Well, the long, slow slide continues.
Monday, around noon, apart from the usual pile of (well-mannered) St Mike's boys come for their noontime sandwich, there seemed to be a light crowd of shoppers. Because only a handful of check-outs open, and folk seemed to be buying largish amounts, it took me a total of 13 mins - 9 or 10 of them standing in line - and then being processed by a charming but under-trained/inexperienced cashier.
I asked her - while she was waiting for the person 2 ahead of me to punch in her debit number - if she could call the manager to see if some more cashiers could be called on - "we have no way of doing so" she replied. Didn't use to be that way. She said "our hours have been cut," at which I commiserated with her. I then called 411, got the store number, was transferred to the "service desk" and told the same thing - and in turn to an assistant manager, who said the same thing as well, in a cordial way - and made clear it was not he who had cut the hours. NB: not a pro-active gentleman, as I told him what post I was at and he never appeared to do a little PR with me and the surrounding customers - or even, God forbid! - get behind a cash register his very self.
Finally on the way out of the store I navigated through numbers and at ext 301 got "the" manager, who was either having a very bad day or is simply someone who should never be allowed to deal with the public. I told him that three of his colleagues had reported cashiers' hours had been cut - and was this the reason that I and others were languishing in line? He said "absolutely not." I observed that it was strange that three employees of three different levels of the hierarchy had all said the same thing. Surely they didn't ALL have an axe to grind? "They don't know," he observed. "I'm the big guy, you should talk to me." I said, well what's the problem then? - he replied, "I don't have to respond to you, I'm not responsible to you." I agreed - "I am only a customer" and hung up.
Poor employees, poor Loblaws - but poor me too! My US bank in a big and impersonal city gives $5 to anyone who stands in the teller line more than 5 mins. I imagine the local manager has to account to someone in management if he gives out too many $5 bills! Anyway, in all my time there I think I have only ONCE got my $5! I continue to go to Loblaws because it is sometimes convenient and some of their PC items are good. I nearly always leave feeling irritated.
Happy New Year!