Friday, May 25, 2007

A quick rant

So I go to the grocery store this week. I'll freely confess that I've been hating on our local grocery store for some time now. It used to be owned by a local family and it was superlative, as far as supermarkets go: spotless, great produce and meats, all kinds of unusual products from small makers, friendly staff. Then the family sold it to a huge national supermarket chain, and the chain promptly ruined it. It's filthy (instead of asking me if I need help carrying a loaf of bread to the car, could they mop the frickin' floor?!), they discontinued most of the interesting stuff to substitute Safeway generic crap instead, they have the place crowded with junk like plastic lawn chairs and ugly stuffed animals, and -- more to the point of this rant -- they let go of most of the friendly staff and hired really bizarre people.

I'm in line, and the bagboy (okay, he's really a bagman -- at least fifty years old if he's a day) starts talking about the Radnor Trail. The Radnor Trail is a brilliant and wonderful thing: the township purchased the land and rights-of-way to an old, unused railroad track, removed the rails, paved and landscaped it, and turned it into a recreational trail for bikers and walkers. So in the interest of making chitchat, I say something about how much I love the Radnor Trail.

Big mistake.

The bagboy starts freaking out, saying things like "Are you crazy?! How could anyone say the trail is great?" I laughed nervously, and he said "What are you laughing at? It's not funny! Oh, sure, part of it is okay but have you ever seen the upper part? It's all fences, like a cattle chute! It's worse than Auschwitz!"

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that likening a recreational bike trail to a Nazi concentration camp is an inapt (and inept) comparison.

Plus he put all my groceries in plastic instead of paper, and the orange juice bottle smooshed my bread.

26 comments:

mindy said...

Oh, I'm sorry. We had a wonderful small grocery store here, too- reminded me of the one I used to walk to with my grandparents in their small town. Then Food Lion came in (couldn't have been something good like Wegmans, could it?) and they're out of business.

That'll teach you to try to be friendly to bagman/boy. (and I can't even think of anything to say about the concentration camp comparison- that's just beyond comprehension)

terri said...

Kroger Corp. took over my neighborhood supermarket a few years ago and now I really don't like it. One week an item is there, the next week it's not there. You never know what in hell is going to be on the shelf. I feel your pain.

Aponia said...

I think any land that is used for a recreation area as opposed to suburban housing is a great idea.

But I guess I'm just a crazy hippie!!

I bet that bag man also shakes his fist and tells kids to get off his lawn too!

Krista M said...

Oh, ugh. I hate, hate, hate it when folks talk about something (seemingly) for the sole purpose of casting judgement on your opinion. You wouldn't have been able to say the right thing to that loser even if you'd repeated everything he said right back to him. He'd still have an argument. Jack-a-lope.

Kathy Merrick said...

My former New Hope li'l grocery store has become a feh ptooey Super Fresh.
They only gave 20% of the former employees jobs in the new store.
At a greatly reduced salary and with fewer hours so they needn't pay benefits, of course.
Bit by bit, all of the choices disappear, so that after a while all you're left with is the "America's Choice" brand.
No no choice at all.
The former workers are replaced by retirees who are instructed to torture you every single time you come in with "do you have our value card?" "do you have our credit card?" "do you realize what you're missing by not having our super special whatever cards?"
EVERY SINGLE TIME you approach a cashier.
Whole Foods is too expensive to shop in every trip and Trader Joe's has sucky produce but boy, oh boy, do they not torture you with their special value crap that serves you nothing but even more junk email.

Am I a bitter hater?
Why, yes, thanks.

Barb B. said...

Personally I call the super size whacko grocery stores "The Stupid Store". I feel for ya!
I always try to shop in the little stores to help keep them going, but it doesn't always work.

Of course, the wages they pay, who can they get to work for them?

Hey Kathy, when they ask me if I have their credit card, I open my eyes really really wide (kind of show the whites all around) lick my lips a lot and say "you're gonna give me a card? My bank took away my card. Sears took my card. American express.." etc etc. They leave me alone mostly.
Barb B

Sherry W said...

I wonder if you ran into a community zealot. You know, the people who are just a *little* too involved with the neighborhood boards, commitees etc. Maybe he has been fighting 'city hall' to improve the gates on the trail for years, and it's become his purpose in life.

Carol said...

I try to frequent the co-ops, farmer's markets & grow my own for just that reason. Oh, and being anti-corporation too. Even if this guy has been fighting to improve the trail, likening it to concentration camps is just not on.

Deborah C. said...

I've had the same experience - the Stop & Shop in my neighborhood now no longer carries the interesting and useful stuff they used to. Trader Joe's has better stuff, and thank goodness for Fairway! They have unbelieveable stuff and good sales. No wonder my family calls the supermarket the "stupid-market" ... By the way, you are so BAD for my checkbook - another 2 skeins of Black Bunny sock yarn is coming my way!

Sarah said...

WoW! Talk about a bagful of wrong.

anne marie in philly said...

AND after safeway took over genuardi's, they rearranged the whole store so you couldn't find anything, jacked up the prices, put in crap you don't need, and generally had bad attitudes to boot.

I now shop at redner's, an employee-owned market that tries to buy from local processors, has friendly and helpful staff, and has super low prices.

safeway can kiss my ass!

Carol said...

Their damn club cards drive me crazy. They raised all the prices, then if you have their card, you get a "discount" which isn't really a discount, it's just the normal price things should be. Ptooey. You said, Anne Marie.

Bridget said...

I think that in general, it's getting harder and harder to find groceries anymore in a grocery stores, forget pleasant employees!

(Ask me sometime about my counterattack on another customer who accused me of trying to get ahead of him in line ... it's one of my proudest moments.)

Anonymous said...

Oh dear - perhaps he's frustrated in his job etc. and his anger is channelling itself into totally inappropriate ways? No excuse though.

Rabbitch said...

I feel your pain. Went down to the Wal-Mart yesterday. Good god. I feel a rant of my own coming on. (clearly you are my role model).

Cal said...

"...worse than Auschwitz..." makes my brain creak!

But I'm so glad it's not just me that gets the crazies in the supermarket. I've been berated for not buying healthy foods by a cashier and been trapped at the dry cleaners after I assured her that I worked with textiles and wasn't going to sue if something shrank. This led to a 20 minute tirade on IKEA's fabric pricing policy...

Ted said...

We 're having the same kind of things happening here in Canada. The grocery store chains are feeling the pinch from Wallyworld, and are doing things to keep market share: larger selection of non-foodstuff items; attempts to keep lower prices, often through increasing the hiring of part-time staff and wage rollbacks. Some of those staff, BTW, work at those jobs because --while they'd rather be elsewhere-- it's what they can get given the economy and labour market demands of the geographic region.

Many stores have "loyalty" cards of some kind, so yes, you do get asked about them. That's part of the cashier's job.

Bigger isn't always better for the consumer.

Carrie said...

Wow, what a nutty bagger. Why do baggers think they can share strong opinions with us? What happened to courtesy and have a nice day? And smooshed break sux, and merits a phone call, even if to a generic corporation. There's got to be a human in there somewhere. [=/

Ilana said...

Huh. At my Genuardi's, the baggers don't say a word to you - they don't even make eye contact. Now, the fact that they don't speak to you doesn't mean they don't talk. I have heard some scandalous conversations between cashier and bagger, the kind that would make me blush, if I were the sort of person who blushed. I think I know which Genuardi's you're talking about, and there seem to be a lot of retirees working there, and they do like to make with the opinionated chit chat. But I've never had one liken nature to a concentration camp.

And the club card? Pretty much just a way to Big Brother your purchasing from your friends at Creepy Corp.

M-H said...

Our neighbourhood frevegetable and fresh food store was gutted by fire over Easter! So now I have to go to the supermarket, park, and hobble bloody miles just to get a pint of milk. Good news is that there has been a shopfitting company at the building for a few days, and a big sign appeared on Friday announcing 'Opening soon'. Hope it is really soon.

Beth said...

I hate all of that non-food crap in the isles. I mean really, who buys their patio furniture at the grocery store? I guess somebody must. Remember the days when there was a store for each different category? Those were the days. I'm sick of Super Walmart and I cried the day that Target added food :-(

Ann said...

I think it's time for a little disapproving bunnies action at that store.

SparkCrafted said...

RIP, Genuardis. I agree with the mop-the-floor-don't-offer-assistance-with-my -one-bag-of-groceries.

Still, near me, the Genuardis is loads better than the Acme and ShopRite....

Kathy Merrick said...

Or the Big Unfriendly Giant,

Diane said...

Why anyone would want to see unused railroad tracks in disrepair over a nicely paved trail for fitness is beyond me. In CT we have quite a few which are referred to as "Rails to Trails".

Beth said...

OMG! I have my own anti-Safeway story! In the interest of "progress" they took over property that was being used for one of those fabulous lower price movie theaters. My kids and I went there constantly - and the tickets were $3 each, yes that is right $3, and on Tuesdays they were only $2! Such a deal! There is plenty of other land here that could be used for yet another strip mall - but no they had to take my movie theater! Supposedly the theater was going to try to find another location and reopen - but it has been 2 years now and I don't look good in blue from holding my breath. Plus, there were about 20 each full grown, beautiful mature trees lining both sides of the street. They actually chopped down all those trees and replaced them with the ugliest stick palms you have ever seen and these giant cement balls. Not even nice looking balls mind you, just big cement colored balls. I have told all my friends not to even bother asking me to go into Safeway for any reason. I will not shop there. If nuclear war hits -- and I should survive -- and Safeway is the only grocery store left standing -- I will grow my own vegetables in the back yard in radioactive soil before I shop there! I shop at Nob Hill - which sounds kind of snooty but they are the cream of the crop as far as grocery stores go! The store is so clean and well stocked, the customer service is to die for - they always ask you if you found everything you wanted and if you mention something, they will stop everything and call someone in back to see if they can locate it for you! They take your groceries out to the car for you - which I have to say I LOVE! And I also know that they pay their employees a decent wage and I feel good about buying reasonably priced groceries not at the expense of slave labor! I only hope that Safeway doesn't put them out of business. My friends tell me that Safeway prices are ridiculously higher - like at least 50 cents higher for most things! Maybe this will be enough to save my beloved Nob Hill! When I saw a photo of the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on the front page of the local paper I wanted to spit on it and our mayor who is just plain ruining our charming city with ridiculous growth all at once - 2000 new homes in the next couple of years! Ugh! You shouldn't have gotten me started!

As far as the crabby bagger (a comparison to Auchwitz for Pete's sake!!!), he was probably a hobo riding those exact rails before he starting his illustrious career in grocery bagging! One woman's lovely trail, is another man's longing for the nostalgic good old days of warming his hands above a burning barrel and jumping on moving trains to get from place to place! LOL!