Vons: Just BitchinI went to the supermarket with my daughter who, in spite of the fact that the fridge and cupboards were stocked to overflowing insisted that there was "no food in the house." Ok, I'll take a break from the paper I'm writing and do some more shopping. Being in a bad mood however, I was outraged by my shopping experience.
Our down-market branch of Vons is decent. Others maintain a source of hand-wipes outside so that we can disinfect the handles of shopping carts before using them. This is sickening and I can't imagine why supermarkets do it. What is in their heads? What is in shoppers' heads if this is what they want? We spend our lives opening and closing doors that other people have, god forbid, touched, using public pens and pencils, grasping public handrails--people aren't poison. What on earth can be in people's heads to make them finicky about holding onto the handles of shopping carts that haven't been disinfected?
Once in the store we're confronted by air conditioning cranked down to 55 degrees. Why do they do that? My son speculates that it gives shoppers the idea that the fruit is fresh. Why on earth? Isn't there some more efficient system for keeping fruit fresh--keeping it behind plastic strips or in refrigerators? Why does the store spend this money, use this energy, to keep the place uncomfortably cold for customers? I don't mind the cold, but the waste infuriates me.
Poking around in the dairy counter, an employee asks me helpfully whether I'm finding everything ok. I am. Please ask if you need anything, he continues. Fine, I say, to get him off my back. This is a supermarket. There are signs up. I can find what I want and if I can't I'll ask. Why do these people pester me? I like my privacy in public and do not want any interaction. Why do they do this? I just want to get my stuff and get out--I don't want these people hassling me.
At the check-out, unless I'm pro-active and quick off the mark, the bagger will double-bag everything and pack no more than 2 or 3 items in each double-bag. This drives me up the wall! I say, "Pack it tight, and don't double-bag." This usually involves a fairly lengthy negotiation, and baggers look at me like I'm some kind of a nut. I usually have to explain: "Please don't double-bag and stuff as much as you can into each bag." Even then then don't take me seriously. They pack 4 items instead of 3 into each bag and then ask whether I'd like help to my car. What kind of help are they thinking of and why on earth would I want it? The stuff is in a shopping cart that I wheel out; I dump it in my trunk. What on earth can they do for me? If I were too old or feeble to wheel out the cart and dump the stuff in my trunk I'd be too feeble to get to the supermarket in the first place. What are they playing at?
I asked a friend about this over lunch yesterday. He claimed that people like this treatment because it "makes them feel rich and pampered." Can this possibly be true? This is Vons, Chula Vista--this is grocery shopping not some weird luxury spa but part of the business of life we have to deal with. My aim is to get through with the cheapest possible stuff, in the least possible time, without a hassle. I seriously doubt that people want this treatment--it smacks of an a priori program contrived in corporate HQ. In any case, if they have to interact, why don't they make stuffing single-bags tight the default and then ask shoppers if they'd like double-bags or like their stuff packed light?
Why do they do this--adding that little extra bit of hassle and misery to my day and doing their part to degrade the environment? I did my little bit this time, bought organic eggs which guaranteed that the chickens were "free-roaming" rather than merely "cage-free" for three times the price. I couldn't care less about what I eat but I care about chickens. I'm not a saint of ecology and don't aspire to being one. I'm not going to buy burlap sacks to pack my groceries because my priories are convenience and economy. But I do not see why supermarkets have to engage in all these wasteful practices that don't make shopping faster, more efficient or cheaper and just impose unnecessary interaction and hassles on shoppers.