I have discovered that there are many little things that make moving to a new home a rich experience. Simple changes such as finding a new place to get your groceries can be an amazing journey of discovery. This was the case for me when we moved just far enough away from my favorite grocer to require a back up store closer to my new home. Welcome to Weis Markets.

My welcome to Weis was an unforgettable experience. As I stepped out of my car for

that first visit and my foot touched the parking lot it landed in chewing gum. Gum in

a parking lot can really happen to any business, but this lot looked grimy. I guess

with 157 stores though, that is a “lot” of parking lots to keep up with, and I am sure

that Weis is too busy to care about one customer with gum on their shoes.

On my first and subsequent visits, I was amazed to find that all but one of the

cashiers were bagging or teaching customers how to use the self-service scanning

devices at every register forcing any customers not willing to wait for the one and

only human cashier to check out their groceries themselves. I even asked a manager

about this, but was told they could not find enough employees. I was really curious

about the ones that were already working there, but this did not seem to go

anywhere with the manager who seemed to have more important things to do than

talk to customers. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but having a human at a register is

one of the last few services left that I am ready to give up.

So, I wait in the long line with the one human who is paid to run the register. Opps,

Can you help me? I forgot my “Weis Store Card.” What? You can’t ring it on a

generic store card like my favorite old store use to do for me? I have to wait in line

at customer service so they can look it up? You can’t even call them on your phone

for me? Oh, you don’t have a phone at your register, do you? Gee that makes it a bit

hard to help customers doesn’t it?

As I wait for ten minutes in the “Customer Service line” staffed by one frazzled

employee, who is providing a whole host of services, I realize that 9000 employees

is far too many to train and besides they won’t work for Weis long enough to make

the investment in training worthwhile. What does it matter if you loose customers

like me who drop an average of $120 per weekly visit into the one register staffed

by a human. Who cares if I refuse, even in an emergency, to go to Weis and instead

drive 12-15 minutes to the Oregon Dairy, where there are always humans who will

ring me up on the “store card” and go out of their way to help me. Once they even

sent me home with several bags of groceries and an IOU when I forgot to make a

deposit and my bank card came up insufficient funds!! How does the Oregon Dairy

do it anyway? They are a single store operation but charge the same prices as Weis

and can actually afford to staff all those registers with humans? And where do they

find all those employees just 15 minutes away? Something sure is fishy here. It must

be the shrimp sale at the Oregon Dairy. I think I will stop by seafood and pick up a

few pounds.