Customer Service, Where Art Thou?

There’s very few things that get my blood boiling. People cutting down trees, litterbugs, the cost of cable television, and carving Donald Trump’s head on Mount Rushmore are things you don’t want to bring up with me. But those things all pale in comparison to shopping at Kroger’s in 2019.

I’ve literally wanted to start a riot complete with pitchforks and picket signs while leading the chant, “Make Kroger’s Great Again!”

I guess if I didn’t remember how good it used to be I wouldn’t complain so much but then it would still be a ridiculous shopping experience filled with needless rage.

“Thank you, valued Kroger’s customer. Please scan your first item.” The checkout machine says in a lame attempt at a sexy woman’s voice.

Self-checkouts are fine when purchasing a few items but trying to find a place on those silly caroseles to perch the weekly grocery haul is impossible.

“Please place the item in the bag.” The machine says. Well, I would if there was room for another bag or another item. “Attendant has been notified. Please wait.”


A pile of meat, eggs, milk jugs, chips, frozen food and sometimes vegetables (for the pet lizard) are stacked like a Jenga tower.

Every week, after paying, I play the game of trying to remove the right item first but usually lose as the pile sadly and pitifully cascades onto the floor and my toes.

“Place remove the items, your change is located somewhere:, and I don’t remember what’s said after this because at this point I’m swearing under my breath and letting everyone know through my over exaggerated body language how displeased I am.

It’s bad enough that Decatur has hardly any grocery stores to shop at, three restaurants for 75,000 people, and nowhere to buy clothes except Walmart, do we really have to have our lives reduced to arguing with machines?

Where the heck is customer service? Is Kroger’s going to expect us to unload the trucks, stock the shelves, and mop the floors next?

Yes, Walmart is just as bad but it’s always sucked. The problem with Kroger’s is that I remember it from 40 years ago. Kroger’s was all about service. That was the whole point of going there. I know it can be a much better experience. I know it SHOULD be a much better experience.

My highlight during the week used to be my Monday morning trip to Kroger’s to shop for groceries. That says a lot about my life but we don’t need to go there. Anyway, I enjoyed getting away from the family for a little while, getting into my zone, pushing worries to the back of my head, perusing through the aisles, and then being greeted by a familiar face when checking out.

A job at Kroger’s used to be a good job. I could tell because the same people worked there for years and years. I don’t see those people anymore.

It’s doubly maddening because getting rid of a cashier at Kroger’s also means getting rid of a bagger. Many of the baggers were people with special needs or young high school students trying their hand at their first job.

At the Kroger’s I shop at there are literally only four remaining cashiers for a city of 75,000. The checkout lines snake through the store with an echoing of voices, “I ain’t going through no self-checkout. I know that’s what they trying to make us do.” “I ain’t doing it.” “Me either.” “This place sucks.” “I’m going to bring a sleeping bag next time.” “This is elder abuse.” “These fish sticks are going to start stinking soon.” “Them fish sticks ain’t got nothing on my baby’s diaper.” “I remember when there used to be customer service.”……

And then a pause of reflection. A longing for a better time. Ahhh.

Then, the light goes out. No I mean a real light. “This register is now closed.”


Society has just become way too disconnected and crappy. I’m sick of impersonal stores, lousy or non-existent service, and greedy corporate America.

I just want a nice experience. I don’t need rose petals thrown at my feet or a parade in my honor. I just want to see a friendly familiar face to hand my money to and a checkout line that isn’t four blocks long.

Bring back customer service. Bring back real stores. Bring back that loving feeling, oh that loving feeling. Because it’s gone, gone, gone, oh, oh, oh.

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