Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.
I’ve mentioned before that Sendik’s is like “Cheers” for me. But I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s such a personal shopping experience there. I’ve seen other shoppers recognized with familiarity & warmth that no big-box store could ever deliver. The loyalty works both ways between patrons and employees. There is just nothing that compares.
Throughout the year, Sendik’s offers “Holiday Tasting Parties.” Before major holidays they offer samples in every department. Yesterday and today it was their Christmas weekend of sampling delights. Knowing how much Kyla loves to try new foods I thought that Friday would be a better choice, hoping that it would be less busy. Ha! Why on earth I thought that, I don’t know. It was a mad house.
I was willing to trudge through the crowd for my daughter but I have to tell you, by the second department I was ready for two things: the exit and a cocktail. Our first stop was the cheese department where she was more than happy to nibble on bacon-studded cheddar. Then off to the meat department for Polish sausage. That’s where things got ugly.
I slid her as out-of-the-way as possible with our cart, then got in line to get a slice of sausage. I assured her I’d be right over to her and just to stay put. I had to warn her repeatedly that the shoppers won’t look out for her, she has to look out for them. Sad to say but it’s true. She’s almost gotten run over more times than I can count.
So as I’m doing my best to be patient and pleasant with those around me, it’s just my turn to sneak a snippet of snausage. (Sorry, you know I can’t resist alliteration even when it’s spelled wrong!) I’m almost knocked into a bunker of meat because the bozo behind me can’t stand to wait just ten seconds more… he had to reach behind and over me just to grab a morsel of free food. I turned around and in a voice dripping with sarcasm said, “Oh, I’M SORRY… I certainly didn’t realize that you were RIGHT BEHIND ME and were going to do that.” His response? To look at me like I was a brick wall. An “I’m sorry” (even an insincere one) never came out of his face.
I can’t begin to tell you how irritated I was but I plowed through, again, for Kyla. Off to bakery to visit with our friends. That might not have been so bad except for the people who, you would have thought, never had a crumb of bread before in their life. Yes, the bread was Sendik’s own artisan line. Yes, it was delicious. But come ON people… take a tiny bit offered to you and MOVE. Don’t hover; expecting the next piece will be large enough for you to make a sandwich with. That’s why they are called SAMPLES. They are not meant to feed your entire family.
I would have avoided the hot table in deli like the plague if not for Kyla spotting her favorite cashier in the whole world, Miss Judy. Having the sparkling personality that she does, she was helping customers place their orders for party trays while her colleague Leslie offered bites of carved beef, sweet potato bread pudding, and cranberry relish. Kyla was more interested in “helping” Judy than anything else. But she didn’t turn down an offer of beef, either!
That was the third time I noticed HER. At first, I thought it was my imagination or my being hypersensitive to everyone’s actions that day. I wondered to myself, “Is she really just hanging around here with her free-size cup of Sendik’s coffee, lurking about waiting to see what else is offered?” She had caught my attention earlier because of those actions in other departments. But no… later that day more than one employee confirmed it for me.
My suspicions were correct. And they have many people do it. These aren’t the “regulars” I mentioned earlier… the ones who actually spend money and support this family-owned and operated business. These people come in with ZERO intention to patronize Sendik’s. They don’t take a basket or cart; don’t buy a single thing. They spend the entire time of the Tasting Party repeatedly hitting the tables for more, more, more. Then they leave with bellies full and arms empty – not a famous red bag to be found in their hands.
Don’t give me the “times are tough; perhaps they were previously at a food pantry getting boxes of generic mac and cheese & ramen noodles to try to feed their twelve children.” When you have people crawl out of the woodwork and come to Sendik’s just two or three times a year for half of a mini-roll and ham that is just taking advantage of a situation. When you have people who darn near run you over with their shopping cart because they think that last speck of pizza will disappear that is just rude.
These lovely and well-orchestrated Tasting Parties are to showcase all the goodies that the store offers. They even give a 15% discount on orders placed during that time. These events are not so that Mr. and Mrs. Tightwad can eat all day at someone else’s expense.
And by the way, you sample-hoggers: Would it absolutely kill you to use common courtesy words to people around you? “Excuse me” would be one example. And two words I barely, if at all heard: “Thank you.” There’s someone standing on the other side of that table. They’ve been on their feet for hours, slicing/ladling/sautéing/smiling so that YOU can continue to graze ‘til your heart’s content. You could look them in the eye, acknowledge what they just offered you, and say “Thank you.”
I know this blog will not have ANY effect on anyone that needs it. But it sure felt great to vent! Oh and by the way…