Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

How much can one employee’s bad attitude cost? How about $360,000/yr?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I’ve decided to take a different track with this entry.

I choose to grocery shop at Kroger.

I don’t grocery shop at Wal-Mart. I don’t grocery shop at Publix. I don’t grocery shop at Winn-Dixie. For the most part, I don’t regularly grocery shop at local Mom & Pop grocery stores, though on occasion, I have. On occasion, I do shop at Aldi. I don’t shop at Sav-a-Lot. On rare occasion, I have shopped at various local ethnic grocery markets for specialty items. But on the whole, I do the exceeding majority of my grocery shopping at Kroger.

I have grocery shopped at Kroger for well over 10 years. In the Tennessee city where I’ve resided for the past year, there is no Kroger presence, because several years earlier, they had decided to move out. That has left a huge gap in the quality and price of grocery items in a city with over 170,000 population. And in the Alabama city with nearly 183,000 population which I have called my “hometown” for over a decade, there are 6 Kroger grocery stores.

This evening, after being out of town all day, before arriving home, I decided to stop by one of the two local Kroger Grocery  stores – 2315 Highway 82 E, Greenville, MS 38703 – (662) 335-3387 – with the intention of purchasing only one item. However, when I saw the deli was open, I was elated, and stopped by to purchase a few additional items. By the way, there are approximately 34,000 residents in the Greenville, MS area.

Over the years, I have been exceedingly satisfied with Kroger store personnel, as well as the excellent variety, quality and price of the items they sell.

This evening, however, was a disturbing departure from my otherwise and altogether pleasant Kroger experiences over the years.

The following is an accurate representation of the events as they occurred.

This evening, I was at the deli shortly before 8:45PM, and when I asked the clerk if she would cut some deli items for for me, she was sullen about the matter, and said “I’ve already placed cleaner on everything.”

When I asked her what time the Deli closed, she said, “9PM,” and inquired further, asking, “what time is it now?”

I said, “it’s 8:45.”

She then said, “you need to try and come earlier,” whereupon I replied, “I’ve been out of town all day, and did my best to get here as soon as I could.”

After she had scolded me, I felt a bit put off, however, I remained courteous, and thanked her for her efforts, even remarking out loud that “5ive items… it’s good to make that sale, isn’t it?”

By the time I checked out – which was 9PM – in addition to another item, I spent over $45.

That’s $180/hour – more than enough to pay for the Deli Clerk’s wages (most likely well more than twice over), along with twice over that of the check out clerk, and bagger. Based on a 40-hour workweek, that $180/hour works out to an annual expenditure of $360,000/year – not exactly chump change.

I purchased a pound each of two salamis, pastrami, corned beef & provolone cheese.

As the clerk was slicing the pastrami, I noticed it was getting a bit low, and I asked to see how much was remaining, because I was considering purchasing it, since it didn’t appear to be too much.

The clerk said, “I’m going to throw it way.”

I asked again to see how much was remaining, and she then showed it to me. Whereupon I said, “if you’re going to throw it away, can I have it?”

She reiterated that “I’m going to throw it away.”

I replied asking, “since you’re  going to throw it away, may I have it at no cost?”

She said “no.”

I then said, “just go ahead and place it in the bag as it is, please. I’ll buy it.”

It was a half pound of meat – at $8.49/lb that’s $4.25 that otherwise she would have thrown in the garbage can.

She didn’t’ attempt to do any “suggestive selling,” offer any discount, nor any such thing to promote a sale.

When I arrived back at my vehicle, I remarked to my friend about what I thought was a surly attitude from the deli clerk, and pointed out that I’d spent $45 in 15 minutes, which worked out to be $180/hour, and pondered further if the deli clerk – even though she reluctantly filled my order – had any idea of how much money she very nearly lost.

Later, I called the store, and when I asked to speak with a manager, the first time I was disconnected.

The second time, I asked if there was a manager on duty, and was told there was not.

When I inquired further, asking who was in charge, the lady whom answered the phone identified herself as “Candace.” (I’m uncertain of the exact spelling.)

When I asked Candace for additional detail by asking what position she had, she said “Customer Service Representative.” That was at 10:30PM.

I replied saying, “I had hoped to speak with the manager. When will the manager be in, please?”

The curt response I received from Candace was, “I have no idea what time she’ll be in.”

“I beg your pardon!,” I exclaimed with an surprised expression. “You have no idea what time she’ll be in… did I hear you correctly?”

Candace said, “She usually gets in between 7 and 8. I’m not sure what time she comes in.”

Folks, I can assure you, that employees KNOW what time their supervisor or manager customarily arrives at work. Since I was a teen, I have known what time my bosses came in for work – and my bosses have ranged from Company Owner/Entrepreneurs, to Mid-Level Managers and C-Level Executives of large firms.

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2 Responses to “How much can one employee’s bad attitude cost? How about $360,000/yr?”

  1. I pity the fool!

    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      After speaking with the manager, I was impressed with how she responded to me, and shared about the store, it’s employees (some whom have worked there practically all their life, and will be retiring in a year, or two), and some of the challenges facing the newer, younger employees. She said she appreciated me sharing my experience with her, and expressed that without such valuable customer input, steps toward improvement would be much more difficult. I will continue to patronize the store.

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