Shopping can be tough at the Yankee Deli-Grocery.
This Walton Avenue store has some of everything and not enough of anything. That makes it just like the rest of the Bronx. You could survive if it was the only place willing to extend credit, but survive is a broad term.
It’s really just a large room chopped into narrow passages that are stacked to the ceiling with canned soups, fruits, vegetables, sauces, cereals and peanut butter. There is bread, milk, juice, candy and tobacco, too. Up front are newspapers, wine, beer, soda and a counter where they make fresh sandwiches if you ask nicely.
There is also a rack near the door with underwear – for men and women – and pantyhose in case of a run or if someone is planning a bank heist.
But no one would steal from this place because that would ruin your credit and leave you no place to get a baloney sandwich with mustard.
“Lots of mustard,” Javier tells the guy. “I like the brown spicy kind.”
He glances around the store.
“I’ll be right back,” Javier says. “I need to pick up a few things.”
He turns sideways, sucks in his gut and moves between the shelves where he grabs a bottle of hot sauce, a jar of peppers, a can of beans and a bag of potato chips.
Dumping everything on the counter he says, “Put it on my tab.”
The blank stare forces him to his wallet.
“Man,” Javier says. “Things are tough all over.”