There is a grocery store in my neighbourhood called Farm Boy that is incredibly well managed.
At first sight, you might think it’s a mini Whole Foods. Except, it’s not. Not really. It doesn’t sell all the non-food related things like cosmetics, gift items, supplements etc, nor is it as big. That’s why I like Farm Boy – it focuses on the food I need today and this week to keep the family from starving to death and nothing else. There is no fluff.
When it opened a few years ago I noticed that the manager of the store (whose picture was on a poster at the entrance which is why I knew what he looked like) was pretty much constantly out on the floor. It didn’t matter what time I went to the store, he was there, on the floor. He was managing and supervising but simultaneously pitching in. He had presence. You could tell that the staff liked working with/for him, and that they respected him.
Sometime around early covid, I noticed he had a shadow, another man who followed him around pretty much consistently.
I saw this other man today. He was at the registers directing people into the five lanes that were open. He is now the new manager. I guess the other one was promoted (since Farm Boy is expanding rapidly).
Here the thing: my shopping time in that store is very short and efficient. I know where everything is, there are always items on sale on some of the things I need immediately (and if not this week, they will be on sale next week) and I can pretty much navigate around without full brain power. They have a little sushi corner, prepared meals to take home, a lovely bakery section and their fruits and vegetables are always fresh, colourful and often local (which is tricky in Canada in winter, they do rely on some imported stuff this time of year.)
When my cart was full I went to line up and noticed the line was longer than I had ever seen it. Around two corners, no less.
This almost never happens. But the manager before, and now this one as well, noticed quickly and immediately called a few floor staff to open up more registers.
As I’m sure is standard in many places during covid, they control how many people are allowed into stores as per whatever restriction bylaws they’re following. This time, I noticed the store was busier than usual, but not as busy as it was pre-covid (due to how many people are allowed in). Perhaps it was just bad timing that all the shoppers were done at the same time which resulted in a huge lineup at the checkouts.
I reminded myself that this is the new normal, and patiently took my place in line around the second corner. Then I took my phone out and prepared to wait a while. I started texting…first, my son, then a friend.
Except, I couldn’t finish my sentences. Each time I typed a couple of words, I had to move forward. In no time did I reach the front of the line, and before you could say ‘front of the line’ I was rung through and paid.
I was done in less than ten minutes.
I’m sure it was due to the manager directing the larger than usual lineup. He picked up the tips and tricks from the previous manager, and continues to run this store efficiently.
I was glad, too, because I was in a progressively worse mood as the day went on. I had a thing with a teenager earlier which left me discombobulated, I wasn’t able to get some work finished this morning due to interruptions, I drove past two other stores prior to the grocery which had long lineups outside in the cold wind influencing my decision not to shop there today, and by the time I finally got done with my Farm Boy experience, I was…depleted. Tired, moody, and in pain (my neck and shoulders, blah).
I noticed that I was beginning to fester in negativity so I tried to soothe myself: At least the grocery shopping went smoothly. At least there’s something easy to cook for dinner tonight.
Anyway. Today was a meh day. Other than Nessie (my client-puppy), Tucker* (my at-home puppy), and the Farm Boy experience, things didn’t go great today. But three things did, so I’m going to end this post on a positive note.
Wish me luck that it stays this way until bedtime.
*This asterisks next to Tucker means that there is more to report on the little trouble-maker. He has been digging up the yard. I have video and photographic evidence. Hold on to your hat, a shenanigan post is percolating… 😛