Was I right to speak up in the grocery store?

I went to the bakery (NOT a shop) and stood at the glass counter. I was clearly visible to the two associates standing there. When I walked up, the associate was talking to another girl, who had her purse in her hand and was leaving for the day.

Both were employees in the bakery. The associate behind the counter and her were chatting. The girl with the purse----employee in bakery----looked right at me, now normally, in this case, she might "motion" the girl behind the counter, that she had a customer or make a body gesture. She did neither. She kept talking to the bakery associate....

Then, when they were done chatting (I'm still standing there, no-one has acknowledged me at all, or offered to get me something out of the case) the bakery associate runs in the cooler, because the girl with the purse said she decorated her a cake. Now, I can understand the excitement, birthday, etc., and I figured, when she comes out of the cooler, she will greet me and asking if she can help me...


Then, just as I think she is going to help me, a woman walks up with a young toddler. She squeals with delight, offers the child a cookie and then the customer takes her to the side, to show her baby sonogram pictures. Now, once again, I can understand the excitement, new baby, pictures. friends...... I am hoping soon she is going to greet me and ask me what I need out of the bakery case?


I finally grab an item off the table and I am turning around and leaving.

No apology.

No thank you, have a nice day.


So, now I am leaving and I check to see if I am invisible?

Nope. I can see my skin and my clothes.

I decide I am going to talk to the manager. (Long before mystery shopping, I have always said that something in extreme conditions: burnt food in restaurants, extremely rude employee, etc., that I am going to say something)

So, I ask for the manager. He comes over. I explain what happened. He says she is an old timer (meaning she has been with the company for years) and he said, "But you are a paying customer. When you and I get done talking, I am going to go over there and talk with her." I made sure he knew she was not mean to me (but maybe in my mind, rude for ignoring me).

We got into a deep discussion and I told him I used to be a bakery manager, and how important it was to acknowledge the customers and how I trained my crew to acknowledge a customer within 10 feet of their view. He agreed, we talked a little more and he apologized. I left the store...

I also noted where this store was so I would be sure never to shop it. (I don't shop that chain anyway)

I am representative of the customer that got "ignored" that day.

To most customers, their answer: they might not return. They might tell their friends...

I thought about this: As shoppers, after 5 minutes, we are supposed to ask for help. I was 2 feet away from the chatting employees. They could see me. I was upset and I walked away. Just like most upset customers might do. I was a customer that day....Most customers might walk, unless the customer says "Hey! I need help!" I should also add I was slightly depressed about my car (major repairs) so I had a lot on my mind.

Was I wrong to speak with the manager?

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Of course not. And I hope you go back there in a few days to see if anything changed. And if nothing has, you might even go higher up in the food chain and send a letter to corporate about it. Believe me, they will want to know.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
You have far more patience than I. I would have interrupted the employee conversation within 30 seconds or so. And yes, management deserved to know.
Yes you did well in giving them time and also talking to the manager but do go back to know if
they have inproved on their service.
If I was not on a shop, I would have simply said, "Excuse Me?" loudly enough that both of them would have been forced to turn their heads and acknowledge me.

If your not on a shop, there is no reason to be bashful or mute and wait for them to acknowledge you.
Mantis Wrote:
> You have far more patience than I. I would have
> interrupted the employee conversation within 30
> seconds or so. And yes, management deserved to
> know.

No way would I have patiently waited wihile they chatted, walked to the cooler, and greeted another customer. If I were a paying customer - and not on a shop - I would have interrupted 30 seconds after one of them saw me. I would have called in a pleasant tone "I think I'm ready here." Or "Excuse me! is the Bakery open?" Or "Excuse me! Could one of you help me here, plese?"

I would not have spoken with the manager, but I'm not saying you were wrong after waiting and being ignored. I would simply not have waited and allowed them to ignore me, so I would have had nothing to report, except that I had to ask for service.
I tend to agree with AM, although you were right to speak with the manager. But, as others have said, I don't know that I would have waited as long for service as you did.

Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei
If I don't get the customer service I'm deserved, I will get the manager involved. Nothing's worse than being ignored or being treated like an object. Hello? I am a person. Do you see me? winking smiley
I think I might even have shot a "Thanks for all your help!" at them over my shoulder as I walked away.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
I would have interrupted the first conversation after a very short time and insisted on the service I expected and deserved. Depending on what happened next, I may or may not have reported it to management. Everybody slips up. Me, too.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Thank you guys!smiling smiley

The one thing I noted while driving down the road: Neither of the persons she spoke with (while ignoring me) were "paying customers." One was the cake decorator and one was a friend, with baby sonogram pictures, who just got a free cookie for their toddler.

I know I should have spoke up as AustinMom said, but I think I was representative of the quieter customer (that day, anyway) and feeling down about my car, so you have all kinds of customers in your store and I was the one who slipped away...

Just so you know, I was ignored at a movie theatre awhile back, by the concessionist (not a shop) and I did speak up and told her she was ignoring me, she went in the back store room and I wanted to order my popcorn, etc. but she came out and started waiting on customers who came AFTER I did. tongue sticking out smiley

So, it depends on my mood on non-shops. (I can get vocal, just so you know) hehe...

On real shops, I follow the guidelines to the letter! smiling smiley
I usually tell the manager that "I am not trying to get somebody fired" or so-and-so "needs to be retrained". I don't talk like a customer to the manager. I talk like a friend or someone in business who is just giving advice. They listen.
Why is "OLD TIMER" an excuse now for poor performance? I here the same excuse at my local grocery. When I have emailed the Brand, the local manger sends me a card and a $20 dollar gift card apologizing, this has happened on more than one occasion. I have also spoken directly to the manager, who requests that customers speak to him rather than informing the company. I would rather the problem be rectified than here every time, how long this employee and that employee has been with the store. Do establishments no longer give those "old timers" a raise on performance every year, or honor their dedication in some manner? I honestly do not get the excuse OLD TIMER, EXCUSED RUDE PERSON.
Sometimes, I get the feeling "old timer" means--(translation) "I can do what I want, I have been here since John Kennedy was President and I have outlived 6 store managers. Nobody messes with me, because you have to figure, if I have been here since the 1960's then I must be GOOD!winking smiley But what it really means is : I get lazy and I don't have to go above and beyond anymore." tongue sticking out smiley
It just goes back to good old fashioned manners. If she was an old timer, she should have some of those up her sleeve. Hard to imagine how she kept her job with that attitude.
I would have done you one better. I would have gone around a different isle, if possible, and tried to sneak up to see or hear what he did say. I'm suspicious enough to realize that if she'd been there that long, and acted the way she did, she knew that she would get away with it, and /or didn't care.

Or maybe I've been on this job too long.....
I would have talked to the manager and called head office. If you weren't on a shop, I don't see a problem. What happened was bad customer service

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
I make it a point now to make sure that management knows how the department are being run. With all the mystery shopping being done I don't think anyone wants to have employees not treating customers properly.

I was in line at Albertson's a week ago and the line was very long only one line open and no self checkout. I emailed corporate while I was standing in line and told them I was standing in line with only one cashier.
Just put it in the report and leave. The shop is to see what's going on there, not to change the way they do business. Write it down and don't complicate the issue by trying to change the world.
I probably would have interrupted and said, "Excuse me; am I wearing my invisible outfit today? Because you act like you can't see me.
When the mom with the kid showed up, I probably would've said, "Excuse me, I was in line first."

I'm "Sandi" in the Middle!
If the service person was an "old timer" wouldn't you think that they would have given excellent service because they have all that experience? Usually not the case - they just get lazier. I would have left, not purchased anything and written a letter to their corporate office when I got home. You would be surprised how much weight some companies give to a delivered letter instead of an e-mail. I guess it shows that you were really upset if you take the time to put a stamp on the letter. I have also forwarded copies of complaints to CEO's of companies by finding their addresses on the internet.
ollie502 Wrote:
> Just put it in the report and leave. The shop is
> to see what's going on there, not to change the
> way they do business. Write it down and don't
> complicate the issue by trying to change the
> world.

I was a customer. I was NOT on a shop. smiling smiley I can say, as customer, I never want to return to that store again because of how I was treated. (I realize I should have spoken up but I was feeling down that day. But as I said, we take customers as we see them; depressed, sick or ill. We should still give courteous service to those customers because we don't know their internal situation----that was my main point)

I think this is why they have "Mystery Shoppers" to report back bad service or should I say, non-existent service tongue sticking out smiley
Well you were right to do so but I rarely do. I almost always go to the HQ and write an email, complaining, if it is a chain. That way, THEY can talk to the manager, I don't have to waste my time listening to lame or even good excuses, and they usually make the manager call me to ask what he can do to make me happy. Then I always ask for something free from the offending department, and get it. smiling smiley
From my experience in retail, usually, the "old timer" has a 'strong' personality and the manager is sometimes afraid of her/him. For this reason, the manager finds it in his/her best interests to ignore the behavior/misbehavior and that is why the "old timer" is allowed to do what they feel like doing or to not do what they don't feel like doing.

Enter mystery shopper... smiling smiley


I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
What learningstill has said is 100% true. Many times they let the
oldtimers who have been there forever get away with their bad
habits. I personally never have and when I make recommendations
to companies one of the first I usually make is to get rid of them
if they refuse to change(which they will). Most cases they will just
quit rather than follow new procedure. In some other cases it starts at
the top and it's the manager that is bad and the employees are
a reflection of that.

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There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
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