Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Groceries US vs. UK

Tonight, my mom and I went over to the Weis Market in the Manor Shopping Center (Lancaster, PA). We usually grab one of the mini-carts and put our reusable bags on the bottom half while we shop. As we walked in the door, the security guard stationed by the door tried to tell us that we needed to leave our bag(s) with the customer service desk while we shopped. We explained to him that they were our grocery bags, and his comment back to us was “people still could use them to steal stuff”. The overall impression I got off this security guard was that he somehow thought Mom and I were going to steal groceries and that’s why we were bringing in bags. I’ve never felt so offended before going grocery shopping. If this is going to be a trend with that store, we simply won’t shop at it anymore!

And then when we were checking out…it seems to me that if you bring in your own bags, the cashier doesn’t make any moves to assist you with packing up your purchases. Even if they have finished ringing you up and you have paid and the remaining items are out of your reach. No, you must stretch yourself to try to push them down to where you can reach them.

I compare this type of service to the service I regularly received at Tesco in the UK. Never once were we stopped by anyone for bringing in reusable bags, in fact, they encourage reusable over plastic and offer you 3p off your order for every bag you bring in. If you need plastic bags, you need to ask the cashier to give you some. Also, as soon as you start packing your groceries, the cashier always asks if you need help packing and will do their best to ensure that you can reach all your purchases.

I could be looking at grocery shopping in the UK through rose coloured glasses, but I never came across a rude cashier or stocker in any of our trips to Tesco. Matter of fact, I even received help finding an item in the store from an employee who was off-duty doing her own shopping when she heard me tell Tim I couldn’t find an item off our list!

I wish Weis was more like Tesco (and I wish they didn’t charge over $7 for the tiniest bottle of Ribena you can get for under £1 in the UK!). I’ve also sent in a complaint via the Weis Market’s website. I had wanted to speak with the store manager, but there was a long line at customer service and only one woman behind the counter. I didn’t want to cause a huge fuss asking for a manager to complain to when clearly, they needed help dealing with all the customers.

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5 Comments so far

  1. Sarah Rainsberger May 30th, 2009 13:51

    We’ve never had any trouble with our bags here in Canada, even when we use the bags *instead* of shopping carts! It feels a little weird walking around putting things directly in our reusable bags because I’m afraid someone’s going to think we’re stealing, but it seems I’m the only one who’s ever thought anything of the behaviour. (I do make an effort of putting things in the bag slowly and intentionally, never like I’m trying to slip something in unnoticed, but again, I think I’m only doing it for my benefit as I’ve never even gotten a weird look before.)

    As for the packing, we’ve always had the cashier simply put our bags on the little metal supports instead of a plastic one and pack our bags as normal.

    I hope you do hear back from the store because preventing you from bringing in reusable bags is simply unacceptable today. I’m curious as to what their response will be!

  2. Rebecca May 31st, 2009 2:04

    Yeah, I haven’t gotten anything back yet, other than a “thank you for contacting us”, but the last time I contacted Weis about something (maybe 2 years ago), I did receive an email from the store manager of the store I issued the complaint about.

    We did bring our bags into the store and used them, but if I’m going to get asked about them every time I’ll re-think going to that store. It happens to be the closest store to the house, though.

    I partially wonder if the issues was that I had one of those big plastic flower bags from Wal-Mart (I bought one while I was catsitting for you!) and it’s different looking than the ones we use here….but I bring all sorts of tote bags into the grocery store when we do our “big grocery shop”, so I really don’t get what the problem is.

    You’re lucky they pack your bags for you. Here if you tell them you have your own, you seem to be on your own for packing!

  3. falnfenix May 31st, 2009 21:07

    call me nuts, but i’d rather bag my own. i’m sick of having mooshed chips, bread, and veggies.

    and i hate when people stick edibles with cleaning supplies!

  4. Rebecca May 31st, 2009 21:12

    Ugh, or cat litter with food!

    I don’t MIND packing my own, it just annoys me when the cashier makes no effort to even help or make sure I can reach everything!

  5. falnfenix May 31st, 2009 21:29

    i buy litter by the tub, so they can’t pack it with anything else.


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