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15 December 2012 @ 04:05 pm
It isn't bad service, but it's definitely Corporate Policies I Don't Like  
Kroger now offers to unload your cart onto the checkstand. And apparently insists on doing so, even if you are keeping up with the cashier.

I do not react like a normal human being. I did not see this as a service, but rather as criticism.

I was so flustered that my hands were shaking and when I opened my wallet to get my debit card, I dropped the entire contents of said wallet all over everything. (I did get everything back into my wallet, but how humiliating and embarrassing.) (Note to self: get sturdier wallet.)

One more reason to use the U-Scans, I guess.
Tim Illingworth: default jasper librarytimill on December 15th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Well, how odd. Which Kroger was this? They don't do that in Texas...
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 15th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
The one in Alcoa, on Hall Road. It's apparently new. I don't know if this particular program comes out of Atlanta or Cincinnati.
madshutterbug: Houdini & Imadshutterbug on December 15th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
Except, I personally do not much care for the U-scans I've tried. I think it is that the volume is set so loud (probably for hearing impaired, which makes this somewhat ironic) and I don't care for Everyone Around to know how much I am spending.

Though I also am not sure I appreciate the insistent assistant moving items out of my cart. Or at least the concept of it, haven't seen this hereabouts. Then again, no Krogers hereabouts either.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 15th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
I don't think the U-Scans here announce the price; it shows up on a screen, same as at a regular register. Huh. Regional variations.
(no subject) - madshutterbug on December 16th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wren08 on December 16th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - madshutterbug on December 16th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fae dobhranladyotterfae on December 15th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
Ick. They start that around here, and yet another grocery store will be on my 'not going' list. The lack of personal space is getting appalling. A checker at a store near me (management level) decided to start reading names off credit cards and using them. First names. For one thing, I was shopping for someone else, and for another, neither of us use our given names in public.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 15th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
ICK. That would skeeve me right the fuck out, and I *do* use my given name.
(no subject) - johnpalmer on December 16th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
une idee fixeideealisme on December 15th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
I completely understand. I hate to be helped or assisted or interfered with in any way when I am trying to do something in public.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 16th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
It's okay when I expect it (see my comment farther down about checkstands designed for cashier unloading of carts) or ask for it (such as, "I can't reach the top shelf, could someone help get one of those foam coolers").

It's even reasonably okay if the person who wants to help asks first and lets me say yes or no, although that can be a bit embarrassing.

But not when I've already declined the service, thank you.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on December 15th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
I would be saying, loudly and repeatedly, "DO NOT MESS WITH MY CART." If necessary, I would physically remove either the cart or the employee out of reach. NOTE: I'm not suggesting that you do this, because I know it's not your style at all. But someone not responding to a request that they stop doing something is going to stomp pretty hard on my "Yo, asshole, what does it take to get you to hear a woman say NO?" trigger -- and I have never minded "making a scene" in such circumstances.

Also appalled at the idea of being first-named by someone who's looked at my credit card. I don't think this would happen when using a debit card, though, because then the checker never has their hands on it. I'm the one who swipes it thru the machine and enters the PIN code.

fae dobhranladyotterfae on December 15th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
I was using a debit card (my mother's, as it happened). Their machine must be programmed to pull up full name from card now. I heard her do it to a couple of other people on the same trip.
(no subject) - janetmiles on December 16th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thatwordgrrl on December 16th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Elizabeth Barretteysabetwordsmith on December 15th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
Or shop at a different store.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 16th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: Well...
Yeah, point. But we get a discount at Kroger, and that adds up.

Dale said when he gets back to work he'll find some way to let management know he "overheard" a customer who was unhappy with the aggressively friendly service.
Re: Well... - ysabetwordsmith on December 16th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
amaebi: Black foxamaebi on December 16th, 2012 01:20 am (UTC)
This is a true query, not a criticism: A criticism of what? What you bought, or your unloading pace, or something I haven't thought of?

More regional variants: In Colorado, Kroger is King Sooper. Its self-scans are pretty much mute, but freak out a lot,. but the checkstands are constructed to have carts unpacked by checkers. For whatever reason that doesn't trouble me at all.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 16th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
I felt as though I was too slow, getting in the cashier's way rather than doing my part of the job well. (Dale assures me this was not the case, that the baggers are being pressured to provide this "service," but that they're not supposed to push if the customer declines the assistance.)

I think your point about the checkstand construction is valid. I remember shopping at Alfa Beta in Arizona: the end of the cart folded down and the checkstand was recessed in such a way that the cashiers could just sweep items out of the cart and across the counter. That was very efficient, and that didn't bother me at all.

This felt *less* efficient, though, because the bagger was in front of the checkstand unloading my cart instead of at the end packing bags. And because I expect to unload my own cart, and had no warning that someone was going to suddenly be in my space doing my stuff, it was very upsetting. And because I'd already said NO, dammit (echoing starcat_jewel's point).
(no subject) - ororo on December 17th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
just the gurl you want: rudolphgirlgoyle on December 16th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC)
I think it is a great service for a store to offer; but not to mandate. There are plenty of elderly folks I see at my local grocery stores who would benefit from the help.

I have personal space issues and I have specific way I put my groceries on the belt; grouped by location in my house and I really don't like people touching my food. So I agree with you being disquieted by the cashier.

We don't have Krogers around here so I am safe until it catches on.

Edited at 2012-12-16 03:36 am (UTC)
zem: mattresshitchhiker on December 16th, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC)
yeah, definitely. it's nice that it's there if you want it, but bloody annoying if you're forced to endure it want it or no.
Gretchenwren08 on December 16th, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
We (I work at a grocery although not Kroger) are pressured to offer this service... but we are supposed to keep the customer happy and that includes letting them unload their own cart if they prefer it. It sounds like you should have a word with the management about the baggers getting the message that no means no because I expect you were the victim of an overly enthusiastic bagger rather than a general store policy.

I also get irritated when checkers call out first names- I always use the -last- name and Mr or Ms unless I am told to use the first name or it's customer who is well on their way to being an aquaintance. (I have a couple of regulars in both those catigories). But I'm of the generation that you simply did NOT call strangers by their first name even if you knew it.

Speak to the manager or have someone do it for you. I'm almost certain that even if it is store policy, cutomer happy overrides it.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 16th, 2012 02:08 pm (UTC)
*nods* Dale has said when he gets back to work (he got hurt on the job and is out through mid-week at least) he's going to mention it, without calling me out personally, or the specific bagger (although he says he's 99% certain he knows which one it was).

And he says yes, customer preference is supposed to override management fiat.
Bladerunner: I feel prettybldrnrpdx on December 16th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
FWIW, it hasn't seemed to spread to the couple of Fred Meyer's (our Kroger) that we go to. And if it does, I shall be telling them in no uncertain way to back the fuck off.

I don't use the U-Scans there because I have *never* had a good experience with them. I have been along with someone else who could get them to work properly, but I have never had a transaction with one that didn't eventually require the checker on duty for that area to come unfuck something to do with the machine or process. And no, it's almost never been because I messed up the process - I have a distinct talent for finding one machine that is ready to have a computer glitch at that particular moment or the one machine that is out of change or the barcode scanner that has no idea what the number for chestnuts is or something equally exciting.
Stephen Harris: Straight Jacketsweh on December 16th, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Trader Joes (at least the one I go to) is laid out so that the customer can not unload the cart themselves. Stop and Shop is laid out so the customer must unload themselves.

What sets me off is someone _bagging_ my stuff. I can bag as quickly as most baggers; quicker than a lot of them. I can also put things in the bags I want (milk does _not_ go in the insulated bag; that's for frozen stuff). Unfortunately we have a mentally handicapped bagger at my Stop and Shop, so I find myself in the position of being annoyed at being put in a position of being annoyed at a handicapped person.
thatwordgrrl on December 16th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Trader Joe's checkout counters are laid out so that I cannot unload my own items (there's no conveyer belt). In that case, I don't mind if the checker unloads, because it is really a one-person job. I'd just end up being anti-helpful.

OTOH, for a store that does have a conveyor belt, I don't want somebody else doing it for me. I'm a fully functional person, thanks.
Bladerunner: I feel prettybldrnrpdx on December 16th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
I typically bag my own at Trader Joe's. I either end up in a line with a checker but no bagger or as I get up to have my turn, the bagger is sent off on some errand, almost every single time (is it me?). I've never had a problem with bagging my stuff when I bring my own bags, especially a single bag or my backpack. I don't mind them taking the stuff out of my cart though, I guess because it's set up that way. Fred Meyer (our Kroger) isn't currently, so having the checker come around and empty my cart and then having to go back and check it all through would piss me off extraordinarily.
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on December 16th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
We have Krogers here in the Carolinas. I haven't run into the "we-do-not-allow-you-to-unload-your-cart" thing yet, because I am almost completely scan-it-myself.

I'm heading out the door soon and may get something at Kroger to see.

BUT what got me yelling into a phone once, and what you'all may want to keep an eye on . . . the food handler was a 19-something guy who apparently had a runny nose. He'd wipe it with his hands, and then grab more of my food and move it. You might want to watch for that, because I was almost sure he was fighting a cold.

A lot of what drives some of these stores is that they want the lines to move faster. (Do you have "Aldis" there?) What I get ticked off at, at Aldis, is I'm still unloading my stuff and the checkout already is flashing them past the bar code. I'm one of those people who has, many many times, said "Hey wait a minute isn't that supposed to be $1.15?" and caught them overcharging.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 16th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
To be fair: it's not "we do not allow you to unload your own cart," it's "it is Good Customer Service to assist with unloading the cart."

I know they want the lines to move faster. They have this whole computerized camera system to watch the front end and decide whether to call up more cashiers. So I expect the cashier to start scanning as soon as I put the first item on the belt, and generally to finish about the same time I do. I probably do get mis-charged on occasion, but I figure it balances out between over and under.

As to the cold, well, viruses only last a few minutes outside the body, and regular exposure to things keeps the immune system healthy. (I realize this does not apply to people whose immune system is already compromised.) Places refusing to provide paid sick leave mean employees working when they're sick, and I'm not going to complain to management about someone who needs their whole paycheck. I may complain to corporate about their shameful policies, but that's a whole different issue.
(no subject) - tomtac on December 16th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Stormy Weather: Storm2ororo on December 17th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC)
I used to pack my own bags at Kroger and one cashier called the manager on me. I told him that his people were not trained to pack for weight distribution and I had to walk up a flight of stairs. In other words, putting a carton of milk and all my canned goods in one bag is unproductive even if you double-bag it. He got quite huffy with me, but I didn't back down.

Cue the rickety rocking chair. I was a grocery store cashier in high school, and did my share of bagging. It's not difficult if you use some common sense. And while it's nice to have all your dairy and frozen food together, is anything really going to to thaw out in the fifteen minutes it takes to get home?