Tag Archives: Safeway

FGC Nearing 30 and Still Going Strong

FGC Co-op President LaDora Brock

Although the buildings were erected in 1955, Florian Gardens did not become a tenant-owned property until May 1989. As the property is nearing its 30th year as a co-op, the estate which sold for $550,000 is now worth millions.

To convert or not to convert. For several months, the board of directors has been discussing with management the feasibility of converting FGC from a low-equity to a market-rate co-op. Purportedly, the primary benefit of a conversion would be the equity return. While the profit from selling a unit under market-rate would far exceed the return residents now receive when they vacate, the possibility of suddenly incurring a monthly carrying charge that is significantly higher than what is currently being paid to achieve that result is unappealing to many members. Residents who were with FGC from the beginning will tell you that the purpose of purchasing and converting the Florian Gardens complex was to preserve affordable housing for themselves and other District residents.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, members got the opportunity to weigh in on the discussion. Although there was less than 100 percent representation by the membership, the turnout was impressive.

Continue reading FGC Nearing 30 and Still Going Strong


Knock Knock Who’s There?

Last Tuesday afternoon while most of you were at work someone was knocking on your door. Guess who. No, it wasn’t the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. Sorry to disappoint you. On the contrary, you were visited by an IDT Energy sales agent.

This was not the first time that IDT agents have come calling at FGC. They crop up periodically like a bad headache. Their appearances change, but the sales pitch doesn’t. This is how it goes. The agent knocks. You answer. The first thing he (or she) does after hastily introducing himself is to ask to see your electric bill. “What for?” you ask. “To determine whether the power company is giving you a discount,” he replies. If you are wise to the game, right then is when the red flag rises.

I stopped the agent mid-sentence between power and company and told him that I wasn’t interested. Then I warned him that solicitors were not allowed in the buildings. He ignored me and continued going  door-to-door and then went to the next building. The co-op president also informed him of the no soliciting policy and told him that the police would be called if he did not leave the property. “Call them,” he said bluffing like a bad poker player. We did. Apparently, the idea of facing law officers was not as appealing to him as trying to earn a commission off us. He left the property before police arrived. Sorry guy. I know that everyone needs a source of income, but find a better job.

Competition among energy supply companies is just one more thing to rattle consumers’ nerves. I did some research to determine the legitimacy of IDT Energy. It is one of many businesses licensed to sell electricity in D.C. and some other states. But – there have been numerous complaints made against IDT Energy and its agents for their aggressive sales tactics and outright scams.

Some consumers claim to have unknowingly had their energy service switched by fast talking agents. One woman, stating that she never signed up for the service, wrote “When I opened my bill I almost fell over. It was almost $700…They just added themselves to my bill without me changing it.”

Buyer beware is not just a frivolous statement. You should never show a stranger any document containing your personal information, especially when it includes an account number. Avoid sharing personal information with solicitors. That applies whether they come to your door or call on the phone — another tactic IDT agents use. Your caller ID will not likely show the caller as IDT, but one of the local numbers they are using is 202-330-3580. Let the call go to voice mail. They won’t leave a message.

Consumer advocacy sites like RipoffReports.com and Consumerist.com list scams and horror stories reporting bad and unprofessional behavior by IDT Energy and its agents. 

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Safeway May Sell Its Company — Some of you may have recently received a mailer containing a $10 off coupon and advertising the Grand Re-Opening of the Piney Branch Road Safeway, following its recent forced one day closure by the Health Department, due to code violations. The tactic is an apparent attempt to win back dissatisfied customers, but can it wave off the smoke on the horizon? Surely, you know what they say about smoke. According to Reuters, Safeway, Inc. announced on Wednesday that it is discussing the possible sell of the company. Could the reason be because Safeway stores are facing tough competition from retailers like Kroger, Costco, and – you guessed it – Walmart?

If the Piney Branch Road Safeway is sold and subsequently shut down, that grocery store will be added to the list of other businesses that have left the Brightwood community. Posin’s Bakery/Delicatessen, Ida’s Department Store, Hechingers, Trak Auto, and most recently Curtis Chevrolet are all gone now. Will Safeway follow?

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Shoveling Snow and Sliding Down Memory Lane

Enough already! Let's get this party started.
Say what, Skip? “I said enough already! Let’s get this party started.”

While you’re still wiping snow off your boots from last week’s snowfall, visualize the Blizzard of 1996. That severe nor-easter with its strong winds and blinding snow paralyzed the East Coast, forcing public transit to shut down; job closures lasting days; and sporadic power outages in cities throughout the East Coast. Under those circumstances, it didn’t take long for cabin fever to set in among FGC members. We were a more cohesive group back then, and some of us adult kids-at-heart soon came up with a reason to go outside in the snow.

At that time, FGC did not have a snow removal service contract as we do now. Our maintenance engineer, Skip, took care of the grounds in addition to numerous other duties. So, after some phone calling among members, a group of us — mostly ladies, but a few gents, too — agreed to grab our shovels and meet outside where we assisted Skip in clearing the parking lot and walkways on and around the property. We even helped dig out a few member’s cars. It was a united effort and the “shovelingfest” turned out to be more fun than work. Later, some of us gathered in the co-op’s social room where we passed time playing bingo, pokeno, and card games.

Unfortunately, some of the veteran FGC members are gone now and they are deeply missed. Most original members who remain here maintain camaraderie and we sometimes discuss how we miss the family-type relationship that previously existed at our co-op. We had cook-outs in the courtyard; yard sales; Halloween and Christmas parties. Those were the days. If you want to see photos of one of several activities that co-op members enjoyed back then, click on the Events/Events II tab above. To see snapshots of some former and current members, select the Members and Associates tab. By the way, new FGC members — if you want your photo added to the members page email me at FGC5928@aol.com.  

Unfortunately, times change and people do too, but memories linger on, and as Doug Larson so adequately expresses it, “Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.

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The Brightwood Community Association (BCA) had a very productive meeting, last Tuesday, with representatives from Safeway including the retailer’s Public Relations and Government Affairs managers. Tamesha Smith, the new store manager at the Piney Branch Road location was also there. In response to the concerns expressed by Safeway customers and other community members about food safety and quality and customer service, Safeway representatives promised to address and correct all of the issues. Volunteers were solicited for a consumer advocacy group to support that endeavor.

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Stepping Out and Stepping Up

Do you recognize these people? This attractive mother and son are two of FGC’s smart and classy  members. Bettye and Robert (Robbie) Straughter were stepping out in style last Friday when they attended the Omega Ball at the Washington Hilton Hotel.  Well, all right now — Represent!!!

Bettye and Robbie Blended
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the community . . .

Stepping up to the plate at last week’s straw poll, sponsored by the Ward 4 Democrats, council member and Mayoral Candidate Muriel Bowser advanced to second base by capturing 49% of the total vote. In January, she beat incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray by 41% in the Ward 8 straw poll. Will she round third base in the primary election on April 1 and score a home run in November? Voters will decide.

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The Department of Health closed the Safeway at Georgia Avenue and Piney Branch Road on Thursday, February 6, due to code violations. Reportedly a customer’s sighting of a mouse raised the red flag. Ick! Although the store reopened on Friday afternoon, The E&E (Eyes and Ears) Squad is saying that the blitz of constant criticism levied against that store on some Listservs is fueling the fire toward a permanent shutdown. E&E is also wondering if it is coincidental that the latest Safeway closure occurred just two months after the opening of Walmart. Can Stevie Wonder see a game plan?

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NOTE:  If you enjoy reading this blog and would like to read more commentaries by the author, visit www.potpourri101.com