Question about grocery shops.

I just did a grocery shop. It should only take 30 to 40 minutes to do the shop. They require you to talk to 3 floor associates. I spent 15 minutes just looking for one floor associate. There was NO ONE on the floor. They had people doing check out. people in the deli, bakery, and seafood areas...NONE on the floor. It took me over an hour just to finish the shop. What do you do, when there are NO floor associates around? How long do you wait? This store has full service, not like WinCo or Costco's.

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To my way of thinking, the employees in the deli, bakery and seafood areas are on the floor. If you need to talk with someone in dairy, produce or wines, ask a checker to page someone and wait for them...
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Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/29/2015 11:44PM by MDavisnowell.
@MDavisnowell wrote:

I wait until I get it done, no matter how long it takes. Most grocery stores have more associates working in the morning hours.

You may have a point there. I'll have to try and change times when I go. This site had restricted times. 12pm to 6pm.
@bestofbothworlds wrote:

To my way of thinking, the employees in the deli, bakery and seafood areas are on the floor. If you need to talk with someone in dairy, produce or wines, ask a checker to page someone and wait for them...

If an employee is behind a counter they may not necessarily be considered to be on the sales floor.
@bestofbothworlds wrote:

To my way of thinking, the employees in the deli, bakery and seafood areas are on the floor. If you need to talk with someone in dairy, produce or wines, ask a checker to page someone and wait for them...

The assignment made it clear, they had to be on the floor. There are different tasks for seafood, meats, produce and bakery. They said, you had to talk to 3 people in produce. There was only one person in produce, the whole time I was there.
another busy time is around 5 PM, at least in my area.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
@johnb974 wrote:

They said, you had to talk to 3 people in produce. There was only one person in produce, the whole time I was there.

I have done a l-o-t of grocery shops and have never seen one which required the shopper to interact with three people in any one department. Are you sure you read the guidelines correctly?

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I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
Three people in the produce department? I am often lucky if I can find one. Sometimes one supermarket will have two, but only if they are doing a large restocking.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@myst4au wrote:

Three people in the produce department? I am often lucky if I can find one. Sometimes one supermarket will have two, but only if they are doing a large restocking.

From the test they give: many associates will you need to assess for the Grocery (middle of store) Friendliness Assessments? 3.

It is the grocery, but I had a hard time trying to find even 1 person walking the floor or stocking shelves.
Some shops like the East End Co-op in Pittsburgh is a great place to shop, although the parking is awful. They have recently done away with volunteers etc;, so it is much harder to find an associate on the floor. My suggestion is - if you shop this place regularly, write down all the associates names and descriptions (love the gals with tattoos and nose rings) so that you will know them and increase your probability of at least having a brief interaction.
I did a grocery shop yesterday that sounds similar to what you describe. My guidelines specifically say you must find someone on the floor and not to use any employee working in other assigned departments such as bakery, produce, etc.

I've done a lot of these shops and for the first time I simply could not find anyone on the floor. I was in the store for 55 minutes and not once did I see anyone on the floor.

I submitted the report and said I could not find an employee to evaluate and stated what steps I took to try and find one. The report doesn't have any provision for this so I had to force it through by checking answers for the non-exsistant employee and then writing a note to the editor explaining the circumstances.

I didn't know if that would work but I got a notice that my report had been finalized and submitted to the client so I guess it did.
John, if this is for TrendSource you're completely fine if you don't evaluate the number of associates they ask for in the department. They want you to make a sincere effort to look for associates to evaluate, but if they're not there they're not there. I routinely go to stores where there are 0-1 associates in grocery and 0 in produce. Just explain the steps you took to make sure that there weren't associates present in the department during your shop on the question where it asks you why you didn't evaluate an associate.

The only time not evaluating an associate is really an issue is when you indicate that the associate was present. I've had days where I saw an associate in a department, but they left before I could evaluate them. As long as you proactively give them an honest explanation for the discrepancy in your report it's okay, at least in my experience with these shops.

Oh, and as far as time is concerned, I personally always spend at least 30 minutes in the store. My average time tends to be around 40-50 minutes including checkout. I think someone on the EasyShift forum mentioned having a shop rejected for taking under 30 minutes.
Yes it is. I just did the second store, at 5pm. It went much better. Far less traffic, many employees there. Next time, I'll only do them after 4pm. No more going at noon.
That is not a requirement for shops around me..you only need 1 person...and there have been times I walked around for 15 minutes and didn't find anyone....that one allows you to ask customer service instead of need be.....there are many other times I had to make a few loops around the store before I found someone.
I do those shops. In the area I live, we only have the low income stores and the customer service sucks. Today I shopped down by the beach and did a high-end store that is part of the same corporation. Since the MSC was mentioned, I can't name the parent company but I think we all know what it is. Out here in California, the two stores go by different names than what most on this forum call them.

Anyway, at the low income stores, it is impossible to find anyone on the floor. I usually chase down the person doing go-backs. Often, I only evaluate one person on the floor.

Produce is another big problem. This last time I made my contact with the guy sweeping the floor. And he knew more about how to cut a pineapple than the produce guys I found at the other two stores I did that same day.

These stores tend to hire ESL employees. I've gotten some interesting responses to questions about catering, etc. They honestly don't have a clue what I'm asking.

On top of that, they want the deli evaluated. At least here where I live, there is no real deli. At least it is not something with fresh meats and cheeses, made-to-order sandwhiches, home made salads, etc. It's all pre-packaged and there is no service. I've told TrendSource a time or two that of the four questions we can ask, none of them make sense in these stores most of the time.

I've been questioned by Trendsource twice about only finding two associates in the whole store on my first round (other than front end). All I had to do was confirm my answers were correct. If you stay in the store at least a half hour, and make several rounds, you should be fine.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/08/2015 07:28AM by whiterosie.
@whiterosie wrote:

I do those shops. In the area I live, we only have the low income stores and the customer service sucks. Today I shopped down by the beach and did a high-end store that is part of the same corporation. Since the MSC was mentioned, I can't name the parent company but I think we all know what it is. Out here in California, the two stores go by different names than what most on this forum call them.

Anyway, at the low income stores, it is impossible to find anyone on the floor. I usually chase down the person doing go-backs. Often, I only evaluate one person on the floor.

Produce is another big problem. This last time I made my contact with the guy sweeping the floor. And he knew more about how to cut a pineapple than the produce guys I found at the other two stores I did that same day.

These stores tend to hire ESL employees. I've gotten some interesting responses to questions about catering, etc. They honestly don't have a clue what I'm asking.

On top of that, they want the deli evaluated. At least here where I live, there is no real deli. At least it is not something with fresh meats and cheeses, made-to-order sandwhiches, home made salads, etc. It's all pre-packaged and there is no service. I've told TrendSource a time or two that of the four questions we can ask, none of them make sense in these stores most of the time.

I've been questioned by Trendsource twice about only finding two associates in the whole store on my first round (other than front end). All I had to do was confirm my answers were correct. If you stay in the store at least a half hour, and make several rounds, you should be fine.

With those, I would skip the deli evaluation entirely. They're specifically looking for the *service* counter, and the description says to exclude that department from the evaluation if the store doesn't have it. All you need to say is "This location doesn't have a ___ department."
I've completed alot of these shops. I usually check the departments required at least 2 times...sometimes more... if you can't find an associate...you just have to list down you checked but an associate was not available.
I did one grocery shop which required for me to interact with a product demonstrator. And there was none! For more than an hour, counting the time when I stayed put and searched around with my cart, there was none. The assignments were supposed to be given for a specific time when the target was supposed to be there. And I was told that I was supposed to get no more than 12 items. For more than an hour? This was not specified in the Guidelines. I kept on returning some items but in going around, I think I got about 15 or so. I was trying not to be conspicuous.

It took a while for them to decide to pay me but never again! I have not applied for a shop to get into that situation again.
Avoid this shop, it's just waste of time for a little pay.
I like costco or winco better!
If this is for Trendsource, I asked this question to them before.

Their response was as long as I made at least 2 full rounds around the grocery store in attempting to look for associates, this should suffice. This detail should be clearly mentioned in the report as well.

Of course, if you aren't comfortable with proceeding with the instructions above, asked them about it as well, document it, then save the correspondence for your records.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2015 09:52AM by Tarantado.
I have done many of these shops. In my area, it's pretty common to not be able to find 3 associates in the grocery department. I have submitted many shops where I have only been able to assess two grocery associates. My average time in these stores is 35-40 minutes.
I've done this type of shop as well, without being able to find the requisite 3 people in the grocery aisles. I get all my other interactions done, make two passes through the store trying to find employees and call it a day. Haven't had one rejected because of it.
Since they give the same instructions for every grocery shop, even though many of the small stores don't have a deli or a meat service counter, I've learned to just make the rounds twice looking for someone, and if there is no one on the grocery floor I'll go through the doors into the back area where the loading and unloading occurs. I act like a befuddled old lady and pretend to be lost and looking for the coffee. My friend Canuck taught me this trick.

Invariably that gets someone's attention. They generally walk me to the coffee and then I can report that. I just say in the deli or meat service parts of the report that this store didn't have those areas. So I end up evaluating one grocery associate and MAYBE if I'm lucky someone in produce.
I've tried 2 of these shops. Had to interact with 3 specialty departments and 3 in the grocery area. I could not find 3 in grocery. The same guy kept showing up to help me, so I just used him for all 3 interactions and explained he was the only one working. He must have thought I was having a very rough day. Not sure it's worth it.
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