Our "Ghetto" United

We live in a racially mixed and lower income part of town. Mainly lower to middle class Whites and Hispanics.

Our closest grocery store is less than a mile way, a United Supermarket.

Given the demographics of our neighborhood this is not the nicest United in town. On the south side of town a very nice United is located, not surprisingly, in a generally White and more upscale part of town.

Acquaintances of ours refer to our neighborhood United as the "ghetto" United to distinguish it from the "nice" United on the south side of town. "Nice" as in "White." "Ghetto" as in "Hispanic." Many of these same acquaintances will drive to the nice/White United to shop even though they are closer to our "ghetto" United.

But here's the deal. Jana and I love our "ghetto" United. You know why? Our Hispanic neighbors.

The United supermarkets in town stock based upon the demographics of the neighborhood. At the south side United there is a flower market. Our United doesn't have that. The south side United has a fancy cafe. Ours doesn't have that. The south side has a huge selection of organic produce. Ours doesn't. The south side United has sushi. Ours doesn't. The south side United has a huge selection of artisan cheeses. Ours doesn't. The south side United has a huge selection of Gluten free foods. Ours doesn't.

Our "ghetto" United just doesn't have flowers, artisan cheeses, organic food, Gluten free food, sushi or a nice cafe to have lunch.

But you know what our United has that the south side United doesn't have? Tamales. And our most favorite salsa. And breakfast burritos. And fresh tortillas made in the bakery.

This because of our Hispanic neighbors. Our United stocks for our neighborhood. Just like the south side does.

And why is that important for Jana and I? Because Jana and I love Mexican food. And our local United--our "ghetto" United--is the perfect place to shop if you love cooking Mexican food.

So we love our neighborhood United. We never shop at the south side. And when people call our United "ghetto" we just smile. We know the truth.

Ghetto though it may be, for our racially mixed neighborhood it's the best and most beautiful United in town.

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10 thoughts on “Our "Ghetto" United”

  1. Let the record show that the Professor has publicly endorsed racial/ethnic profiling by the private sector.

    Seriously, though, I was just noticing the same thing at our Uniteds. But it's not the slam dunk you portray for us. The problem? If you want good beer, the United near Palo Duro High School ain't gonna set you up; you have to go to the United by Amarillo High or in the upscale northwest. So it's a mixed bag. Yes, you can get tamales and great tortillas, but there's not a decent brew to be found on the northeast side.


  2. Let me see....A ghetto is a part of a city in which members of a minority group live, especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure.

    Would "gated community" be the upper class minority equivalent? ;o)

    Alison and I have noticed a similarity with WalMarts. WallyWorld in Springdale, AR (we live near Fayetteville; NW AR, Bentonville specifically, is Headquarters for WW) has much more shelf space dedicated to Hispanic foods the either of the WWs in Fayetteville. Have also noticed that of the two stores in Fayetteville both of which have Murphy Oil gas stations the one on the working side of town--south and west--the gasoline is always a few cents more than the one on the north side of town where the more affluent shoppers go.

  3. My wife had surgery in New Brunfels about 13 years ago and there was a convenience store right beside the hospital. In the back of the store was two little toothless Hispanic ladies who made tacos. Still the best I ever had. Being from Georgia I was amazed and wished I lived close enough to such a place to get them on a regular basis.

  4. Oh, great memories. Kristi loves your "ghetto" United. It was where we shopped the 5 years we lived in Abilene. She still mentions it on occasion. And when we come visit, guess what is on her list of places to visit. Yep--"Ghetto" United.

  5. If it's "reverse" profiling, it's a quite benign brand. The ones really doing the pragmatic profiling (demographic surveying) are the United market research folks. But don't worry too much....Fox 6 comes through loud and clear on all the TV screens planted pragmatically where they'll do the most good. Come to think of it, I haven't seen one at the Ghetto store. Who knows the rationale or strategy for this omission? Maybe Fox needs to consider going bilingual....

  6. Ummm...is that a difference? Ethnic justice is blind. Shouldn't the citizens of NE Amarillo have access to more than Bud, Colt 45, Mickey's, and Coors? Why should the citizens of NW Amarillo be the only ones who can conveniently buy Hop Stoopid and Dale's Pale Ale?

  7. This post is not about good Mexican food, or even grocery stores. It is about condescending attitudes. The Professor takes offense at white people who call his favorite grocery store "ghetto". So he engages in a subtler form of name-calling (aimed at those snooty whites, who, btw, have just as much right to form judgments, no matter the reason, as does he) by showing his superior shopping motives and skills. It reminds me of the grammar school playground word game "I know you are but what am I?"

    "Important for Jana and me", not "important for Jana and I". You would not say ...."it is important for I".

  8. The observation that the poor pay more has been empirically researched and published in The Poor Pay More: Consumer Practices of Low-Income Families by David Caplovitz (1967).

  9. My area has a lot of immigrants from around the world and I love our local Global Market (our "ghetto" store). It has different aisles for different regions of the world. No where else can I get fresh Thai Basil for a song, pomegranate molasses, a choice of 15 different rice papers, frozen Chinese steamed buns, agua fresca mixes and a bag of Doritos all in one trip. If you haven't discovered pupusas yet, I highly recommend them.

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