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October 6, 2013 / Leslie

A Creepy Trip to the Grocery Store

Friday I made a quick trip to my local Jewel-Osco grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. Not much, just a few bags of stuff. Not an overflowing cart or very heavy items. So I was a little surprised at checkout when the cashier said the bagger would help me carry the groceries to my car. I politely refused and she insisted. I refused again and she insisted again. It went something like this:

Cashier: “I’ll have the bagger take the cart out to your car”.
GroceryBagMe: “No thanks, I’m ok.”
Cashier: “He’ll come out to the car and load them for you”.
Me: “No, really, I can do it myself. It’s not necessary”.
Cashier: “Ok, but he’ll walk out to the car with you anyway and bring back the cart.”
Me: [Speechless]

As I walked to the car – pushing my own cart – the guy follows me! I tell him it’s not necessary and a waste of his time. If I had bought a 50 bag of bird seed I’d accept help, heck I’d ask for help. He said he had to do it. Seriously? Was I being punked? Nope, I was not.

Forced Friendliness

Using Google, it didn’t take me long to discover this is a recent marketing strategy to promote more personalized service at Chicagoland stores. I appreciate the offer and if I need help I don’t hesitate to ask, but forced friendliness makes me uncomfortable and being stalked to my car after saying no was a little unnerving.

I think someone forgot to do their market research. What I want are lower prices and faster checkout. Compulsory cart to car service is way down on my list. Not only do I prefer to load my own car, I also like to bag my own groceries in my own tote bags.

Anyone else experience this? What do you think?

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© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.

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18 Comments

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  1. BermudaOnion / Oct 6 2013 9:37 am

    One of our local grocery stores is all about service and will offer to carry my groceries if I have one small bag, but they do take no for an answer. Your experience was rather creepy.

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 6 2013 10:25 am

      I like having the service available, but only for people who want it.

      Like

  2. laurelrainsnow / Oct 6 2013 10:07 am

    Oh, wow, that is really creepy! At my local stores, they always offer, I say “no thanks,” and that’s it. I would seriously hate being stalked like that. I wonder what would have happened if you had stopped at the door and said: “Please don’t follow me!”

    I’ll bet that wouldn’t even work.

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 6 2013 10:23 am

      I did, as we were going out the door. The guy said he had to. I didn’t want him to get in trouble so I let him follow me.

      Like

  3. cbjamess / Oct 6 2013 10:08 am

    I have not experienced this, which certainly took things to far. But it’s kind of funny to me in a different way. There was a time when the bagger ALWAYS pushed your cart to the car and loaded your groceries for you. Just like there was a gas station attendant who always pumped your gas for you, washed the front and rear windows of your cars for you and always offered to check the oil as well.

    Now if someone offers us this level of service, we suspect something is up.

    We’ve come a long way….

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 6 2013 10:22 am

      Very true. And forced self-service can be just as bad. I remember when First Chicago Bank instituted a $3.00 teller fee in order to force customers to use the ATM for free. That created a huge uproar and First Chicago is long gone.

      I don’t remember ever having groceries cart service but I’ve been around long enough to remember the gas station attendant and 29¢ per gallon gas prices.

      Like

  4. irene / Oct 6 2013 10:55 am

    Yes I would find that a little creepy. On both sides, the poor kid.

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 6 2013 11:32 am

      Not a kid! The fact that the bagger was an adult male about my own age made it even creepier to be followed to my car.

      Like

  5. booketta / Oct 6 2013 12:06 pm

    Oh dear! They try so hard and yet still fail to get it right!

    Like

  6. joyweesemoll / Oct 6 2013 2:22 pm

    The last time I was in Naples, Florida, they were doing this. I thought it was creepy, too. I suspected it was a way to reduce shopping cart theft.

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 6 2013 4:11 pm

      That could be a reason although a dedicated parking lot attendant would probably be more cost effective.

      Like

  7. Vicki / Oct 6 2013 2:54 pm

    That is creepy and I’m glad our stores haven’t started that. I would rather take my own groceries to the car and put them where I want them, like put all the cans/heavy items on one side and the bread/light items on the other. One time I did have a bagger take my cart to the car and he put everything all mixed up and when he left I had to reorganize it. I don’t want a carton of milk falling over and mashing my bread.

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 6 2013 4:10 pm

      Exactly! I have a crate I put the 2liters in so they don’t roll forward and the bag with the cake and bread needs to ride on the front seat. The guy was trying to help and I was running around tossing things in my preferred spots before he could unload them.

      Like

  8. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader / Oct 6 2013 5:33 pm

    Zowie, that is quite forced indeed! No one wants to be FORCED to do anything. Hmph!

    Like

  9. diane / Oct 6 2013 8:08 pm

    Okay, that is weird! I’ve bought over $200 of groceries and never once had anyone offered to help (I still might have refused, but that would have seemed more normal).

    Like

  10. Carol / Oct 8 2013 9:40 am

    Wow, I would not like that. We have one grocery store in town that takes the cart to your car, but they’re not pushy about and definitely wouldn’t follow you if you said no thanks.

    Like

    • Leslie / Oct 8 2013 10:27 am

      I’m hoping the mandatory service goes away but if it doesn’t, no will mean no the next time or I’m shopping elsewhere. There is no shortage of grocery stores near my house.

      Like

  11. Laurie C / Oct 8 2013 5:06 pm

    At first I thought it was their new way of getting carts brought back into the store instead of left in the parking lot, but why not just have the staff go out every half hour or so to collect the carts, if that’s the case? I don’t want extra service because then I’ll feel forced to tip for service I didn’t even want!

    Like

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