Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shopping Experience (or Big box vs. local shop)

I had two errands to run today.  A short trip to the grocery store and a local yarn store provided two very different experiences. 

The first trip to the grocery store was frustrating and not something I enjoyed one bit.  Let's forget about the fact that they have endless aisles of crap and that the best place to shop is the perimeter of the store, I got that.  Unfortunately, rice is on an aisle and so is the husband's soda.  Now that larger corporations are starting to get back on their feet they're back to their old habit of stacking impulse displays everywhere.  Tripping a shopper up is one thing, making it damn inconvenient is a whole other side that simply pisses me off. 

In order to cram as much garbage on the shelves as they can they make their aisles just wide enough for two carts to squeeze by each other.  That's marginally acceptable.  However, putting up their little mini displays all along those aisles is nothing short of asinine.  When a store is at its busiest you spend a good part of your time waiting for another shopper to pass by the precariously placed stacks.  When it isn't busy there's still always two morons chatting blocking the path right next to the display making it impossible to pass.  I can't tell you how many times it takes almost shouting to get the chatter boxes to hear my "Excuse me, please!".  It's not as if there isn't enough on the shelves, believe me, there's plenty.  Every single aisle display is product that is less than 3 feet away on the shelf. 

Getting to the dairy refrigerators is also a nightmare, they have merchandise crammed up close to the doors so that only one cart can get by, making a shopper have to wait their turn to buy a friggin' carton of milk. The eggs where next to these refrigerators and the aisle display runs the entire length of refrigerators.  I had to wait patiently OR leave my cart in the middle of the aisle, blocking everyone's path while bobbed and weaved through the one person, her husband and cart that was at the eggs.  There was no room for anyone else!   Why?  Why do they find it necessary to make shopping such an inconvenience? 

Then you finally get to the checkstands.  You have to weave your way through the people waiting in line and the corporations last ditch effort to nag you into buying something you clearly don't want by placing even more displays situated in the aisle between the checkstands and the overstocked endcaps.  Of course, they're hoping that you forgot something, and so by they way, here's that bag of marshmallows you forgot over on aisle 5.  But that isn't even the frosting on the cake!

At one of the two big box grocery stores in my small town they have 6 self checkout stands.  Set up like an island 3 on one side, 3 on the other.  I love self check out.  I really hate making small talk with the checkers and I can usually get out of the store significantly faster than if I had someone ringing up my groceries.  Today I ended up furious and intend on never going back, I'd rather be forced to make small talk than deal with this overstocked maze of a store. 

Facing the checkstands from the store side (vs. the exit side of the store) on the right is a Tully's coffee stand.  They've stacked more merchandise along the backside of the coffee stand narrowing the path between it and the 3 self check out stands where only one cart can get through unless someone squeezes their cart nice and close to the stand where they're scanning their items.  I've been on that side of the experience and it annoys the crap out of me that I have to jam my cart up next to the scanner in order to let someone by me.

On the left, in the space between the other 3 self checkout stands and one of the express checkers was yet another impulse type display of more merchandise the entire length of the checkstands.  The stand furthest away from me was open, but I could. not. get. to. it.  There was no way to do that.  The space was way too narrow barely allowing one cart between the scanner and the pile of merchandise and people were at the 2 stands closest to me, so I had to go the right side of the island and wait in line. 

The whole store is one big logjam.  I hate it, it's uncomfortable and frustrating.  I know shopping at the grocery store isn't supposed to be a leisure activity and the big wigs in their ivory towers want shoppers to get in and get out all while buying as much as possible but really, does it have to be hellish?

After I finally got my 3 measly items into my car I headed to the local yarn shop for set of lace knitting needles.  The drive was less than 10 minutes and as I slid into a parking spot I could already feel myself starting to relax. 

I entered the shop and though it's small and jam packed it was still easy to navigate and comfortable to make my way through.  I found my set of needles and just the homey feel of the shop and friendliness of the clerk I decided to roam around a bit.  Keep in mind, this shop is about a quarter of the size of the produce department of the grocery store I had left earlier.  But yet, there were no displays to trip over and I didn't need a cart so navigating around this small space was not stressful.  The walls, ceiling to floor, were packed with various fibers.  The cash register was on a counter with plenty of impulse items but I didn't have to fall or reach over them.  Fumbling was not on the menu.  I enjoyed every minute I was there, even when the clerk and a regular customer talked smack about one of their fellow knitters, who, I surmised was a bit nutty.  I paid for my needles and as I made my way to my car I breathed a sigh of happiness....until the memory of the corporate grocery store came screaming back into my mind.

Yea, I won't go back to that grocery store.  I've been shopping their less and less over the last few months and now I think I'm officially done.  The store sucks and I don't need the additional stress.

1 comment:

  1. It's gotten to be too 'hip' for my tastes, makes me feel like I am up in Poulsbo or something, lol. Okay for the occasional visit, but I won't shop there regular anymore, either. I prefer the 'other' store in town, myself, but even then, am shopping less and less at the big box, and finding alternatives as I can afford them. Of course, I prefer paying the local farmer whenever I can!