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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Grocery Store Frustrations

I shop mostly at one grocery store.  They have the most extensive variety and the best quality (until you get to organic stores where broccoli is $9/lb).  But it has a few habits that drive me crazy. 

The first is minor.  They offer strawberries at $3/lb at the front of the store and $4/per 2lbs further back.  I can deal with that trickery.  I just leave my 1lb container among the 2lb containers so they know I switched.  Minor sneakiness...

Another habit is mixing up produce.  They have Granny Smith apples labeled Yellow Delicious (They suppose any apple that isn't red must be "yellow"?) .  The parsnips were labelled "rutabagas" today.  The individual bags of fresh spinach, collards, kale, and cut cabbage were are labelled "collards at $3lb even they they were actually 3 different prices. 

Worse, when you can FIND a produce clerk and ask a question, they always have to take a sample back the storage area to check.  It's because they don't know what the produce is and have to ask the Produce Manager.  Most of them have never eaten half the stuff they sell. 

The worst habit is lack of pricing labels.  It drives me crazy!  I go to the store with a list, but I'm always open to good deals.  Conversely, if what I have on my list is expensive, I'll change.  I like almost all veggies and fruits, so I can shift.

More than once, I have found the actual Produce Manager out on the floor and led him in a brief tour of all the several above errors.  I suppose I am annoying...

Today it got seriously annoying.  I like yellow peaches over white ones.  Yellow ones separate from the pit easily and are sweeter.  The bin had 2 shelves and one label marked "yellow peaches". $2/lb  One shelf had smaller riper peaches than the other shelf.  I chose mostly those, but there were a few larger ones that seemed ripe, too.  I also bought some plums.

At checkout, I watch the register display carefully.  The clerks punch in the product codes from memory (and they are quite good at it but not infallible.  When there is an error, the price is usually the same and I don't care.  Sometimes it is computer errors back at the programming center.  If THEY somehow call item #4043 white peaches instead of yellow peaches I don't care if the price is right.

But today was weird.  I bought a bag of peaches and a bag of plums.  As I pushed the cart away, I noticed the receipt said I had plums, peaches and nectarines.  So I pointed that out the the cashier.  What followed was 15 minutes of confusion...

Taking the plums out of the picture, I was charged twice for my peaches.  Seems straightforward, but they were different weights and prices.  Well, the cashier had been having a problem with the scale.

We finally figured out (to the extreme annoyance of the other people waiting in line) that my bag of peaches had both yellow and white peaches (from a single bin that had 2 shelves and only one label).

I know this cashier. She is a very nice friendly and helpful person.  But she is easily confused by problems. 

I suggested the easiest way to resolve the confusion.  Refund me for the nectarine charge, refund me for the mixed bag of yellow and white peaches, and I would just go buy another bag of all-yellow peaches (now knowing the product code) and I would pay for them separately in an express line.  She said she could do the refund action easily.  Nope! 

That was too confusing...  She had to go to another cashier several times for every step.  (Where was the cashier manager?")

If the glares from the customers behind me in line could kill, I would not be writing this post now...

It eventually all got sorted out and fixed.  But the whole problem was created because the Produce people can't manage to keep their produce labelled!

And there is an afternote:  I had 4 cloth shopping bags.  2 are cheap store crap.  2 were cherished handmade gifts from a deceased sister.  I know I had them in my cart when I went in the store.  One was missing at the checkout.  Someone snatched one the the bags while I was shopping...  The service desk said none were turned in but I will check again next time. 


Megan said...

I hear ya, Mark. It doesn't seem like it should be too hard, does it? Like telling the staff at our local supermarket that when they unpack ripe mangoes, they shouldn't THROW them onto the display. I kid you not!

I don't think that many fruit or vegetables can be thrown and expect to remain in top condition - perhaps onions? But definitely not mangoes.

Sydney, Australia

Megan said...

PS. I use the self-serve checkout and at least I can avoid the hassles of dealing with the checkout chicks.

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

I tell the cashier not to throw bags of fruits as I chose unbruised ones and want to keep it that way. I also make them put raw meats into separate plastic bags. They don't understand why. *sigh*

I don't use the self-checkout because there are simply too many fresh veggies and fruits and that takes time more time than at the cashier checkout. I like the concept though. I use it at the hardware store where everything has a barcode.

Just Ducky said...

Which is why I have gotten to the point where I buy my fruits and vegetables at a smaller local chain. They have better quality, handle the items properly and the prices are competitive.

I no longer get peaches that are mealy or never ripen. I have enough variety and can buy in small quantities too. They willingly break up larger packages.

Large chain stores, I might get bananas, carrots, celery, but otherwise, I just walk right on through the produce section. Get the staple items that are on sale and out the door.

Bummed that you lost a nice shopping bag. I usually can get by with my three heavy canvas bags. And my store know enough to put raw meat in its own bag.