Mediocrity knows no limits

3:30 PM

Here I am back tackling my favourite old green monster : Supermarkets. And it really doesn't require much to get me started on this because I already hate grocery shopping, so the least I expect is to have a somewhat pleasant experience going through that weekly ordeal.

When I have a lot to buy I usually go to an hypermarket, but on a day like today when I just need a couple of random items my local general store do not stock I need to go to a supermarket. In my area the choice isn't so exiting, there might be about 5 outlets of different chains in a 2km radius, but they all have their flaw (in fact more flaws than positive points). My target today was "food world" as they usually have a good non veg section, and I really wanted to cook some chicken one of those days. I reached there to see what I now see for over 3 weeks : a sign informing the customer that they apologies about the fact that the chillers (refrigerators) are under maintenance! And it seem it's not just the chillers that are down, it's been also 3 weeks that the AC and ventilation system that is down. The air in there is suffocating, smelly and dusty. Seeing that once again I will have to do without meat I nevertheless roam around as I need a few veggies and fruits as well as some package goods. I started with the fruits section : basket of half rotten stuff that clearly have been out in the heat too much, blistered apples, thorn bananas, and swarms of insects claiming them...ewwww! I managed to find 5-6 apples that looked still fresh, and bought bananas still in their green days, and headed to the vegetable section : smashed tomatoes, blistered potatoes, wrinkled carrots, sad little brinjals, very pungent onions and even potatoes that seemed to have seen better days. In the defectuous chillers some button mushrooms on the edge of decomposition screaming food poisoning guaranteed at you patiently wait for an innocent soul to pick them. Coriander leaves, spinach and methi leaves turn into mush. In the only "functional" cooler I find 2-3 packets of cheese puffed and obviously inedible, butter sticks that have no shapes at all with yellowish goo oozing at the fridge's bottom.
Disgusted i go to the bread section, were they stacked their usual boxes and force me to climb over them to find out broken crackers, mashed bread loaves, imported biscuits that would not pass custom in Switzerland so much they are thorn and broken.
Completely taken aback I decide to check the canned food section, which reveals to be totally inaccessible because someone used the area to build a cardboard fortress of some kind, the juice section seem too to have seen better days, so much that after buying some dog food, bread and fruit I go to the cash counter wondering why on Earth this fridge problem hasn't been fixed in 3 + weeks! If I wear a store manager I would hunt the repairman down, kick his butt and have the fridges fixed in no less than 2-3 days maximum, because I would be conscious that each day without meat and dairies is going to sink my business lower and lower (in another post I already mentioned making sure my employees clear the boxes away so I won't go back to that).

This failed trip forced me to head for the concurrence across the street as it's usually the only other one selling meat. I tend to avoid this one because the staff has the incredible gift of driving to the edge of my sanity for being unable to give the change on your 20 rupees note when you buy a bottle of water and have you wait for 20 minutes for it. Today unfortunately wasn't different, but even worse, because there too it seems that they chose to sell rotten stuff, the closer I got to the non-veg section the more I felt like gaging as my nostrils were assaulted by a smell of decaying chicken and rotting fish, maybe in an effort to keep people away from the liquor shop located right beside it and promote sobriety while driving, who knows, but once again they were offering goods on sales that would send anybody straight to ER with food poisoning so I passed and headed to the cash counter with : 2 cartons of juice, 1 bottle of 7Up,one pack of cheese slices, and one cucumber. The cash lady already do not respond to my cheerful hello which in itself is a mistake a person in sales shouldn't do (I should know I worked there), and when all my articles where scanned she proceeded to bag them, and when left with my cucumber and about to grab an additional bag just to wrap it I politely told her : "No please put everything in the same bag" and she looked at me like I insulted her and said "What?" so I repeated slower that I wanted everything in the same bag, so she proceed to take an even larger bag and put my tiny cucumber in it! I grab the stuff and tell her on a neutral tone "I just told you to put it in the SAME bag", remove the sad little veggie from the big bag and stuff it into the big one. She has the nerve to protest that it's against store policy, and I told her, that too many plastic bags is against my own policy and effort to ensure a greener Bangalore and stare right in her eyes to make my point, by then the security guard at the door, nod and smile at me along with a few other customers around. The girl then tells me "It's 276 ma'am" (and I know I heard right), I hand her 277 because I unfortunately don't have the exact change and brace myself for a crazy wait, she stuff the money in her till and hand me the receipt saying goodbye. And I tell her "Excuse me I gave you 277 and you said it was 276 (which was written on the fading display anyway), and she gets the guts to tell me "No ma'am it's 277" and I tell her "That's not what you said, you said 276" to which she snap my bill and look and say "Oh yeah, in fact it's 276.50 so I rounded it up at 277" WHAT THE HELL??????

Now I know that normally in India you round up to the next full number when you deal with a 0.50, but this time I was a bit pissed, not only because the store sold rotten stuff, but because this lady was not polite to begin with, and went as far as accusing me of not listening well to what she said to then tell me once cornered that I actually misread the bill. If she had the decency to apologise and tell me that she in fact made a mistake quoting the wrong price I would have closed my eyes on it, but she tackled me on every issues from the change to the plastic bag. And the rule number one in retail is "The customer ranks higher than you, be polite and smile" (works in every countries). So I got away getting my one rupee coin back again because I offered her no escape and stared her hard in the eyes, by then the guard was almost laughing and on the way out he asked me in an English more perfect than the one spoken by the lady at the cash counter "I need to stamp your bill ma'am" and then gave me back the bags I put at the luggage counter, still smiling (call me crazy but I had the feeling he was delighted to see a customer give the cashiers hell) told me "Bye ma'am, have a nice day"

Did I miss something here?


  1. Anonymous2:37 AM

    I would suggest that you use
    Q mart if there is one by you. They have much better service (European/American standards)

    Do you happen to have a manual for a Kenstar food processor ?

  2. No Q-mart here, in fact never heard of it.

    I have Kenstar food processor, but I really don't remember where I put the manual, I remember it was less than helpful to begin with, why?


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