Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And the Employee of the Year award goes to...

When Sean told me we were moving to Michigan I decided right then I would not shop at Meijer (pronounced my-er). I saw it as a uniquely Michigan store (although it is also in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky) and I was going to make not shopping there my own private protest.

After we moved I realized the closest Kroger was a good 15 minutes away, and the Wal-Mart Super Center was 5 minutes more. Meijer was right in our town, a mere five-minute drive. But I didn’t care; a little extra time in the car was worth it for my cause. And for the first two years I drove the extra miles to Kroger and refused to shop at Meijer.

I don’t know if you noticed, but gas prices have spiked a bit lately, and I’ve begun to think more about my driving, trying to combine trips to save gas. And as a result of this automotive introspection I re-evaluated my staunch opposition to the big M and decided I had to give it a try. I consoled myself with the money I’d be saving in gas, swallowed hard and drove to Meijer, full grocery list in hand.**

As soon as we walked through the doors Rebecca picked up a Meijer meal planner and asked if we could make the Ham with Mango Chutney Sauce pictured on the front of the card. I had all the ingredients at home minus the ham and chutney so I said yes.

Big mistake. Who the heck knows where chutney is? I figured it had to be around the jelly/jam section. We spent quite a bit of time looking up and down each shelf. We didn’t find mango chutney but we did discover several types of orange butter and orange honey – who knew?

After looking for a good 20 minutes up and down several different aisles including the very lovely fresh market section Rebecca asked if we could ask someone. We found an employee named Tracy and asked if she knew where to find the chutney. She radioed away to someone and was told chutney could be found directly above jams/jellies on aisle 7.

I knew it wasn’t there, but I’d just been told by a very official-looking, blue-shirted Meijer employee that it was indeed on aisle 7. So Rebecca and I wheeled our buggy back to aisle 7 and discovered the only thing above jams/jellies is air. The jellies go all the way up to the tippy top of the shelves.

I apologized to Rebecca but let her know I had already spent entirely too much time in Meijer and I was done. We’d go to Kroger to find the chutney later.

As we walked to the check-out lanes I saw Tracey and let her know the chutney wasn’t there; she instantly reached for her walkie-talkie to help again but I said, “Please don’t worry about it; I’m done shopping for today.”

So on Rebecca and I went, loading up the conveyor belt with our goods and just as I was about to swipe my debit card up runs Tracey with mango chutney in hand. She said, “Bar-b-q sauce and ketchup aisle!” Talk about above and beyond. I thought customer service like that was a thing of the past.

I may not like the thought of shopping at Meijer, but let me tell you, Tracey earned my business yesterday.

Rebecca and I are making Ham with Mango Chutney Sauce for dinner tomorrow night. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

**In the interest of full disclosure: there have been times I’ve run into Meijer for milk or the like. This was the first time I’d gone with a regular, weekly grocery list.