Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meltdown on aisle 5!!! (a loooong rant)

Because I have particular tastes in some of my food, I go to several different grocery stores. For example, I drive 15 minutes out of my way to buy my favorite yogurt, Yoplait Cinnamon Bun. I went to that store last night, after an exhausting day at work, to replenish my yogurt supply. It starts out uneventfully. I fill my carrier with yogurt (and some nice muscatel grapes) and head to the checkout.

The saga begins...
At the Express checkout there appears to be only one person in front of me. I'm not paying much attention as I dump my food on the conveyor. But when I glance over to my fellow shopper, my heart sinks. A large, hard looking woman stands in front of me with just one 2 liter bottle of soda--but further ahead, lined up, are multiple shopping carts filled with bottles of soda. Apparently a stock boy is retrieving many more sodas of this type for her. With the authority of a sergeant she informs the cashier that 50 bottles will not be enough, she needs around 70.

Why is she in the express lane? Aren't there usually reasonable limits on quantity during sales? Why are all the other checkout lines so long? I have lots of time to ponder these questions as we wait for the stock boy to come with more bottles. I leaf through magazines. Meanwhile, the Coke lady insists that the bottles in the carts be recounted as she fears she will be overcharged.

The stock boy from the back room appears with a cart filled with the rest of the bottles in boxes. The cashier starts ringing up the order, the boy is packing the bottles and I feel hopeful I will be able to check out my grape and yogurts. The credit card is swiped and the request for signature is on the LCD panel. Almost home!

Then, the Coke lady pauses over the LCD panel and says, "So I will come back in the morning and buy more at the same price." The cashier -- all of 17 years old, by my estimate -- explains that sale prices change on Thursdays and are set by the Coke company. The Coke lady puts down her pen and says firmly, "Then we need to come to an arrangement." The young cashier is out of her depth, and starts to look around for backup. The shoppers in line behind me start to look for other lines.

Abort or continue?
I initially thought the Coke lady was having a party (wedding?), but at this point I suspect she is intending to resell the products elsewhere. I have now waited a full ten minutes with my yogurts and grapes. Damp from the 97 degree weather and crabby from lack of sleep, I step forward and insert myself into the mix...

Me: "Hi. Can you finish this transaction so that I can check out? A signature is all that's needed."

Coke lady: "I'm not finished. If you don't want to wait, you can go to another line."

Me: (wearily, to the cashier): "Do I need to change lines?"

Cashier: (nodding, looking like she desires death) "I'm so sorry.

Me: (gazing fondly, regretfully at my rare and wonderful yogurt): "I'm sorry, I won't be buying this."

Catching the stock boy's eye, I ask if he can take return the products to the shelves. "Sure, sunshine!" he responds brightly. Typical smartass high school kid, he is delighted with the whole scene. Better than TV.

I have not been this angry in a long time. My proper Midwestern upbringing fails me. I turn to the Coke lady and give her my signature border collie look. This look scares small children.

Me (calmly but emphatically): "This is very inconsiderate. Checkout lines are to pay for things. If you don't like the set price, you should go to Customer Service."

Coke lady does not seem to register any emotion, good or bad. I left.

I stopped at a 7-11 on the way home and got crappy, unfun yogurt. As I sat on the couch and spooned my yogurt out of the tub, I mentally composed my scathing letter to the store. But then... What good's a letter going to do? What will it change? Who will care?

Eh. I'll just blog it...


  1. I filled out a comment card once due to a very rude cashier and got free groceries my next trip - might be worth letting the store manager know, especially if you shop there regularly.

  2. People who are controlling bitches are as mean to themselves as everyone else. So crazy coke lady makes her own punishment.
    Still, the grocery should have had back-up to handle crazy coke lady.
    Blame it on all that high fructose corn syrup.

  3. I hate when that happens, and it happens too many times...well, maybe not to that point.
    I stuck up for a cashier once that reminded a person in front of me (that had more than twice the 10 item limit) that this was the express line. The customer got really nasty with her, and I stepped in and said to this customer that the cashier was quite correct, and had been very courteous in her admonishment, and it would behoove her to treat the cashier with the same respect that the cashier had shown her...she took her receipt and stomped out. Amazing that people think they are so entitled! (Sorry about your yogurt--I go to different grocery stores and specialty shops to purchase just what I want too, and I know how important it is to get it!)

  4. Undeserved sense of entitlement... or angry bitch... whatever you feel like thinking at the time.

    Personally, I do not understand why people think their time is so much more important than mine (or yours...). Ugh...

    Love on your horses. Even on their worst day, they aren't nearly as angry or pushy as that woman was.

  5. You've got a right to be grumpy, but your story was very entertainly told!

  6. It's not the cashier's fault. Most likely, they've been ordered by spineless management to cater to this woman, or risk getting fired. So much in retail is about reducing customer complaints. This woman might even decide to complain about the cashier just for you talking to her.

    Frankly, what I would do, is write a positive letter, about what you felt the staff handled well. It would carry a LOT more weight if you describe this woman's awful behavior, and what a shame it is that they have to deal with such assholes.

    A compliment to the store can do a LOT to outweigh another customer's complaint.


  7. I think they do it because they think they can intimidate an inexperienced teenager, and it's pretty easy to do so. When I worked last summer at H-E-B there was one lady who insisted that I lower the price because she found it lower at WalMart. I told the lady, and I thought it was politely matter-of-fact, that I not entitled to make those changes and that she needed to talk to customer service. But she insisted that because she had the coupon paper she could do it right here right now, and I told her the same thing again. She went into a screaming tissy and told me to just keep the *bleep*ing ad and show it to customer service myself and then she stormed out. I was quite amused as I thought her fit didn't accomplish much of anything.

    There are strange people out there.

    Sorry you got the crappy yogurt. Totally understand when you have to have a certain brand of something. It is very important!!!

  8. What part of "express lane" was confusing to her?

    Definitely let the manager know. They need to be more on the ball than that.

  9. Glad to hear I'm not the only person who shops at multiple stores to get certain items!
    Good on ya for telling that woman that she had no business doing that in the express lane. Very admirable.

  10. Reading this gave me a hot flash.

  11. I totally pitied the cashier, kept wondering where the MANAGER was so this tyrant could be reined in. I didn't put this in the blog, but she was in a sari and had a thick, hard to understand accent. I cut her tons of slack in the beginning thinking maybe it was a cultural thing (she didn't know how to swipe her credit card), but as I saw more of the interaction I figured there are just bullies in every culture.

  12. You said the exact right thing to that lady! I hope it made you feel a little better that at least you spoke up. But I'm sad that you didn't get your special yogurt.

    ps: Whoa! My badge! That's very cool.

  13. I'd have gone nucking futs on her (inconsiderate b***ch the "Coke Lady"), I'm 99.9 % of the time a really passive and non-confrontational type of person, but this kind of behavior sends me into the Twilight Zone. Totally unacceptable! The thing is that they are bullies, she knew that young cashier wasn't going to say anything and probably read you as someone quite the same (no disrespect intended), but say a person with whom she would have thought twice about putting in that situation ( a large black AA woman or man {I'm AA, so no racial stereotyping intended, just being real} I bet she would not have pulled that sh*t!

    On a second and more happy note, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! I have a 4 year old Connemara TB cross that I event and your blog just makes me smile everyday! Great writing!! C-ya!

  14. I shop at different markets for different foods too, so I feel for ya. The cashier should have passed that harpy on to a manager the moment she asked for more cokes to be brought up. Either inexperience, or poor management and training.

  15. Again, the cashier might have been told specifically by the manager to not bother them, and just "please the customer". The fact that one was nowhere to be found is a HUGE indicator of such a fact.

    Some people use their ethnicity to pull the race card. Sounds like this woman was doing that too. Definately talk to management, but again, focus on what the poor girl did right. If that other woman complained and got something put into the cashier's file (and most complaints/compliments made to corporate are), your story will counteract that.


  16. Oh, yeah, the more than 10 items in the 10 items lane.

    ONCE when I was in the supermarket, a customer with a full cart got into the express lane. A second later, one of the cashiers very firmly insisted he go into another lane. "This is for people with ten items or less. You cannot check out with that much here."

    Wow! Made my day. Almost as good as the lifeguards at the pool chasing the non-swimmers from the marked lap lanes.

  17. And when the people sitting on gym equipment and talking for 45 minutes are told to move by the management!

  18. Ugh. What is it about shopping and women who cannot control themselves?

    I once had a woman ram me with her cart while I was standing in line because she was in a hurry, and the cashier was taking "too long" ringing up my stuff. How was I supposed to control that? What the heck!?!

    I'm 5'2" on a good day, but I drew myself up to my full, towering height, and, filled with quivering rage, I said as loudly as possible, "Did you just RAM ME WITH YOUR CART?" Everyone turned to look, and I felt completely vindicated at that moment. She actually said somewhat meekly, "Sorry, it was an accident." And I hissed, "No. I don't think so. I think you did it deliberately," and then I turned away and finished my transaction.

    As my grandmother, a woman of impeccable and correct manners (she was a terrible social striver), always said, "There are some kinds of rudeness that cannot be acknowledged, and there are some that must be noticed once and dismissed forever."

    I'm glad you actually said something to the Coke Lady. There's no call for that kind of bullying behavior, nor is there call for inconveniencing so many people.

  19. I'm a teenager and while I've never worked at a grocery store (I prefer the barn). According to my friends people come to the store all the time and buy mass amounts of brand name products to try and sell them.

    My friend had to miss district 9 in order to attend a mandatory "seminar" on how to handle situations like that.

    And Cinnamon Bun yogurt? Really? I must find some of that!


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