On the Shelf Review – Weis Markets on Robinson Street, Binghamton

So I was going to review Pelgrane Press’ latest offering, but then I got back from my local store and decided to take the whole review in a different direction.

The local supermarket was recently bought out, and it’s gotten steadily worse.  I was willing to accept that there might be some rough spots during such a transition, so I was willing to put up with some uncertainty.  I recall especially the time I came to the store to find French fried onions, only to find that they’d reorganized the entire store along some non-intuitive lines.  After wandering around for a while, I found an employee, who gave it her best effort to find it, led me halfway across the store from the starting point, asked another employee, found a list of items and their locations, realized the list wasn’t even accurate, and eventually brought me to a spot where, casually passing past, I found the damn onions.

Nonetheless, I did appreciate the help, and I hoped things would get better.  True, the detailed listing of aisle contents had been oft removed in favor of pictures of babies and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the checkout lanes required precise threading to navigate.   I was also put off because the magnetic strips on the back of the Weis cards actually did absolutely nothing, so I would swipe them only to find that the machine thought they were some sort of dysfunctional debit card with no money forcing me to go through the whole transaction again.  Nonetheless, I continued to go there, even though M. and her mother backed up my ongoing observation that the place had undergone a serious slide in quality.

All of that brings us to tonight.  M. wanted me to pick up some chocolate milk, which she loves, so I headed over to the local Weis.  I picked up the milk, and, after looking at pictures of babies and dogs and who knows what else, found a few other items I needed.  I then came to the checkout, only to realize that there was only one checkout lane open and ten people in front of me.  Some of these people had one or two items, while others had entire carts of food.  It was clear I’d be here for a while.

One of my fellow queuers went into the back of the store to an individual who appeared to be a manager.  He came forward to report that everything was fine, and that another cashier was being sent forward.  So we waited a while longer, and the line got shorter as people started to walk away.  Another employee came to the front of the store.  Upon inquiry, he revealed that normal staffing was to have only one cashier on at that time, and that there was no one in the back of the store who could help us.  At that point, two other people left.

I thought about going to the back of the store to figure out what was going on, as it was clear that someone here was sadly misinformed.  I then realized I didn’t actually care enough about whatever ridiculous mystery was being posed here to actually stick around to solve it, dropped my basket, and walked out.  This is consistent with my overall policy that, when confronted with people who don’t really care about the fact that I want to give them money for goods, I don’t give them money.  I stopped by the local convenience store, grabbed some chocolate milk, and came home.

So now, I’ll be going to Wegman’s, which is a little farther away and a little more expensive but where my biggest complaint is that they took the player piano out of the dining area.   Nonetheless, I think that Weis still has something to offer us.  They could create a game out of the whole shopping process.  One could submit a shopping list and then be timed to see how long it took to find the items on it.  After that, the checkout line could be turned into a fascinating mystery theater, in which dastardly deeds are done and dark secrets revealed while one waits.  They could even play Checkout Lane Operation, with a little buzzer that goes off when the cart taps one side or another.  A grocery shopping experience turned into an entertaining, wild ride for the whole family!  I can promise that, if they do that, I will return.

Hold on a minute.  I’ll have to go back anyway to get the city’s special biodegradable garbage bags.  Damn.

UPDATE:  I got a call this morning from the Director of Public Relations at Weis, and we had a good conversation.  I’m not sure all of my criticisms were answered, but it’s always good to see a corporation being open to feedback.

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 11:22 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The problem with Weis is, they AREN’T cheaper than Wegmans anymore. Maybe on some stuff, but an overall trip for a week’s worth oif groceries will most likely cost more at Weis…with FAR less quality. I really don’t think that Weis realized what htey bought with Giant. A reputation of low quality food for low prices. A small step above Aldi. Now they havehte same low quality food but for hte most expensive prices in the area.

    I also have an issue with how they have raised their prices. They do it in a VERY shady fashion of putting items “on sale” for a higher price than it was the previous week for regular price. A case in pont is Snapple 12 packs, which up until this week were $9. This week they are on sale for $9.99, with a regular price listed at $13.99! That is deceptive pricing, and should be illegal. If you want to raise prices, do it. Don’t hide them behind a sale. But rewgardless…that $14.99 now represnts the most expensive price for Snapple 12 packs in the area. And considering the quality of food is lower than that of Price Chopper and even Walmart, there is no reason to shop there anymore. And the stores know it. that is why they on;y HAVE one cashier on at a time. Because aside from some very rare exceptions, business has dropped consideably since it changed hands last year. Two separate store managers that I know have acknowledged the significant loss in revenue over 2010 and are wondering just how much longer some of the stores will stay open.

    Hopefully they will cut their losses and sell the chain to another company. One that knows the area a ittle better and knows what people expect from the former Giant loctions.

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