Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Southern Hospitality

We live in the South now, which means we can shop at Winn-Dixie, something our kids think is great since they've all read Because of Winn-Dixie. My wife and I don't think it's all that great because Winn-Dixie is expensive. But one thing they have going for them there: they pride themselves on customer service. On our first visit we walked through the doors and a cashier who was 20 feet away and in the middle of checking out a different customer yelled a greeting to us. Later I took an on-line survey where I was specifically asked if an employee greeted me when I walked through the door. It's a welcomed change from DC-area Target stores, where evidently part of the staff's training is to never be tricked into speaking to a customer.

Saturday after cleaning the chapel we wanted to go to a used-book store on that same side of town, but we arrived 20 minutes before it opened, so we went to a nearby Winn-Dixie to buy doughnuts while we waited. When I got to the register the very friendly cashier asked me, "How much are a dozen doughnuts?"

I remembered seeing the half-dozen price, but not the dozen price. ("Why do six people need a dozen doughnuts anyway?" BECAUSE WE ARE GREAT AMERICANS. NOW SHUT YOUR FOOL MOUTH.) I hadn't realized the pricing burden would be on me. I know we're no longer in the 1970s when the cashiers had to memorize 30,000 prices, but the reason they don't have to do that anymore is because of technological advancements like bar code scanners. If the box doesn't have a bar code, next she should refer to her vegetable cheat-sheet that often includes bakery items. If she doesn't have one of those, next she should pick up her phone and call the bakery. It seems like the last place to go is the customer's memory for trivia.

But she just stood there waiting for me to supply the price. I knew the half-dozen was $2.99, so I said, "It might have been $5.99?" But then I realized I was wrong, that the second half-dozen was discounted, so it was much more likely that the dozen price was $4.99. But I couldn't tell her because it would look like I was lying to get a good deal. "Oh, if you're just going to use whatever price I give you then I clearly remember that the doughnuts were two bits for 16 dozen."

So I ended up overpaying at the expensive grocery store. But I don't remember if I was greeted when I walked in the store, and I didn't even get an adorable dog that can heal The Preacher's damaged heart. What a rip-off.

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