I have been a loyal and enthusiastic Shoprite shopper for as long as I’ve lived in Bedford and as long as the Shoprite in Bedford Hills has existed. Decades.
It was my go-to store for most things with the exception of fine meats and fish but otherwise, I stocked up to feed the family there. Good produce. Good prices. Clean store. Carried everything I liked. Great employees, many of whom worked there for as many years as I shopped there. Friendly. Helpful. And the best darn manager in the land, John, who kept this Shoprite as neat as a pin – the floors so spotless you could eat off them and the shelves never out of order. And John played the best music too. Great 60s tunes that kept shoppers happy! What’s not to love??
Well, the new management, that’s what. About April of this year, a whole new management team came into this Shoprite. John was moved to the store in New Rochelle, which I hope for him was a promotion and a big pay raise because he was hands down the best manager on the planet earth. He deserves every good move up the ladder Shoprite gives him and I hope he becomes the CEO one day.
Anyway, I digress, it didn’t take long at all for me to start noticing the changes in the store. It got dirty quickly. The music was different. The shelves sloppier. I let it go a bit until one day in July when it was SO bad I stopped and spoke to the manager who was responsible for the cashiers, Victor.
I told him what I saw and how unhappy I was. We chatted for a good fifteen minutes and he was very understanding and apologetic and said he would speak with the new manager.
Later that day or the next, I called the Shoprite Customer Service number and voiced my concerns. I was treated wonderfully by the woman to whom I spoke and I told her that if she wanted to pass along my phone number to anyone, she could.
The next day I got a call from the District Manager, he too wonderfully understanding and concerned I was unhappy. He in turn gave my number to the new store manager who also called me and, like the others, he was very concerned and vowed to improve the store. He suggested I come into the store and walk around with him, which I did, twice, but funnily, both times he was “in meetings”. Ha. Ha!
Fast forward to this:
The store, once again, was a thorough mess.
Who doesn’t want a ripped-open pack of toilet paper??
I found a manager, Ivan, and told him I was leaving, that the store was filthy. He asked me to show him what I meant and by chance, right behind us was a pop-up display for Pepperidge Farm bread, next to the bacon shelves. The bread on the display was all a-jumble, one loaf upside down, another on the shelf backwards. I pointed to it and asked who would look at that display and actually buy that bread? His answer floored me. He said would you have us walk around all day and straighten things out? Um, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If a manager can’t see that the store is dirty or that special displays, for which I am SURE Pepperidge Farm plays extra, are akimbo, then what hope is there for my once-favorite Shoprite? None.
Off to RI I went, with the cheese and a box of pasta from the store and only days later when I went to use the cheese, did I see how badly moldy it was.
I once again called the Shoprite Customer Service number and said I wanted my money back for the cheese, all $10.95. I explained I was out of town, was going to throw away the cheese there and would not be returning it to Bedford Hills. The woman was very understanding, said she would put an $11.00 credit on my Shoprite card so I could buy another container of cheese at my convenience. I thanked her.
Oh if only this was the end of my tale. But, get this, I went to buy new cheese, just ran in for one thing, the cheese, and found a check-out aisle empty. I explained I had a credit on my rewards card and the cheese would be free. Guess what? No one actually put the $11.00 on my card so I had to PAY for the new cheese. Un-freaking real.
Still with me? I went to the customer service desk at the store, explained my problem, and was asked if I had a pin number. Pin number, for what? The guy behind the counter said I needed a pin number to access the credit. I asked why no one at the 800 number didn’t tell me that, that I didn’t every have a pin number. I asked to speak to one of the managers at that point. Enter Victor, who understood the story, gave me back the money I just paid for the cheese, and gave me cash to total the full $11.00.
What the dolts at the Shoprite don’t get, despite my best efforts to explain to them, is that this is the ONE moment in time that they need to be perfect. With all the old A&P’s sold around me, one becoming a Stop & Shop and the one in Bedford becoming a Key Food (yes the low end Key Food coming to Bedford??!! Hard to understand!), others who are tired of a dirty Shoprite will just leave. NO ONE else will take the time to give such detailed constructive criticism to the management. No one.
So bye bye Shoprite. Twenty five+ years down the moldy cheese drain because your new management can’t see how to keep a store clean. What a shame. If I were the CEO, I’d fire the whole lot of them and hire me to run that place. I’d have it back in shipshape order in Leona Helmsley fashion in no time!