Remember just a few short years ago — well, actually, a couple of decades ago — when you went to the grocery store and a cashier checked you out and someone else bagged your groceries for you? Not only that, someone actually took your groceries to your car for you and put them in your car? Customer service actually meant something back then — they did not ask you if you wanted help, they just did it. Today, not only are you lucky if someone just offers to help you out with your groceries, but you are really lucky if you don’t have to “self check out” and bag your own groceries.
Self check out Lines
Seriously? This is the absolute worst. First of all, on any given day there will be as many self check out lanes open as there are actual cashiers ringing customers up. That is in the nice part of town. Suffice it to say that anytime you go to a lower socio-economic area, you will be lucky to see even one cashier working. And does the grocery store offer you a discount on your groceries when they force you to ring up your purchases yourself? No. And yet, the grocery store saves loads of money by not having to pay cashiers and having customers do the work themselves. Secondly, I don’t appreciate being screamed at by the computer voice on the self checkout system. If you take too long putting an item in the bag, the “computer voice” will be pretty nice to you at first and simply state “place the item in the bagging area”. However, if you do not respond and follow her directive in a timely manner, her voice gets a louder and louder. It is like being screamed at in school in front of the whole class.
Bagging Your Own Groceries
In the rare case that you are lucky enough to have a cashier ring up your purchases, it seems to have become a common practice for grocery stores to have the cashier bag the groceries for you as he/she rings you up. Granted, in a lot of stores (like Wal-Mart) they have come up with a contraption that holds open several bags at one time and spins, making the bagging process much more simple. On the occasions that the cashier does not have this convenience, where is the bag boy? When I go to buy groceries, the pile starts getting so high that I start bagging them myself. The last time this happened (at Albertsons) the floor manager was standing off about 10 feet away and watched.
Getting Your Groceries to Your Car
How I miss the days of someone walking out to my car with me and talking about the beautiful day as they load my bags into my car. This service has not completely gone away, but it is rare. Actually, the only grocery store I have been to in the last year that even offered to help me to my car with my groceries was Tom Thumb…and I could tell on the guy’s face that he was hoping I would say “no”. I didn’t.
I know we cannot go back in time, but is it too much to ask that our society change direction and aim towards good customer service again? Cheap prices are great, but reasonable prices added to great customer service will have me coming back again and again. How can grocery stores justify me paying the same price when I do my own grocery checkout and the woman on aisle 10 had a cashier? Service has a price-tag and lack of service should be reflected in a discount.