Author Topic: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?  (Read 5661 times)

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Isisnin

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2013, 11:37:28 AM »
Another one here who doesn't like forced or required chat.

At my Shaws Supermarket in the Boston area some years ago, I'd stop in for a quick trip and multiple staff would approach me with "Hi!  How are you?  Nice day.  Great about the team!  etc... etc...".  Drove me nuts.  I felt I had to be polite and stop shopping and give them my attention.  After a full day at work  talking with people, I was chatted out. Finally, I asked one "why can't you all leave me alone to shop!?" (did actually say that).  And yep - new corporate policy.  thank heaven they stopped.

I'm friendly with them.  Usually just a joke or two as I check out.  My preference is too not spend a lot of time in the store.

A good employee would read the signals from the customer as to whether or not they (the customer) are into chatting and respond accordingly.

RooRoo

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2013, 11:41:33 AM »
This is definitely something to complain to corporate about - since you have seen the list of suggested questions, you know it is imposed on the poor cashiers.

It is irritating to those who just want to pay and leave. Worse, it will become a problem when the store is crowded, since it means orders will take longer to be processed. If the customer at the register is delayed 30 seconds by the chit-chat, the customer at the end of a long line may have been delayed 5 minutes, and could be strongly tempted to just tell the cashier to shut up and get on with it.

Cashiers already have to put up with unreasonable customers. It is unjust of the company to impose a policy that will create ill-will among customers who normally are nice.

These nice customers are the ones who will just take their business elsewhere, without making a fuss. But these are the customers every store wants, because they stand in line patiently, pay what they owe, and don't demand refunds for every little inconvenience. Losing these customers can lead to bankruptcy.

Not only that, but some stores have a policy of keeping track of how fast their cashiers process the customers' orders. Put the two policies together, and the cashier will have to choose which one to follow. That means high stress, which leads to high turnover.
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

oceanus

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2013, 11:47:47 AM »
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Why should they? They're undercover.


Yes, that was my point.  They are not recognizable as "staff" and they don't say "Hi" in order to try to deter theft.  I was not implying that they should say "Hi" or anything alse.

Amava

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2013, 11:52:41 AM »
I think there is a huge difference between store employees greeting a customer who walks by them in the isle, and striking up a whole chat with them in the isle or at the register.
The first is normal to me. Also, with the cashier I will always start my transaction by greeting them and end the transaction by wishing them a nice day. But in between there is no chit chat.

charlatan

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2013, 01:38:19 PM »
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Why should they? They're undercover.


Yes, that was my point.  They are not recognizable as "staff" and they don't say "Hi" in order to try to deter theft.  I was not implying that they should say "Hi" or anything alse.

Many companies have multiple levels of loss prevention. Aggressively friendly staff are one of the common ways to prevent theft - as another poster mentioned, it's been proven that people are less likely to steal when they know they have been noticed by others.

I used to work for a store with a corporate policy of the "ten foot rule." Staff had to greet every customer within ten feet of them (make eye contact, say hello and ask if they needed help with anything). It was difficult to do as an employee and  now as a regular customer I really dislike shopping at stores that require similar behavior of their staff.

blue2000

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2013, 03:57:22 PM »
I'd guess it is a new corporate 'trend'.

There were signs at my local grocery store a few weeks ago, admonishing people for not talking to the cashiers or being friendly enough. They have been changed now to something else. I have to wonder how well that worked for them - the cashiers are actually not much for chatting, even if I wanted to.

There were signs scolding customers for not being friendly enough to the cashiers?

Yes, kind of. I wish I could remember the exact wording - there were a couple of different ones (one posted at each register) and they were very PA. I think one of them was "Would it kill you to smile once in a while? The cashiers like smiles too!" I am totally on board with smiling and being nice, but this just struck me as... off.

They were professionally made so it must have been a corporate decision.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

SciFiLeslie

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2013, 05:17:20 PM »
Seems like a refreshing change from the usual store experience I would have from time to time when I lived in NJ.  At one point I almost wanted to congratulate the manager for hiring so many mutes.  There were several cashiers that would not say a word to you.  No greeting, no giving you a total after they finished ringing, no have a nice day at the end.  I felt invisible. 

I am actually grateful for the self checkouts and hand scanners.  Now I don't have to deal with rude staff or wince when I see them grab the fresh loaf of bread and squeeze it to death while scanning it and then putting into a bag with heavy cans or bottles.

Mikayla

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2013, 05:30:34 PM »

A good employee would read the signals from the customer as to whether or not they (the customer) are into chatting and respond accordingly.

To the nth.

Some of this reminds me of my waitress days, and the best training I ever had was about social cues.  The bottom line is you give the customer what they want.  If they're not chatty, respect this.  If they engage you, let them do so.

Forced chat may be related to loss prevention, but if they lose half their customers in the process, it's a pretty dodgy policy.

As for me, if I liked a store otherwise and suddenly got chatted to death, I would talk with management before deciding to shop elsewhere.

Barney girl

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2013, 05:52:01 PM »
I posted about a similar style of chattiness in my local supermarket, perhaps a year ago. The trouble was the young men serving me weren't very good at it. It was all very well to ask if I'd had a good day, but none of their business what I'd been doing. That seems to have stopped now and although the cashier serving me this evening did talk to me it was much more natural.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2013, 05:55:28 PM »
I live in Michigan, and the only place I've ever encountered the overly-friendly and inquisitive cashier was at Trader Joe's. I think they are trained to do it. It's kind of awkward, though, because sometimes they'll ask, "Do you have any plans this weekend?" and I have to mumble..."No....not really...." and rack my brain to think of something interesting. And then on the off chance that i DO have something interesting, then that's the day they won't ask!

I also vote for conversation that comes naturally, and quiet otherwise!
Oh my gosh, I forgot Trader Joes. I have to mentally psych myself up when checking out there. Between the I'm your buddy and their soft selling with "oh, I see your buying Z have you tried X" it can be a little like being back in my hometown where the cashiers had probably known me since birth.

Bandu

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2013, 06:20:14 PM »
Wow, that kind of forced blather would send me running out the front door. And I'm from Texas, where every transaction involves "visiting." But here, it's general chat, not intrusive interrogation.

As for the signs chiding the customers? Telling them how to feel, and to arrange their faces? We'd still be chuckling about that decades after the store had to close for lack of business.

rose red

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2013, 06:26:31 PM »
This happened to me during an onliine-chat with a company.  The rep kept asking about my holiday plans and food planning, etc.  It was very uncomfortable.  I just want my question answered, and don't care if there's "dead air" while they research (in fact, I prefer it so I can surf the web while I wait).  I didn't want to be rude, so I kept making vague answers.  :-\

oceanus

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2013, 06:41:26 PM »
This happened to me during an onliine-chat with a company.  The rep kept asking about my holiday plans and food planning, etc.  It was very uncomfortable.  I just want my question answered, and don't care if there's "dead air" while they research (in fact, I prefer it so I can surf the web while I wait).  I didn't want to be rude, so I kept making vague answers.  :-\

I agree; I donít care for personal chitchat with a rep on the phone.  I called a credit card company a few weeks ago to ask something and the rep was asking things like how was my holiday.  First of all, thatís not the business of a faceless customer service rep, and what do they really care anyway?  ďGood morning, my name is X, how can I help you?Ē is fine.  One of the reasons customers are left on hold so long is all the mindless chatter.  Just get to the reason I called.

Raintree

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2013, 07:51:40 PM »
I sure hope it's not a new "thing"!!

It sounds very much as though some genius at their corporate headquarters has decided to implement and enforce a procedure to make every customer feel "special" because they heard somewhere that this sort of thing makes the customer remember them and want to come back. Ugh.

I just want a polite transaction peppered with "please" and "thank you" (and as a customer I return the same). If a conversation comes up naturally, or a particular cashier loves to chat and is a natural at it, great, but I sure wouldn't like a forced conversation like that.

Please do let that chain know why it lost your business; we don't want other chains getting the same idea.

oceanus

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Re: Is this the new thing in grocery shopping?
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2013, 08:40:54 PM »
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enforce a procedure to make every customer feel "special"

If they start saying things like "Tell me your problems, we're family"  ::)  ::) scream, RUN, do not look back, just leave your things in the cart and run very fast.