Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thank You For Not Shopping Here

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.


Ezzie said...

I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry...

Serach loves what is now called "Main Glatt" - she said the prices are much better, too.

mother in israel said...

Wow, that fish sign is a real turnoff. Shopping with little kids is hard enough--it's doing two major chores at once.

Hila said...

Yikes! It's times like these that makes me glad I live in a small town...The ONLY grocery store we have is locally owned, and I know just about everyone who works there, so I never have a problem with anything. There is a limited selection, though, as we are in the middle of nowhere, but it's a small price to pay for courteous and friendly service.

The college town I live in, however, is a whole other bag of marbles. Don't even get me started. I had to go back to one chain store that shall remain nameless THREE TIMES this past week because they failed to actually give me the items I had paid for. You know, they have those spin-around-thingies with the bags and the stupid cashier somehow forgot to bag up several key items, which, with the multitude of bags I had, I failed to notice until I was home 20 minutes later...GRRR...*sigh*

Hope your next shopping experience is much better!

Mother of Israel said...

That's terrible! The two shops that we frequent are wonderful. The one closer is family owned and is staffed by those who live in our little town so they remember the kids names and always ask how hubby is doing and such.

Hope you have better luck next time! Thanks for leaving the recipe I went and found it. We've kept the blogger account to make comments but have moved to www.xanga.com/WaysofZion

Thanks again.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

That is awful you should not have to go through that.

orieyenta said...


Unfortunately, I believe it is the "norm" rather than an exception. Or at least that it is the way it seems to be here in Miami (and in most of the larger cities I have visited.)

Bravo for how you actually handled it. You were FAR NICER than I would have been.

PsychoToddler said...

This is NY, and you have a car, right?

Vote with your $$.

Tell your friends to do the same.

Jack's Shack said...

I am with Ezzie.

SaraK said...

I'm pretty sure I know what store you are talking about and I could totally see that happening. But their prices are WAY lower than the other area stores, so I keep going back there.

Ezzie, I guess I should check out Main Glatt.

Ezzie said...

Oh, I keep hearing *everyone* complaining about this story the past couple of days. Guess you're not the only one...!

RaggedyMom said...

Ezzie - Me neither! I haven't been in there since they made the changes - but I hear it is worth a visit.

Mother in Israel - I still can't get over the audacity of putting up that sign!

Hila - I am so paranoid at Pathmark with those rotating bag things! After the effort of shopping, I feel like I had better shlep home the right stuff!

Mother of Israel - Anytime:) It still makes me laugh that people ask me for recipes sometimes since I was the kid who almost burned the house down making microwave popcorn!

SWFM - Thanks. Wouldn't it be nice if things always went well? :)

Orieyenta - Try as I might to picture you being less nice in that situation, I just can't!

PT - You're right. What else can I say? The truth is I go there far less often than I used to. And the rare times I do only reinforce why I shouldn't bother.

Jack - Do you mean in terms of your thinking or location? Or in terms of your positive feelings about Cleveland? :)

SaraK - You hit the nail on the head about the prices. Though these days, I do sometimes shop at another more expensive place where it seems like all of the workers are specifically instructed to be gracious and friendly. It really shows. And sometimes, it is worth an extra $3 or so.

Ezzie - What are people complaining about? The cart barrier or the no double bagging? I really need to start a neighborhood kvetcher blog so all of these people you're hearing and I can get together and vent! :)

Ezzie said...

I think mostly the barrier, but everyone's always complained about the bagging (or lack thereof). Speaking of, Serach was so happy that Main Glatt double-bagged everything. :)

table nine said...

I was so confused when I saw that sign at the fish counter. Was it sarcasm? A veiled threat? A purim spoof? Who knows. What I do know is that never will be too soon for me to step in that establishment again. I don't need to be wished "Good Shabbos" on Monday, or shlep 2 blocks back with an obviously contraband shopping cart.

I'm with all who recommend the new Main Glatt. Its pleasant and now cleaner than before, but sometimes its variety leaves something to be desired. I'm always a fan of Supersol (excluding the creepy deli man - GAAAAH!), but the prices are the only turn-off. Ah dilemmas, dilemmas...

Ezzie said...

TN - You're also in the 'hood? Cool...

Maybe the more people frequent Main Glatt (and mention those issues), it will get the variety? That'd be awesome. :)

Juggling Frogs said...

I don't get it. How could you *not* continue to shop there? It's such a great source of blog fodder!