It’s not that I hate change. It’s that I hate the surprise of change. The “React to THIS now, CT!” attitude that change often brings. And it’s not like this 54-year-old gal doesn’t know that change happens, or that it should, or that it’s even sometimes good. It’s just that the change du jour presented so abruptly, so smugly, as if to say, “Too bad, so sad.”
My favorite grocery store is closing. I found this out quite by accident at Bag N Save yesterday morning. I asked the Assistant Store Director why the location wasn’t on the web site anymore, and he matter-of-factly stated that the store was closing in about three weeks. Turns out the employees were told a week before my discovery — like most people, I shop once a week. When I asked when they were going to tell people, he smiled and said they should be soon. What?! What my mind (and probably the minds of the other customers) heard was, “Oh, we’ll let you know when we’re darn good and ready. Meanwhile, just go about your business and let us continue to play our little games.” — or, “No groceries for YOU!”
It doesn’t matter that the store has to be closed; I know in my head that it does. I know I’m so blessed to have so many other options for food and sundry procurement in this city. I know in my heart of hearts that it will all work out for the employees one way or another, because God does provide.
What matters is how Nash Brothers (the parent company of No Frills and Bag N Save chains) handled this last round of closings: their no-notice position, removing of half their stock three weeks before scheduled closing. No tissues! No deli! No bread! Pitiful produce! With NO signs to alert customers. AND not even honoring the current sales flyer. It’s how they treated the customers, not to mention the employees. (Although I must say, I was very impressed that the Customer Service Manager thoughtfully called the nearby assisted living facility to alert them to the reduced stock before their scheduled shopping excursion for residents.)
What I haven’t told you is that starting a little over a year ago, Nash started reassigning many (but not all) of the best employees from my store to other stores, whether or not they wanted to go. One employee was given a few days’ notice of their reassignment, and it was so dangerous and drastic that they had to stop working for Nash. Nash executives didn’t want to discuss any changes. I asked them last year; they didn’t care about this customer’s concerns. Here’s the thing: you can’t reasonably expect to improve customer service and profits when you take away popular and high-performing staff. You can’t reasonably expect to serve a market, a community, when you give up on a location’s operations.
The unfortunate image you project, Nash, to this former customer, is that you don’t care about the people in the communities from which you draw your customers, the very people who make this city tick. Oh, I know it’s all about the profit, but really, you should probably improve the store and serve your customers rather than eliminate the options for them. It’s called giving back; you should try it. You might see a positive effect. But I see elimination of jobs, elimination of affordable grocery options for lower- and fixed-income residents, and the eventual elimination of this entire chain, which could have been a strong community player.
This means I just need to adjust my grocery shopping strategies again (and you will see the progress here on CT). I chose this grocery option for a long time, and now I will choose another. There are so many solutions to pick from! Indeed, we are all so blessed to live in such a world, where not only is food plentiful and cheap, but also there are many places to get it. My choices are possible because of our free market system. Whatever my value system, I can choose if, how, where and when to spend currency in exchange for goods. Incredible! And as my value system changes (time v. funds, for example), my choices can change! (Oh, and, Freedom of Speech!)
This was my favorite store, mostly because of the people I encountered there. I am really going to miss those great employees. I am really going to miss chatting with and helping those senior citizens in the aisles (because store staff was reduced so much). But change happens. Usually it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes it is made more uncomfortable than it should be, by out-of-touch entities.
Bottom line: I’m no longer supporting Nash stores with my hard-earned grocery dollars. I will find other solutions for our grocery needs. Competition is good and the free market system is awesome!
I vote with my wallet when it comes to business. How about you?