Monday, June 18, 2012

Customer Experiences

I did some serious grocery shopping on Saturday.  I shopped at Trader Joe's first, took that all home and put it away, and then went to Kroger.  It was astonishing how different the two experiences were.  Here are some things I noticed:

Trader Joe's:
  • Smaller selection, but generally all high quality items.
  • A lot of organic things, although that doesn't matter much to me.
  • Many smaller portion items like marinated meats in smaller packages, produce already cleaned and packaged, etc.  
  • Did you know that you can sample any item in the store?  You can ask at that booth at the back and they will open a package and give you a taste.  I usually just take it home because I know that I can take things back if they're lousy, but I have yet to find anything that isn't tasty.
  • The staff are all friendly and helpful, and will even ask you if you need anything (without you begging!)  And there are a lot of employees around, plenty of people so that you don't have to search for help when you have a question.
  • If you bring your own re-usable grocery bags you enter into a drawing to win a gift card - I hope I win!
  • When they bag your stuff in your re-usable bags they fill them really well, and they pay careful attention to put fridge items into your insulated bags.
  • Even these specialty items are not priced exorbitantly.
  • Larger selection of items, but some of them suck.
  • Store size is very large - more walking here than at Joe's.
  • Can buy in bulk - huge packages of cereal, toilet paper, cheese, etc.  if you need quantity over quality, this is a better choice.
  • Fewer samples.  This depends on the Kroger location, of course.  The one closest to my house has very few samples.  The one is Graceland, which is further but nicer, tends to have nice food samples out.  They don't generally let you sample whatever you want, though, just deli stuff.
  • Staff can be friendly, but there are fewer staff per customer here.  I've had to wait up to  1/2 hour at the deli to have lunch meat cut for me and the answer I get when I ask about that is "this is the new norm".  LOUSY!  If you have a question about where something is, you have to track down an employee and they will give you an aisle number IF you're lucky.
  • You can bring your own re-usable bags, but you need to alert the bagger quickly because they're not used to it.  Also, this Saturday, the Kroger bagger put all my frozen things into a regular bag and put other things in the insulated bag.  DUH.
  • Also, when using my re-usable bags the bagger only filled them about 1/3 of the way - crazytown!
  • Kroger's was also very LOUD.  The customers were loud, talking loudly, shouting, etc.  It was odd.  I noticed the same behavior at a McDonald's near my work this afternoon.  So loud I could barely hear my friend speaking to me.  Why do people do that?
All-in-all, I'm switching as much of my shopping to Joe's as possible.  The only things I'm still getting at Krogers are those bulk-type items that my son eats in huge amounts (Cheezits, milk, Coke, sharp cheddar cheese, pork loin and beef on sale).

So, how am I doing on my goals?  Last month I set 5 goals out on my blog, and I have some quick reporting to do.

1.  Exercising - I have been out walking 3x/week that past 2 weeks.  Yay!  Thanks to Darla, Josh, Linda and Vicky (and the boys), I've been doing pretty well on this one.  I'm keeping this goal for a while so that I can continue to meet/exceed it for a while.
2. Reading - I've been turning off the TV and computer when Si is out of the house and reading books again.  LOVELY!  It's so much more peaceful!
3.  Finding ways to get out of the house and do things - I took Si to the zoo (that is one of the big walks, with Vicky and her boys, too.  and Si and I went to the Columbus Commons for lunch last week, and those other walks I've taken have helped, also.  All good things.  Also, I've been going to church Sunday mornings quite regularly . . . when I don't work.
4.  Practicing my instruments - this is a bust.  Haven't done a thing.  Boo!
5.  Budgeting - I haven't really done much, but I have been listening to The Money Class by Suze Orman, and it's been getting me ready!  I have canceled all but basic cable, though, which should help, and Si and I are starting to really talk about the truth of where we are financially.

So - 4 out of 5 of my goals have seen some movement.  Yay!  I am proud of that!  I'll check in again in a few weeks and let you know how it's going on them.