I am the least sustainable person in any kitchen in the Chapelboro area.  How can I assert that claim?  Because I am always running out of something and have to stop somewhere to get it.  For instance, despite loading up on groceries for company this past weekend, I still had to stop this morning to get turkey for my son’s school lunches this week.  Of course, it would help if he were a little more flexible in the “what’s for lunch?” department, but this edition of the Savvy Spender is not so inwardly focused. 

It dawned on me as I realized I had to add a stop to grab the turkey that, as I’ve written previously, I had many choices.  It also dawned on me fairly quickly that I had a first choice.  About to pass quick turns into Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Harris Teeter, I headed straight for Trader Joe’s. 
I shop at all of those places (and others: Southern Season, Cliff’s, Li Ming, etc.) depending on my list but this time, I needed one specific thing and I needed also to not go out of my way and so the three in the first list were my best options.  

How did I make my choice?  Part of it has to do with the speed and ease of navigating a smaller store.  The real answer lies in the difference in the experience I have had repeatedly in the checkout lines of all three stores.  

The following scenarios have occurred many times in each location.  I make this point to make clear that my decision-making is not based on one person’s bad day, nor one store’s unusually low staffing for some random reason.  

I have been third or fourth in a cash register line at the Chapel Hill Whole Foods when more lanes are closed/unstaffed than are open.  I have seen the “customer service” staffer look over at the long lines and return to what he/she had been doing without calling for more cashiers nor calling over a waiting customer.  


I have been third or fourth in a cash register line at the University Mall Harris Teeter when more lanes are closed/unstaffed than are open.  I have looked toward the customer service area to try to make eye contact to see about getting more cashiers.  Occasionally it has worked.  Other times that desk is also unstaffed.  


I have been second in line at Trader Joe’s.  Other than just before major holidays, I’ve never been more than second.  Before I can even think about looking around to gain some line advantage, an employee has come up to me or to my cart and escorted us both to a newly open line.  In fact, the time just prior to today’s turkey run, I strolled past a staff member stocking one of the end units near a register.  He looked up and pulled my cart over.  I protested pointing to the next row saying, “That’s okay, she’s [the next cashier] is almost finished.”  He responded by saying something to the effect of “You’re our first priority.  Customers first.”  It may have been a mantra or something.  I can’t tell you exactly because it’s the kind of customer service that makes me swoon.  He was happy to take my money and therefore I was happy to give it.  

Have you had a great customer service experience you’d like to share?  Please do so below or write to me at Donnabeth@Chapelboro.com