Friday, May 22, 2015

Obese family shops for sweets at Balthazar Bakery in Englewood

This obese man and teenager, along with an obese girl who might have been the boy's sister, were among customers buying pastries on Wednesday afternoon in the crowded retail shop of Balthazar Bakery in Englewood, where Memorial Day weekend shoppers had to wait on a line for service. 

A 4-inch Mango-Passion Fruit Tart was $4.50.


My visits to Balthazar Bakery on South Dean Street in Englewood have become routine.

Every two or three weeks, on a Wednesday afternoon, I stop there for two baguettes, still $2 each more than a dozen years after the wholesale bakery's retail store opened.

I usually find one or two customers ahead of me.

Then, I get back into the car and drive a half-mile or so to Jerry's Gourmet & More to sample cheese and olive oil, and buy restaurant-quality takeout dinners.

This past Wednesday, I encountered more than a dozen other customers lining up to buy pastries and bread for the Memorial Day weekend.

I couldn't find a space in the small parking lot, and yelled at a woman who bounded out of a Mercedes-Benz in the handicap-parking space, "You're handicapped?"

She said she would move soon, but that her autistic child was inside the car, which she left running.

Close quarters

I parked across the street in the lot of a building under construction, risking my life to cross the street -- a twisting two-lane, one-way speedway -- to reach the bakery.

Inside the small retail store, the line included an obese man with gray hair and a teenage boy choosing pastries that they certainly didn't need.

Nearby, an obese girl, presumably the boy's sister, waited for them to pay, and they left together.

Like SUVs and other large vehicles that take up more room on the road, increasing traffic congestion, this trio took up more room in the cramped store, making my wait even more uncomfortable than usual.

Struggling with weight

I was uncomfortable on two scores:

Looking at fat people isn't my favorite pastime, reminding me of my struggles with weight since I was a teenager.

And my will power is sorely tested by all of the great pastries displayed at the counter of the French bakery.

Customers at Starbucks on Essex Street in Hackensack on April 28.

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