Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If people treated grocery stores like government

“Greetings, ma’am, what seems to be the problem?”

“This grocery bill. Just LOOK at the total! That’s MUCH too high!”

“I’m sorry, was there an error with the register? What is the total supposed to be?”

“Well, it ought to be a LOT lower than that. I can’t afford to spend that much!”

“Okay, let’s get this taken care of… what do the prices add up to?”

“What? I don’t know. That’s YOUR job! I don’t have time to look at the individual items and total them up!”

“Okay…” [spends a moment with a pocket calculator] “The total seems to be correct, ma’am. Did we charge you for an item you didn’t select, perhaps?”

“I NEED all the items I bought! But they shouldn’t cost this much. Why does it cost so d*** much?!”

“Well, first – ”

“I mean, look at this: ‘Canteloupe, 2.1 lbs. @ $1.99/lb., $4.18!’ That’s highway robbery! I could grow 20 canteloupes in my backyard for that price!”

“Well, of course you could, ma’am. But there’s a lot of other costs that come into that price.”

“What kind of cr*p are you charging me for on top of my melon? All I asked for was a cantaloupe!”

“Right, but we also have to take into account the cost of picking it, packing it, transporting it to the market, the employees who work here, their benefits—”

“Did I SAY I wanted to give the employees benefits? No, I don’t think I DID. You’ll be taking THAT off the price now, won’t you?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t. Our company offers benefits to the employees as a matter of policy and is contractually obligated to continue.”

“Well, I don’t see why that’s MY problem. Why should I pay for it? I didn’t sign that contract!”

“No, of course not. And you’re free to shop elsewhere.”

“Oh, so that’s your answer, just go somewhere else! Well, I’ll tell you something, missy… I’ve been shopping here my whole life! My parents shopped here! My grandparents shopped here when it was a general store! So don’t you be telling me to just ‘shop somewhere else’ if I don’t like it! What, you probably just moved into this neighborhood to take advantage of our nice schools and pretty trees. You don’t know what this store means to me! Why, our family is so dedicated to this store, we bought stock in the company!”

“You… own stock in this store?”

“YES! So I guess that means I’m in charge, and you’ll be taking those “benefits” off my receipt now!”

“Well, as I said, I can’t do that. But YOU can vote in the next stockholder’s meeting, and might be able to change things, if enough of the other stockholders agree with you.”

“I vote in every stockholder’s meeting, but it never changes things! My uncle says ‘vote for this, it’s best for profits’ and then the value doesn’t go up. It’s ridiculous!”

“Well, you could look into the issues yourself and make your own decision…”

“I have a life of my own, you know. I don’t have time to be micromanaging everything for you.”

“So, ma’am, what would you like me to do today?”

“Give me everything I want. But make it cost less. And make it better, too. But don’t ask me to help.”