Lyle's Blog

Service at Safeway that Sucked

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Now let me preface this by saying that I have almost always had good service at Safeway. I know quite a few people who work at various stores and they have some great employees. For the most part, they are always friendly and go out of their way to make sure that you are satisfied and happy.

Yesterday in Madras, however, was not the case.

Judy, Jay, and I had stopped into Safeway on our way home from an outing and decided to get some lunch while we were there. We stepped over to the deli and I noticed that they had a Subway like sandwich bar there. Only one person was being served so I figured that it wouldn't take very long and I stepped up to the bar to order one of the specialty sandwiches that they had listed on a very colorful banner above.

The lady behind the counter looked kind of familiar. Since she had no name tag, I will have to go by the color of her hair, red. Red looks up at me and turns to a woman that has just came out of the back room and yells at her for help. Bessie walks over and asks me if she can help me and I order and point at my desired lunch item. Now, I can not remember the name of the sandwich but do recall that it was a Roast Beef with Mayo, Honey Mustard, and Blue Cheese. It sounded yummy. Bessie slices open my bread and begins to ask Red where another employee is at. I get the distinct feeling that Bessie may not work there and is a back up for the section but I am not sure. Anyway, while Red is telling Bessie that the other person has gone home since she started at six in the morning, Bessie is spreading thick globs of Mayo on both slices of bread. She continues to talk with Red while following the mayo with circular swarms of Honey Mustard. Now, I am thinking that might be a little much but I figure that she knows better so I dutifully remain silent. She spreads out two thin layers of Roast Beef and two pieces of lettuce. She tops the sandwich with two handfuls of Blue Cheese crumbles. Now, I am impressed here as I know the cost of Blue Cheese and for the five dollars that I am paying for this sandwich, I am getting a real deal. As she wraps my sandwich, I look up at the board to insure that all of the ingredients posted were used. Satisfied, I let her take Judy's order. Jay asks me if he can have some Chinese instead and since it is of the same area, I tell him sure.

Red has finished up making her sandwich and is now at the register ringing it up. Seeing no one else, I step over to the register area to order Jay's Chinese. Red finishes up her customer but instead of looking at me, gives her attention to the telephone. Now, I didn't hear it ring but I am sure that she must have been directed towards it somehow.

Meanwhile, the deli area is beginning to get crowded. A line is forming behind me and Judy and others are in the Hot Food area. Red looks up at them (but not at me, I might add) and yells back for Bob (or at least that is what it sounded like). Bob is a short and very quiet Chinese man who I believed to be the cook with another equally silent Mexican fellow. Silent Bob and his equally silent partner begin serving the people in the hot food area. I begin to wonder why I didn't just go over there since that is where the Chinese is at but the line there is very long and I am the first here right in front of Red so I should be able to get my food fairly fast. Wrong!

Red says something to the person on the phone about putting them on hold or something. Then, without a glance she just walks away and goes into the back room. Now, this greatly disturbs Bessie who is now left out to a line at the sandwich counter. She is having great problems making Judy's sandwich and looking at the backroom at the same time. After each spread, she stops and stares at the door of the backroom in anger. Judy looks over at me with pleading eyes wondering what is wrong and will here desired sandwich get made and better yet will the detail that needs to be put into it be right. Meanwhile Silent Bob and partner are quietly serving the now dwindling line in the hot foods. The people behind me give up and go towards the register area and Jay says something to me about me blocking the area. I look down at him and tell him that it doesn't matter as no one is running the register anyway.

Frustrated, Bessie yells back at the back room area. I cannot hear Red's name but I know who she is calling for. I look over at the door and can see Red talking to someone on the phone and assume that it was the same person that she was talking to in front of me. A short lady with a Safeway uniform walks by and tells Bessie that she needs some help. Bessie tells her that she knows and that her help has up and left. Meanwhile, I notice that Silent Bob and partner have finished their line and have gone back into the kitchen. I kick my self for not going over to that line but since Bessie is finishing up Judy, figure that my best bet is to get her also to finish off our order.

Red finally saunters out of the back room just as Bessie steps over to the register. Somewhat distracted but relieved by Red's appearance, Bessie agrees to get Jay's choice and then rings up our order and we walk out to the car in very animated conversation about our very recent experience. We laughed about the situation and wondered out loud if we should have just gone to Subway. We got strapped in and I fired up the car and prepared to leave. "Papa, they didn't give me any soy sauce.", came the report from the back seat. "Do you really need it?", I asked. "Yes", Jay returned, "I do.". "This might take awhile.", I informed him. "I really like it with my rice." Jay stated. So, I took him back inside.

Now, I always try and let Jay handle his own affairs since it is the best way for him to learn so I directed him to get into the line at the register at the deli where Red was now ringing up a few customers. Jay does so and is the third in line so I stepped to the side but close enough to hear him and back him up if he has problems. The two in front of him are served and Jay steps up to the counter. A fairly big man is standing off to the side and his sandwich which Bessie has just made is handed over to Red. Seeing that Red has his sandwich, the man pushes Jay out of the line right in front of Red and Red begins to ring him up. Now, I am right on this one and before Jay can even look at me with his pleading eyes, his Grandpa is standing right next to him with his arm around his shoulder prepared for whatever battle is in front of him. Big guy gets his sandwich rang up and turns to leave but only finds a shorter smaller bespectacled angry grandfather blocking his path. He takes the smarter route and shuffles off the other direction while Jay and I step up to the counter and Red. Without a glance, Red just walks away oblivious to our presence or so it seemed. Bessie, however, sees us and comes over. "Could you get this young man some soy sauce for his meal?", I asked in a loud enough voice to insure that Red heard it also. When Bessie returned and in that same loud voice, I said, "Thank you, Bessie, that was kind of you." "Your welcome.", she returned somewhat confused.

As I left, I looked around to see if I saw anyone who looked even like a supervisor but not seeing that person, I decided it best to just go. I am not sure what I would have said but I know that if any of our employees would have acted anything like Red, I would have wanted to know.

We headed back towards Bend and begin eating as we drove. My sandwich had a distinct flavor of Mayo, Honey Mustard, and Blue Cheese with just a hint of Roast Beef. After a few bites, my stomach begin to turn. A drink of soda seemed to settle it but after a couple more bites, it started to turn again. I gave my sandwich to Judy to put back in the bag. Judy asked me why I was not eating and I told her. "I don't think we want to put a Mayo Honey Mustard Blue Cheese sandwich on our menu.", I told her. She laughed and said that after seeing Bessie make mine, she had asked her to go light on the mayo on hers. Smart Move!

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