Diary of a Discount Shopper: Have I become an Elitist?

Things are getting CRAZY around here.  Spring workshops are in full swing, I think I have one day off in the next 40 days- and that’s just a day without a workshop, not a day with no work at all. 

Last night I had to remind myself (again) that it’s okay to buy some things without a coupon.  Because I’m going to be out of town all week, I needed some instant foods that my hubs could fix for the kids (we’re still saving money because we’re not supporting Pizza Hut).  It was pretty late, so I made the decision to stop by the dreaded ‘low price’ discount super store (not mentioning names here, but it rhymes with Call Fart). 

I’ve been in the habit of supporting actual grocers (you know, those places where you can’t buy a bicycle, ammunition, and smiley face underwear) where I’m treated like an individual. 

As I walked through the store, I noticed couples arguing- EVERYWHERE!  Almost every man had a scowl on his face and the corresponding woman was in a high pitched voice while wagging her fingers.  Those that weren’t fighting looked sad.. like funeral sad.  Well, I’m in this new ‘be nice’ mood, trying to become the perky woman that my husband so desires, instead submitting to my muddle through, gothic without the hair dye attitude.  (Side note:  I think it’s helping me to feel better while I’m fully awake, but I tire much more quickly.  It takes way too much energy to be perky.)

Why was everyone mad or sad?  I’m not sure, but I’m going to attribute it partly to the group of parents that thinks it’s okay to scream at their children in public, thus causing said children to screech uncontrollably, which reverberates off of the walls of a metal building, causing an increase in ibuprofen sales (another marketing technique?).  I’m also going to attribute the other part to the subconscious sense of impending bankruptcy, because we all know that the risk increases when you hit that checkout lane. 

At most grocery stores I’ve been in, when you can’t locate an item, you can locate an employee to help you find it.  I spent 20 minutes scouring for someone, only to come up empty handed.  I did eventually find a meat guy, but he was too busy griping to another customer about a new policy that requires him to wear a white coat, so I couldn’t get a word in (or pick up the product I so desperately needed that was behind him).

After a good 45 minutes, I headed to the checkout line.  How they have developed a model that actually sucks time and money, I’ll never know.  I was only the 3rd person in line (of which they had 2 of 15 open).  I spent another 30 minutes there.  When I finally got up to the register, I watched the prices like a hawk.  The package of hamburger patties (my husbands favorite- ICK), rang up at a much lower price.  This should cause one to jump for joy.. if you didn’t WANT a more expensive package.  See, the package was only $1 cheaper, but consisted of Ground Beef instead of Ground Chuck.  You save a fortune by buying Ground Chuck (like my unnecessary capitalizing?) because you don’t lose half of it when cooking.  However, it was in the wrong spot- which I didn’t catch.  I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want the couple behind me to wait any longer.  Since I wasn’t eating it, it wasn’t as big of a deal.

The cashier never spoke, didn’t even acknowledge that I was there- but remember, I’m trying to be perky, so I was super gracious to her.  My phone did ring once, I answered it and quickly explained that I was in the checkout line and would return the call when I left the store.  During that 2 seconds, the cashier started huffing because I was falling behind on putting my OWN bags in the cart (another pet peeve- how am I supposed to watch prices if I’m doing their job?  Sounds like another marketing ploy to suck some more cash out of my pocket).  

After I swiped my card and completed the transaction, I loudly told her to have a great evening and thanked her for her service.  To which I received a reply of…. a blank stare.  No sound, no smile, no smirk, no nothing.  Did I mention that another pet peeve is speaking without acknowledgement?  If I were to walk up to any person in the store and say hello, chances are I would be met with a response.  How are paid employees any different?

Not to worry… all was fine when the door greeter wished me a wonderful evening as I exited the store- NOT!  This irked me even more, because they feel the need to hire a ‘greeter’ at a very low wage to offset the rudeness of the rest of their employees?  I guess it’s a lot cheaper than finding a way to make the rest of your employees happy.. by, oh, I don’t know… maybe benefits, higher wages, consistent schedules, and creating happier customers, thus causing a waterfall effect?

I left the store feeling like crap.. and it wasn’t because I paid full price.  It was because I unwittingly handed over money to support a company who so obviously does not support their customers.  I think I’ll stick with the friendlier stores, regardless of the cost or location. 

Like this post?  Check out the rest of our Diary of a Discount Shopper Series


  1. shelby says

    i laughed a lot….shook my head in agreement a lot…..and thought how true this is A lot.. lol thanks for perking up a dreary raining monday.


    Alicia Reply:

    Shelby, I am so glad that I could make you giggle.. I’m sure you need it these days!


    Alicia Reply:

    Shelby, I am so glad that I could make you giggle.. I’m sure you need it these days!


  2. says

    I rarely go to that store too but needed something last night and it was on my way home. Two seconds in the store and I wound up with a migraine. I decided that was sign not to enter there again for awhile.


  3. Jen says

    You can tell I go to “Call Fart” WAYYYyyyyy too much because almost all the employee’s “know” me & always smile & sometimes chat if there is time. There are only 2 grocery stores in the area & 1 other dept store . Unless things are on sale and you have a coupon our “super store” is the much cheaper option…..plus I need things like oil filters & video games along with groceries! lol


  4. Vickie says

    Thanks for your post. I’m glad you were so perky! You made me laugh!! Thanks!! Here’s my story about the last time I was at that store: There was a lady in front of me that had a canvas bag for her items. When she finished she started looking in her purse, took her canvas bag and turned to another checkout area. Just like you, there was no response from the cashier when she started ringing my items up. I paid, then loaded my items in my cart (that is one of my pet peeves too!!) and the cashier started YELLING at me!!! Seems the lady in front of me had a canvas bag, but it wasn’t for her items, her items were still in the sacking area, which were now in my cart. I couldn’t believe that I was being treated like a thief and being yelled at. I agree with you–I would rather support the smaller stores!!


  5. Brandy says

    My mother refuses to go to that store. 4 years ago we had some last minute company come to Thanksgiving dinner. Mom needed 3 more bread bowls for soup and ran there because it was close. When she asked the lady behind the bakery counter if they had anymore she was told she needed to plan ahead and the lady could not help people who do not plan ahead. Dillions has much better bread bowls anyway


  6. Alicia says

    I’m telling you.. could they be solely at fault for the increase in disease and chronic pain in our country? It’s quite possible! Sorry you’re feeling yucky!


  7. Alicia says

    You need video games like I need a hole in the head! I think you have more than we do, which is saying a LOT! Besides, I know you only buy them from Amazon- so I’m calling your bluff. :P

    What grocery stores do you have? I’ll bet you’d be surprised if you actually went in and priced stuff.


  8. Brandy w says

    I’m not a big fan if walmart but I walked out of there with a smile Saturday because I saved almost as much as I spent. $115 for $61. Of course the cashier watched my coupons like a hawk and there were so many they had to call a CSM, who looked them over again. I was finally able to pay and walk out knowing that I didn’t have to give them more money that what the groceries in my cart were worth. Yeah, I know they eventually get the money from the manufacture…but they have to wait on it while I get to spend it. Made me leave with a smile :)


  9. Sheila says

    Oh how I felt like you were telling my story!! I had no choice but to go yesterday & had my two young “helpers” with me. Cashier wasn’t very friendly & I tried as best I could to watch everything & my kids at same time. I bought one produce item & was charged for 14 of them!! SERIOUSLY?! Waited at least 15 min. in customer svc to get my card refunded:( By then my kids were contributing to the less than friendly attitude there:(


  10. says

    Oh, I hate that store too! I try to avoid it, but I was there last weekend looking for lighter fluid to grill. I went down every aisle twice and never found it, not to mention didn’t see anyone who could’ve told me where it was. Needless to say my lighter fluid came from somewhere else. I usually call it “Stuff-mart” but maybe it should be changed to “Anxiety-mart”??


  11. Lavonne says

    I have gotten into the habit of asking my dh to use the store across the street rather than “Call mart”. I will go in to compare prices from time to time, or if I can items for free after coupon :-) I have really noticed that the cashiers have not been very friendly at all… and when you wish them a nice evening, a crime has been committed….hmmmm


  12. Cheryl says

    I despise that place. My mom works there and we go there to see her and buy a few things that are cheaper there than the other grocery stores. It makes me so mad when the cashier doesn’t even speak to me during the entire transaction, which happens frequently. We also had a awkward incident this weekend when the two employees were discussing one’s divorce and hopeful child support payments as the divorcee was ringing up my merchandise. My husband and I both commented on how awkward the whole thing was.


  13. Johna says

    Oh man!!! Now I don’t feel guilty about not shopping there anymore! You just re-enforced my no “Call Fart” trips unless there is absolutely NO other choice. Thanks! :)


  14. Jen says

    HAHAHAHA!! You are right, I very rarely buy video games there! lol I do however look at them every time & stand there & b***h aloud how there games cost an average of $20 more! lmao Today we went & Chelsie got yarn, I got a new broom, got Tate his white T for tye dye day plus got a few necessities like soda. Up until the remodel I honestly went there on a daily basis…..of course I have prices memorized & you know I don’t pay full price! lol The other day Chelsie got the 1yd to 3yd fabric cut’s for $1 each which were $4-$10 each! It isn’t all bad….you just need to look everywhere everyday to find the deals! lmao


  15. Chen says

    I shop at Walmart ALL the time and usually always have great experiences. The people I come in contact with are awesome. Don’t be so quick to judge a store. Maybe the people you ran into that day had had a horrible day. Maybe they had a couple angry customers before you came in. Maybe they are tired because they are working two jobs to support their family. I don’t know their circumstances, but I know not to judge. I have come in contact with some workers there that don’t seem like they are having a great day…and I like to try and change their mood while I am there. Encourage the lady next time. If she doesn’t talk to you, keep talking to her and ask her questions. Ask her if she has had a good day so far at work. She will probably say “No”. My aunt works at Walmart, my mom had to work their in between teaching jobs one year and I know many people (friends) that work there too. They pay pretty well for their employees if you stay with the company and have good benefits. I was disappointed reading your blog post today and wanted to encourage you to watch how rudely you spoke about a place that many of your readers may shop at or ever WORK at.


  16. Jamie says

    HAHAHA! You are a talented writer just for one note and how true is what you said! I’ve ALWAYS tried to kill “such state store’s” employees with kindness. I figure I’d pretty dreary if I had to deal with some of the customers they have to deal with and probably working hours they don’t desire…so most of the time when I go it is my GOAL to make just one of them smile! Good for you!


  17. Alicia says


    Thanks for commenting! I can assure you that I am not ‘quick to judge’, as I’ve shopped in there for years and can count the positive experiences on one hand- and it seems that most of my readers feel the same.

    I’m not in any way bashing all employees (and who said anything about Walmart?)- just those who are lacking in the customer service department. I know many people that have worked there and even some that presently do that are as friendly as can be, but around here the majority is not.

    Having a bad day or working there as a second job is no excuse to treat those who support your employer poorly. I’ve had a lot of bad days in my life, and NEVER have I not spoken when spoken to.

    I tried very hard to strike up a conversation, and yes, I even asked how her day went. I was met with a blank stare. This seems to be an epidemic, as I’ve had it happen numerous times lately.

    I’m sorry you were disappointed in my post. I can promise you that I wouldn’t have written something like this over a one-time issue. In no circumstance should rudeness and personal chit chat be allowed in front of a customer.


  18. Darla says

    Man, you are funny! Thanks for the humorous post. Since falling in love with Dillons and their excellent customer service, I rarely visit that OTHER STORE any longer. I did have to run there a few weeks ago and was quickly reminded why I don’t go there anymore, starting with the attitudes of people in the parking lot! And I was shocked at how their “lower” prices aren’t really that low. I gladly (and proudly) support other area grocers!


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