Monday, June 13, 2005

Customer - Dear Kroger Management - "You own the System"

I wanted to share the following Email with you, an example of why Management owns the System in which “willing workers” try to do their best.

Dear Kroger Management
Customer Comments
Your satisfaction is our number one priority. We welcome your comments, questionsand suggestions.

On Friday June 3rd, 2005 I visited my local Kroger store to do my weekly grocery shopping at 8:00 am (EST). As I approached the parking lot I saw about 30-40 more cars than usual. As I walked closer to the store I saw a great amount of activity taking place within the store. Once I got my cart I walked pass the register lines I noticed one of my favorite local Kroger employee’s hanging her head as to not make eye contact (there was no one in line).

I found this odd because it’s usually a ritual to say good morning and then see her in 20 minutes once I’m done shopping. Once I turned up the first aisle I saw a host of people with carts and arms full moving stock from one side to the other and from aisle to aisle with “ant” like agility.

I put the usual bread in my cart and proceeded to dodge strangers (Kroger employees, I think) with happy go lucky faces. The few local employees looked confused and did what they were told. While I waited for the fifth time for an opening to open so I could move I stood and stared at the cluster*#$* taking place before my eyes.

I guess most of the people thought I was just another mover because they didn’t hear my comments “Where is the pizza sauce? How about the gato-aide, it used to be in this aisle?” Getting stuck again by a line of carpenter ants I decided this was enough for me and I headed toward the exit leaving my cart "Horizontally" across the aisle as to join in the fun.

Some Queen Ant behind me yelled “Hey, you can’t leave that cart there like that,” At first I thought about grabbing a can of outdoor bug fogger and giving the store a blast but it was to early to get in trouble. As I passed back towards the exit I yelled out to my local Kroger employee and told her I was headed to Farmer Jack’s, she quickly put her head back down and waited for a customer to get in line.

Driving to Farmer Jack’s I was started to think I would change stores, but that would not be fair to the local store who has some very good employees and management team in place. Sure they could make some process improvement but I like to give my business where I live whenever I can. Besides, “Management owns the System.”

When I returned to Kroger’s on Friday June 10th I found many changes throughout the store, this type of change doesn’t bother me since I have a decent memory for remembering this kind of stuff. There sure were a number of huffs and puffs as people left there carts and backtracked to make sure they had not forgotten anything in a previous aisle. The signs hanging from the ceiling were pretty accurate but the signs on the side of the aisle were old. I only had one problem and I stopped one of the ”special” Kroger employees (qg likes companies that employ special folks) where did the kool-aide now reside. He thought aisle 13 because it was no longer with juice it had been moved to the pop section.

While checking out I asked how bad was the week, her face told it all and she said she they were all learning the changes along with the customers. Unfortunately, she and other customer facing employees have been taking the brunt of customer dissatisfaction.

Well – the local store employees (including management) don’t deserve the complaints, you do management, remember you own the system, they are just “willing workers” trying to do a good job.

Here are a “few” qualityg suggestions:

  • Do the work during non-store hours (the local store is 7am – 10pm).
  • How about the previous two weeks prior to the move you put a flyer with the bill informing the customers of when you will be changing the store, why you are changing the store and a number where to call if you have additional questions that can’t be answered at the local store.
  • How about providing a local training/communications with your local store employees, surely you have a layout of what you plan on doing, don’t you?
  • Come on provide some additional hours for local employees or have some of the “ants” stick around for a few weeks and work the aisles providing customers with assistance as to the changes, perhaps some free goodies and drinks too.
  • I know the signs are hanging high but put some posters or easels at the end of the aisles as to where the items have been moved, better yet, have a greeter pass out a flyer as a customer comes through the door with a picture of the new floor plan, include a $5.00 discount on the flyer.
  • "Special" Kroger employee was correct, the kool-aide was in aisle 13, please give him a raise!

    Please thank your local store employees for saving me as a customer.




Anonymous said...


Thanks for sticking up for the worker. I work at a Kroger's and it can be a real pain when hdq people come in and change everything without explanation and I'm left holding the bag with the customer.

qualityg says said...

Your welcome. I did receive an Email last week from a Kroger Customer Representative. She wanted to know what store I was talking about in my comments, she wanted to forward the comments to the store manager. Geez, did the quality folks get a copy?