A Grump About Grocery Shopping

Like everyone I have to shop for groceries and I suspect I’m like most people I simply don’t enjoy it.  I particularly don’t enjoy rude or even indifferent shop assistants.

Today I gave one a small lesson on customer service.

I shop at Aldi. For quite some time though I haven’t been happy with it’s customer service. Mind you I’m not totally happy with Safeways or Coles customer service either and as we only have three supermarkets in town I’m pretty stuck with where I shop.

I’m in Aldi. The shop is reasonably busy and by the time I get to the checkouts there are at least 10 people in line at one and they all had full trolleys.  The other checkout has one elderly gentleman who is in the process of paying for what he has purchased.

So what did I do you may ask?

I went to the checkout with the elderly gentleman and started to unload my groceries.  There was a register closed sign on the grocery belt but I did think that the Young Man (herein known as Dopey) would have noticed the long line on the other register and put my groceries through anyway.

Not so!!!!!

Dopey: “I’m Closed”

Me: “Sorry you are now open. There is a big line up at the other register and more people are heading this way so looks like you will be busy for a bit.”

Dopey:  “I have to close, she (the checkout girl on the other register) told me I have to close.”

Me:  “Well I can fix that for you.”

Me:  “Yoo hoo”, waving my hand at the girl on the other register, “This young man is now opening as there is a line up and more people are coming to pay for their groceries.”

Girl who looked at me and probably thought I wasn’t a woman to be trifled with, with a smile said: “No problems.”

I turned back to Dopey “Gosh looks like you might be here for a while.”

Less than five minutes later I was out at the car packing groceries.

Does it make me a bitch I wonder?  Well probably but having someone tell me that he was closed (without bothering to see how busy the other line was) really got to me.

So in hindsight do I regret what I did?  NO!!!!  Honestly I’m all for shopping locally but in return I expect fabulous customer service, to be greeted with a smile and made to feel welcome.  In return I’m more than happy to spend my hard earned dollars there.   There are a great many stores in my town where I get this kind of service. The ones I don’t – I simply don’t shop there.

I think the supermarkets have forgotten that part of the whole customer service mantra.  I believe that the supermarkets simply expect us to shop at their stores. They are working on the theory that we can’t buy those everyday items such as sugar, tea, flour, butter etc anywhere else.  I have news for them.  We can.

Just about anything can be bought online these days. Yes you will pay for postage/freight but that bit of money a person may spend more than makes up for the time spent standing in long checkout lines waiting for an indifferent person to serve you.   Shopping can be done at any time day or night and it’s easy to compare prices, brands etc.  Now while I’ll will admit you have to be more organised, especially if you are grocery shopping on line, I think it could have real advantages.  No more adding extra things to the shopping trolley just because. Knowing exactly how much you are spending and being able to juggle your shopping list so it fits your budget are real pluses in my view.  Of course there are down sides – but hey there are down sides in grocery shopping in the supermarket too.

I would love to see a return of those little corner grocery shops where you were treated as a valuable client and got a sit down while the grocer collected up your groceries – but those days are gone unfortunately.  Today it’s all about money and less about dealing with people.

So will I continue to shop at supermarkets?  I don’t have loads of choice although I will admit I’m going to start looking online more to see what else I can find.  There is also a wholesalers in town that sells to the public so it might be time to checkout more bulk buys in flour and sugar – even if it costs me slightly more.  I am starting to plant up the vegie garden tomorrow.  Garlic was purchased today and sweet corn seed and onion seedlings where planted on Saturday.  I am keeping an eye out for some cheap fencing as I want to section off parts of our garden and get some sheep for meat and I think more poultry will also be the order of the day.  If anyone knows where I can buy meat chickens in Victoria please let me know.

Ohh another quick rant.  I could not buy Australian garlic in the supermarkets today. I wanted just a bulb so I can plant the individual cloves and all I could buy was Mexican or Chinese Garlic.  Don’t we grow garlic anymore or is it only sold as Minced Garlic because that was all I could find that was Australian?

End of grump and now happy I have got that off my chest.

Cheerfully yours





9 thoughts on “A Grump About Grocery Shopping

  1. Isn’t it funny, but I get great customer service at our local Coles. The ladies know my name and ask about the kids.. and its a big supermarket too. Saying that, I spend about $700 a fornight there.. and that’s with a vegie garden

  2. We grow heaps of garlic in our garden and it lasts us all year.
    We are with the Diggers Club and thay have all sorts of garlic to buy.
    It’s worth looking into.

  3. We have the same problem with garlic as well most of it being from down south.

    Having been a cashier at a grocery store for 17 years I can sympathize with you. I’m wondering if the young lad was going on break, if so he should have remained open until the long line-ups were cleared. It’s also possible it was the end of his shift and he was told to close. Hopefully he would get paid for the extra time he put in but maybe not in which case I can understand why he wanted to close. It’s possible whoever was scheduled to replace him didn’t show up or maybe management shorted the staff.

    Seems a bit fishy that there was only two cashiers on to cover the store. If there were more then they should have been called to cash. Hard to know. There’s been many a time where I had to work a bit longer to get the lines down. Usually I got paid for it but then there were also times where I was told to close as well regardless of lineups.

    It usually comes down to a cost thing and management not putting on enough staff trying to save a buck but it results in poor customer service. I worked in one store where the company was bought out by another chain. They reduced the staff and it was nasty. Long lineups for the customers and it resulted in most of our customers leaving the store and the store shutting down. In retrospect I wonder if management did this on purpose so they could reopen the store as a “no frills” store and replace long term employees with minimum wage ones.

    Usually staff is trained to keep the customer happy because without customers there is no business.

    Kudos to you for having the gumption of going up and forcing him to stay open.

  4. love being a mature woman at times. The youth cannot handle it.
    However I do think you should write to the managers of the stores and express your dissatisfaction with their service. It usually works.
    My local Woolies is great apart from rip off prices but that is endemic to supermarkets but the people know me and this is not a small place, one of the fastest growing cities in Victoria but I need shoulders replacing and was so touched when one of the ladies put my shopping in for me as I wrote out a cheque. I and another major player in town are the only two people left who use a card and cash cheques and I have become quite efficient at training the girls in how to do it. They are usually game to give it a go and follow mine and the screen instructions. I guess they know me because they curse that lady and her cheques every so often. I chose not to use a debit card as I find it saves me money in the long run and only need cash to pay handyman and other odd things.
    Aldi does have the worst customer service in both stores I go to here and Woolies the best over 2-3 stores and Coles with 3 stores comes last. IGA are OK and very local and good for meat.
    Coles used to be different and I often shopped late at night after Church meetings and the people on knew me. I think that is the key..to have some sort of personal interaction.

  5. Good on you! What I like at our one local shop is that it has a self checkout. You can also go to one of the cashiers, but it is great to have the option of do it yourself too.

  6. Lets hope my answer isn’t too long!!! You go girlfriend!! I totally get your rant. I actually shop at Coles even though our Safeway has a better range simply because they have more checkouts open and the service is better. Aldi frustrates me because it is always the same as what you described. I try to send Greg in these days when I can!!! We have been shopping at Costco in Melbourne about every 3 months and buying a lot of our groceries in bulk, it is an American store but stocks a lot of Australian goods. We buy things like flour etc. At the same time we go to the markets and buy other things that we find hard to get in town or the same quality anyway. I think a blogger from Daylesford ‘Dandelion’ was growing garlic at one stage , may be worth dropping her a line. I actually still don’t go into 2 particular shops in town that I got very bad service at, annoys me often when they have something I’d like but it is on principle! and we are women of principle!!!

  7. totally agree with this! I usually shop at our local Food Works in Nanango as they open a new checkout as soon as a line starts. I think they’ve realised that’s their point of difference as they can’t really compete on prices with the big supermarkets in Kingaroy. I occasionally go into Woolworths in Kingaroy as they stock certain things I like, but I HATE standing in that check out queue!

    I get Australian garlic from the local market, its been hard to find recently due to the flooding earlier in the year. Good luck with your foreign garlic though, I’ve heard that its sprayed with growth suppressant so that it lasts longer on the journey over here, so I hope it sprouts for you! And any garlic tips would be appreciated, as it would be VERY useful to grow my own, I just haven’t worked out how yet!

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