Of late, I've begun to feel that one of the supermarkets I frequent simply does not really want mine, or anyone else's business.
This actually goes back a long while, back to the days of trudging out to the stores on foot with my mom all the way down the hill and across the neighborhood, and then back again, only with heavy bags. The closed circuit televisions and the unfortunate treatment of store employees by the management never sat well with us, but as non-drivers, choices were not abundant, at least back then.
Several months ago, I saw a handwritten sign advertising a particular salami-type thing on sale. When it failed to ring up with the sale price, I gently informed the (semi-management) cashier that this was an item on sale for x amount. I was told, "No, it isn't." I walked over to the sale sign and carefully peeled it from the shelf, bringing it to the cashier. "Yes," I said, "It is."
After examining the sign, she informed me that the sale price referred only to the item in the one-pound size. Whereas the item I was holding clearly contained not one pound, but, in fact, 16 ounces. So there. (This is a totally true account). After doing my best not to sound conceited as I enlightened her on some basic mathematics, one manager came over and said, "This sale sign must be very old. Maybe it was under another sign." No, it wasn't!
By now I was fed up. "Fine," I said, "I don't want the item."
"No, no, we'll give it to you this time," I was told.
"This is not a personal favor. Your merchandise is not being advertised clearly," was all I said, and I finished making my purchase and left. I can't even remember if I got the salami in the end or not.
A friend saw a sign at this store's fish department stating "Fish prices subject to change according to customers' attitude." Which could be a little cute if it had a smiley face on it or was actually part of an otherwise pleasant shopping experience. Neither was the case.
The other week, I was at this store again, on a day of icy rain and bitter cold. There was little parking to be had, and whatever I bought would have to be shlepped on flimsy stroller handles back to the car while helping Ann navigate the sidewalk.
At checkout time, the (truly deranged) man who bags groceries on a line I hope to never stand on again was bagging some heavy things in single bags. Considering the walk that awaited me, I said, "Please double the bags."
"No, no. Very strong bags." (What?! Did he say no?)
"Sir, I need to walk with my kids. Please double the bags."
"My boss said one bag. Strong bags."
There was a line behind me. I am not a fighter by nature, but this was simply ridiculous. I did not need to contend with spilled groceries and a stroller carrying Andy that would surely tip back with the weight of the bags if I needed to retrieve fallen items, while keeping three-year-old Ann safe on the street.
"Fine," I said loudly. "I'll double the bags myself. It's a shame that other people are waiting, but I can work here too. This seems like a great way for the store to save money." (I can't believe I actually said that. Get ready to be mortified as you grow up, RaggedyKids.) I cannot think of one other supermarket ever where a request to double bags by someone with kids would be outright refused.
At this point, the deranged bagger procured some flimsier bags that he was willing to double for me. "No, thank you," I said. I had just four bags in total! and bagged my things quickly, and left in a huff.
Of course, the new barrier to prevent shopping cart theft (?) did little to help smooth my exit from the store. We'll see if the decent prices tempt me back despite all the cons.