Dear Stop and Shop,
I don’t know if you are aware that Thanksgiving is just three days away! I know, it is crazy how time flies. It seems like just yesterday you had your July 4th sparklers and fireworks for sale along with giant slabs of ribs, fresh corn and strawberries.
This is a gentle reminder to you that the big Turkey Day is upon us and during my visit today I got the impression that the holiday might have caught you by surprise.
The Salvation Army was jingling away and collecting donations, Christmas music seeped through the speakers and the floral department was stocked with Christmas cacti. Everyone except the remainder of the store was keyed into Thursday being the official kick-off to the holiday season.
While searching for grocery list items in the produce aisle, I struggled to find bay leaves and chives. Bay leaves is an ingredient in nearly all of my Thanksgiving recipes. Since I couldn’t find fresh bay leaves, I checked the spice racks and you were sold out of bay leaves there too! No chives either, the hook for chives empty.
In the last five visits to your produce section, ginger is always in a different location. And whatever happened to Spanish onions? The stock boy told me Stop and Shop doesn’t carry Spanish onions any more, just sweet onions, white, red and yellow onions.
Let’s talk about the plastic bags to store produce. Do you know how heavy sweet potatoes are? I needed sixteen sweet potatoes. A plastic bag can only carry the weight of three sweet potatoes and even then three of my bags burst prior to reaching the check-out.
There was one heavy cream at the inner sanctums of the refrigerator and an elderly woman in black sunglasses helped me spot it. Even finding 15 ounce cans of pumpkin was a scavenger hunt.
I do think it is important to brief your staff on where key Thanksgiving fare is located like cans of pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin spice. I asked three people and no one could help me and I happened to trip over a little stand of cans of pumpkin.
There have been times that I have seen some of Stop and Shop’s upper management in suits and ties standing around and discussing displays and other issues. I’ve been tempted to tap them on the shoulder and give them a piece of my mind. For example, why are your bananas always ripe with black spots? Why are expiration dates always the very next day, and can we talk about the bags at check out. I get it, you want me to buy your Stop and Shop bags or bring my own recycled bags. You want to make sure the seals and seagulls don’t choke on thrown out plastic bags. Each visit these plastic bags get cheaper and cheaper. I predict customers and your baggers are going to start a revolution, charge the corporate Stop and Shop headquarters in Quincy, Massachusetts and force feed all executives with these useless plastic bags. At least that’s the fantasy I dream up while I bag my $300 worth of groceries, “Man I’d like Stop and Shop to choke on these.”
But it is the Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza season of kindness and understanding. My concerns are minor compared to bigger issues facing the world like Isis, misplaced refugees, and presidential candidates who have a better chance landing their own sitcom than the Oval Office.
There were moments of holiday spirit among the bustling aisles of Stop and Shop. The nice Starbucks lady who made me an iced mocha with four espresso shots gave me a sweet smile and wished me a happy Thanksgiving. The nice man who didn’t even work for Stop and Shop and was stocking Doritos asked me if I needed help. The other nice man in produce who spent twenty minutes trying to find one bay leaf and pumpkin seeds. As I was leaving, the man collecting carriages helped me put my groceries in my car.
I’ll be stopping back at Stop and Shop tomorrow for the bay leaves, pumpkin spice and pumpkin seeds. I am thankful to have the access to food, the money for food, and the people to share a Thanksgiving meal with on Thursday. But just a heads up Stop and Shop, Christmas is December 25th and New Year’s Eve is December 31st.