It was Purim but the Passover atmosphere was clearly in the air in many of the stores I visited. Some had makeshift storage trailers, others kept Passover products in the cabs of trucks, and yet others even had refrigerated trailers in their parking lots. That is for stores who did not have enough storage space in their basement or upper floors. In several stores, the day after Purim is “P-Day,” one worker said, explaining that it meant “Passover Day,” “We kosher our meat department and begin emptying some of the aisles in preparation for the Passover foods on that day.” He was quite happy that the items were already “here” (in whatever storage areas they had) so the shelves can be stocked properly.
Space is always a consideration, it seems. That is why one smaller store in Flatbush does a “gradual turnover.” It means, I was told, that first comes the cleaning supplies and then the dry goods. Finally, the prepared foods and eventually the perishables. Let’s not forget the women who cook well in advance and need the ingredients, especially if they are following Naomi Nachman’s new book, “Perfect for Passover.” This is a time of the year when every store has its own battle plan to prepare for Passover. Yosel, a store manager, told me that he was already visited by a police officer who warned him about blocking the street with boxes of onions, potatoes, eggs, apples and seltzer. “I told him I would do my best to keep it clear.” The officer’s response: “I expect to see it cleaned up by the end of April!” “Sure thing officer!”