ANOTHER 5 Ways to Make My Job Managing a Grocery Store Easier

Memorial Day weekend is finally here and I get to enjoy three days off from my job as a mild mannered grocery store manager. Believe me I’m gonna do my best to enjoy them, barring a few obstructions and insane weather patterns. With three days off you might be thinking that I’m gonna miss out on working in the grocery store during this holiday weekend? Well think again! In fact:

 

gohome

 

5. Please Come Prepared for Your Shopping Experience

 

Now when I go shopping, whether it’s at the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the mall, a bookstore, or occasionally the pornographic/sex toy shop, I go prepared. I know what I want, how much I can spend, and am fully capable of understanding and operating the debit card reader. But it seems for some people this is a monumental task of such difficulty that it makes my job that much harder.

First there are the people that fill their shopping cart, get to the cash register, have all their items scanned, and then realize they have no money. Perhaps they left their wallet at home, or didn’t take into consideration how much money they actually have in their savings or checking accounts.

 

With pants that tight, how could you NOT know you had no money??

With pants that tight, how could you NOT know you had no money??

 

And the problem isn’t that you have no money. We’ve all been there. In fact as I type this I literally have a $1.04 in my bank account. The problem is somebody has to put all those groceries back that you aren’t buying. Yeah, they don’t grow legs and walk themselves back to the shelves. So it’s usually my job to wander around the store with a giant grocery cart, performing some weird time reverse act, restocking the store.

Also very annoying are the people that come shopping and buy anywhere from $100-300 worth of groceries and don’t realize how much they are actually buying. At our family friendly grocery store we still carry your groceries out to your vehicles for you. I know there aren’t many stores left like that. Sometimes I wish we didn’t do this, because inevitably I end up taking out a huge grocery order only to find myself staring into a Ford Focus hatchback, about three car seats, fishing equipment, buckets, and what appears to be a small scrap metal yard. This is where the customer says, “Just find a spot for it, oh and don’t crush the eggs or bread.”

 

You realize Sir, we are open seven days a week.

You realize Sir, we are open seven days a week.

 

The Elderly + Debit Cards + Debit Card Reader = Frustration to the point I want to let Johnny Red out for a rare public appearance

That’s right I’m going after the elderly again. I’m sorry, but who’s taking care of them? I know they fear technology and any manner of advancement in our culture, but somebody, a son or daughter, perhaps a grandchild, a social worker maybe, SOMEBODY teach them how to use the debit card reader!

 

I've been handing these out to anyone who appears 60 or older. Practice at home before you come back into my store.

I've been handing these out to anyone who appears 60 or older. Practice at home before you come back into my store.

 

Then there are the elderly who believe that it’s easier to pay with cash. You might agree with that, but of course this causes even more problems. You see the elderly don’t like to carry paper money. They love to pull out that pocket change purse and proceed to count out every penny, nickel, and dime they have. And every now and then there is this:

 

The total is $87.50? Ok, I'll start with my 80 rolls of pennies.

The total is $87.50? Ok, I'll start with my 80 rolls of pennies.

 

4. Please Put Items Back Where They Belong, and Don’t Make a Mess of the Store

 

Every few hours or so while I manage the store, I do a little thing called a store walk. The reason I have to do a store walk is because people are naturally lazy and won’t return items to where they belong if they decide they don’t want to purchase them. I have to say that some customers can be very creative, because I keep finding more and more creative and original areas items have been placed. In fact for three straight days I found frozen corn packages mixed in with our fresh corn in our produce department.

Sometimes I’ll catch a customer placing an item in the wrong spot. This is how the conversation usually goes.

“Excuse me Sir, but the quarts of ice cream belong in the freezer section, not thrown in the magazine rack.”

“So you expect ME to put it back where it belongs?”

“Yes, if you could.”

“But that’s why they PAY you, right? Ha, ha, ha!”

“……….”

 

15 minutes later:

 

You're right Sir, your car doesn't belong in the bottom of a pool. But that's why you pay for insurance, right? Ha...ha...ha.

You're right Sir, your car doesn't belong in the bottom of a pool. But that's why you pay for insurance, right? Ha...ha...ha.

 

Also lumped into this category are the customers that feel it’s ok to make a mess of the store and just leave it that way for me to clean up. How hard is it not to destroy our store while shopping? You don’t see me going into a funeral parlor and start tossing urns around do you?

 

Yeah, um Sir I think you dropped something.

Yeah, um Sir I think you dropped something.

 

Sometimes I’m completely convinced that they wreck havoc in the store for the sole purpose of their own amusment.

 

Don't! I'm warning you! Do NOT do it!!!

Don't! I'm warning you! Do NOT do it!!!

 

 

3. We Close at 9 P.M.

 

Well I’d like to say we close at 9 p.m., but inevitably every night when the work day is winding down and I’m preparing to close up shop I have to deal with this.

 

"I just need one item!", "Yeah me too!", "Just one item I swear!"

"I just need one item!", "Yeah me too!", "Just one item I swear!"

 

Have you no consideration?! I understand if you are someone who works late in the day and have no choice but to shop at night, but there are many customers who will flat out tell me they only come shopping when the store is closing because it’s more convienent for them. Yeah, convienent for YOU perhaps. This behavior causes all sorts of problems. You see towards the end of the night all our departments are closed, except Deli of course. I once had a guy come into the store at about ten minutes before closing and demand, not ask, but demand I cut him 12 steaks. I’m not a meat cutter, and not trained in the meat department to cut meat. What did he expect me to do? Just randomly grab hunks of meat and hack away at them?

Also at night we are usually down to one cashier which leads to this problem.

 

"It would be great if they would open up an extra cash.", "We only have one cashier at this hour, moron."

"It would be great if they would open up an extra cash."

 

I vividly remember Christmas Eve night when we were allowed to close the store at 7 p.m. so that myself and the employees could get home to spend time with their family and friends. Well guess what happened? I locked the IN doors and left the OUT doors open so that once we finished closing up we could get out. Well those savages, after pulling on the IN doors with no success, began pulling open the OUT doors, making their way in, and grabbing shopping carts!! We were stuck working for much longer than planned, because apparently I’m not allowed to kick people out of the store.

 Well, my Team of Scientists and I have been working on a solution to this problem. Hopefully I’ll be able to implement it very soon.

 

Scientist #3! You forgot the cauldron of hot oil dispenser!

Looks good so far, but can we make room for the cauldrons of hot oil just in case any of them make it in?

 

 

2. A Winter Storm Doesn’t Mean it’s the End of Civilization as We Know it

 

This entry ranks  pretty high because of a few reasons. First I have to explain this phenomena to those who have never worked in a grocery store right before, or during a snow storm. MASS HYSTERIA! That’s the only way I can explain it. Once a snow storm is announced for our area, people begin flooding into the store as if they are never gonna see food again! It’s not like our snow storms are so bad that we will be trapped in our homes for months on end. I mean what year do people think we live in?

 

Alright everyone, winter's a coming. Time head on down to the ol' grocery mart.

Alright everyone, winter's a coming. Time head on down to the ol' grocery mart.

 

I just don’t understand it. I have to drive almost an hour round trip to work everyday even if there is a snow storm. Most customers live within a mile of the grocery store, but will still come into the store and fill their shopping carts as if their feeding an entire battalion of soldiers for a year. This adds more work and stress to my job. What is it that’s so scary about snow?

 

We don't live on Hoth!

We don't live on Hoth!

 

And here’s the kicker, ooooh this makes me so mad, but the same customers who just a couple days before bought more groceries than I can eat in a year, COME BACK IN AFTER THE STORM AND BUY MORE FOOD!! That’s right the same customers will stroll back in and fill their carts the next day after a storm. ??? Where did all that original food go?! Did they stay at home that ONE day they were afraid to leave the house and just EAT all of it?!

 

I'm not overeating, I'm preparing myself for hibernation.

I'm not overeating, I'm preparing myself for hibernation.

 

1. I Don’t Speak French, Deal With It!

 

“Blah, blah, blah, baguette, blah, blah, blah, ployes, blah, blah, blah, gibberish?”

“I’m sorry M’am but I don’t speak french.”

“What?! You don’t speak french? But you live in the Valley?”

“I know but if you speak english to me I can help you find what item you are looking for.”

“I shouldn’t have to speak english, now find me someone who can speak french!”

Actual conversation I had with an old french lady in the grocery store. I’ve had many similar conversations as well while managing a grocery store in Northern Maine. Look I know you are proud of your Acadian heritage, but enough is enough. Not only is this attitude ignorant it’s actually…prejudice.

I tried to learn french when I was in school, but ended up being kicked out of every french class I ever had. In fact in High School I dropped out of french class to take woodshop.

 

Acadia, here I come!

Acadia, here I come!

 

I know what you are asking yourselves? Isn’t your last name Gagnon? Isn’t that french? Yes, my last name is a french name, but that’s where the french ends. I love and respect my father more than he will probably ever know, and I’m proud to carry his last name. But, unfortunately I wasn’t that close to my french side of the family.

Now I would never have shown any spite, or anger towards the french population in Northern Maine if THEY hadn’t made me feel somehow inferior, and lower class. 

I’m sorry but I wasn’t raised this way:

 

french_frog

 

 

I was raised this way:

 

certified-irish-prick500

 

But all day and night I have these old uppity french ladies assuming I’m gonna speak french to them. You would think they would be polite enough to ask whether I spoke french or not. When I go to Canada I always ask anyone I speak with if they speak English, and NEVER do I get angry or insult a Canadian if they don’t. And that’s the real problem isn’t it? The french here in Northern Maine don’t seem to realize that we still live in America. And last I checked English is the national language is it not?

Now people who really know me will clearly tell you I am not a super patriot. In fact many blogs will be coming on the problems with America. But everytime one of those old french ladies adds more stress to my job managing a grocery store, by assuming I’m going to learn a second language for THEIR convience it makes me feel like this.

 

 

"Hey ladies! What do you say we grab a SUV, hit every fast food drive thru we can find, wave a flag or two, do a couple keg stands, and launch a patriot missle at the Eiffel Tower?"

"Hey ladies! What do you say we grab a SUV, hit every fast food drive thru we can find, wave a flag or two, do a couple keg stands, and launch a patriot missle at the Eiffel Tower?"

 

Alright I think I’ve calmed myself down enough to at least mention one of the perks of managing a grocery store.

Bonus Content: They Let Me Use a Forklift!!

 

We had a two for one sale on rockets that week.

We had a two for one sale on rockets that week.

 

John Michael Gagnon  AKA  Johnny Red

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Posted on May 25, 2009, in Top 5's and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Great!

  2. Ha Ha!! My Grandma does all of this! Even though we’ve told her numerous times not to, and we also showed her to use her debit card, it just didn’t sink in. I hope I’m this intelligent when I’m 70 too!
    even though I worked in the same store, I’ve been guilty of putting stuff in the wrong place out of spite. “Damn you people for your high prices!” So, the lobster is put behind the canned goods! Ha Ha!!! I think its why many people do it, you fuckers need job security, so I’ll put the icecream in the bread section!
    Heres what comes to mind for those who shop last minute, The mother – daughter team who grocery shop at 8:55 pm on every Thursday night.
    Great Blog!

  3. Shawn Oleary

    Apparently I liked it so much I made three comments… WTF?!?!?!

    • haha! Actually two of your comments ended up in the spam filter for some reason. I just approved them. lol!

  4. I feel your pain ever so much…can relate to everything listed here

  5. Excellent, John.

    I used to love it when people would call and ask me to make this elaborate cake 30 minutes before they needed it and we could not say no, even thought the store had a policy of 24 hours notice.What good is a poicy if you don’t enforce it? Or they would want a cake for 8 am and not come get it until 2 pm so you rushed for nothing.And then they would get mad because their airbrushed red cake faded to pink. Oh well. So sorry..arghh…

  6. This.
    was.
    epic.

    You Win the Game!

    • Glad you liked it fellow John. This is the second blog on working in the store that I almost scrapped because I didn’t think people would find funny. I’m glad I don’t listen to myself anymore. lol!

  7. Thanks, John. This made my day. Want me to teach you how to say “Pardon me ma’am. Go home and don’t come back!” in French?

  8. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Thanks again for the morning laugh John 🙂 Yeah, the French thing!! Since I am in French speaking Canada now………..do you know how many people on the “American” side expect me to know French perfectly? The Americans get mad because I hear blahblahaoieuaeiouaeiou. Props to you for being able to find a funny funny way to deal with the public!

    • I knew you would appreciate the whole not speaking french and living here in the area situation. 😉

  9. Shawn Oleary

    Great stuff, John. Maybe your team of scientists could come up with another item for the elderly: a device that keeps them out of the passing lanes on the highway. Maybe it delivers a non-lethal (just barely) shock the instant they think about merging left for no apparent reason at 35 miles an hour. I’m only spitballing here – I’m sure whatever you come up with will be fine.

    • I understand what your talking about Shawn. I don’t know how many times, on my way to work, I’ll have some old person cut me off in traffic and then proceed to drive 20 mph the whole way to Madawaska.

      Perhaps I’ll do a blog focusing solely on the frustration of the Elderly. I’ll call it, “The Elderly Must Be Stopped!!”

  10. WAy to funny

  11. Shawn O'Leary

    Great stuff John! Hey, if its not too much trouble, put your team of scientists on one more task: in addition to forcing the elderly to practice the debit card reader could you get them to come up with a device to keep the elderly out of the passing lanes on the highway? Maybe something that delivers a non-lethal (barely, just barely, non-lethal) shock the instant they think about merging left?? I’m only spit-balling here…whatever you guys come up with will be fine I’m sure.

  12. Shawn O'Leary

    Great stuff John. If I might add a suggestion, in addition to mandating the elderly practice debit card readers I suggest your team of scientists devise some sort of device that conditions them to stay out of the passing lanes on the highway. Maybe something that gives them a non-lethal electric shock if they think about merging left.

  13. That was great!

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