Sunday April 19th 2009, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Advice & Tips

ValuMarket on Bardstown Road, just picking up a few items for dinner. Not my usually my favorite grocery store, and it didn’t fail to disappoint today at the register.

It wasn’t the expected question of “paper or plastic,” but rather this mildly insulting dialogue:

Cashier, “Ugh. What is this?”

Me, “Tofu”

“Is it food?”

“You put it in your mouth and chew it.”

“But is it… uh… real food?”

{At this point I decide to bow out of this discussion, I begin to load groceries into my messenger bag.}

{Not to be out of the game though, she volunteers with audible shock} “Oh, you’re putting it all in there?”

“Yes I am.”

Were I in a vindictive mood, perhaps I would have talked to a manager about this impolite, insulting, and obviously unprofessional cashier. Whose ignorance about product was revealed by another query of the same bluntness: “What is this?” (The item in question being a  head of cabbage, and the tofu was clearly labeled. I’ve worked in grocery, it’s not hard.) 

With jobless rates so high nobody should be so ignorant and rude to a customer. Furthermore, there are thousands of skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable people out of work that would thankfully fill that position. Before you’re sent out to interact with customers at least minimally know the product you’re selling. And in a grocery store, leave the surly, pirate attitude in the break room.

On the bike side of things, people expect a good deal of knowlege and expertise from us; make sure you can provide it. I try to deliver succinct options and objective descriptions of quality. Don’t know the answer to what something is, most shops at least have a Sutherland’s laying around, or hit up the internet. Attitude? Well sometimes, if you’re lucky, service can be given with just a dash of surliness—enough to be entertaining, but not alienating and of course, only to select customers—just don’t be too much of a dick and people usually love it. With this economy though, it can be a fine line. Tread carefully.

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Probably a good thing that tofu doesn’t come in seven sizes and have a hundred other parts that require attention.

Comment by 3sushis 04.20.09 @ 2:32 pm

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