One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

August 2, 2009

Humiliating experience for the day at Safeway

Okay, what’s a blog for if not to bitch about your bad day, right?

I just took the younger two kids to Safeway last minute (they close around suppertime on Sundays) because Ian was taking a load of stuff to the dump and I realized that we needed some items quickly before supper (and before they closed). Rachel and I had finished the shopping and were walking down the aisle – Rachel pushing the cart, me with Hannah on my hip – when Hannah started suddenly and violently puking up raspberries all down my front.

I was stunned and distressed – but, recollecting that one of the reasons I shop at Safeway is because they seem to be actually trained in customer service, I thought I should be able to find someone who could provide me with materials to get ourselves clean enough to walk out without dripping puke everywhere.

So I ran to the end of the aisle to look around, spotted an employee and called desperately, “can you get me a cloth and a mop or something?” while Hannah buried her face in my neck and threw up again.

He hustled off and then came back with two paper towels.

No kidding.

And he had moistened one corner.

Then he disappeared, sending back another employee to mop up and staying pointedly around the corner and away from me while giving that employee distant instructions. Meanwhile I used Hannah’s blankie to mop us up and then used up my precious moistened corner of a paper towel on cleaning her face.

Everyone pointedly ignored me after that. Nobody said a thing to me, no-one returned to see if I was managing okay or needed anything further.

After puking, Hannah was in good spirits, and I stood there and evaluated. I called Ian and he was just arriving at the dump, so it didn’t seem like he could get to Safeway in a reasonable time to relieve me of Hannah so I could actually go through the checkout. So I thought, “well, all I have to do is endure the humiliation of going through the checkout smelling like puke and coated in raspberry mush.” And so that’s what we did.

We were pointedly ignored in the checkout too. The cashier didn’t make conversation with us. Didn’t ask if I needed parcel pickup or carry-out service as they standardly do. In fact, she didn’t even bother putting our bags in our cart. She left them on the counter, leaving me, with Hannah on one hip, to maneuver the cart around and swing the bags off of her side of the counter and into the cart.

I’m not freaking impressed.

I hate when people act like they’re entitled to have customer service people kiss their ass – because these are just kids paid hourly and they should only have to put up with so much shit. But I’m also well aware that I pay a premium to shop there. I don’t go to cheaper places because I hate the customer service at the cheaper places. That difference seems pretty narrow today. And REALLY, all I was expecting was some empathy and attention to my needs instead of to be treated like a disgusting inconvenience.

It wouldn’t have been hard at all to offer to get someone to walk my cart to the customer service desk so I wouldn’t have to worry about the cart while I cleaned up and then show me to the washroom so we could clean up properly.


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  1. Alison

     /  2009-08-03

    You know it might be worth a call to the manager. It might just be the kind of customer service situation that raw young people just don’t have a clue how to handle – I’m sort of assuming that these were not old lady cashiers or employees you’re talking about. It wouldn’t hurt for the manager to say to them, “hey, if you see a mother having a situation with a kid, here’s how to handle it and this is what you should do.” Because the whole paying for the experience thing is so true – you might as well have been in stupidstore. Hope the Hannah is fine.


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