Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Open Letter to the Folk Who Run the Stop & Shop on Old Connecticut Path in Framingham

Dear Stop & Shop,

I know Sundays are a big shopping day, and consequently I try to avoid them. When, however, I am required to shop on a Sunday, I would hope to find that you had your A team in place to handle the crush. Instead, I find a customer service cashier who, when faced with 17 returnable bottles, was incapable to handing me the $0.85 I was owed.

Normally, of course, I would have left the counting to the rather competent machines, but they were all full, the bag boy you sent off to fix them didn't seem to be in a hurry, and I had a four month old with a slight fever. I wasn't willing to go back outside and stand in the Bottle Return room for fifteen minutes while the machines were emptied, and meanwhile the bottles were taking up valuable room in my cart.

I digress.

When the aforementioned cashier rang in my 17 returnable bottles, somehow her register told her to give me $0.15. When she did, I told her that I was owed $0.85. She replied by telling me that "the register says...".

This is simple math. Someone operating a cash register at customer service ought to have a basic enough grasp of simple math to know that the register was wrong, and to just give the customer her $0.85 and then deal with the faulty register. She next handed me another $0.35. This now totals $0.50 in my hand. I looked meaningfully and with some disbelief at the cashier, and was met with a blank stare.

I walked away. I was too disgusted to speak.

You might wish to raise the bar just a little in your hiring process.




Blogger brushfiremedia said...

Sounds like Shaws here in Maine. I don't go to Shaws except in the most extreme emergency.

3/3/08, 9:49 AM  
Blogger Not Whitey Bulger said...

That's our education system, which derides "rote learning". Famous last words... "We don't want to cram facts down their throats - we want the teach them how to learn." Next time this happens, thank a "progressive" teacher.

3/3/08, 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would be better served sending this "letter of complaint" to the store owner/management.

3/3/08, 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop and Shops corporate offices are in Quincy...write away- they may even send you gift certificate for the trouble...But really, what do you expect for $6-7/hour? you are lucky the Customer service rep spoke english..

3/3/08, 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen you impatient twit, wait for the machines to be cleaned out and then do what everyone else does, slide them in one at a time.

3/3/08, 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An addendum to my prior post - You are probably one of those drivers who seem to park you car illegally in the fire lane and then run into the store thinking that a few feet of walking is going to kill you or something!

3/3/08, 1:59 PM  
Blogger CDG said...

Wow. First off, who knew would pick this wee blog up. Secondly, this isn't an effort to get a "gift certificate for my trouble." Thirdly, it really doesn't have to do with the return machines being down, or the bottles themselves, or even the eighty five cents. It's not a letter, it's a blog entry in letter format. It's a commentary on dependence on the register for correct information, as opposed to using one's mind for the task, and a lack of basic math skills being acceptable for an employee in a position dealing largely with the exchange of funds.
And fourthly, Anonymous 1:53PM, who's a coward and doesn't post his/her name before he/she trashes someone in their own house, I've never parked in the fire lane "thinking that a few feet of walking is going to kill [me] or something." If I'm in that much of a hurry, I'll just mow down a few pedestrians and cut an old lady off to get a better spot in front of the store. Really, now.

3/3/08, 2:16 PM  
Blogger Steve Garfield said...

Nice post.

I love it when someone counts back change at a register.

When they drop the change in my hand and recite the amount displayed on the register I just walk away and a little voice in my head says, "...another poorly trained cashier."

3/3/08, 2:24 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Can't understand why all you nice people are turning on the poor gal. She's not the bad guy. I do question however, her decision to bring along a sick child with a fever to get an 85 cent bottle return refund. OR, for that matter, why she chose to go shopping at all with a sick child. Ooops, guess I'm contradicting myself with the first part of my statement, but she really should realize that this situation is not unique to any one business. So, unless she's a single mother, leave the kid with hubby the next time.

3/3/08, 2:39 PM  
Anonymous BipolarLawyerCook said...

I totally agree. Adequate staffing levels and training are the store's responsibility. If they won't do it, they get to suffer the risk of poor word of mouth.

3/3/08, 2:46 PM  
Blogger ddrake said...

I challenge you to think of it in another way. Maybe the clerk hand a learning disability?

What I am getting at is that you should not jump to conclusions.

Next time take the time to either wait for the machine to crush your bottles or, if the clerk is having a difficult time, help them out. It would not take any longer and might make you feel better.

3/3/08, 2:50 PM  
Blogger CDG said...

Hey, Don, thanks, I think... And for the record, *slight* fever, hubby was at work, and we needed groceries, including infant ibuprofen to continue treating the slight fever. I usually go Saturdays, but I was home all day with the baby, since that day he really was sick. The bottles were meant to be a quick side trip, but that actually wasn't the point. Can't we stay on topic here?

3/3/08, 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Walsh said...

I worked for some time in the retail business - and agree whole heartedly with your comments. It frustrates me to no end if I hand someone change after they have already entered it into the register and they are not able to figure out what they should do about it.

Just one thought on this particular incident. If (and I understand this is a big if) the register really did calcualte 15 cents somehow, and the person handed you your 85 cents, their cash drawer would be short at the end of the day. I am not sure what Stop & Shop has for a policy, but perhaps the girls was concerned for how she would explain (albeit very small) shortage?

3/3/08, 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at the Stop and Shop in Braintree - have for over six year - as a cashier.

I can count back change, but usually don't but believe me I know if the register is wrong!

Of course, I started cashiering long before cash registers told you the change or even knew how to deal with tax! (ok, it was an old cash register).

One night the server went down so we had to add up orders with calculators. I was the only one in the store that could make change. :-)

It IS sad that people (of all ages) choose not to use the brains God gave them. Use it or lose it.

Please, the next time something like this happens, call the store manager over or at least write a letter to that manager when you have a chance. The manager can't fix a problem if s/he doesn't know about it. And its to his/her benefit to do just that. There are an amazing number of scams out there that love to take advantage of folks who don't pay attention!

Nancy at Register 17

3/3/08, 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live around the corner from that Stop & Shop. I go there more than I'd like to because of its' proximity. I could go on and on with stories of that store but I think you get the idea. When I am not pressed for time, I shop at Market Basket in Ashland. The employess are much more pleasant and they are better trained. Most people I know refuse to go to Market Basket (even people I know in Ashland). They say they don't like the clientele there but I've found it to be a more pleasant experience....and it is much, much cheaper!

3/3/08, 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't realize you could make money recycling. I thought it was something you just did. While the cashier was clearly not going the extra customer service mile, maybe you should just put the cans and bottles in the bins on your curb like everyone else.

3/3/08, 4:28 PM  
Blogger phoebe said...

Holy Crap, MOMP, you're famous! (and, um, also there are a lot of anonymous judgemental people out there)

3/3/08, 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of person creates a drama over 85 cents? The kind that drags a sick 4 month old to a grocery store to get 85 cents.

3/3/08, 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Anon at 3/3/08 4:28 PM the store charges you for the cans so taking them back you just break even. Nothing wrong with that. If this silly state didn't charge me a deposit then yes I would just put them out to the curb with the rest of my recycling.

It is sad that the S&S has poorly trained cashiers,but they have poorly trained baggers as well but then again every store does. I often bag my own because I can't stand my bread at the bottom of the bag with soup cans on top. But that is a different rant.

3/3/08, 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Marisse said...

Some years ago, I worked at a hobby shop in the Emerald Sqaure Mall in North Attleboro. (The shop is gone now.)

While our older cash register would figure out the 5% sales tax, we did not ring in each item individually to get the total, since it did not describe the items. We had to hand write all sales slips, total them and write in the sales tax amount and grand total. We used a regular calculator for the the subtotals, tax and grand total, but only entered the subtotal in the register.. it then confirmed that we calculated the sales tax and grand total correctly.

In the interest of time savings, most of us working there (and many of us were college age at the time) quickly figured out how easy it was to calculate 5% sales tax on any amount in your head; this becamse useful when a customer was buying only one item. (99 cent model glue, for example)

I admit, that if we were in Rhode Island and had to figure out 7% sales tax, I'd probably rely on the calculator more. But still, I am constantly saddened by the number of teenage cashiers who are apparently stymied when I give them $4.01 for an order that totalled $3.96, because I don't want all those pennies back. If they've already entered "$4.00" into the cash register before I've pulled out my extra penny, they don't quite know what to do about it.

When I compare that with how easily we (at the hobby shop) knew that the grand total for a $2.99 item was going to be $3.14, it saddens me.

3/3/08, 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crap darling! The internet splooged all over your blog!

A disproportionate number of the anonymous comments boil down to:

"I'm not going to read for content, I am going to wank off about my personal pet notion of what I think you shouldn't have [said/done/thought]."

Scott Adams has a great response for these:

I agree with your hallucination of my position.

3/4/08, 9:54 AM  
Blogger Sideline Cameras said...

richenza posted from the future - cool.

All you anonymous types are getting worked up over nothing. If a person can't blow off steam on their blog, where can they? Let (s)he who has never vented at or about a retail worker cast the first stone. Or something.

3/4/08, 12:01 PM  
Blogger brushfiremedia said...

Wow. This lends credence to my usual quip about "people."

3/4/08, 1:55 PM  
Blogger eeka said...

To the commenter who said that maybe the clerk has a learning disability:

Maybe so, but it's actually ableist of YOU to believe that people with LD or other disabilities should be doing jobs for which they lack the basic qualifications. It would be kind of like me taking a job as a roofer, then crying "but I have a disability!" when I get fired for not being able to climb a ladder or lift things.

If someone doesn't have the basic skills to handle money, she is still a perfectly valuable human, but shouldn't be in a position where handling money is an essential job requirement. It doesn't do her any good to be doing a job she can't do competently, nor does it do any good for people with disabilities in general -- it just perpetuates the erroneous thinking that it's illegal/inappropriate to fire or not hire any person with a disability.

What the employer should do is to respectfully inform this person that she lacks basic math skills (along with informing her about the things she does well), and discuss with her whether this is something she wants to take steps to work on, or whether she'd rather be reassigned to something like stocking that she can do competently. Regardless of whether she has LD, it does no good to have her doing a job she lacks the basic skills for.

(Notice that it would be a totally different story if this person were, say, a greeter, and it somehow came about that she couldn't multiply by five. If that were the case, the skill would have nothing to do with her job, so it would be inappropriate to complain, and it would be illegal to fire her for it.)

3/4/08, 9:48 PM  

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