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Cheap Meat, Good Intentions, And Bad Behavior

, , | Right | CREDIT: Raygun-Wej | March 12, 2022

I’ve worked in the meat department at grocery stores for over fifteen years. Many years ago, at one of the stores, we had a policy that around 1:00 or 2:00 pm, we would go through the sales case and grab any meat that was expiring the next day and mark them all down to around $1.

There was one regular customer we had that our clerk called “The Meat Bully”. He was an older gentleman who would arrive in the early afternoon and watch us like a vulture until we brought the reduced product out to our clearance section, and then he’d fill his shopping cart with almost everything, though for some reason, he never grabbed any lamb or veal. We had several complaints from other customers about how there was nothing left in our reduced section and how Meat Bully would push others out of his way to get his precious cheap meat.

There was another regular customer, “Farm Woman,” an older woman who lived on a farm, who one day decided to do something about our clearance problem. As I was putting reduced prices on the product, I noticed both Meat Bully and Farm Woman waiting, watching me, and giving each other the stink-eye. Once I was done, I brought the rack out and put the cheap meat into the sales case as fast as I could. When it was all out and I backed away, the two of them went right at it, pushing and shoving each other, grabbing whatever meat they could and tossing it into their carts.

After a minute or two, the clearance section was wiped out and they walked away to continue their shopping. Over an hour later, Farm Woman came back and put most of what she grabbed back into the clearance display. I went up to her.

Me: “Is there anything wrong with this? Did you change your mind?”

She smiled at me.

Farm Woman: “Oh, no, there’s nothing wrong. I just didn’t want [Meat Bully] to take all your cheap stuff. This way, everyone else has a chance to buy some.”

I sighed for a moment and smiled.

Me: “I appreciate the thought, ma’am.”

But then, I grabbed a couple of packages she had put back. As I suspected, they were room temperature.

Me: “But we can’t sell meat that’s been unrefrigerated this long. Unfortunately, we’ll have to throw this all out.”

Farm Woman: “Oh, I’m sorry.”

She frowned as she realized that her good deed had been for nothing, walking away glumly.

Thankfully, Farm Woman never tried that again. A few weeks later, the company changed our clearance policy so we didn’t reduce the prices so drastically, and though Meat Bully continued shopping there, he wasn’t nearly as aggressive.

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