Monday, March 9, 2009
Settling back in to routine
How quickly the old routine settles back in! How odd that you can be away for weeks and yet it only takes a few days for everything to be back to normal. I did make a small change here on the blog; regulars will notice that the background here is now white. I think it shows off the photos better than the previous colour (the violet/grey colour that is still the overall background shade). Let me know if you don't like it. The white, I mean. Not the blog :-)
Regular routines include grocery shopping and it was a bit of an eye-opener to return to our local store of choice, Loblaws. While down in Florida we do a lot of grocery shopping at Publix, one of my favourite grocery store chains. So the comparison was inevitable and Loblaws definitely comes out on the losing end. At Publix, when you check out, you are offered a choice of paper or plastic (and there is a bin out front where you can drop off plastic bags for recycling). Not so at Loblaws. Not only is there no choice between paper or plastic but you are charged a nickle for each bag you need. It would be nice if perhaps you were refunded a nickle for each bag you brought from home to reuse but, oh no. The mindset is to be punitive rather than rewarding.
At many Loblaws locations, you bag your own groceries. At Publix, there are cashiers and baggers. Yes, two people working each cash. And no "self-serve, scan-your-own" aisles either. The cashier rings your products through, the bagger bags them and -- get this -- asks if you need help getting your groceries to your car. If you don't want to lift a heavy case of water into your car -- or you're physically unable, as many seniors are -- they'll do it for you, with a smile. And they refuse a tip for their help.
A huge difference between Loblaws and Publix is found at the deli. At our local Loblaws, the deli people are sullen and often ignore customers. At each and every Publix we shopped at while away, the deli staff were cheerful and helpful. Nothing is precut; rather, your cold cuts and cheese are cut to your order. First, they shave off the end slice and dispose of it, in case it's at all dry (that's what they told us when we asked). Next, they shave off a slice and offer it up to you as a taste, to make sure it's what you want. You do not have to ask for this, they just do it. And then they slice off what you ordered, they don't try to pad the order by slicing extra and charging you for it. I hate asking for a certain amount and getting way more than I ordered. One time, the person helping us cut a wee bit too much -- he put the extra on a sheet of wax paper and gave it to us to munch on. Imagine. And after all this service, they still keep their prices reasonable.