Author Topic: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf  (Read 8113 times)

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reflection5

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I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« on: March 29, 2013, 05:43:17 PM »
One of the local grocery store delis has really great potato salad and chicken salad.  I happened to be in the area today and while picking up a few things I stopped at the deli.  I didn’t see anyone waiting for counter help, but I did see several people slicing meat and doing various things in the work area.

(I’ve been there a few times and I know they do fix orders at the counter.  They also have a large area where there’s lots of packaged items in containers on shelves.  Personally, I prefer to tell someone what I want and have it put in a container while I watch.  I prefer this because I don’t know how long the potato, chicken salad or whatever has been packaged up AND the times I’ve gotten potato salad or whatever from the counter it’s been really yummy.)

I stood there for a few minutes, was just about to say “excuse me” when a woman looked up from what she was doing and asked if she could help me.

Me:  I’d like some potato salad.
Worker:  There’s plenty right there on the shelves (motioning).
Me:  Well, I like to get it here.  Seems fresher.
Worker:  It’s all the same.  It's all fresh, ma'am.
Me:  Even so, could someone get me a pound of the mustard potato salad from this large bowl here at the counter?
Worker:  (Kind of s sighed in exasperation), shrugged, washed her hands, walked over and got me what I wanted.

I was a little bit insulted because customer service at this store, and this deli area, has always been superb.  Not a big deal, but I think a customer should be able to get the item they want.  It’s not like the counter potato salad was being saved for something else (if so it wouldn't be out there for all to see and salivate over).

Right?  (Or was I being snow-flakey, heaven forbid?) :-\

squeakers

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 05:51:47 PM »
Personally, I think the stuff they packaged up would be fresher.. or at least not as stale as stuff sitting out catching whatever in the air.

But as long as the deli sells what they have sitting out to everyone and doesn't make it a policy to just sell the pre-packaged stuff I think you were ok.  You didn't huff, get loud or doing anything rude.  Asking someone to do their job is not rude.
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LazyDaisy

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 05:54:04 PM »
I think you were polite and within your rights to ask for service.

However, I believe that the prepackaged items should have a "packaged on" date printed on the label along with the weight and price. I know my local grocery deli does. In my experience, the deli makes a large batch of whatever in the morning, pre-packages about half of it in the most popular weights and puts the rest in the display case so it really is exactly the same.

I'm the opposite of you, I'm a bit squicked out by something that's been sitting in an uncovered bowl in a display case all day. I'd rather have the stuff that was packed and covered immediately.
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GSNW

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 05:56:09 PM »
This is the sort of thing that would have me speaking to a manager on the way out the door.  If you don't want customers to patronize a service deli, don't have one.  Your request was perfectly rational.

Polly

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 06:07:06 PM »
I think she was a little rude. You asked for something that was part of her job to provide. Your reason for not wanting the alternative is nothing to do with her. I sort of get pointing out the pre-packaged stuff if it is done in a 'just so you know, this is an option, but I am happy to serve you with the salads here too'. But otherwise, the deli is there to serve you with what you want. There are numerous reasons why you might prefer the deli counter.

Thipu1

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 06:20:38 PM »
Having worked in a supermarket deli, I would agree that pre-packaged  salads with a packed-on  or sell-by date are likely to be at least as clean and fresh as salad that's served out of a deli case. The latter may seem fresher but that isn't necessarily the case.

Salad from the middle of a big bowl in a case might not be as cold as pre-packed salads.  Reaching over other bowls to hand-pack a pound or two of salad can contaminate other, more expensive salads.

Servers are usually very careful when serving cased salads.  When I worked at the deli counter, we had to monitor the  temperature of and and rotate bowls of such salads every few hours.

  It was a real pain when you were serving tuna salad you couldn't really see and a bit fell into the
shrimp salad or the Dutch potato salad. Everything had to be pulled and dumped.  The bowls had to be washed and refilled.

When someone working at a supermarket deli suggests a pre-packed salad, believe them.  It's probably the best way to go.       

 

 

sweetonsno

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 06:56:33 PM »
It's perfectly acceptable to request that a person working at a deli fill a container for you. I do it all the time. For me, though, it is usually because I only want a single serving and the containers that wind up in the self-serve areas are usually enough for three or four people. If I'm not going home immediately, my leftovers would spoil and need to be thrown out. I don't want that, so I ask for one scoop if I can't find the serving size that I'm looking for on the shelf.

However, your particular request does strike me as rather odd. I see it sort of like finding a person in the produce department and asking them to bag up some apples for you instead of picking your own (or grabbing one of the already-made bags). They're the same apples, whether you grab a bag that the produce worker made that morning or you watch him put the apples in a bag right in front of you. It's the same potato salad, most likely from the same batch. (Other posters have already pointed out how the pre-packaged stuff may be the better choice anyway.)

Your request was perfectly acceptable, but you probably should have left off the implication that they were selling product that wasn't fresh. (I know that wasn't your intention, but it probably came across that way.)

MrsJWine

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 07:03:05 PM »
I think this is one of those things where your request was acceptable, but also understandably annoying.

It's kind of like asking for the only dirty table in a large section full of clean, empty tables with similar distances from windows, entrance, bathrooms, etc. Paying customers had the right to request specific tables, but it was a bit exasperating, especially if I was recovering from a rush, and was busy, say, filling all the empty salt shakers before another horde of people came in.


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Utah

GSNW

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 07:22:54 PM »
Just because a request is annoying or a slight inconvenience doesn't mean it's ok for the service worker to acts exasperated or try to steer the customer away.  The salads behind the case are on offer for sale.  The reason the customer wants THAT salad is irrelevant. 

I get emails sometimes from parents asking for homework/project instructions that have a) been provided to students and are b) available on my website.  I'm not going to reply, "get it from the website, it's the same thing," I'm going to take the time to fill their reasonable request to maintain cordiality and goodwill on both sides.  It doesn't go unnoticed.

CrochetFanatic

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 07:30:07 PM »
I think the person working in the deli was rude.  Speaking as someone who used to work at a deli, your request wasn't at all unreasonable.  I might have informed you of the salad on the shelves, in case you were in a hurry and hadn't seen it there, trying to save you some time, but arguing?  No.  It's called "Food Service" for a reason.  The fact that an employee might not feel like performing a particular service is irrelevant.  Unless a customer is rude, serving people is what they're paid to do.

Bijou

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2013, 07:40:51 PM »
I think your request was fine and once she knew that you were aware of the prepackaged ones on the shelf but preferred the bowl salad she should have just pleasantly filled your order.
One thing to remember is that if you put something in your fridge at home uncovered (like in a deli display case) it will pick up icky odors and uncomplimentary flavors from other unprotected food in the fridge, and I am certain the same is true for all the things displayed in the big case (as opposed to the one filled with prepackaged stuff).
I would go for the prepackaged for this reason alone.

ETA... I cover everything in the fridge.  Nothing is left to absorb any other odors or flavors.  I must have had a disgusting experience at some distant time.   :o
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:43:22 PM by Bijou »
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snappylt

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2013, 07:44:43 PM »
I absolutely think it sounds like you made a polite and reasonable request.  If the store sells potato salad two ways, pre-packaged and packed-upon-demand, then it is polite and reasonable to ask to purchase it whichever way you want it. That is why the store hires workers to work at their deli counter!

Now, I'll grant you that the employee may have been annoyed to have to stop what he or she was doing, wash his/her hands, and then serve you... but, again, serving the customers' legitimate requests is why the store hires employees to work at their deli.  It seems to me that this is not a "reasonable" annoyance on the employee's part.  (Honestly, showing annoyance to a customer who asks politely is very rude of an employee, isn't it?)

Having said that, the more I think about it, I'll bet Thipu1 and the employee are correct - I'll bet you that all of the potato salad is the same - I'll bet it is cooked and prepared at a central food processing factory and not at the individual store.  Sometime when there is a different employee on duty you might ask about that.

In any case, if it is offered for sale two ways, I think it is perfectly acceptable for you to politely ask to purchase it whichever way you prefer.  (I've bought it from behind the counter before because then I can buy exactly the quantity I want instead of having to buy it in the only one size offered in the pre-packed packages.)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:46:24 PM by snappylt »

reflection5

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2013, 07:48:44 PM »
One reason I didn't want the prepackaged was that I've tried it (albeit from another store) and didn't care for the texture or taste (ended up throwing most of it out). 

Also, if I just want a very small quantity (say, just enough for lunch or a snack) or an odd amount such as a pound and a half.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:53:43 PM by reflection5 »

Yvaine

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2013, 08:13:23 PM »
So the prepackaged stuff is a completely different salad--different recipe, perhaps an outside brand sold at many stores--from what's in the big bowls? I'd been picturing them dishing up a bunch of their own in-house stuff into containers for convenience. If it's not even the same stuff, it makes total sense to have a preference.

citadelle

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Re: I want THIS potato salad, not the one on the shelf
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2013, 09:24:03 PM »
So the prepackaged stuff is a completely different salad--different recipe, perhaps an outside brand sold at many stores--from what's in the big bowls? I'd been picturing them dishing up a bunch of their own in-house stuff into containers for convenience. If it's not even the same stuff, it makes total sense to have a preference.
The employee said it was all the same.