Sunday, December 6, 2009

McDade's & iPods

This is a gripe post. I'm tired of being preached to about shopping locally. Yes, the prices are higher but it's local and supposedly the service is better. Really? Here is what I've noticed in my neighborhood McDade's lately as I shop there half a dozen times a week. More than a few cashiers and other employees are wearing earpieces in both ears so they can listen to their iPods. I asked one cashier about the headphones and she said some of them were smart enough to work and listen to music so it was no big deal to the management. Then there are the employees who wear bluetooths while working in the store or who eat or drink at their registers while checking out customers. Heaven forbid one of them should actually ask if you found everything you needed or count your change back to you.

Unfortunately, the poor service doesn't stop with the little gadgets and inability to control their appetites. The cashier the other night rang up an order for an elderly customer with half a buggy or so of groceries. Cashier bagged up her groceries and just left them on the counter while the poor lady had to lean over and try to load up her buggy. The cashier was a young college student (and she was white so don't even think that thought) and just oblivious to her customer. The managers don't even look like managers, even Waffle House employees look more professional than do the managers at this McDades as their shirts don't look like they were only run through the dryer for a few minutes.

Maybe I'm old fashioned or maybe I was fortunate enough to have worked in college for Jitney Jungle for several years and was accustomed to seeing managers who acted like managers and actually expected certain standards of behavior from their employees. I don't see cashiers at Kroger ignoring old ladies nor employees at Walmart jamming to their iPods. All I can say is if Henry Holman had walked into number 14 and seen a grocery store being run as a frat house, heads would have been rolling that hour. Of course, Mr. Holman would do things like visit the store at 5:00 AM when no one was there or shop on a busy Saturday afternoon while dressed in a baseball hat, t-shirt, and shorts just so he could see how his stores were actually run. It's called holding your employees accountable.

If I was the owner of McDade's, I would be embarrassed by what passes for customer service in his stores as it's clear he doesn't visit them.


stilettoGOP said...

For what it's worth, I've never witnessed anything like this at the Northside Drive McDades..and I LIVE in there. But the ipod thing would really tick me off if I saw that. You're handling MONEY rockstar, kind of important.

McDades is the only place I food shop, and I happen to love the service. That older man walking around(I assume the mgr ?) is always soooo nice. The cashiers usually spark up some conversation about what I'm making, etc..never had a problem. And those young guys in there always ask me if I need anything, always.

So the No.side Dr one is good at least from what I experience.

Tom Head said...

I shop at the same McDade's pretty religiously (you know that; we've crossed paths there before), and haven't run into anybody with an iPod at the checkout counter yet. If I do, I'll complain. (I'd have no problem with folks wearing iPods when they're stocking as long as they're willing to remove them if asked a question, but cashiers should NEVER wear iPods when they're serving customers.)

I have seen the owner of McDade's at his store on a number of occasions (but visibly dressed like a manager, and talking to staff), and I've seen the manager of another branch, who used to work at this one, shop there from time to time. Whether he's doing that to scope them out because Mr. McDade would be recognizable, or because the manager just needs a gallon of milk, is a fair question.

At any rate, the argument for shopping local vs. shopping at chains has more to do with keeping money in the community than superior service, or at least it does for me. Though I will say that I would stack the service at McDade's up against the service at the supersized Kroger's any day; almost every time I shop at the latter, I have a bad experience. At least with McDade's I know I'll be in and out in short order with my groceries--no drama, no hassle--and if a store can't offer me that, iPod-free ears ain't much of a selling point.

Kingfish said...

Ipods: four times in the last two weeks and not the same employee either. Doing it while they run a friggin cash register. nice.

In fact, every employee I've seen do it was a cashier.

Anonymous said...

In the past, Cathy and Greg were hands on people, so I am given to believe they are today. I haven't shopped there with any frequency in years, but the odd times that I have stopped by, I have not witnessed anything out of the ordinary.

I did work in one of their businesses years ago, and I perceived them to be detail oriented managers. My $.02.

Jane said...

At least McDade's has cashiers - unlike the I-55 Kroger.

Unknown said...

I shop at the Belhaven McDades (aka Jitney 14) not less than 3 times each week, and I've never seen any cashier wearing anything in his/her ears. It's certainly a "diverse" experience, but I've never had or seen any of the employees be affirmatively rude. If I want rude, I'll go to McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, I live in Rankin Co., so rarely have reason to shop McDade's, but you have my total empathy. Just this weekend I had to stop at a County Market(?) in Pearl b/c I had to get a specific item quick and that was the quickest place to get it. I get to the checkline, and in front of me was an elderly gentlemen, with a cane, in a motorized cart. Cashier checked him out, bagged up his stuff, and so help me God, left his stuff in bags at the end of the counter. She turns around, completely ignores him and rang up my item. I went down to the end of the checkout to ask him did he need some help, but he just smiled, thanked me, and wished me happy holidays. What a classy man.
I wanted to choke that wench. I hope I am never forced to stop there again.

Btw, there's nothing nastier than handling money while you eat. You may as well handle ass while you eat. Probably cleaner than money. Either's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

If they don't have cashiers @ the I55 Kroger Jane what do you call them?

Hookah said...

If I shop locally I will eventually end up at Kroger or Wal-Mart because local business rarely has everything I need.

I would much rather make one trip and save money than make multiple trips and spend more time, money, effort and gas.

Anonymous said...

you getting kinda #itchy with your public access aren't you?
must be a slow news(gossip) day

Kingfish said...

Its not the ipods that ticked me off so much as not helping the old lady. Treated her like crap.

Anonymous said...

So, since you've noticed bad service at McDade's, you think that's less of a reason to shop at locally owned stores?

Have you ever had bad service at Wal-Mart or Best Buy? I have.

Are you the guy who tips a waiter 12% because he doesn't refill your water every five minutes?

Anonymous said...

I was in the Northside McDades Saturday and the cashier did not say thank you or load my groceries, but a young man came into the line and she was so very talkitive.
And at Krogers on I55 if you can find parking you can bet you will stand in line or check yourself out and if you shop between 10pm and 6am you have to check yourself out but you do not get a discount for unloading scanning bagging and reloading.

Anonymous said...


Are you the waiter who cries when I tipped you 12% because you think you determine the level of service I should receive?

Work ethic . . . why don't you earn your tip. I shop at the local stores that earn the privilege of me paying more to shop there. Welcome to capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Shopping at the Madison Kroger at Colony Crossing is a delight! They also have "young" cashiers, ipods- no old ladies baggin' their own groceries. These folks understand customer service. No waiting in line or they will open another lane.
Maybe McDade's needs to have Mayor Mary come over for a chat on how to do it! ha ha

Anonymous said...

Had a guy check me last night with a stocking under his side ways ball cap. He was also talking to the next cashier and never looked at me! The floors were good and clean though... One more thing, they could take a little more time keeping the produce fresh!

Anonymous said...

It's a givin.... Everything, including the air, is fresh and clean in Madison... ya'll keep Mary, I'll stay in the 'hood'!

Anonymous said...

When doing business at a retail location, local (definitions of the term vary) and other, I will seek out a manager to tell them when I felt someone assisting me did a particularly good job. Meeting expectations isn't enough but exceeding merits a mention.

I don't waste my time pointing out bad employees. They'll wash out or the business will wash out. Sooner or later someone will get the message.

I shop McDade's for groceries quite infrequently. But I will say that the employees at the McDade's liquor store in Maywood Mart are very attentive and always cordial.

Anonymous said...

Right on 7:08 AM, Right on! Service matters. In tough times more than ever.

Anonymous said...

7:08, you're such an upstanding capitalist. Thanks for all you do, to keep us all in line. If it weren't for you, no one would strive to be better at anything. We'd all do just enough to get by, knowing that people would dole out 20% tips, just because we showed up and said hello. But with you around, we want to perform at the highest level possible. We want to earn your respect.

Could you please wear some sort of t-shirt or button, that tells everyone you feel that way, so the local hospitality industry can know when to step up their game.

Anonymous said...

At Which McDade's did you experience this, KF? I've not seen such at the one on Northside. I go at least 2 times a week.

QB said...

I shop at McDade's in Belhaven as well. I was pretty excited when McDade's took over from Winn-Dixie. Let's just say I've been less than impressed.

Anonymous said...

If you want plenty of cashiers who pay full attention to their customers, check out the Piggly Wiggly on Meadowbrook. You will be very pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

I go to the original McDades still and I do miss Fields! And, while I haven't noticed the problems you describe, the employees are much younger, more likely part timers and the turn over seems high so I don't get to know the cashiers or have them know me as once was the case.
Service has been a big plus and those " extra helps" have won my loyalty for them over the years. I expect I'm not alone in that, so it'd not bode well for service to deteriorate.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the original McDades almost every day.....they do a good job and I see the McDades in there a lot....I have great sympathy for anyone in these days who must hire help to run registers and stock counters....there is no work ethic left in the country.

Jane said...

I second the vote for the Meadowbrook Piggly Wiggly. Always plenty of cashiers.

You know you're in trouble at the I-55 Kroger when the line at the self check-out is 20 people long.

Kingfish said...

The McDade's I'm referring to is the one in Belhaven.

Anonymous said...

KF, when you are in a business and you see someone receiving bad service, if you have the time, ask the employee to get the owner/manager to the front, then tell them what happened. If you don't have the time, call during normal business hours and talk with the owner.

Owners and managers cannot stand behind kids all day everyday and correct bad behavior. Customers help the owners/managers maintain customer service levels by reporting to the owner incidents of which they are not aware of.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:11, I also have great sympathy for anyone that's working as a cashier or stocker for that matter, making minimum wage or only a bit more than min. wage. Granted, there's some awful cashiers out there, no question. There are some excellent ones as well, and it is not an easy job. There's alot of customer frustration in general out there, and the easiest person to vent that on is your cashier. There are customers who take a great deal of pride in being as rude and obnoxious as possible. I know this from firsthand experience in dealing with them. There's no excuse for poor work habits and not treating the customer courteously. None. But, it's not as easy a job as you think, especially at a high volume Kroger or Walmart. And frankly, if companies paid workers more, they could attract a much better quality employee. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that. There would be more competition for those type jobs. But paying employees more is the last thing they are going to do, because the trickle down falls on you the customer paying more for your bananas or whatnot. While I am NOT saying that rude, no work ethic, careless behavior by a cashier is ever acceptable, employers have to hire from the pool of applicants that applied. As I said, not everyone is willing to do that type of work for what they are going to bring home, so the applicants aren't always the best cashier material.

Kingfish said...

I did it for 3 years in HS and 3 1/2 in college. I saw every kind of customer and employee possible.

As for the McDade's and why I didn't complain to manager, well, you're assuming the manager isn't one of the offendors.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see good customer service at a grocery store, check out the Piggly Wiggly in Brandon/Crossgates. The prices may be just a bit more, but all the cashiers (yes they are mostly young people) are polite and helpful, and store management always helps when asked.

Kingfish said...

When I was at Jitney, you went downtown and trained for a few days before you were turned loose in a store. Then you spent half a day at your store watching a cashier, then started. You were expected to greet the customer, ask her if she found everything she needed, and put her groceries in her buggy or get her any help if she needed it.

Mr. Fox would even come to the stores every now and then and actually audit the cashier. By audit I mean she had a checklist of things she would see if you were doing and then would interview the customer afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing this out KF! I worked as a cashier for 3 years when I was young and we would have never been allowed to act as such. I shop at the same McDades as you do and see the same things. There are a couple of people there who are incredibly kind and always speak to me. Usually the ones stocking the shelves. I have such rude treatment by the cashiers that I swear every time I leave that I will never go back. They all talk and have private conversations with each other -white and black equally- and never look at me or say hello. They laugh and joke and make me feel like I am breaking up their party. I find that the one at Maywood has nicer cashiers. And the last time I complained to the manager about something that they had on sale but were out of I was treated quite rudely.

If I were not always in such a hurry I would never stop there again.

Anonymous said...

Even managers have managers.

Training now days consists of new hires completing self-directed computer modules on different subjects, such as customer service, etc. You only have to get an average score to pass, and a real human being doesn't explain the importance of customer service and good work habits. This type of training cuts down on expenses (surprise), but you have to wonder what is lost when people are just guessing until they score high enough to pass. Can't help but think that an authoritive human could stress some points better than monotone computer.

Courtesy and good work habits start at home. If you were taught that way, you are going to have it always. For everybody, cashiers and customers.

Kingfish said...

Don't even know who the store manager is. I go into a Kroger or other store, I usually can spot the store manager instantly.

Anonymous said...

I think you defenders of this rogue McDades store are missing KF's point. It doesn't sound like it's a professionally run store. What's missing: strong management, good service by the employees, and an overall sense of job satisfaction. say what you want about the big box kroger and brookshires, but those folks know my name and know my kids, and like kf said, I never have any trouble spotting who's in charge.

but at the end of the day, it's just a grocery store. and there's always another one right around the corner. vote with your feet, or in this case, your wallet, if you aren't happy with what you get. eventually, someone will get the memo.

Anonymous said...

The talking back and forth goes on at the one on Northside too, and the lady that they have in the managers office at night seems to be a big part of the problem. She seems to be friends with the workers and would rather be thier friend instead of the boss.

Anonymous said...

The talking back and forth goes on at the one on Northside too, and the lady that they have in the managers office at night seems to be a big part of the problem. She seems to be friends with the workers and would rather be thier friend instead of the boss.

Anonymous said...

So, to clarify, is the "rogue" store the Belhaven store or the Fondren store?

(Apologies to Sarah for borrowing your word (you hot mama you).

Anonymous said...

3:28, I don't see anyone really defending that specific store, rather just pointing out different reasons why rude, crappy grocery store employees happen. If I get annoyed enough with a store, I, a) use another store, or b) call and complain to the mgr. Easy enough.

Anonymous said...

The British video on bankers and bonuses is hysterically funny, people. I fear it's being missed so I'll give a heads up here where there's lots of comments.
This is comedy, NOT the stuff of Wall Street Journal or Business Week.

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