Monday, February 09, 2009

Grocery Shopping

Dear Market Basket,

Just last week I was cursing DHL as a horrible, terrible company to do business with. But, stunningly, you have far surpassed them. Quite possibly far surpassed EVERY SINGLE COMPANY I HAVE EVER DONE BUSINESS WITH, actually.

I have friends who swear by you and your low prices and so, with a spirit of adventure and a touch of cabin fever I took my daughter food shopping with me. It was probably not the wisest time to go...four thirty on a Saturday afternoon...but I thought, how bad could it possibly be?

I was forgetting two things. One, I hate crowds. Two, I hate crowds of stupid people.

The collective IQ of the shoppers in your store on Saturday? Couldn't be much above, oh I don't know, 36? 42? And there was no freaking shortage of people. Literally, we walked in and my daughter and I just pulled off to the side (1. to grab some bread - which BTW had a hole in the bag and was stale good thing I had to put it back; 2. to gasp at the amount of people vying for space in your dairy section; 3. try to navigate around the bins that are so conventiently placed in front of the doors). Did I see the customer service window at this time? No, I did not. I was, instead, focused on the serpentine route to the cheese.

So, with a spirit of resolve, we set out. My girl? She couldn't walk next to me and chat...there was no room for that. She had to walk in front of me (not behind me and out of sight...far too many people, many of them unwashed.) so there wasn't any chatting just "honey, stop...I've got to get yogurt". Plus, apparently this was PRIME FREAKING TIME for your employees to be restocking the shelves. They clogged the aisles with carts chock full of boxes. You couldn't see around them and couldn't reach around them to get what you needed. Waffles? Fail.

Also, deli? Fail. I will not wait for twenty people to order before I can buy some cheese and a half pound of lunch meat. Do you have the cutesy little pre-order thing like Stop n Shop? Where I can order on the computer in the store and then stop by on my way out? Oh, rest do not.

Some of the middle aisles? Not too bad. I could actually see the low prices that my friends rave about and accordingly, I filled my cart. Again, though, we reach the other end of the store and it's FULL. We could barely navigate the cart in and out of the fruits and vegetables. But we persevered! And I only had to wait 2 and a half minutes for someone to get out of my way so that I could buy hamburger. Which, I would've loved to have gone home without - but the prices, so low, like a siren song....and so I waited.

Did I mention the free cookies? Well, in the little bakery section they put up a tin of cookies...for your munching pleasure. I spy them, let the girlie know and we try to make it over there. Now, I'll tell you...this was a HELLACIOUS trip for an eight year old. Tons of people, most of them mannerless...I thought, hurray - you've been vindicated with free cookies.

But that wasn't to be. A fiftyish lady, decides that she can move her cart faster and she literally cuts us off at the cookie counter taking the Last Freaking Cookie. Last one. She hears my daughter cry foul and she looks at us and takes a bite. Eye contact and everything. I may have made a snide remark in her direction...something along the lines of "oh, NICE" but I was thinking "You freaking lunatic, you make me stop my cart short because you zoom in front of me and then you look at my daughter as you hear her say "There's no more??" and you take a BITE? BITCH!"

The only good decision I made while at Market Basket? Not heading straight to the checkout line but instead locating the customer service window (tucked helpfully in a corner behind bins of food) to see if I needed a check cashing card before writing a check.

And pray tell, I DID need a check cashing card. And guess when I'll get it? 4-6 weeks. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I was told that I could indeed write a check...for $75.00 worth of groceries. Which, I had probably triple that amount in my cart.

My first reaction was to laugh, kindly because he must be kidding. Seriously, $75.00? At other stores you can just write a check -no cards necessary. Seriously? $75.00?

Then your helpful employee asks if I do 'telephone banking' to which I reply "WHAT? On the phone?" But what I'm thinking is more like "Is it 1995 back behind that customer service desk? Telephone banking?"

He proceeds to half ass explain to me about calling my bank to get a larger check approved. Which I completly misunderstand because five minutes later he's asking me, again about telephone banking and telling me that he tried to access my account but he needed the PIN number and would I just give that to him? To which I laughed at him and told him to just approve the $75.00 check. My girl, gamely goes and gets me a spare cart and I proceed to unload everything but $66.00 worth of groceries into it. Including the stale bread.

Your helpful employee tells me that my card will arrive in 4-6 weeks (speedy! Some stores give them out that day! Is it 1990 back there?) and that next time I come I should just stop by the service desk first.

My response? "Kind of presumptious to think there WILL be a next time"

I spent far too much time in that store. Comparing prices and finding groceries that I needed. Well, actually, that I still NEED as I couldn't really buy them. My husband told me that I should've just left everything and walked out. Which, I guess I could've but 1. Our dinner was in that cart; 2. The next day's dinner was in that cart (scheduled to be in the crockpot by 8 a.m.; 3. Those freaking prices...they are low. Asparagus? $1.69!

And so, with that...I still hate you, Market Basket. Are you busy next Sunday at 7 a.m.?


Anonymous said...

Jenny, I hear you. BOY do I hear you. And don't be fooled by the low priced produce. Cheaper strawberries are great until you get home and realize only the outside ones weren't moldy and wonder how they are able to pull that on you every single time. I don't understand the shelf stocking thing either because I shop there regularly and it is always the case. Don't most places do it at night? Worst time to go, besides the weekend, which you learned, is the beginning/end of the month, whenever all of the oldies get their checks and go out to buy their singular bananas.

But the prices ARE good and some Market Baskets' are better than others. Lastly, a joke at your expense: Writing a check? Is it 1995 where you live :-) Debit is the wave of the future!


Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've been told to check out Market Basket but not on the weekends or with kids. I still haven't worked up the courage to face the crowds. And, I will NEVER ever wait 1/2 hour for deli cheese. If there is a long line, I take a number and keep shopping. Usually, when I head back, I'm only 1-2 people behind. Or, it's just not worth it.

I hope that woman found a hair in her cookie.

Mig said...

I probably forgot to mention, I never EVER do the deli. The veggie and fruit section is always a zoo. The baby sits in the cart so I completely missed the boat on cueing you in with that one. I have yet to see it not crowded and smelly, but I am there Saturday AM when they are restocking AND women are chatting on both sides of the isle. This is my 10th or 12th time, I think I am now immune or just not surprised by any of it anymore.

BUT I save lots of $$ and use my debit card.

Don't give up hope. Now you know what to expect and maybe next time you will actually beat the woman to the last cookie and get to glare at her while your girl, eats it.

One can always hope right? ;-)

Jennifer said...

I know I would have left everything and walk right out. I hate shopping like that.

yeah? Don't you have debit?

Mig said...

Dear JennyJ:

It is time for you to put up a new post, this one is very bad for our business.

Thank you.
Market Basket Management Team

Catsteevens said...

About the free cookie thing - the last time I was at our local grocery store and they ran out of free cookies, the bakery lady went over and opened some pre-packaged baked cookies and gave one to my son. I thought it was very nice of her to do this....maybe Market Basket should take note. They seem to have some serious customer care issues.

And agreeing with Mig.....
I fear you have been sucked into the world of Facebook - like the rest of the blogger population. Not that I'm one to talk....I just posted again for the first time in months!!!

But I have an excuse ;) I had a baby :D

Mig said...

Is this where old blogs go to die?
Just wondering,

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Dan said...

Do you have Aldi where you live? Great prices and an unusually intense attention to customers despite sparse staffing. In fact, customer service is such a passion there that customer complaints or letters receive a personal phone call from the district manager. Sorry if i sound like a commercial! :-)