CARROLLTON, GEORGIA -- Wal-Mart and Ingles are the only two grocery stores in town open 24 hours, and Ingles is two minutes away vs. 15 for Wal-Mart. I work second shift, so if I cook dinner after work, I normally go to Ingles. The prices are a little higher, but I'll happily pay a few dollars more to avoid the drive and the long lines to check out at Wal-Mart.
I've had a few bad purchases in the past. Shrimp that was bad despite being in date, a whole cut up chicken that was bad. But I always run back to the store and exchange it. With the shrimp, I also forgot a red bell pepper which they gave me for free. And, I can understand meat going bad, that can happen at any grocery store.
But their produce is horrible sometimes. Two months ago, I went in to get an eggplant, and they had two, both of which were half rotten. Again, not a major complaint, I was trying to buy an eggplant out of season, but, really, just take them off the shelf. I've bought asparagus to find that, while perfect on the outside, the inside of the bundle was slimy. Pretty much every time I go in, I buy garlic and onions. I always inspect them because I know the track record, get them home and find the onion has bad spots, or the garlic has green centers or, in this last head, was actually rotten. I just don't understand how on such a high turnover item, that doesn't really go bad quickly, why they can't keep quality produce in stock. I mean, it's only fifty cents for a head of garlic, so I don't take it back, but it is frustrating to be cooking and then realize you don't have such a key component, despite buying it. I'll take fault for the asparagus, even the chicken and shrimp, I should have looked/smelled more closely, but unless they're going to let me cut onions and garlic in half in the store, I don't see any way to avoid this.
Convenience keeps pulling me back, plus I just always hope that may be it was a fluke. But I have started going to Wal-Mart, especially if I need a lot of produce, or if I know what I'm making for two or three meals and can buy it all at once and not stand in line every night.
HENDERSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- Recently I stopped off at an Ingle's grocery nearest my work one night during my lunch break, and I decided to go through the self-checkout, thinking I might save some time. Wrong! I scanned my things out, and paid using my debit card, but I chose to get cash back so I could have a dollar for the Coke machine at work. Apparently it was out of change, and the machine informed me that I needed to pick it up at the "cashier's station". They usually have a cashier at the podium to assist you if there is a problem with the scanner, they need to see your I.D. etc., but this time, the cashier was nowhere to be found. The only 2 people at the podium were a teen-aged boy and an overweight cop. I stood there for a few minutes, and finally the teen-aged cashier came back, without so much as a glance in my direction, and immediately began conversing with the boy and the cop, resuming a previous conversation, I assume. Not wanting to interrupt, I waited politely for a minute, then she finally turned my way. Raising one eyebrow, she said "yeah"? I said "I needed to get my change here". She opened the drawer, got my change out, and without even looking at me, thrust her hand out in my direction and continued talking to her 2 companions, and said to them "I just HATE giving out change". I finally got pissed and told her "Look, honey, handing out change is probably your sole job function, and complaining about it in front of someone who can easily get you fired might not be such a hot idea" She didn't respond, but did glare at me before going back to her conversation. I left, as I was very nearly late back to work, but I went in the next afternoon and complained to the manager on duty, describing the exchange to her verbatim. She did apologize, stating that the problem would be taken care of, but as far as I know, nothing has been done, as the girl is sill employed there. I do not understand why those in the retail business see fit to hire truculent, insolent teen-agers. If they care about their customers, then why subject them to such rudeness? I wish I had gotten the manager's name so I could make a formal complaint to the corporate office, but I was so angry I did not remember. But I will certainly not be patronising that Ingle's again!