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John seems like the archetype of a man you should dislike but somehow manages just the right amount of endearment to make you wanna chat with him over a bowl of grapes.

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Christian! You nailed it!!!

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Thanks Rebecca! Maybe I'll do a follow up on the MEEPS including a profile of MEEPS III.

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This interview was delightful! And I say this as someone who loathes Gristedes. I, for one, do not think TJ's has me fooled. I loved the questions you asked: what's the difference between having 1 and 4 billion?! I thought his answer to your question about street hustlers was very revealing. Mostly, this interview really showcased your skills as an interviewer!

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Thanks Jillian! His thinking behind the idea that TJ's has me "fooled," if I recall correctly, was that their selection is nothing like you'd get at a standard grocery store and that it also lacks some major product categories. But to me (and I think to many others) that is actually sort of a positive feature.

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The limited selection is a feature, not a bug in my book. At TJ’s, I grab a yogurt. At Ralph’s, Whole Foods, or anywhere else a trip to the yogurt section is an invitation to ponder a million questions I never wanted ask.

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Reddit Upvote

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The first time I went to USA I went to a supermarket to buy milk, and instead of the three varieties we had here in the UK at the time, there was a whole aisle. It took me twenty minutes to select one, and when I used it in coffee it has virtually no effect because I'd bought one that was about 95% water. So I agree with you that a limited selection is a feature!

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There is a real interesting Freakanomics Podcast which focuses on TJs and sorts out why having 1-2 mustards is WAY BETTER than having 5. Easier on customers, easier on the stores, more sales, lower prices. I will try and find it and include a link if the headliner of the CAFE does not mind links.

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Yes I was just listening to that last week. Its super interesting and includes a lot of insight into their product selection, bonkers number of employees, etc. I'll post the link for you!

https://freakonomics.com/podcast/should-america-be-run-by-trader-joes/

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Thanks Anne!

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Ha, yes! I’ll take less options in exchange for for affordable prices :)

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

On a micro economic level the difference between 1 billion dollars and 4 billion dollars is actually quite a lot of money however it comes down to the question of lack and abundance. It's like my son's who grew up upper middle class and I who grew up near the poverty line, they go look in our pantry at home and they say there's nothing to eat. I however feel like there's a billion dollars of food in the pantry. The pantry is full. Having 4 billion dollars worth of food in there makes no difference. Sorry for the old man who chases kids off the lawn comment!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Wow Anne, I was not going to slack right now, but you had me at Gristedes. I remember moving to Battery Park in 2008 and we had only two supermarkets — Gristedes and... Gristedes. Both were overpriced beyond comprehension, gross in a way that should never be associated with food and chock full of things gone bad. I got really curious about these places and why on earth they were even in business. I've been wondering about this guy ever since. Especially when he ran for mayor I remember thinking OMG I hope this guy doesnt win so our city doesn't turn into a GRISTEDES!!!! 😱 Sorry, John, if you're reading, I'm sure you're a great guy, but I'm all about "gettin' fooled" by Trader Joe's!

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Oh that's so funny Maria. It was the Battery Park City Gristedes that I was writing about in 1998! I guess things were not much better for you ten years later. Looks like one is now closed down and one is still open—with mixed reviews...

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I haven’t thought about Gristedes since I left NYC in 2003. I was not a fan. Thankfully, I lived in Brooklyn Heights, so my go-to was Key Foods or D’Agastino’s. Now that I’m back in Los Angeles, I’m all about being fooled by Trader Joe’s!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

"OMG I hope this guy doesnt win so our city doesn't turn into a GRISTEDES!!!!"

You win the Internet today with that comment!! LOL!!!

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Congratulations on the cookie bonanza! I must try planks the next time I'm in the USA.

I loved the interview! What a character.

'I hate extremism to the right, I hate extremism to the left. I think we gotta run the world on common sense.'

If only more people with influence thought this way!

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Agree! I wonder if even the most common sense people can stay sane in politics these days though. It seems to make everyone totally who gets near it totally bonkers!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

At least once in my life I would like to live in a country that was more extreme to the left because that would mean it's more tolerant.

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"Banana Planks" makes me want to form a punk band just to use that name. Ever since that article, I can't stop thinking about the plank cookies and wanting to order myself a box!

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Haha you're right! "Strawberry Planks" as a band name not so much.

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

How about, "Strawberry Planks Forever"? Too obvious??

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Bananas are inherently funny. My test is to imagine a stand-up comic wordlessly pulling a banana out of a box and holding it in front of an audience. I think the crowd would laugh hard at the banana, and then move on to the next topic. Strawberry? Apple? Not so much. Probably just a "where are we going with this?" feeling.

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

You are most likely too young to remember Captain Kangaroo. But he used to have a fellow come on the show who was called The Banana Man. I think the guy also was on Ed Sullivan Show.

https://youtu.be/ae5I_ZbE06Y

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CAPTAIN KANGAROO!!! Somehow he did not have the staying power of his counterpart Mr. Rogers.

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Mar 6, 2023·edited Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

I'd never heard of Captain Kangaroo, although I'm in the UK, so perhaps that's why! That's quite some involved activity he's up to in that video - I got rather lost! 🍌 Thanks for the giggle! 🤣

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Which way round do you peel them, Tad? #askingforafriend

In a poll on a recent post of mine I had 19% - NINETEEN PER CENT!!!! - of respondents telling me that they peel them from the NON-stalk end!

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Rebecca that is just F'd up.

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Change is hard for everyone Anne (and Rebecca)! https://forestwayfresh.com/food-for-thought/even-monkeys-know-how-to-peel-bananas

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And there it is, in black and white! Thanks, Mark! 🍌

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Surprised me too, Anne - and yes, I'm afraid I agree! 🤣 I'm already having second thoughts about any future research projects... 🤔

https://rebeccaholden.substack.com/p/50-which-way-up

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No!! Peeling from the stalk end is F'd up after you see how much better peeling from the tip is. Really if you look at how Mother Nature grows bananas, you peel from the tip and never have to remove the peel from the tree. But you know what's REALLY F'd up? Peeling a condom on and back off. That's F'd up!!!!

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I find myself agreeing with the Judge and that feels right. Check the link above, it's so easy, a monkey can do it :)

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🤣

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Alarmed that there is no poll option to peel from the middle, which is what I do most of the time. Oh no they're back and they brought the heavier-duty tranquilizer gun.

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Aharon, I usually cut the banana in half and yes peel from the middle. But I'd never reveal this in public.

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

You're lucky this convarsation is annecrypted!

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Your proposal has limited appeel :)

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In my naïvety, Aharon, I hadn't even considered that as an option when I created the poll - but commentators soon set me right! As have you, right here! 😉

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

There's a lot to be said in favor of the unexamined life.

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WTF?? Those can't be real human beings.

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🤣

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Oh yeah!! I still recall his voice as he pulled bananas out from everywhere: "La da da da da, WOWWWWW!"

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

My wife taught me to peel from the non-stock end. It works very well except I find I get black peel under my thumbnail.

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I couldn't believe how easy it was to peel from that end when I tried for the first time just a couple of weeks ago - one squeeze and you're done! I guess the black-peely thumbnail is an occupational hazard...!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

All these years, peeling from the wrong end! I wonder what other simple daily occurrence I've been doing wrong???

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Anne, I think you need to try all the cookies and report back your findings! 😅🍪

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OMG what a great idea Nick! I think that would be a very good day. And imagine the CHART possibilities!!!!

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Nick’s idea is great! Also, it’s March, so you could make your own brackets for Cookie Madness!

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I concur with Michael. It is a done deal. Cookie Madness! 🍪🍪🍪🍪

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Anne, I can’t speak for Nick, but I am willing to help judge Cookie Madness.

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😁Yes! 😆😅🤣😂

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What an interesting man. I only wish that I had such a drive to be successful when I was young. My goal was to just make it through each day.

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Haha! I was DRUNK!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

On the subject of PLANKS: it is surprising that Anne and others seem to be flummoxed about the utility of a plank. Especially when the name of this newsletter is Cafe Anne! Planks are the ideal shape for dunking in coffee!!!

"Wood Screws, Slab-on-grade, or Caulk!!!". Hilarious!! PLANKS are the perfect food choice for survivalists: they stack so they don't take up much room in the bunker, last forever, and double as art!

On to Cats. Love the photo of him on Broadway with "Cats" on the marquee.

When he makes a comment like Trader Joe's has got you fooled he sounds just like Donald Trump.

And just like Donald Trump he seems to think New York like every other big city in this country needs saving. The most remarkable thing about big cities is actually how well they function.

It should be self-evident that the person with 1 billion dollars is no less happy than the person with 4 billion dollars. Or shouldn't be.

Not to get too philosophical but even those of us in the middle class in the United States are billionaires compared to persons at the bottom of the ladder in other countries.

I respect a guy like Cats because he "scratched and clawed" (pun!) his way to 4 billion dollars. His daddy didn't give it to him like other fake billionaires who will go unmentioned.

John Paul Getty said show me a man married to the same woman his entire life and I'll show you a business failure. How many times was Cats married?

And lastly Cats says he doesn't want New York City to be a second home for Venezuelans; I'll bet there were a lot of people in the day who said they didn't want New York City to be a second home for the Greeks. How quickly some of us forget.

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JRB!!!

I agree my Planks may last forever. I should hoard my cookies for post-apocalyptic purposes.

And that is a very interesting quote from JPG! Hmm. According to his autobiography, CATS has been married twice. The first wife he met when she was going out with another fellow. This lady, her boyfriend and CATS hit the bars every Saturday night. Then one night she shows up at the grocery store and is upset because it turns out her boyfriend is gay. So CATS takes his place! They have no kids and he is working crazy hours so she asks him for a divorce. And then a year later in 1988 he marries MARGO, a former ballet dancer who has been working as his admin assistant for many years. And they have two kids and are still married now.

Just to be clear, CATS did not say he does not welcome Venezuelans. He said he does not want NYC to become Venezuela. IE the political situation there. You probably know more about that than I. I only pay attention to NYC.

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Sorry on the Venezuelans!

Well the 1st wife divorcing him supports what J P Getty said: Cats is a business success because he works so much that his wife left him.

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Amazing interview, Anne! Although I'm a little worried about the Meeps-related (like, LITERALLY related!) feline population explosion...

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Imagine if sites like ancestry.com catered to cats! You couldn't call it a family tree. Maybe a family Kudzu?

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founding
Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

This interview makes me want to pay a premium to shop at Gristede's!

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LOL So funny! I know! I sort of mind the prices less now that I know it's all for the good cause of ensuring CATS has his grape supply. Actually another thing I remember he said in the WSJ interview is that he hardly makes any profits on the grocery stores—his $$$ comes from just about everything else he does.

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I agree with that comment. There is very little profit margin in groceries.

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wait you gotta text this guy and demand he get a founding subscription to cafe anne!

also if he wants to make a movie, i'll make him a movie

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You know what? He DID get a founders subscription to the newsletter as soon as the piece came out.

Now I wish I'd thought to create a "BILLIONAIRE'S SPECIAL" $1 ,000-month subscription option in advance.

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hahahahaha

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

If you have a billion dollars, you can buy a Treasury bill and get about $136,000 a day in interest.

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Whoa! Gosh! That really puts things in perspective!

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

But what would the interest be if you deposited a gazillion dollars??!!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

Dang, Pantry Pride! Now, that’s a blast back to a Florida before the relentless oppressive monotony of a Publix on every street.

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Aw dang it! Looks like Pantry Pride is no longer with us. And such a great name!

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Mar 6, 2023Liked by Anne Kadet

I'm a Piggly Wiggly guy, myself.

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I absolutely loved this interview. Mae West was famous for saying "Peel me a grape" to her maid in I'm No Angel. Here's the clip: https://youtu.be/FeRm1T9V5wc 😂

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Well it's also in his book so if he is lying at least he is consistent. :)

Love that clip! Thanks Terry!

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My pleasure, Anne. I'm a big fan of Mae West, and have a book of her quotes here somewhere called Peel Me A Grape -- the ultimate in decadence😂

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Omg peanut butter and graham. I’m on a mission now.

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Mar 13, 2023·edited Mar 13, 2023Author

I know! I want to try them myself but I should probably save them for a subscriber...

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