Friday, May 23, 2008

Things you might want to know

Before I started working in a grocery store.. let alone a grocery store deli, I wasn't aware of half of the things I am now. It never occurred to me then what I know now.

There are a few things most people should know. Some people, mainly big fat jerks, deserve to not know these things. And just what things am I referring to?

Well you might already have considered this, but never, ever (and I do mean never), eat a sample unless there's a lady at the table handing them out. At the deli, we put samples under a dome and let people help themselves. This is where it gets disgusting. Think about how many hands have been in that sample, where those hands have been and not knowing what they touched in there. For example: I can't tell you how many times customers go into the restrooms and leave without washing their hands. I often see or hear them go in there and do their thing.. either #1, #2 or both. Many of them do nasty unspeakable things in there (which could be another post entirely) and just walk out as though their shit doesn't carry tons and tons of nasty ass bacteria.

Now take into consideration the fact that these non-hand washers touch everything.. from the carts, to the products on the shelves and yes, even the samples you might consider eating. That, folks, is exactly why I would never in my life touch a sample that is left unattended and self-serve. If your store is like mine and has sanitizing wipes for carts... USE THEM!

Other things to keep in mind when shopping at your local grocery store deli. Most of the store cut cheese (at least in my store) has been out there for a long time wrapped up. After a week or two they'll bring it in and re-wrap it. In the process of re-wrapping it, they'll scrape off the outside edges. Why? Because it gets disgusting. It also gets moldy. Yes they can just scrape off mold and call it brand new. Personally, I find this disgusting and don't recommend to anyone buying those cheeses out there unless you personally see someone chopping it up from a fresh block (even then sometimes it's iffy).

If that doesn't deter you, then maybe this will. If something says "manager's special" or "special today", it's not fresh. You probably know this. Usually it's expiring in a day or two, or it ... ALREADY HAS EXPIRED! ...

Pretty gross, right? Technically we can't sell anything expired, but tell that to my department manager. She'll taste it or smell it and call it okay and sell it anyway. Personally I don't care for these tactics but what can I do? Even if it doesn't say it's on special, it doesn't mean it's not getting close to the end. This is especially true for the salad section in our case. Our salads get usually 7 days. Some get 5, others get 3. In any event what might look fresh or even made that day might not be so fresh. Meaning: We might have made it that day, but the expiration date on the product might be up or coming close to being up.

I hope not to confuse anyone. In a nutshell, you never know what you're going to get. Usually the processed meats like salami, pepperoni and Lebanon bologna (I know this is only in a few places) last forever. The cheese usually (but not always) lasts for months at a time.

In general, we go through so much crap in a day that most things don't come too close to expiring. But there are a few oddball things that just never seem to sell well.

I'd also like to throw in that just because a meat is at the end, doesn't mean it's bad. I have so many damn people say they don't want the end. I hate to tell them this, but opening a new one requires starting at an end and that end would be just as fresh as the one you're turning down. I really doubt they know how much we go through stuff. Anyway, that's a whole other post.

There are probably other things you should or would want to know about grocery stores and/or grocery store delis, but those are just a few things to keep in mind while shopping.

Personally, I only get stuff if I cut it myself. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An old memory

I'm not sure when this happened exactly, but I must share this with you.

Many years back I was working as usual when someone I was working with points over to the salad bar on the left of the deli. I look over and couldn't believe what I was witnessing. There at the salad bar was two old ladies eating off the spoons of pretty much everything that was on the salad bar. This is a fairly large salad bar and just thinking of these ladies eating out of everything made me sick- not that I'd have eaten off the salad bar anyway. (Working at a grocery store, you learn a few things... one of which is never eat off the salad bar).

Not long after I first started watching this incredibly display of yuckiness, a manager comes over and escorts these ladies out. Too bad I couldn't hear the conversation or watch them being tossed out on their asses.

Now the produce/salad bar person had to toss everything out and re-do the entire salad bar.

Just picturing these two old ladies eating off the spoons from the salad bar makes me laugh a little. I'm not sure why they did it or why they thought it was okay. Maybe they were senile? Maybe they just wanted to have some fun..

Either way, ew.

Why I'm Here

I've decided that after 10 years of working in a deli, being a slave to customers who have no idea how to say please or thank you, that I needed to rant a little. I would also love to share some of the funny stories, the odd things that happen and other random bits of my job.

Being that I work in a grocery store deli, customers seem to think I work everywhere in the store. This isn't the case. I work in the deli. I know the deli. I don't stock the shelves- hell I don't really know where anything is unless it's something I usually get myself.

I can't wait to start sharing my stories about the piggies (sample hogs), nasty ass people who eat off the salad or hot bars, the liars, the rude and the just plain ugly. I'll also have to mention the few nice customers that occasionally make an appearance.

I usually only work Saturdays and will post after then, but would also like to reminisce a little and share a few of the memories I've built up over the years of things that have happened. You won't believe some of them... then again maybe you will.