Today’s videos:  Good Morning, Vietnam; Good Will Hunting

Song running through my head today:  These Dreams, Heart

Knitting project in the works:  Baby Feet Cloth, 18.5% completed


***UPDATE 1/28/2013***

Comments on this site are moderated. If you are a blindly loyal Wegmans shopper or employee and feel a need to comment on this post to tell me what a piece of shit I am, don’t bother. It’ll go straight to the trash and you won’t get your moment in the spotlight.  So, save yourself the effort because, after the first few words of nastiness, I just toss your comment to the trash.  You don’t even get to tell ME what a piece of shit you think I am.  So…if you feel you need to waste time writing something that nobody is going to read, have at it.

Do you hate grocery shopping as much as I do?  Do you put it off, and put it off, and put it off until you can’t put it off any longer?  I used to do that but have tried to get better about it.

I went shopping last night.

The local food chain is Wegmans.  I won’t bore you with the details of the chain but suffice it to say that it’s been highly successful since it was first founded and it continues to be a front-runner over Super WalMart and the Big K in the area.

Wegmans was one of the first stores in the area that required a check-cashing card.  It was called the Shopper’s Club card and, by swiping it, you got the advertised sale prices.  Without the card, you didn’t get sale prices.  It’s still that way.  I was further disenfranchised with Wegmans because I didn’t think any store should have an expiration date on their check cashing/sale card.  When my card expired, I didn’t renew it.

When I moved to this area in 1989, I found Wegmans to be more expensive than the smaller food chains around and I stuck with the smaller stores.  I shopped almost exclusively at Bell’s until they went out of business in the early 90s.  I migrated over to The Big M after that and, when they went out of business, by default, there was either Wegmans or Tops.  The Tops store near us smells like Joe’s sneakers used to smell after he took them off following football practice.  Additionally, I tried to get one of their shopper’s cards and stood for 20 minutes while the girl at the customer service counter had a casual conversation with one of her friends.  I finally reached my fracture point and asked her if I could “…interrupt this coffee clatch to conduct some business.”  Six weeks went by after I made my application for the card, without hearing anything.  I called to find out why and was told that I needed to have a voided blank check with the application.  I asked them if they’d had any plans in the immediate future to contact me with this information, or if it was their practice to just toss those applications aside until they either decomposed or the applicant called to check on them.  Needless to say, Tops didn’t set well with me.

So, for the past dozen or so years, I’ve shopped at Wegmans.  Their prices were consistently higher than those I’d been used to at either Bell’s or The Big M, but I didn’t have any other choices, really.  Then, when a Super WalMart moved in a mile or so down the road, all of a sudden Wegmans comes out with a big P.R. campaign on how they want to help the downtrodden families that have to contend with rising costs of living and they LOWERED their prices on an overwhelming amount of their products.  Rather than make me believe they were trying to help, it just reinforced to me that they’d been gouging for a long, long time.  They needed to lower those prices in order to compete with WalMart.

About 7 or 8 years ago, they were selling a gallon of milk for $3.29 a gallon.  While that might seem normal to some of you out there, it was outrageous to us in this area where dairy farms are plentiful.  In addition, you could get a half gallon of milk in the local convenience store for $.99 — making the cost of a gallon about 40% less than Wegmans was selling it for.

Apparently milk sat on the shelf a bit longer at that time than they’d expected because, before long, their milk prices came down (even though, locally, they stayed the same) to $1.79 a gallon, and stayed there for the past few years.  These days, it’s about $2.09 a gallon.  Gouging.  And gouging on something that many families NEED.  Shame on them!  Gouge on coffee.  Gouge on cigarettes!  Gouge on pot roast.  You DON’T gouge on milk.

Are you getting the impression that I really don’t like Wegmans?  I have mixed emotions.  I hate shopping there.  I mean, I really HATE it.

But, on the other hand, Wegmans is a huge employer in the area and, not only do they employ a lot of people, but they are very community oriented as well as customer and employee oriented — for the most part.  You don’t find rude cashiers at Wegmans.  And you don’t stand in line for a long time waiting to check out.  There’s always a front-end manager directing traffic if the store is busy, and when lines get long, checkout aisles get opened to accommodate the crowds.

Their web site has a cool program where you can create a shopping list and it will print it out for you, sorted by aisle (along with aisle numbers).

Also, you will never find better, nicer, and such a huge selection of produce than at Wegmans.  Not even at a farm market.

From time to time, however, I go into the store and find that they’ve moved some products around.  Lisa tells me that it’s a marketing ploy that gets people looking around the store more.  In the past, while these changes have been noticeable, for the most part, they’ve been relatively subtle.

Until last night, that is.

Every grocery aisle had been changed and products moved.  I couldn’t find a thing!  What was once in the front of an aisle on the left hand side was now at the end of the aisle on the right hand side.  In some cases, items had been moved two aisles over and merged in with other things that were not similar in nature.  The signs that headed up the aisles were only partially changed so not even that was a help.

The place was also in total chaos.  It was 5:00 in the afternoon — a very busy time of day when folks stop off on their way home from work.  Yet, those mental midgets were breaking down shelving, splitting aisles in two, and trying to maneuver huge carts full of shelves and shelf products through the aisles while people stood and blinked incessantly at aisle signs trying to figure out where in the hell things were.  We had to double back a half dozen times to try to find things on our list that we had missed.  What normally takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to accomplish took half again as long — we were in that store for an hour and a half.

I know I wasn’t the only person pissed off.  People were muttering to other shoppers as they passed each other, or making pissy comments to the kids stocking the shelves.  One woman, about halfway through the store, apparently got so disgusted, she said “This is ridiculous” and walked out of the store, leaving a half-full cart sitting in the aisle.  Meats, dairy products, and other perishables were in the cart.  I was half-tempted to follow suit.

On top of everything, it was hotter’n frickin’ Haedes in the store!

So here you’ve got mass confusion with the relocation of most products, chaos with shelf stocking and aisle breakdown and assembly going on during a busy time, and it’s HOT in there!  I’m honestly amazed that there weren’t any fights or arguments in there.  That place was a BREEDING GROUND for hostility and anger last night.

I called corporate this morning and vented my frustration with a really nice woman named Marie.  You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, right?

Whoever the idiot was that made the decision to move the products so drastically AND re-vamp the store during the busy times should be FIRED.

Re-construct things overnight!  The store is open 24 hours, so it’s not like they would have to have it opened extra time for this to happen.

STOCK SHELVES in the late evening, not on Saturday and Sunday afternoon when the place is jam-packed full of shoppers!

I hate grocery shopping.  I hate Wegmans.  And I especially hate grocery shopping at Wegmans!

Oh man, I hope Danny Wegmans is doing a Google search on his stores and finds this post…