“I worked in a pretty gigantic grocery store. The particular chain of grocery stores was well renowned and respected. I was at one of the largest stores. I’m pretty sure our store was around a hundred and thirty thousand square feet. It was also self-service, like ninety percent of all grocery stores. It was one of those places where, if you were on a budget, you could buy some of the best quality, the least expensive foods, and if you aren’t then you could buy some pretty expensive gourmet things.
Because the particular location of the store was in a ‘wealthy’ (middle class) area, many of our customers had serious attitude issues.
A few weeks ago, a woman walked up to the service desk, where I work, lucky me, handed me a gigantic list of groceries, and said, ‘I need these.’
Clearly, I was a bit shocked, but I collected myself and handed her the list back, along with a preprinted store directory, and told her that the directory would help her find things.
She handed it back to me and said, ‘No, I need you to get these for me. I’m in a hurry.’
I tried to kindly explain we were a self-service grocery store, and we didn’t have a shopping service and that furthermore, it would probably take me longer to do her shopping because I wouldn’t know specifically what she wanted. She refused to accept it and soon my manager was involved, trying to tell her that we couldn’t do her shopping for her.
She continued to make a big deal about it and asked for the front-end manager (above the service desk manager). So, our manager came up to the service desk. The woman started crying to her and told her she just came from having surgery, and her mother is in the hospital, and she was in a hurry, blah blah blah.
The front-end manager wasn’t buying it, but after a while, she said, ‘Can you just get these things, it’s the only way to get this lady to leave,’ to me.
We were about a half-hour into this lady’s stay in our store.
So, begrudgingly, I began to do the woman’s shopping. Her list is a work of art in itself. Instead of specific items and brands, she has such things listed as ‘spaghetti sauce,’ ‘bread,’ and ‘snacks.’ So, wanting to provide her with the best quality items, I decide to select the most expensive items offered in each category. So instead of one-dollar store-brand spaghetti sauce, sandwich bread, and store-brand potato chips, I select two jars of fifteen-dollar imported pasta sauce, an eight-dollar loaf of fresh-baked organic whole wheat bread, and twenty-five-dollar gourmet cookies. You get the idea. I filled the entire cart in the same manner.
Oh yeah, and I went really slow. About an hour and a half of shopping. It was a long list!
I got everything on her list and then brought it back up to the desk, where she was just standing there with a bored look on her face, getting in the way of people trying to buy lotto tickets. I gave her the cart and told her she could get in the line and cash out. She scoffed at me and demanded to be taken care of at the service desk. Normally we could cash out short orders, but not big ones like this one. We didn’t have a moving belt, and we only had a portable bag stand. She complained until we finally give in and took her order. Because we were not properly equipped, it took me about a half-hour to ring in her order.
If you’re keeping track we’re at over two and a half hours.
Now, if this were my shopping, on my budget, the same list would have cost maybe a hundred and fifty dollars. But due to my creative shopping style, this cart of groceries came to about fourteen hundred dollars.
She started to argue with me but I cut her off and said, ‘Have a great day, ma’am, you’d better rush along to get to your mother in the hospital. I’m sure she really needs you now!’
She didn’t know what to say after that, so she just left, albeit not very happily. We printed up a second copy of the receipt and hung it in the back supply closet ‘Hall of Fame.'”