Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Meijer, Who do you think you are? Walmart?


So, I have this little routine....actually, it's a big routine. It is probably the most routine thing I do, and Meijer had to go and mess it up!
You see, every Monday night (okay, almost every Monday night) I feed my family dinner and then I leave for the grocery store. Armed with my coupon inserts, a cup of coffee, my Ipod and my coupon binder, I head into the store. On my way in I grab a sale flyer and I make my way over to the cafe area, snag a table and get to work. I cut my coupons and make a shopping list (er...battle plan) while sipping on my coffee and listening to my favorite music. Then, I hit the aisles (of course, in the same order every week) and do my shopping. I enjoy this time. I love this routine. I've been doing it this way for several years.

Until last night. Last night, my routine changed forever. Maybe this is God preparing me for a move in the future. After all, I've been dreading the idea of having to learn a new store and develop a new routine. This will probably at least start to push me over the edge....

So what happened when I got to Meijer last night? It was unthinkable. It was **almost** devastating. I did not cry, even though I wanted to (don't judge me!!). I walked through the door, grabbed a flyer, turned around and saw....particle board. The cafe area has been boarded up and it looks like a construction zone.

That's because it IS a construction zone. My beloved cafe area is gone. 100% never to be seen again gone. Meijer has decided to add a Subway. Really? A Subway?

I looked at the greeter in disbelief. I didn't want to cry in front of this man, who was trying so very hard to be helpful. He said it is going to take about 5 weeks to complete. So I asked him if there was anywhere else in the store that I could sit and clip my coupons, etc. His idea? I could sit on one of the benches at the front of the store (near the registers) and we could turn a cart upside down like a table. Um, no. That's okay. Like I don't look like a big enough dork with my zippered coupon binder. No thanks, I think I'll leave and come back.

So I left, drove across the parking lot to Tim Horton's and went inside. I can't sit there and not order something, so I bought a cup of soup (I already had a mug full of coffee) and grabbed a table.

I do not like clipping my coupons at Tim Horton's. The table was smaller, my stuff was crowded, and I really wanted a donut but opted to buy chicken noodle soup because I'm trying to be good. Clipping coupons has never been so blah.

After I was done I headed back to Meijer and took my time shopping. Then it hit me. In 5 weeks my favorite store is going to smell like Walmart...well, at least like the Walmart's that have a Subway inside. It's going to smell of yeast and wheat and pickles and asiago cheese. All of those things are great on a sub, but pungent when combined in a relatively small-what-used-to-be-a-cafe-area location. Now if I want to sit at Meijer, I'm going to have to find something small to purchase (can I buy one pickle slice please?) in order to sit at the table in the micro-Subway. And chances are they will change the tables and put in the little round ones that don't hold my purse, let alone my nerdy binder.

I know it's not the end of the world. After all, it is just my boring, nerdy, Monday night routine. I do think my reluctance to change might be Joel's fault. He gave me the Gearhart name, and anyone who knows the Gearhart's knows that Gearhart's are slightly resistant to change. When I was a Shaffer, change was life. I grew up with change. Change occurred every time we packed up our entire house and moved to a different state...or country! Now that I've been a Gearhart for more than a decade, change is synonymous with "I don't want to and if I have to I'm going to drag my feet or sigh reluctantly because this is really difficult and I hate change." By the way, this isn't a knock on the Gearhart's..I love them for their stubbornness :)

So now I get to come up with a new routine for the next 5 weeks, and then figure out how to make little bitty tables work after that. I might have to start clipping my coupons at home (perish the thought!!) or buying more than soup at Tim Horton's. I do know one thing....I either need to get used to pungent Subway smells or figure out a discreet way to wear a nose plug.

******Update 11/1/2011*******

I contacted Meijer via their webpage about my frustration. Today, I received a call from Rick, the general manager of my store. Whoa! First of all, Meijer is a BIG company. The fact that the manager not only received my complaint but personally called me? I'm impressed. He apologized for my frustration and explained that the addition of Subway was a corporate decision. Then he asked if it would be okay if he called me again to update me once a solution is reached that will satisfy customers like me. Wow.
I took the opportunity to tell him why I choose to shop at his store. I explained to him that a clean, well-stocked store is important to me. I told him that his employees are pleasant (especially the greeters).
I let him know that I'll continue to shop at his store :) Can you tell that I'm impressed that he would want to keep just one customer happy? Wow.

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