Monday, September 7, 2015

Cincigal Grocery Store Clerk - FOOD FOR THOUGHT

My understanding, since the store is about to begin the liquidation series, we, as employees, are in for a 'bumpy ride'.  And from the way it is made to sound, this venture is truly going to be  a memorable experience.

New customers, new demands and well, let's just hope that we can get through this unscathed. 

Right off the bat yesterday, I found myself dealing with sale, product and customer philosophy.  A customer was looking for the 'Homegrown Tomatoes from Indiana, - I led her to the large, slicing tomato at the same sale price.  "No, these are not the Homegrown Tomatoes from Indiana." she said.  Okay, well let me double check on that - since I had been off for a couple days, perhaps I missed out on something.  But, when I went to ask a fellow produce clerk, I was met with a 'I don't know' reaction which, more or less, left me on my own.  Once I returned to the customer and continued my recommendation on the large, slicing tomatoes I was met with the same response.  Which clearly points out that signage appears to mean everything.  You see, according to the customer, the tomatoes looked too perfect to be homegrown.  Which made me feel that I should not have culled the table prior to this customer's visit - I pulled plenty of imperfect tomatoes, complete with worm holes.  Well, the end result was the customer blamed me for the tomatoes and off she went.

This little, ordeal reminded me of the customer with the bananas.  Back last winter, the banana industry decided to advertise the different ways customers can eat bananas - like grilling bananas.  And in order to persuade the public to take a different look at the banana, little stickers were put on the banana bunches to offer suggestions like, grilling.  While stocking the floor one day, a customer came over to me and asked for help in 'finding just the bananas'.  He said, 'I just want bananas I can eat but, every bunch I pick up is for something else - I don't know how to grill bananas.'

Then there was the croutons.  The croutons in the produce department are displayed on what we call the Multi-deck, which is refrigerated.  Well, when having a sale on the croutons one the clerks decided to create a display in the middle of the floor - right in front of the Multi-deck.  "You know, the customers will be confused with this display and ask me about croutons and if they need to be refrigerated."  I told the clerk.  Sure enough, there stood a customer between the display of croutons and the Multi-deck - looking to his left and then to his right.  Finally, it got the best of him.  "Excuse me, are the croutons that are refrigerated fresher than the ones over here on the floor?"  he asked.

Then there is the Organic selection.  We use to handle quite a bit of the organic fruit but you see, the organic never looked as good as the other stock - such as the apples.  Once you showed the customers the organic displays, they would say, 'That doesn't look as good as those shiny apples over there."  And, they would dispense with the purchase and buy the regular, shiny apple instead.  So much for healthy foods.

You also find that some customers usually know everything there is to know about products, such was the case of the Cilantro.  A customer looking for Cilantro informed me that all we had out was Parsley, and she knew what Parsley 'looks like.'  But when I went over to double check, I found Cilantro which, the customer continued to inform me that it was Parsley I was giving her.  Again, she knew what Parsley looked like - so I was informed.  But, the aroma and the band on the bunch, marked Cilantro, was a dead give away.  She grabbed the bunch and marched off, after telling me that 'looks like you  came over here for nothing.'

Then there is the testing of the grapes  More often, than not, customers have to have a bite, or two, prior to purchasing the grapes.  Some customers will try one, while others will look upon the grape display as a buffet and try many.  But, what surprises me more than anything is that the public thinks nothing about digesting product that is sitting on an open display and has been fondled by so many different hands - and not even think about the product not being washed, prior to eating it.  Then there are the peaches.  Ever notice how people test the peaches?  In order to test it, one will usually put their nose on the peach in order to get a good whiff - I guess.  I get mine from the back not from the display. 

Don't even get me started about Cherrie season.  And, I have lost count as to how many times I have witnessed a customer picking a fight over a produce table.

Most of our regular customers are smart and have common sense. 

But, as shown in the past, there are some of the one timers that you get, now and then, that seem to shine a different light on the consumer market.

One thing is for sure, customers have taught me quite a bit about how to purchase produce; never test the grapes, always wash the product before eating it and it always helps to apply some common sense while shopping in order to avoid becoming a future, silly experience for some clerk to relate to at a later date.

So brace yourself, everybody, we might be in for a 'bumpy ride' but perhaps we might also get a chuckle or two.

Talk at ya later!

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