tales of pre-thanksgiving grocery shopping

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Beware! If you go to the grocery store after today, be prepared to take your life in your hands! Yes people, it has arrived: the Thanksgiving food shopping frenzy.

This afternoon I am giving thanks that I am pretty much finished.

I went to my regular market, the giant Giant on Boot Road in West Chester. The parking lot was not so delightful. There were a lot of people not looking driving every which way. But that’s normal for that lot.

At first when I got inside, the store was relatively sane and only moderately crowded. I had a random conversation in the frozen foods with a very cute older lady who had recently celebrated her 88th birthday. God bless her, I hope I look that fabulous when I’m that age. We were talking about how nobody really does homemade much of anything anymore when it comes to sauces. We were standing in front of some bad Progresso sauces that had been reduced and stuffed in a last chance bin. We had both the stopped to look to see what was in the reduced bin.

Then I wandered up and down the aisles, artfully dodging the carts of other people. There were a lot of cart gliders who would wander at an aimless snail’s pace. Then they would simply stop and block the entire aisle, completely oblivious to anyone else around them.

I almost had a few near ankle experiences – as in people on their cell phones going up and down the grocery store aisles who nearly ran me over. I am always amused when this happens, because inevitably they give you a dirty look like you have some nerve to actually be shopping while they are trying to have their crucially important personal cell phone conversations quite loudly in the grocery store. Some of these conversations people have on their cell phones in public are simply astounding. I use my phone in the grocery store only because I put a memo on my phone with my grocery list. I can talk to my friends and family when I get home.

I had one of those totally funny crack yourself up conversations with one of the butchers while I was choosing a turkey in the meat aisle. The butchers at the store are very nice.

Basically, I was looking for a smaller turkey, and this butcher kept trying to sell me the turkey that needed its own apartment on Thanksgiving. Which just struck me as very funny. Had a vision of myself needing a truss to get in and out of the oven.

When I got to the produce section, is when I found the store somewhat irritating. A lot of things were not as fresh as they could be. For example is it THAT hard to take the rotten apples out of the apple bins and they were misting all the vegetables so much that they were all kind of soggy. But I was able to pick through and get some of the things that I needed that I did not already have. You know like celery hearts and onions and yams.

I ended up with a red yams because they didn’t have any sweet potatoes that weren’t overpriced and individually wrapped in shrink wrap plastic to go into the microwave.

There was this older crabby skinny man doing produce I have never seen before in this grocery store. He was sort of like the Soup Nazi of the produce aisle. Some nice woman asked him for sweet onions. He mumbled “something something I don’t know. ”

So I piped up and said you have two choices: the soft ones that are available individually in the bin against the wall or the mesh bags of them stacked below.

Oh boy if looks could kill.

So I said to Mr. produce aisle/soup Nazi “go check those onions yourself. They are soft and should be thrown away.”

And that’s the truth. It is something that really bugs me about Giant. They do not throw away vegetables that aren’t supposed to be soft when they get soft. They do the same thing with Daikon radishes and fresh red beets.

Then this woman next to me also picking out red yams turns to me and says “I making these for the first time in years. Someone else always used to make the sweet potatoes or yams. How do you cook them?”

So I stood there for like 20 minutes and told this woman all the different ways that she could cook yams or sweet potatoes before mashing them and basically putting them in a casserole that would warm in the oven. It was a really pleasant conversation, and she was a super nice lady.

But unfortunately for us, we had the produce aisle guy and other people annoyed that we are actually standing there having a conversation. And no, we weren’t blocking the aisles.

I guess I just don’t understand why it is okay for people to have loud cell phone conversations in the middle of aisles of the grocery store, but it’s not okay for two women to stand in the produce department and discuss cooking techniques.

I know all of this is just because Thanksgiving is this week and everyone is in a frenzy. But what does it hurt any of us to try to be nicer or more pleasant to one another in public spaces like this? Especially when we are all preparing for the same holiday.

None of us are so busy that we shouldn’t be able to stop what we’re doing for a couple of minutes and exchange pleasantries. It doesn’t all have to be via Facebook, Twitter, text or cell phone conversation. I’m sorry but there’s something very true and real about being able to have a conversation. An actual conversation.

And since it is the season of giving, something occurred to me: many of us will not use our holiday free turkey coupons at our local grocery stores. So that being said, local food banks are in need. And if you can drop off anything in time for them to deliver to needy families for holidays, please consider it. And that includes the free holiday turkeys we get from the grocery stores as a shopping reward.

Check with your local churches as to where the food banks are located in case you don’t know.

As Thanksgiving draws near, I am grateful for the many blessings in my life. And I am thankful that I have such an amazing readership on this blog. And as I am not sure if I will blog again between now and Thanksgiving day, I wanted to take this time now to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving!

the power of ick in giant and other tales of grocery shopping

I shop at the Giant on Boot Road in West Chester.  The store is large and for the most part clean.  There are some issues here and there like the d’oh of it all when you find typos in signage throughout the store – usually that means the typos are in ALL Giant stores (like the one in the food court, see thumbnail at right just below.)

Some of the other issues involves attitude having to do with some of the people who work in the store. Most of the people are nice, but every now and again you find the people who need an attitude adjustment.  I find that some of the most frequent offenders are the staff members at Giant who run the cashiers and checkout for lack of a better description.  The supervisory or managerial staff that hover up front. The overseers of the front – and a lot of them act like a mean prison warden would in a made for TV movie.

Yesterday afternoon I was reminded of those people again, because for some reason they feel the need to throw their weight around in front of customers.  I had just finished paying for my order, and wished my cashier a Happy Thanksgiving if I did not see her again before the holiday.  She is one of my favorite cashiers and I think is very sweet and always helpful.

As I was wheeling my cart past the check out aisle next to the one I was leaving, one of the baggers who is developmentally challenged said to me that Thanksgiving wasn’t until next week.  So I smiled and explained to him I was wishing her a happy turkey day early in case I did not see her again.  He smiled, and seemed to like that idea.

Unfortunately my brief conversation with the bagger might have drawn attention to him because next thing I know, one of these supervisor types swooped down and did not ask him nicely or gently or in my mind even professionally to go out to the parking lot and retrieve carts, she barked at him to do this in a very nasty fashion.  Just because someone is emotionally or developmentally challenged it doesn’t mean you have to be harsh and mean while addressing them.  Especially in front of customers. Every customer (including myself) looked away in obvious discomfort.  And this is the second time since November 5th I have seen this behavior out of supervisory staff in this store in the same part of the store.

On November 5th when I was grocery shopping in the same store, this cute girl of high school age came and opened up another checkout aisle and took me from my aisle to wait on me.  This girl was so cute. And friendly and efficient too.  Well apparently in her zeal to provide actual customer service she must not have told the warden of the front of the store that day.

This cashier manager (see blurry photo below at left ) must not have closed out the drawer from the last cashier there or something and took this young girl to task in front of customers, myself included.  She yelled at and berated this young girl. 

Again, customers looked away and moved away because they were uncomfortable.  And the nice young girl being berated looked like she wanted the floor to swallow her up.  Neighboring cashiers shook their heads in disgust.  I spoke up and asked this supervisor or manager if that was her management style.  I further commented that I found it utterly unprofessional and just mean to do that to an employee in front of customers.  Truthfully, the store was not so busy that she couldn’t have simply asked that girl to finish up with me and come see her afterwards. I think this front of store warden was shocked I challenged her.  I did not care.  I did not know that young girl, but she did not deserve that treatment any more than the bagger yesterday.

This is behavior Giant that needs to be corrected.  If these are people who can’t manage other people and are in supervisory roles this needs to be revisited by corporate and proper managerial training applied.  As a customer why do I want to spend my money in a store where being a supervisor or manager is being a public bully?

Now another issue.  The one that actually inspired me to blog about Giant and can be seen in  the photo at top.

Yesterday I was doing some pre-Thanksgiving shopping.  I was in need of a  specific size canning jar for cranberry sauce as I make my own.  What I found next to the canning products skeeved me out.  Poison.  As in poisonous bug spray (Raid) and even worse: mouse and rat bait and traps.  NONE of this should be anywhere near products that have anything to do with food. Ick.

I have seen this before in ACME.  When I saw this in ACME a few years ago, corporate management actually agreed with me at the time and moved aisles around so that this poisonous stuff was next to cleaning products and away from food or anything that has to do with food.

Sorry but I think it is gross.  Sorry to pick on Boot Road Giant, but it is the grocery store I visit the most.

Here’s hoping they take a look at these issues, although I am not hopeful since when I bought the issue of publicly bullying employees in a supervisory position to Giant’s attention on November 5th they did not respond.

I would also like to know when they are going to get in the jugs of maple syrup again too.  It is not cost-effective to buy the smaller glass bottles. I really wish there was a Trader Joe’s out here some days.  Gateway and Ardmore are just far enough away to make it inconvenient.

one “giant” boo-boo after another…..

Giant as in Giant Food Stores is having one D’oh moment after the other.  I can’t take credit for the new game we are all playing. You see, my friend Ann started us all on the new game of “what did Giant misspell and mass produce and put in its stores today?”

So far this week (and it is only Tuesday) Giant can’t spell Wanamaker and Wegmans.

They have  posters in all the Giant Food Courts depicting old Philadelphia.  Only they misspelled Wanamaker. As in Wanamaker Building, John Wanamaker department store, etc., etc.  The photo here is from the Giant on Boot Road, and I have confirmation from other people who shop at other Giants that this mistake is in their local Giant stores too.

And then just now, my friend Ann noticed another boo-boo superior D’oh moment.

One would figure if you were going to tout your prices as being better than the competition, you would spell the name of whomever  or whatever correctly, right?

(Sigh, they did not)

So we are thinking someone in the Giant of it all needs spell check?

Giant was tweeted about this, but alas no response.

If you have a Giant boo-boo that you have seen, feel free to let us know!  You can tweet any Giant boo boos @gossipgirl19380 .

And here I thought I was only going to shame Giant for the lazy dairy man. A couple of weeks ago the first four cartons of eggs I opened all contained broken eggs.  So I handed them to the dairy man re-stocking the aisle.  He put one of the four dozen with broken eggs BACK on the shelf.

Giant seems to be headed towards its own Giant-shaming page, eh?  It definitely needs proof readers.

D’oh-ver and out.