An Open Letter to My Grocer

Grocery Store NYC

To Whom it May Concern:

First, let me commend you. As grocery stores go, yours is among the best. The selection of produce, frozen foods, cheeses, and toiletries is unparalleled, especially since you offer these goods at such competitive prices. Sure, your location is somewhat inconvenient, which forces me to take my groceries on the subway, therefore eliminating any possibility of my being able to buy ice cream (it melts so fast!), but who needs the extra sugar and fat? Bravo! Almost everything you do is right on point, which brings me to the reason for this correspondence.

By the time you finish reading, I trust you’ll be as outraged as I am, and possibly a little embarrassed, so let me say in advance: don’t blame yourself. Grocery store security is an often-overlooked aspect of the business. Yes, this letter is to request that you invest in a stronger, more discerning set of employees. This can, of course, be in addition to those genial folks you have restocking, wearing Hawaiian shirts. They are a festive bunch, great at dolling out samples; but they are lacking some serious loss-prevention skills. Maybe they catch the bar of chocolate in a back pocket or can of corn nibblets stuffed down a pair of pants, but there are more refined and illusive ways to get the stealing job done.

Raspberries

Fresh Raspberries?

Today, in the midst of shopping at your grand establishment, I witnessed one of them: I noticed a man take a raspberry from a container and then walk away! He didn’t even try very hard to get the top of the container secured before strolling off. It just popped right off again, leaving the violated fruit vulnerable to all the elements. Who even knows where his hands have been?! To go around, touching fruit all willy-nilly. The indignity.

I was so stunned by his brazen actions that I couldn’t even approach him afterward, therefore missing the opportunity to ask him why. Why weren’t the ample samples, ranging from tiny cups of coffee to warmed edamame fritters to chips and salsa, enough for him? Why did he have to put such a dark cloud over an otherwise idyllic shopping universe? I just couldn’t look past that red wall of rage that had descended over my eyes. For that, I apologize. We all have regrets in life and this is one of mine. So here I am, writing to you in an effort to help prevent such travesties from happening in the future. It’s the least I can do.

Though some people might think tasting such a small piece of fruit has little consequence other than informing the perpetrator of its quality, this is not a victimless crime.

The victims are as follows:

1. Shoppers—What happens when all that remains on the raspberry shelf is that one box, semi-opened? Your shoppers will see it, know that something is wrong with it, but also see that before that something happened to it, they were probably some really tasty raspberries. Unfortunately, now they’ll never get the opportunity to know. At least not on this excursion. This dissatisfaction leads to the next victim…

2. You—If this container of raspberries is never purchased, you’ll never make your money back on it. Simple fact. Also, maybe the whole experience plants a little seed in the minds of those patrons. Maybe they’ll start to see your produce as unreliable and thus seek out other markets. It could happen.

 3. The Raspberries—Finally, the last victim. The fruit itself. They’ve been exposed as tainted. If the shoppers aren’t going to buy them, they’ll just sit on the shelf until they rot or you throw them out. They will be denied to opportunity to be eaten and, for that, I will never forgive the mystery food thief. How would you feel if your only purpose in life was denied? If I said, “No. You cannot work in the Complaint Department at a grocery store anymore. And hey, while we’re at it, your grocery store isn’t allowed to be a grocery store.” That would make you feel pretty bad, huh? Well think of those poor raspberries.

I know I’ve given you a lot to think about. Take a little time to process it all, but not too long. Every moment that passes without stronger security peppered throughout your aisles is a moment when someone could be choosing his or her own samples.

                        Health & Happiness,

                        Sara Percy Roan