At the end of this morning’s trip to the Wheaton mall Giant, my bagger said she was supposed to escort me to my car so she could bring back my cart. I said, that’s funny, that was the policy for a while this spring, and then the policy disappeared and the usual parking lot cart return shanties returned. She said someone from corporate visited the store a couple of weeks ago, noticed the cart-escorting wasn’t happening, and apparently demanded the policy be conducted as planned by Giant central command. She didn’t seem too happy about it, and I wouldn’t either if it meant I kept having to leave my nice air-conditioned store to push carts around in the 90+ degree parking lot.
It doesn’t matter to me personally, though I feel a little silly being escorted; seems like that could be an option for those who want it rather than a requirement. Every other grocery store seems to do just fine with the cart corrals out amongst the cars. Maybe too many carts were being stolen? Maybe Giant is trying to do its part for the economy by having extra employees? I’m trying to think of why the policy is of any tangible benefit. Just seems odd.
In citrus news, limes were 3 for $1, lovely green, mostly good quality, bearing “Product of Mexico” stickers. I think Mexico is the source of almost all limes sold in the U.S. — I wonder if that is true for H Mart too? Limes there have stabilized at ten for $1 lately, not quite as consistently nice as the Giant limes were this morning, but plenty good enough at that price. We seem to have survived this winter’s lime panic just fine.
Mrs. Me says beware the Wheaton Mall Giant on Friday nights: always crowded and out of too much stuff. Especially going into a three day weekend, but true of any Friday night, she says. I wouldn’t know, I try to do all my shopping on weekend mornings…
The Wheaton Mall Giant has apparently switched from full court press back to a sort of zone: nobody offered to help me carry my groceries to my car last night. As part of their grand remodel/reopening a few weeks ago, they had been insisting on escorting everyone to his or her car, like it or not. They still have a bagger at every checkout; mine last night was a refreshingly sullen teenager, just like the good old days. At least there weren’t groups of employees loitering aimlessly while shoppers who actually could have used some help were left to fend for themselves, as had been observed in recent weeks.
No, not the fabulous Univision program. While Safeway sits empty and undemolished across from the Wheaton Metro, the Giant at the Wheaton Mall has been renovating. It doesn’t seem that different from before, but is somewhat nicer and better lit and was well-stocked this morning, smack in the middle of their Grand Reopening weekend. I haven’t shopped there much in the past because of (a) horrid mall traffic and (b) earning United miles on my Safeway card. But United no longer works with Safeway, and the Giant has I think surpassed the Kensington and Randolph Safeways qualitatively, so I expect to go more often. H-Mart will remain my primary grocery procurement destination, though.
One particularly interesting thing at the new improved Giant: employees are now required to escort you to your car post-checkout. As usual, I declined assistance with my cart, but my bagger insisted on walking with me. He said he was among 12 or so newly-hired employees who are part of the new mandatory escort policy. I’m sure this will help with cart maintenance, and certainly some people appreciate or even need the help, but overall it seems like a money-waster for Giant, since clearly there is underemployment (i.e. too many employees with not enough actual work to do). If they can make it work within their profit margin, then great, I’m glad to see more local employment opportunities, but it’s hard to believe this will continue for long. In the meantime, if you like to be helped to your car when you grocery shop, now’s the time to visit the Wheaton Mall Giant.