I hate to publicize the possibility that I'm this type of person. But hey, it makes a good blog story.
I started shopping at a cheaper grocery store recently. The type of store that doesn't online shop for you and, quite honestly, treats you like you're cheap. But it's seriously pretty, clean and it's been saving me $40-50 a trip, so I wasn't minding the sub-par service.
I ran to the store at about 10:30 p.m. the other night to grab groceries. It's easier for me to shop by myself when we're settled for the night; Matt's in the house with Carter, we've eaten and there's nothing left to do but sleep and poke at the internet.
I walked in thinking they were open 24 hours - but seeing the emptiness, I made myself go ask a (staring) cashier what time they closed. 11 p.m. That gave me exactly 25 minutes to grab as much cheap nutrition off my list as I could.
Up and down the aisles, I felt the eyes of the young, wantingtogohome employees on me. At around 10:50 p.m., I heard this announcement: The store will be closing in 10 minutes, please make your final selections before you check out. Awesome. That's plenty of time. I started to beeline to the produce because I'd forgotten Carter's apples when I found that same checkout girl in my path.
You need to come check out now, she said.
Immediately, I was offended. 1. Being told what to do. And by someone younger than me. I dunno, it felt wrong. 2. I thought I had 10 minutes. 3. Am I being hassled? Seriously?
It took everything I had to comply with an Okay. I wheeled over to the checkout lane and asked her if I could go grab some bread really quickly while she started to ring up my cart.
She told me no.
But not just no. I had to use the self-checkout, too. In disbelief, I stood. Man, I needed those hamburger buns. I grabbed my purse, stranded my cart and went to get my bread anyway. I came back and started ringing up my cart full of items. Quickly - because they were blatantly rushing me. Slowly - because I'm not a cashier. It takes me forever to find the bar codes and individually weigh my vegetables. By now, I was mad. I couldn't help slamming the products into bags and the loud, heavy sighs rolling out of my mouth. Two employees stood, arms crossed, 5 feet away, watching me. Another one was turning off lights and locking doors. Twenty minutes later, I finished ringing, bagging and paying myself in the silence. Without a single offer of assurance or help, only impatient eyes.
After I put my groceries in the car, I didn't bother with the cart. I figured leaving it sitting behind my car was the least vengeance I could get. And since there weren't any other cars in the lot, no harm done. I smiled a little to myself when the cart started rolling downhill. I got in the car, turned on the engine and saw one of the employees sprinting after it. Good.
I wanted to talk myself out of the idea that I was acting like a spoiled brat; that people don't normally get offended when you have to do work for yourself. But here's the rationale I came up with. A business that takes our money - no matter what kind - should want to make its customers feel welcome, want to help them, and hire people as such. The last thing it should do is rush them to leave the store and make them feel insignificant and unwanted.
When I got home, I went to their national web site and wrote the guys in charge an email about this service. I added something along the lines about how saving money wasn't worth being treated that way.
Today a woman from the store called me. She asked me what happened, and I found actually having to tell the story had me foolishly pulling from the vocabulary of a tattling first grader. Voice quivering, hands shaking. Not because I thought I was wrong; I guess it was embarrassing to be a complainer when there are so many more significant things in the world than a housewife who had to ring up her own cart of groceries. Regardless, I got an apology, and she agreed I shouldn't have been treated that way. She told me a gift card (no idea how much) would be waiting for me at the store, should I choose to come back.
I'm sending Carter inside to get it for me. Nobody could ever be mean to him.