Farmer Jack's last straw


I thought I found a decent grocery store last night. Sure, it's on the opposite side of town. But they have exotic things like lunchmeat and baked chips (but not Schuler's light Bar cheese) that are not available at the stores by my house. I was so excited about this discovery. And then I got in the check out line.

15 minutes later, it was my turn. The cashier was obviously kind of new; she almost flipped out at the pomegranate I was buying and basically acted like I had placed a disembodied alien baby head on the conveyor belt. After I calmed her down, I assured her that pomegranates are indeed edible and that there should be a PLU for it on her little produce list (do you remember when grocery store cashiers used to just know these codes? The good old days...). Then came the moment of truth: the cash out.

I am in the habit of buying gift certificates from a certain grocery store (let's call them Farmer Jack, shall we?) through my church. The church gets 5% back from these and I can buy them at face value. A win-win situation, no? Well, no. Every week, the cashier has NO IDEA how to tender gift certificates. It's always a big mess, managers are called, books are consulted, customers behind me are enraged. I'm used to it, it happens every week, and I am certainly under no illusions that these people should, say, know how to do their jobs. Last night, it took the cashier and the bookkeeper almost 10 minutes to figure it out.

The gift certificates are only available in one denomination through my church ($25). I had two partially used ones so I used those (you should have seen the look on their faces when I told them that I didn't know how much was left on them). That took 5 minutes. Then I used 3 more (another 5 minutes). I still had $11 left to pay, but the bookkeeper told me that I had "exceeded my gift card limit".

I had paid cash for those gift certificates. In addition to the time use of my money, Farmer Jack also gets my loyal business in return for their lousy 5%. Gift certificates should be treated the same as cash. I told all this to the bookkeeper. She stared at me blankly. I stared back. Time passed. Somewhere, in the distance, a car alarm went off. I broke first and offered to pay the remaining $11 by debit card (I had no cash).

I think it was at this point that some huffy blonde who was buying 5,000 jars of baby food started screaming. At me. Like I am in charge of training Farmer Jack employees and it was my fault that these people did not know how to do their jobs. I thought I was going to have a jar of strained peas thrown at my head, but she just walked out of the store. Hope that baby wasn't too hungry. The other person in line began putting her groceries back into the card to switch aisles.

The charge/debit/gift certificate machine would not accept my debit card. It kept flashing "EXCEEDED CARD LIMIT". Bookkeeper tells me that I have to pay cash. I explain that I have no cash and that they have 2 options at this point: 1) they can return all of my groceries (which are already bagged and in the cart) and figure out how to put the $87 back onto the gift certificates or 2) they can figure out how to get $11 off of my atm card. Bookkeeper and Cashier looked at each other and discussed their options via telepathy. Option #2 was chosen and Bookkeeper took my card and disappeared into the management pen.

I left the store with lunchmeat and baked chips, but my dignity got left behind. I wrote an impassioned and angry letter to Farmer Jack customer service this morning*. I think that I'm done. Yes, I am breaking up with Farmer Jack. I was going to drive across town just to go to a decent FJ, so why not take up with Kroger now? It will be about the same distance. I'll try to make up the church donations that will stop because I won't be buying the certificates (Kroger doesn't participate in the program).

*I think I showed great restraint in not naming any FJ employees, even though I noted their names. While I do believe that they should know how to do their jobs, I can also see that its probably not their fault and anyway, I feel bad for them because they have to work at that horrid store.

One more reason to not like Nicole Ritchie:

On some ridiculous rock star children show that I ended up watching (there was nothing on) last night, Nichole basically said this (I didn't actually write it down word for word, but you get the gist).

"I'm glad that I made mistakes in my life (referring to her heroin addiction) when I did, instead of, like, when I'm 30 and all old and decrepit and sad".

Thank you, Nicole Ritchie.

Finally, let's all say a quick prayer for Leo because 1) we like him an awful lot and 2) he has a stressful life.

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