High prices, creepy service, old merchandise..
The MGZ used to be a bead and carnival supply warehouse. After Katrina the owner, Benny Naghi, slowly started carrying more and more necessities and grocery items that he sold out of an improvised storefront. It was a shrewd business move at the time because as the city re-populated the demand for groceries and and household items grew while there were far fewer outlets to buy these things. Benny owns a few other businesses and was able to sell things that people needed at a disgustingly high mark up. As a lifelong resident of New Orleans, it felt a little like extortion.
It wouldn't have been so bad if there was good merchandise and fresh produce, but this is rarely the case; remember, this is a warehouse and it's almost impossible to keep things dry or cool during a New Orleans summer if you have no air conditioning or insulation. Also, if you keep buying shady "grey merchandise" from some mysterious supplier up north, you're bound to get some dubious merchandise.
I've bought expired gallons of milk ($6 a gal.), stale oreos ($5), and bland fried chicken from the deli ($3.65 for a 2piece w/fries - the same thing is $1.99 at Dora's 5 blocks away).
As far as the "quirky southern help" at the checkout goes, I guess that's a real nice way of describing burnouts and drunks that lurk there and man the register. Some of the people are nice, but mostly they're annoying, idiotic, and offensive.
I mean sure, they're characters, but sometimes you just want to get your groceries and get out of there rather than deal with someone that just got off a bender that's making the woman ahead of you in line feel uncomfortable because he's demanding a hug from her before he'll finish her transaction.
And it's not like they know each other.
Also, Benny claims he wants a liquor license because he wants to "help the neighborhood." Within a 5 block radius there are over 10 liquor retailers and over 25 bars.
After the earlier post, I felt some truth should be told.
24 Hour Fun Shopping Phenomena. BENNY: Every great business starts with a great owner. Benny, of Mardi Gras Zone, is an honorable man worth mention... In wake of hurricane Katrina, Benny's integrity shined when he fed the poor. Benny is an active contributor to the Faubourg Marigny and his caring personality is incomparable in the community. 24 HOURS - 365 Days a Year: Not only is Mardi Gras Zone the largest in the area, but it is also the only 24 hour grocery store and deli in the city. Their omnipotent presence is greatly owed to their ability to listen, read, and adapt to their customers. Benny strives to meet every single one of their demands. "What do you need? I'll order it". They are a southern business that pushes to give customers the best prices. While some products are drastically marked down, others are ridiculously high. This is often the case due to lack of buying power with new inventory- other times, it's just a simple mistake- but when brought to attention, management is quick to correct it and Benny will often take the loss to satisfy a regular customer. It is a wonder how this man sleeps at night, if he does. CUSTOMER SERVICE: Every employee at Mardi Gras Zone brings character to the table. Sure, check out times can be long when cashiers are chatting away with customers, but that is not a flaw, that is the beauty of a REAL southern run business. AMERICAN TRAGEDY: Competing business owners, enthralled with jealously of Mardi Gras Zone's growing presence, have joined together in a strategic attempt to sabotage Benny from acquiring his permit to sell packaged liquor. These bigots will go to no end to sabotage Mardi Gras Zone's glory, including spreading false rumors and posting negative online articles. They believe that if MGZ get's a liquor license, they will lose their only edge in the market. Due to their devious tactics, this will probably be true, because HONESTY will always prevail. It's safe to say that Mardi Gras Zone has my support. BENNY FOR MAYOR!
Grocery store with live music???. When I walked in, there was a jazz band playing in the entranceway. I came back a week later and someone there was a duet playing piano and violin from the upstairs balcony. Very fun grocerry store!
Dirty, bad attitudes - go elsewhere. Mardi Gras Zone is an old dilapidated warehouse that has gone from selling beads to selling groceries at a handy profit. The staff is clueless and incompetent. Can't operate the registers, not friendly, etc. The place could be cleaned every now and then too.
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