Friday, January 12, 2007

Memo to Combat Candace

To: Candace, the night manager at the Kroger at 4000 Polk and Cullen in Houston, Texas (known by UH students and alumni as "Combat Kroger" due to its less-than-prime location in Houston's near East End)

From: Thomas

Re: Your lazy ass

Late this evening, I went to my neighborhood Kroger (not really in my neighborhood but the closest place to buy groceries from my house) to pick up a few items.

I noticed that only one register was open. And I noticed that at least ten people (myself included) were waiting patiently in line at this one register. And I noticed that the young man at the one open register appeared to be somewhat overwhelmed by his customer load, as if he hadn't been working at your store for very long.

And I noticed you, sitting in a seat behind the customer service counter, talking on the phone, barely visible to your customers, oblivious to the situation regarding the number of customers being made to wait at the front of the store.

I'm just curious, but why didn't you hang up the phone, get out of the chair, come up to a register, log in and help your one poor employee with the number of customers waiting to make their purchases? (I know that, despite being a manager, you can still work a cash register. I've seen you do it before.) Isn't that what you, as a manager, are supposed to do? Isn't that considered good customer service? Does Kroger not offer classes or videos to management-level persons such as yourself that explain this concept?

When you finally did hang up the phone and get out of your chair and come to the registers, it was not to help check people out, but rather to begin emptying coins out of the automatic change dispensers next to each register. Is that something you had to do right then, or is that not something you could have done after helping your one poor employee with his customer load? Is that, perhaps, even something that you could have done after the store closed and all of the customers are gone? Or were you just in a hurry to go home?

It just seems like the backlog of customers being forced to wait at a single register is not something that would ever be allowed to happen, regardless of how late it was at night, at some of the more "upscale" inner-loop Kroger stores, such as the one on West Gray, or the big one at Buffalo Speedway and Westpark, or the "Disco Kroger" on Montrose. But I guess it's okay for it to happen at Combat Kroger; it's not like the largely low-income and largely minority customer base of that store really has a choice as to where they shop, right?

Maybe you just don't give a fuck. And I can't say I blame you. I mean, you appear to be close to me in age, give or take a few years. At this stage in my life, if my career were that of a night manager at a middle-of-the-ghetto grocery store, I probably wouldn't give a fuck, either.

But I'm wondering: can you at least try to give a fuck? It is your job, after all, even if it sucks. I don't like waiting in line for a long time at a grocery store. Neither, presumably, do the people who were waiting in line with me. It'd be really cool if, in the future, you could help us out by coming to a register and assisting customers with their grocery purchases when your only other employee at the front of the store is overwhelmed.

I'm not angry with you, and I don't hate you. In the many months that you've been working at Combat Kroger, I've found you to be friendly (if not a bit detached) and even somewhat attractive. I don't really want to get you fired, which is why I'm posting this memo here rather than complaining to one of the other managers at your Kroger or sending an e-mail to Kroger's corporate customer service folks.

There are other things I'd like to discuss with you in future memos (for example, your store's penchant for running out of my favorite beer), but I think this is enough discussion for now. Thank you for giving this some thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you weren't at the Kroger on Jones/Cypress N. Houston? Or maybe she works at the one near us during a different shift.