Author Topic: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..  (Read 5385 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

amylouky

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1524
Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« on: December 31, 2013, 01:30:48 AM »
Hi all! Not going to give BG because the letter tells the story, but I'm wondering if this sounds okay? It seems long to me but I don't know what to cut while still including what I want to get across. Also wondering if I should send it at all, or if I'm being a SS?


I am writing to express disappointment with the customer service at my local GroceryStore on a shopping trip tonight. I went to GroceryStore  at Location. I arrived there around 11:30 PM, and shopped for about an hour. As I'm preparing for a holiday meal tomorrow, and bought a few last minute gifts, I had a full cart when I got to the checkout lanes at around 12:40 AM.
I looked for an open lane, but the only lanes open were the self checkout lanes. While I don't mind using the self checkouts if I have a smaller order, I really do not like using them as they frequently can't read things and I find them frustrating. I asked the employee who was overseeing the self checkouts, a middle aged man named Mark, if someone could open a regular lane, since I had a full cart. His response was that there weren't any regular lanes open, and I would have to use the self checkout. I expressed concern that I wouldn't be able to fit all of my items in the small bagging area. To this, he responded, "Oh sure you can.. I do it all the time. You can take your bags off of the turnstile and put them over there." (pointing to the extra space, which is still small). He then turned around and walked back to his register.
Since I did not want to waste the hour I had spent shopping in your store, or go to another store and redo my shopping at that hour, I went ahead and started checking my groceries. It ended up taking me about 10 minutes to get all of my groceries checked and bagged, and I did have to stack several bags and items on top of each other in the bagging area because there wasn't enough room.
At no time did Mark come back and offer to help, he stayed at the front of the checkouts talking to another employee.
I do realize that shopping late at night comes with some minor inconveniences such as aisles being blocked by stock carts or littered with packing boxes, and some departments being closed. I do not expect poor customer service such as this, especially when I had asked for assistance in getting a lane open and was refused.
I would like to know if it is company policy that only self checkouts are available at certain times/hours. If it is, I would suggest that this be posted at the entrance of the store so that customers can make the decision whether to stay and shop. I would not have stayed, or at best I would have bought much less, if I had known I'd be checking my own groceries.
I spent $247.76 on this shopping trip, and had 72 items. I have to say that having to check out this order myself has not left me inclined to return to this store.

kherbert05

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10172
    • Trees downed in my yard by Ike and the clean up
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 02:13:43 AM »
Sorry I but I don't think Mark refusing to open an lane at that time of night is a valid complaint. At my store I've heard the staff tell people that they can't open a lane because they don't have a drawer with change available. There are in a time controled safe that can't be opened till the Manager comes on duty (at 6:30 am I think) This is a safety measure to discourage robberies.


The valid complaint you have is that Mark should have been able to periodically override the scale and allow you to put your bags in another cart instead of having to stack your bags on each other. He should have offered to do that, when you asked for help.  THey've done that for me when I've gone in at an odd hour and found notebooks on sale and bought as many as the sale allowed for my classroom. (I did learn to go in while the manager is there - they know I'm a teacher and will override the limit because I'm buying for my classroom.)
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17346
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 02:27:58 AM »
I agree with Kherbert05. Other than not offering you a cart to put your things in (i don't live in the US but have used self check outs a few times whiel on visits; there usually is another cart to put your things into in the stores i've visited), i don't think there was anything wrong with what he said or did. your entire check out of 72 items took you 10 minutes - i don't know if it would have taken you less time had a regular cashier done it for you/

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

amylouky

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1524
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 02:51:18 AM »
Hmm.  I think if a business advertises that they are open 24 hours, then they should provide reasonably the same level of service during the night that they do during the day. I wouldn't expect to have to clean my own table, or fetch my own refills if I chose to eat at Denny's (a 24 hour chain restaurant) in the wee hours.

I guess I see things differently.. it's good to get other viewpoints though.. if this is the accepted practice and wouldn't normally be considered bad service, I can accept that. But I do think they should notify customers that this is the policy. I shopped for things I needed for tomorrow (about half of my order), and picked up quite a few just general groceries that we needed around the house. I would have just bought the things for tomorrow if I'd known I'd be self checking out.

Of course, I do have to admit that this is all probably colored by the fact that I really can't stand self checkouts at all. Not just because I seem to have a curse with them, as I always seem to pick either the broken/scratched scanner, or the items with wonky tags that won't scan. I also don't like them because it's a money saving measure for the stores, that shifts the work effort to the customer without any benefit (other than convenience, for small orders). I can go to other grocery stores and buy the same items for the same price (actually, cheaper at the other grocery store I go to), but they always have a regular checkout lane open.

I think I'll wait til tomorrow and see if I'm still bothered enough to send anything.

m2kbug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1323
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 02:52:47 AM »
You were shopping at a very odd hour and the store may not have the capacity to keep a lane open like this.  I agree, I would find this very annoying and cumbersome, but this is what the store does at this hour.  I don't think Mark should be thrown under the bus.  He didn't have any power at all to comply to your request.  I think it's fine to express your unhappiness in the situation and maybe the store will make sure a cashier and register and lane is available in the future.  I, personally, think that should have happened in the first place, so I understand where you're coming from.  I don't really like the self-checks and avoid using them, especially with a full cart, it just causes nothing but problems when the computer pitches a fit when you put items into your cart to make room to bag other items and you have to call the cashier over to fix it and bypass the scale repeatedly.  I think for this letter, I would focus on the fact that it would be really nice if they had a cashier and register available for large purchases and multiple items like this.  I really don't think it would be that difficult to have someone on staff at all times for this purpose.  The cashier can busy themselves with their other job duties up until they get paged to the front.  "Three's a crowd" is something I hear on the intercom where I usually shop.  The next thing you know, a couple extra cashier pop up and open up a lane to deal with the overflow.

Paper Roses

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4785
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 02:55:31 AM »
Actually, I think the OP has a point in that if all the only lanes open are self-checkouts, maybe that should be posted so that she (and other customers) would know that going in, and then shop accordingly.  As she said, she wouldn't have purchased as much had she known she was going to have to check everything herself.

Also, while Mark's response may have been satisfactory (although I don't really think it was), I think a better one would have been "I'm sorry; store policy doesn't allow me to open non-self-check register."  I think his response made it look like he was refusing to open one to help her, rather than that for whatever reason he couldn't.  May not be a huge difference to some, but I think it would have made a difference to the OP.

I also think he should have at least offered her some help, or gotten someone else to do so.  She says he was talking with another employee, so it's not like he was the only person working in the store. 

OP, the only thing I would suggest for your message would be some paragraph separation/spacing, but it may just be crammed in there because you were posting it to the forum. 
No, you can't, because you wishpishabonnyfish.

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17346
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 02:59:56 AM »
Hmm.  I think if a business advertises that they are open 24 hours, then they should provide reasonably the same level of service during the night that they do during the day. I wouldn't expect to have to clean my own table, or fetch my own refills if I chose to eat at Denny's (a 24 hour chain restaurant) in the wee hours.

I guess I see things differently.. it's good to get other viewpoints though.. if this is the accepted practice and wouldn't normally be considered bad service, I can accept that. But I do think they should notify customers that this is the policy. I shopped for things I needed for tomorrow (about half of my order), and picked up quite a few just general groceries that we needed around the house. I would have just bought the things for tomorrow if I'd known I'd be self checking out.

Of course, I do have to admit that this is all probably colored by the fact that I really can't stand self checkouts at all. Not just because I seem to have a curse with them, as I always seem to pick either the broken/scratched scanner, or the items with wonky tags that won't scan. I also don't like them because it's a money saving measure for the stores, that shifts the work effort to the customer without any benefit (other than convenience, for small orders). I can go to other grocery stores and buy the same items for the same price (actually, cheaper at the other grocery store I go to), but they always have a regular checkout lane open.

I think I'll wait til tomorrow and see if I'm still bothered enough to send anything.
I do get what you're saying - but all i'm saying is that i don't think the self check out inconvenienced you that much (IOW - i don't think you would've checked out faster had a cashier done it). I do agree that the store might post this as a policy: "only self checkout is available between X and Y o'clock". Again, my own preferences might be coloring my response - i WISH they had self check out here!

If you do decide to send the letter, i woudl make it much much shorter, and personally take out the reference to the "middle aged employee"...

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

amylouky

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1524
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 03:19:58 AM »
I guess I did need some BG after all.  ;) The store that I went to is very much not a small store. It's a huge grocery chain, and advertises that it is open 24 hours in ten foot tall light up letters on the front of the store. Mark was by far not the only employee there. There was another person (the employee he was talking to) who I think might have been the cart retriever. In addition, the store was crawling with stockers. This store has probably 25-30 aisles, and I'd say there was a stocker in at least half of them. I have also been to this grocery store late at night (even later than tonight, say 2-3 am) and there have been regular lanes open. So, I don't think it's a company-wide policy that it's self-check only from midnight to 4 am or anything, I think that Mark just didn't want to bother finding someone to open a lane. Who knows, I could be wrong.. maybe it is a policy. But in that case I think it should be posted.

And no.. it wasn't the end of the world having to check myself out, although it was annoying. I did have several items that refused to scan, as well as 10 or 15 produce items that had to be keyed in manually. I'm not nearly as fast as someone who does this for a living, so I do think it would have taken much less time in a regular lane. Probably a good half of that was spent fighting the scanner and trying to juggle the bags so they all fit in the 2 foot square bagging area.

I'll take out the "middle-aged". I really didn't mean it as derogatory.. I consider myself middle-aged. I just put it in there as a descriptor so they could identify who was working, but I can see where it might come across as insulting.

m2kbug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1323
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 03:27:19 AM »
Hmm.  I think if a business advertises that they are open 24 hours, then they should provide reasonably the same level of service during the night that they do during the day. I wouldn't expect to have to clean my own table, or fetch my own refills if I chose to eat at Denny's (a 24 hour chain restaurant) in the wee hours.

I guess I see things differently.. it's good to get other viewpoints though.. if this is the accepted practice and wouldn't normally be considered bad service, I can accept that. But I do think they should notify customers that this is the policy. I shopped for things I needed for tomorrow (about half of my order), and picked up quite a few just general groceries that we needed around the house. I would have just bought the things for tomorrow if I'd known I'd be self checking out.

Of course, I do have to admit that this is all probably colored by the fact that I really can't stand self checkouts at all. Not just because I seem to have a curse with them, as I always seem to pick either the broken/scratched scanner, or the items with wonky tags that won't scan. I also don't like them because it's a money saving measure for the stores, that shifts the work effort to the customer without any benefit (other than convenience, for small orders). I can go to other grocery stores and buy the same items for the same price (actually, cheaper at the other grocery store I go to), but they always have a regular checkout lane open.

I think I'll wait til tomorrow and see if I'm still bothered enough to send anything.
I do get what you're saying - but all i'm saying is that i don't think the self check out inconvenienced you that much (IOW - i don't think you would've checked out faster had a cashier done it). I do agree that the store might post this as a policy: "only self checkout is available between X and Y o'clock". Again, my own preferences might be coloring my response - i WISH they had self check out here!

If you do decide to send the letter, i woudl make it much much shorter, and personally take out the reference to the "middle aged employee"...

I agree with amylouky.  The same services should be offered at night the same as daylight hours.  You may be working on a skeleton crew and you may have to ask for someone to come up and open up a register, but the services should be available just the same, in my opinion.  If this is simply store policy you really don't have a whole lot of choices.  Shop elsewhere in the future.  I don't think it's wrong to call or write a letter expressing your displeasure over the situation in hopes the store will make sure someone is on staff in the future, which I think really should have happened in the first place. 

Having a cashier on hand may not be faster, but it's definitively more convenient and easier than trying to maneuver around self-check.  The number of times I have to sit and wait for someone to fix an error in self-check, it would be so much easier wait in line and go through a cashier.  I have personal issues around self-check as well.  I about want to scratch my eyes out when I get charged a "convenience fee."  Where is this "convenient?"  It is not convenient and I had to do all the work in the first place. 

perpetua

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1809
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 03:54:15 AM »
I guess I did need some BG after all.  ;) The store that I went to is very much not a small store. It's a huge grocery chain, and advertises that it is open 24 hours in ten foot tall light up letters on the front of the store. Mark was by far not the only employee there. There was another person (the employee he was talking to) who I think might have been the cart retriever. In addition, the store was crawling with stockers. This store has probably 25-30 aisles, and I'd say there was a stocker in at least half of them. I have also been to this grocery store late at night (even later than tonight, say 2-3 am) and there have been regular lanes open. So, I don't think it's a company-wide policy that it's self-check only from midnight to 4 am or anything, I think that Mark just didn't want to bother finding someone to open a lane.

Stockers are employed specifically to restock the shelves and often work overnight so the shop can be fully stocked for business the following morning. They're probably not even trained to operate the tills so I'm not sure what your point is there - were you expecting one of them to stop what they were doing and open a lane to check you out? Because that just isn't their job.

The other person there was a cart retriever, again, probably not trained on the tills.

So probably the only person there who could have opened a lane for you was Mark and at that hour I'd have to think he is there in the capacity of 'over-seer'. His job is to sort of flit around and help as many people as he can because he's the only one available to. I see that in our supermarkets over here: they hover around the till area and help customers if something happens at the self-checkout (when something needs overriding or doesn't scan properly etc). If he'd specifically opened a lane for you and spent ten minutes checking out your large order, what happens when someone else needs help while he's doing it?

I'm with those who don't think this is a valid complaint. You were shopping at gone midnight and I don't think you can expect the same level of service at that hour.

amylouky

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1524
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 04:21:37 AM »
I'm with those who don't think this is a valid complaint. You were shopping at gone midnight and I don't think you can expect the same level of service at that hour.

But.. why not? It's not as though they were doing me a favor by letting me in. They are a 24 hour grocery store. Sure, the pharmacy and deli and meat counter are closed, but the hours are posted out front so I know ahead of time. I don't really get why the service should be expected to be less just because it's late.
Going back to my Denny's example.. would you be okay with being asked to bus your own table because it is 3 AM and they didn't staff a busboy?

Aunt4God

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 04:38:48 AM »
Ok, having worked 3rd shift as a cashier at a big, 24-hour grocery chain, I'm gonna throw my two cents in here.

Yes, you are very correct in that there should have been a regular lane open.  Mark was very incorrect in not attempting to find someone to do that for you.  AT the very least, he could have called the manager on duty to open up on the lane that is (generally, in big chain stores) always set up for use overnight.  I will say, though, that he himself could not hop on a regular register for you.  Cashier's are given log-in numbers that can only be used on one register at time, and the U-Scan would have had to be completely shut down for him to do that.  The reason a regular lane wasn't hope could be due to a couple things piggy-backing each other.  They might have had someone call in sick, so they were down a worker, and the other cashier on shift would then be on lunch/break, leaving Mark there alone for a small amount of time.  I also would have complained about him having a conversation with another employee that whole time.  He should have been paying attention to you, and said other employee should have been going about his own job, or if on break, not standing there distracting Mark.  I would mention that in your letter.  They need to know about them slacking off.

For those saying it wouldn't have been faster at a regular lane, yes, it probably would have.  A trained, experienced cashier can scan and bag a cartload faster than a customer can.  I would also make sure you submit that to Corporate and at the store level, so that more than one person sees it, and hopefully it will catch the eye of the right person that can address the issues. 

perpetua

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1809
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 04:40:16 AM »
I'm with those who don't think this is a valid complaint. You were shopping at gone midnight and I don't think you can expect the same level of service at that hour.

But.. why not? It's not as though they were doing me a favor by letting me in. They are a 24 hour grocery store. Sure, the pharmacy and deli and meat counter are closed, but the hours are posted out front so I know ahead of time. I don't really get why the service should be expected to be less just because it's late.
Going back to my Denny's example.. would you be okay with being asked to bus your own table because it is 3 AM and they didn't staff a busboy?

I just don't think it's a reasonable expectation, given that the store is going to be far quieter overnight. A business isn't going to pay people to sit or stand around on the tills all night on the offchance someone comes in at 3am and doesn't want to use the self-checkout.

amylouky

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1524
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2013, 04:49:07 AM »
I'm with those who don't think this is a valid complaint. You were shopping at gone midnight and I don't think you can expect the same level of service at that hour.

But.. why not? It's not as though they were doing me a favor by letting me in. They are a 24 hour grocery store. Sure, the pharmacy and deli and meat counter are closed, but the hours are posted out front so I know ahead of time. I don't really get why the service should be expected to be less just because it's late.
Going back to my Denny's example.. would you be okay with being asked to bus your own table because it is 3 AM and they didn't staff a busboy?

I just don't think it's a reasonable expectation, given that the store is going to be far quieter overnight. A business isn't going to pay people to sit or stand around on the tills all night on the offchance someone comes in at 3am and doesn't want to use the self-checkout.

That's understandable. I think it would make sense for them to maybe crosstrain a bit so they can pull stockers or the cart guy if needed. I used to work at a warehouse store similar to Sam's, and that's how we did it to handle really busy times. Actually, our stockers made more than the cashiers, so most of them had been hired from the cashier pool anyway.

Anyway, it's not like I'm severely upset about it or anything. Really my point in wanting to write the email was to find out if this is policy, and to suggest that the "self checkout only" hours, if they exist, be posted at the front of the store. Which I suppose I can accomplish without mentioning the employee's name at all.

perpetua

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1809
Re: Need some help with email comment/complaint to grocery store..
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2013, 04:51:53 AM »
I'm with those who don't think this is a valid complaint. You were shopping at gone midnight and I don't think you can expect the same level of service at that hour.

But.. why not? It's not as though they were doing me a favor by letting me in. They are a 24 hour grocery store. Sure, the pharmacy and deli and meat counter are closed, but the hours are posted out front so I know ahead of time. I don't really get why the service should be expected to be less just because it's late.
Going back to my Denny's example.. would you be okay with being asked to bus your own table because it is 3 AM and they didn't staff a busboy?

I just don't think it's a reasonable expectation, given that the store is going to be far quieter overnight. A business isn't going to pay people to sit or stand around on the tills all night on the offchance someone comes in at 3am and doesn't want to use the self-checkout.

That's understandable. I think it would make sense for them to maybe crosstrain a bit so they can pull stockers or the cart guy if needed. I used to work at a warehouse store similar to Sam's, and that's how we did it to handle really busy times. Actually, our stockers made more than the cashiers, so most of them had been hired from the cashier pool anyway.

Anyway, it's not like I'm severely upset about it or anything. Really my point in wanting to write the email was to find out if this is policy, and to suggest that the "self checkout only" hours, if they exist, be posted at the front of the store. Which I suppose I can accomplish without mentioning the employee's name at all.

I actually think that's a really good idea if framed as a suggestion rather than a complaint. It's like petrol stations when they put up a 'window service only after 11pm (or whenever)' sign - you know when you pull up that you can't go into the shop and browse after a certain hour and if you want anything that isn't petrol you have to ask the cashier at the window to go and get it for you. If you know that at the outset, you can decide whether to stop there or not.