EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Grocery | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'grocery'

Amazon? For Groceries?

Amazon Fresh?Apparently Amazon didn’t get the memo and is planning to start grocery delivery in San Francisco this fall. With one exception every company that’s tried to do this before has failed. Something tells me that for San Francisco Amazon will fail like the others, but at least it has a another side of it’s business to fall back on.

Few people remember back in the 90’s when there was a company called PeaPod that operated in San Francisco delivering groceries. They actually were buying their groceries from Andronico’s which meant you were getting top shelf fresh produce and meats, but it was a bit higher. Granted if you wanted top quality food delivered to your house it would cost you a bit more, but overall it really was maybe around $5 on a $100 order of groceries. Wife and I used to use them a lot because my family stopped going grocery shopping and just told us to pick it up for them when we went shopping.

This caused a few problems as we would now have to lug around two shopping carts and confuse the checkers as to why we would be paying for two carts separately which for some reason seemed strange to them. PeaPod changed this since we could order my family’s food online and have it delivered to them all paid in full. This worked out fine until one of the deliveries refused to bring the delivery up the stairs so my Mother assumed that they would never do this again which led us to have to go back to shopping for them.

It wasn’t too bad since PeaPod decided to close up shop around the same time, but a new company called Webvan had started up just a little before. Webvan wasn’t as good as PeaPod. I don’t know where they were getting their groceries from, but the couple of times we used them they would substitute something we ordered that they didn’t have with something that wasn’t even close to the same. Like you order six apples, but they’re out so they send over a watermelon. I’m not sure who did the thinking on the substitutions there, but they also didn’t last long.

Safeway is the only store that delivers groceries for a flat fee, but at this point it’s just as easy to go to the store for them since both of us aren’t working 40 hour weeks anymore. There’s no word yet on where Amazon is getting their supplies of groceries from or where they’re planning on stockpiling them, but the idea of bring back a Web 1.0 concept that didn’t work figuring you’re so big that you won’t have a problem is, well, a problem. I have a love for some of the old Web 1.0 companies. I used to use Kozmo all the time to rent DVD’s and then started added other stuff like ice cream and snacks in with the DVD. I especially loved that all I had to do was walk down to the corner from my house to return the DVD. That’s kind of like what Amazon is planning on doing, but with groceries as the main item and then you can supposedly add in some of their other products as well. Keep in mind that Amazon invested over $60 million dollars that it lost in Kozmo.

Good luck to you Amazon. No wait, not good luck to you. Amazon makes it’s employees wear ankle monitors like prisoners released to house arrest so that they can track them and data mine their workers to make them more efficient and fire them if they aren’t. That is not the kind of thinking that San Francisco has ever liked unless your home was Alcatraz.

The Worst Safeway in San Francisco

Noriega & 30thApparently people like to complain about the service and stock at the Safeway groceries stores. I understand that, but I noticed something about a Safeway close to me that adds a new twist to the equation. What happens when former employees start complaining about the store?

My wife and I used to shop regularly at the Noriega and 30th Safeway, but since we have a car we’ve started to go to the beach Safeway in the Richmond District or the Daly City Safeway in Westlake and we’ve discovered something in our trips. All over the city in just about every Safeway we’ve been to we see a former employee of the Noriega and 30th place. When asked they all say the same thing, that was the worst place to work.

Now it’s one thing when people who shop there say that because well, people like to complain. I get that, but when the employees are moving to other Safeway’s because they don’t like it that’s a whole different story. I have to say that my experience has been seeing only cashiers that have moved to other locations and I can see why. They don’t like being associated with that store. They’re pretty good at what they do, but to be associated with all the other bumbling people who work there is something they don’t like so they move on.

So what exactly is the problem with this Safeway that puts it above the rest to be called the worst Safeway in San Francisco? Take a look at my personal list of favorites:

  1. Produce isn’t fresh. That can be kind sometimes. It’s usually starting to rot and they don’t have much of selection of rotting produce either.
  2. They run out of staples like milk and eggs and what is left has usually been beaten to death.
  3. No matter when you go they never have enough cashiers working.
  4. Dont ask, where is ____ because hardly anyone speaks English. Even the people who you think would don’t. Seriously. I asked where the bisquick is and was replied with, beesqueek? After explaining the whole process of using it to make homemade beeskits at home I was brought over to the Pillsbury pop-n-fresh pre-made beesskits.
  5. They painted the parking lot upstairs with marine enamel which gets slippery in the rain. My wife slipped and fell once and I let the manager know and he took our information and said he would call us and he never did.
  6. The people running the recycling out in front make too much noise and aren’t very neat in keeping their recycling in one place. They spill broken glass all over the parking spots and the place is so dirty that I’ve seen cleaner bus station bathrooms.
  7. Management just doesn’t care [most heard from former employees]. See 5. above also.
  8. Rats, rats, rats. The bread and beans are all chewed up and every door you walk into has at least two rat traps on either side. I’ve seen people bring up rat eaten bread and beans and they’ve received the response of, OK, thanks.
  9. The Starbucks creates spill over that leads to people blocking the aisles standing around talking with a cup of coffee. If you want to sit and talk, go to a real coffee shop, not a grocery store. It’s a grocery store, not a place to loiter.

Is that enough? I actually applied for a job at Safeway once and when going through the 4 hour training at the Noriega branch I learned something. They send people out to check and make sure that they’re following company policy and they listed a number of things they looked for. I guess they didn’t check this store prior to telling us that because they were in violation of every one of the rules that a Safeway isn’t supposed to break.

This is all very sad to me because I like to go out grocery shopping and I don’t like to feel like it is or should be an ordeal. I’m lucky in that I don’t have a problem driving to other Safeway’s, but I feel that the one closest to me should hold up its own and do the job it is supposed to do. There’s only a few cashiers left who know what they’re doing and once you learn who they are you pick them out right away and stand in their line even though you know it’ll be a longer wait.

OK, time to run off to Lucky’s…

Shhhh…A Shopping Secret

La Playa SafewayI was tempted not to share this one because I do like to shop here even though it’s a drive from my house [3 miles isn’t much of a drive for most people outside SF], but I figured that young hipsters who don’t usually have cars and live in the Mission or Haight won’t bother going all the way out to this place. What place am I talking about? The Safeway at the beach. I honestly hate shopping on weekends and the closest Safeway to me is on Noriega and 30th which I hate because it’s always crowded even during the week and in the evening it’s not crowded, but understaffed. The Safeway at the beach isn’t anything like that.

It’s kind of a hidden mystery for many because it’s a large Safeway, one of the largest in the city and they put it out at ocean on top of what used to be Playland at the Beach. Because of the exposure to all the salt air and fog from the ocean the outside looks a little dumpy, but when you go inside it’s a different story. The typical crowd is a bit on the rough side. I don’t mean fights will break out, just that to most people tossing on a t-shirt over your pajamas and grabbing your flip-flops is considered well dressed to shop here. I suppose a small part of this is due to the few homeless people who hang out in front and the large number that live in Golden Gate Park who go there to buy their food and cheap booze. They’re pretty harmless, but to the uninformed they can look a little scary.

The best part is the aisles are large, very large and it tends to be a very well stocked Safeway, but like many others the staff is a little short in the evenings. There is a Wells Fargo branch at this location where you can get all your banking done even on Sundays [side note, if you’re a real San Franciscan you bank at Wells Fargo]. The deli and bakery are sufficient and a little better stocked than many others around town, but for the general groceries you can find stuff here that is hard to find in other places just because they have lots of room and need to fill it. The butchers are one of the few at Safeway’s that you can pull over and have them cut some meat up for you.

When you finish your shopping and go to check out the wait can be stupidly fast on weekends and it’s not unusual to find a few checkers just standing there talking to another checker waiting for someone to show up. When I used to live a bit closer we used to go here all the time, but now on weekends it’s just kind of refreshing to get some morning air and walk around a store where there aren’t thousands of people pushing you all over the place. It’s even better when it’s a sunny morning which contrary to popular belief we do get more frequently than people think.

Nickel and Dimed to Death

I read an article about a measure that now Sheriff Ross Mikarimi wants to pass that would charge people 10¢ per paper bag at grocery stores and would go up to 25¢ per bag in 2013. While I’m all about being green and a progressive I think Ross needs to think about this measure a bit more.

San Francisco has outlawed plastic bags a couple of years ago and had in affect an ordinance for a short time whereby people who brought their own bags would be paid 10¢ per bag for being green. They’ve since dropped that and being green and bringing your own bags while helping the environment, doesn’t get you any payback. Now Ross wants to force grocery stores to sell you the bags or be fined and the stores get to keep the money.

Hmmm…Let’s think about this for a second. You’re told you have to charge people for something you were giving away or else you have pay the city money and the money you collect you get to keep. I don’t see any stores arguing with Ross Mirkarimi’s proposal. If anything it will win him brownie points from all the big box grocery stores. I do think that Ross is missing a bit of the tit for tat on this. If you’re going to charge me for a grocery bag then it only would be fair that I should be able to charge you for bringing my bags. I would also like to insist that  if I bring my own bags that the store double bag everything paying me 20¢-50¢ per package because I don’t want to have to keep going out and purchasing new bags all the time.  After all Ross, it’s only the fair way of doing business, am I correct?

I have lots of bags that I would bring to the store and I’ve got good strong arms so that I would insist that ever item I purchase would be packaged individually and that I be paid back in equal kind. If I have to pay 25¢ per bag I should be paid back 25¢ for each bag I bring in and use, therefore if I purchase 20 items and bring 20 bags I should get a $5 discount on my grand total.$10 if I insist on double bagging.

This is how we as San Franciscans should look at this. If you want to take from the people, you should be willing to give back. This measure doesn’t benefit the city in anyway, but helps the stores out by dimes and quarters [I would say nickels and dimes, but that’s irrelevant today]. I don’t mind progressive thinking as long as it’s well thought out. This measure isn’t very well thought out and Ross needs to sit back and think about what he wants to achieve because last time I checked brownie points don’t buy you much anymore.

 

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Failing Easy Market

This morning there was a big hoopla in the papers and online about the opening of the new Fresh & Easy market in the Richmond District. Now I like to go to openings of things around the city, but don’t like the lines and crush of people. I figured, this is a grocery store. There shouldn’t be any problems right? WRONG!

As it turns out the people at Fresh & Easy decided not to give the newspapers or online journalists the time that they were opening up. My wife and I drove by and saw people going in and out of the store so we found a parking place not in their lot that was already filled with cars and their upstairs lot that was cordoned off and walked the couple of blocks to check out the new store.

Once we got up there we saw they had a table where they were handing out little cups of apple juice and a crowd of people standing around NOT going into the store. I walked up to a lady who was blocking the entrance and asked her if they were open. She said, no we’ll be open at 10am. We’re having a kick off breakfast right now for the staff and people from corporate. OK, here’s something Fresh & Easy needs to learn about doing business here. People in San Francisco like something called convenience in their shopping. We don’t like a store that shows off their large parking area by not letting you park in it. We don’t like that you’re posting your opening time at 8am out front only to find that you aren’t letting people in until 10am and we sure as hell don’t like it when you’ve got staff and corporate coming in and out of the store enjoying their private breakfast inside.

We were hoping to try some of their goods, but to no avail since we weren’t going to wait an hour for the store to open. I hope they get their act together since the outer Richmond district needs another grocery store after the Lucky’s closed there some time ago. It would not be a good thing if Fresh and Easy became known as Failing Easy.

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