My supermarket has a new general manager. The first thing he does is move things around. Like we’re going to buy more canned tuna if its where the canned vegetables used to be.
Ridiculous I say.
Just yesterday I was headed for a newly opened checkout, building to a trot to beat a shopper with an overflowing cart and a fistful of coupons. I was looking good, but then it hit me…forgot the canned tuna!
I didn’t worry. Canned tuna was strategically placed in aisle two, close to the checkout. I slowed down, carved out a tight turn, grabbed two cans and shot back to the register with two cart lengths to spare. People always forgot tuna. The old manager knew his customers.
But today, the new manager just cost me that sweet spot in line. Now tuna’s at the rear of aisle two where it does no one any good. Nobody forgets canned vegetables, now occupying tuna’s rightful spot in front. Does anyone even buy canned veggies?!
I should have seen it coming. Strange people in the store recently, in khakis with red or black shirts, stalking the aisles like IRS auditors. Furtive notes on clipboards, hushed whispers, frowns and heads shaking.
It’s part of a darker conspiracy. That autopilot flow you had going when you went in, efficiently minimizing your overall cart trip, mental order of stops optimized…they hated that. You had blinders on, bypassing high margin products made of corn syrup, sugar and soybean byproducts.
Now, you have to revise your route, passing by racks of potato chips made of lard and salt, lethally caffeinated power drinks to keep you up to 3 am, and cookies with caloric content only a marathon runner could work off.
It might get worse.
The khaki crowd was in produce as I left the market today. Carl, one of the cart wranglers sidled over to me.
“They’re alphabetizing produce, Bill”
It had to be a sick joke. But what if it was true? Oranges next to potatoes? Bananas next to cabbages? Strawberries next to turnips?
Just switch markets you say. Fat chance. It’s bad everywhere.
The Megamart up the street converted all its checkouts to self-serve. And you have to reserve a time slot in advance or pay a ‘convenience fee’ if you have over 10 items.
No thanks. We’ll deal with the new guy like we’ve done with the managers here for the last 30 years. We’re organized and we mean business.
Monday, our coupon carriers will create massive checkout delays at 5pm, arguing over irrelevant terms and conditions. Tuesday will feature returns of dozens of items for spurious claims of packaging defects, tying up customer service.
Wednesday, we’ll be abandoning carts at the nether regions of the parking lot, creating shortages and making Carl even grumpier than usual.
Thursday, we’ll bring deli to its knees by switching the ‘take a number’ paper roll to one with random numbers. Friday, we do all of those things simultaneously with our patented ‘all hands on’ assault.
Then we’ll have a sit down with the new manager. We’ll tell him if he plays ball with us, he can have his store back. I know, I know, it sounds like some mob shakedown. But this is our store. We like it a certain way. If he wants to move up to Regional Director the road goes through us.
And tuna will be back where it belongs.