Been There, Done That

Published:

I'm thinking I should open a grocery store of my very own. That way I could be rid of all their obnoxious habits that send me off into a realm of ticked off that I try desperately to stay out of.

For the most part, it's the little things that bother me.

I positively despise having to use a quarter to get a cart. I don't always have a quarter. Maybe I have 25 cents. But that won't get me a cart now, will it? Unless I wait for a customer to come out of the store, empty their groceries into their vehicle and then offer them my 25 cents for their cart.

What if I have a dollar bill? Then I have to go in the store and wait for the cashier to finish ringing up the current customer and give me four quarters so I can go back outside and use one to get a cart. Waste of my time.

Worse yet, what if I don't have any cash at all? I generally use a debit card for groceries. If I ransack the Jeep and come up quarterless, I have to leave and go to a different store that doesn't require a cash deposit for the use of one of its carts. A colossal waste of my time. And probably my last trip to that store. Ever.

When I showed up at my favorite grocery store only to see the carts chained to each other, I finally resigned myself to the idea that this was just a fact of life I would have to face. I'd just have to be sure I kept a quarter in the Jeep somewhere. So imagine my surprise when a month later all the chains had been removed. Awesome, but why?

According to the clerk, the concept was accepted locally, but a poll of all the stores nationally found most people despised the whole "quarter for a cart" thing as much as I did.

I also discovered my favorite little store has stopped using the grocery baskets for when you only need a few things. Too much to carry by hand but not enough to warrant using a cart. I guess they did away with them a few years ago. We shop for two weeks at a time, it saves gas money and time. We don't have to blow two hours every Saturday morning.

So we always need a cart. In fact, sometimes we overflow the cart, which is why I went looking for a basket. Just for the things that were falling off the top. No such luck.

And speaking of looking, I hate wasting time wandering through the store in search of certain items. If it was in this spot last week, it ought to be in the same spot this week. That almost got me tossed out of one store uptown. All I wanted was a bag of sugar. The clerk said they were out of sugar.

I'm not talking about some specialty product here, just a plain old bag of white sugar. How does a store run out of sugar? The clerk said the truck was due in any minute. So I stopped in again the next day.

Still no sugar. The clerk said they hadn't unloaded the truck yet. Since yesterday? Whatever.

The third day, I demanded that the clerk show me the empty shelf where the sugar is supposed to be. He couldn't quite seem to nail it down to a particular area. I don't think they even carry sugar. I finally did what I should've done to begin with and went to a different store.

That place also ticked me off because they don't keep all similar things together. I found the shampoo aisle, and made my decision based on the brands available, size, cost, fragrance, etc. I thought I did a nice little piece of comparison shopping.

About four aisles later, there was more shampoo. Different shampoo from the first aisle. Was there a better bargain to be had? I don't know. I'm not going to run from one aisle to another to check. I haven't been back there since.

I don't like stores that try to trip you up on pricing. According to the sign in the freezer aisle at a local grocery store a few years ago, shrimp was on sale for $9.99 a pound. I grabbed two bags. I pulled out a $20 bill. The clerk said something around 37 bucks. What?

He said the shrimp was $9.99 per pound, but these were two-pound bags. Well then give me a one-pound bag. They didn't have any. OK, then sell me a half a bag of shrimp or figure out the illegality of bait and switch tactics.

Sometimes my dislike for certain grocery stores has less to do with the store and more to do with the clientele. If you shop at the department store/grocery store, you're in there with the same people who will knock you down to get to the next blue light special.

Or the ones with squalling babies. I just want to say "That's your child screaming like a banshee. Do something. Ignoring the 180 decibels resonating from your cart may be working for you, but the rest of us are developing migraines. Comfort the child, soothe it, hold it, quiet it. Or better yet, leave it at your mother's. That's what grandmas are for."

No. 1 on my grocery store pet peeve list is rearranging the store. The marketing department might tell the store bigwigs that they have to keep it fresh and exciting. Put up new displays, move the coffee aisle over here and swap it out with the bread and crackers and most definitely put the bread and milk in the farthest corner from the door.

This is not fresh and exciting. This means I'm stomping around like a murderous dictator on a bad hair day searching in vain for the things on my list. Since they redid one store uptown, I never have been able to find Spanish rice in a can for my stuffed cabbage recipe. It's probably right next to the sugar.

Copyright 2012 Laura Nethken

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.