Apple" or "FaceBook" or "MySpace"? They're sitting around in their gloomy basement or "goofing around" in the garage, and people like you mock them because they, unlike you, both have imaginations and work for themselves. They're called "inventors" or "entrepreneurs".

I am one of those.

Perhaps you'd like a patented super-secure desktop and server on a DVD?

Sorry, you're an anonymous coward, and you may not have one.

RoseAG said...

I like the Giant at Wheaton or the one off Piney Branch on Arliss Ave.

I know that area is a little scary for some folks but I've never had a problem there and the parking lot is very big and it's easy to find a place.

Anonymous said...

I used to shop at the Arliss St. Giant, until a month or so ago when I spied a healthy rodent scuttling across an aisle. Their produce tends to be wilted and sad as well.

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Ben Schumin said...

It's not too surprising that they drove down Mayor Lane. After all, it is a public alley. There are some places that I've seen where the Street View car actually drove up and down each aisle of shopping center parking lots, as well as looped around the perimeter of the lot. I didn't think that they did Street View from private property, but apparently sometimes they do.

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