Collecting Yourself Was No Small Feat

, , , , , | Working | April 30, 2019

(It’s late in the afternoon. I am pregnant heavily — like, was due five days ago — and have just been to the ICU to visit my father who had a stroke a week ago. I have my two- and four-year-olds with me and need to grab a few things for dinner and to restock the pantry. I am a bit stressed and exhausted. I had planned to just load groceries into the pram and take them to the car, but the very friendly and sympathetic cashier suggests:)

Cashier: “Why don’t you try our ‘Collect’ service, where you can drive straight to the back door, park, and ring the bell, and assistants will come and put everything in your car for you. The cold items will be refrigerated while in storage, and you just have to pick it up before they close late tonight.”

(Fantastic, just what I need! I agree to it, fill out the necessary paperwork, pay, thank and farewell the cashier, and drag my poor children away back to load them in the car. Driving to the back door turns out to be no easy task. I end up having to exit the place altogether, drive to the other side of the centre, and go to another entrance to get to the “Collect” door. All the spaces marked as reserved for “Collect” have empty, parked cars in them, so I have to park a row away. I debate getting my kids out but decide to leave them and go to the door, seeing as it should be a thirty-second process. I ring the bell and wait. Nothing. I check the kids while still watching the door, go back to the door, ring the bell again, wait, nothing, check the kids… repeat the process eight times. I end up getting the kids out of the car — a cranky two-year-old and four-year-old in a car park with a slow pregnant mama; fun! — go back to ringing the doorbell repeatedly, even holding it for a solid minute. Nothing. I decide to call their front desk. No answer. I try five more times. Nothing. I ring the bell a few more times. Nothing. I pack the kids back into the car, drive back to the area where I can get into the supermarket, get the kids and pram back out, bribe the poor two-year-old back into the pram, and head back in. I go to the front desk and wait behind five other people when I am finally served.)

Me: “Hi. I was supposed to get your ‘Collect’ service, but I was out there at the back door for twenty minutes ringing the bell and calling your front desk phone with no answer.”

Employee: “Oh. Sorry about that. It’s a bit hard for them to hear.” *just stands there and stares*

(It’s then that I notice my shopping is there on the desk behind her. They never even took it to the back and it’s been sitting there in the middle of everything, under the hot lights, for 45 minutes.)

Me: “Can I speak to your manager?”

Employee: *calls behind her*

(A man doing something under a cupboard just behind her comes over.)

Me: “Yeah, I was supposed to collect my shopping from your back door with that ‘Collect’ service you do. I was there for twenty minutes ringing the bell and calling your front desk and never got any answer. I had to drive back over to the other side of the car park, get my kids out again, get them in here, and now I see my shopping just sitting here under the hot lights, not even in the fridge.”

Manager: “Oh, yeah. It’s a bit hard for them to hear it out there.”

Me: “Well, surely that’s a really big problem with the whole system, wouldn’t you think?”

Manager: “Well, what would you like me to do?”

Me: *absolutely fed up and exhausted* “I want you to go and get fresh replacements for all the cold food and I want my shopping so I can go home.”

(While they fluffed around getting me replacements, the two “gentlemen” behind me started carrying on about me being demanding and wasting their time. I didn’t even have the energy to dignify their complaints with any response, so I just attended my poor hungry kids. Finally, I was given my shopping, loaded it in the pram, got everything to the car, and got out into the road just in time to hit the peak hour traffic. I am often annoyed with myself that I didn’t take my complaints about that incident further, or that I didn’t assert myself more at the time, but I ended up birthing my baby a day later and my dad made a full recovery, so I guess my mind was far more happily occupied. Still, I do think back on it sometimes and swear under my breath a bit.)

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