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A Tale of Two Shops

28 June 2014, 14:00
Many years ago, I saw a movie called Soylent Green. Starring Charlton Heston, it depicted the world as it will be in the year 2022.

Pollution; depleted resources; poverty; dilapidated houses; potholes; overcrowding; crime; corruption; homeless people fill the streets – about half of them are unemployed – the few “lucky” ones with jobs work for the government; food and working technology is scarce.

Most of the population survives on free rations called Soylent Green; a green wafer (cookie) supposed to contain “high-energy plankton” from the world’s oceans.

(OK, Sakkie, I know that this sounds exactly like life here in the Arse of Africa (RSA) – where people live on Governments Grants instead of Soylent Green wafers – but that’s not important right now.)

At the end of the movie, it is discovered that the Soylent Green cookies are actually made from the remains of dead humans. Yecch! (Just like the Government Grants are made from taxpayers’ money, Sakkie. Yecch!)

On Wednesdays, at Pick ‘n Pay, The Willows, all pensioners receive 5% discount on their shopping, and are treated to free tea, coffee, and great big slices of the most delicious cakes you can imagine. (Thank you, Arthur Black, you are a Prince amongst men.)

The wife and I do our shopping there on Wednesdays, and refer to it as Soylent Green Day.

But all of this is just background – let me get on with my story:

Earlier this week, I went shopping at Pick ‘n Pay, The Grove.

I approached the till area through the normal funnel-like passage – much the same device as we used on the farm when plunge dipping our cattle against ticks, flies, mites, lice, and other external parasites.

There were fourteen tills where shoppers take the plunge when paying for their purchases – but only two were manned womanned personned. (Jeez! I hate this PC stuff.)

Now, those of you who have actually seen cattle being dipped will know – if the cow in front of the queue refuses to take the plunge – you have to use a contrivance called a cattle prod. It is a battery powered, handheld device, commonly used to make cows move by poking them. (No, Sakkie, it is not a bovine vibrator.)

Besides, there was NO WAY on Earth that I was going to poke the corpulent lady standing in front of me in the queue. So I did the next best thing – I took a photo of the undermanned underwomanned underpersonned tills.

To cut a short story long, when I got home, I sent the following e-mail to Pick ‘n Pay, The Grove:

“I visited the Pick ‘n Pay shop at the Grove, in Pretoria, at 10 o’clock this morning.

There are 14 checkout tills – but only two were manned. Long queues formed and the shoppers had to wait for ages to be served.

This is just to let you know that your service is pathetic, and that I shall certainly not be shopping here again.”

Note: I didn’t say anything about the corpulent, bombed-up, battle tank that was standing in front of me in the queue. I don’t like to hurt fat people’s feelings – it’s not their fault that they’re so disgustingly overweight.

Not long after sending the e-mail, I received this reply from the Store Manager:

“I’m a very sorry for the service you’ve experienced in the store. It was brought to my attention by the assistant store manager which is the gentleman appearing on the picture attached and already by then the matter was addressed with the frontline manager and the two supervisors. I’ve just addressed it with the whole team just now and reiterated the importance of customer service which is the foundation of Pick ‘n Pay business.

Thank you for your Loyal (sic) support and bringing the matter to our attention, blah, blah, blah….”

To which I replied:

“Thank you for your prompt reply.

So… what you’re actually saying is that it takes:

an assistant store manager,

a frontline manager,

two supervisors,

and yourself,

in other words: FIVE people, to ensure that the tills in your shop are manned.

This is worse than pathetic, it is bloody dismal. Wouldn’t you agree?”

And that was that – the store manager has gone off the air.

Small wonder they don’t give a 5% discount, or free Soylent Green, or tea, coffee, and great big slices of the most delicious cakes you can imagine, at this shop.

To do this, they would have to employ another 200 assistant managers, 200 frontline manager, 400 supervisors, 200 store managers, and 53,000 ordinary wekkas.
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