Letters to the Editor

Jeffersonville needs new grocery option

Lindon Dodd recently wrote about the addition of a new Chick-fil-A to our area. While I certainly welcome new businesses to our community, the one thing that would have me turning cartwheels in the aisle would be the addition of a brand new supermarket. We have few real options when it comes to shopping for food around here. I think the three major chain grocers in this area take local shoppers for granted and I for one am ready for something new. I am sure that many of you feel the same.

One of the major chains never has enough registers open, especially if you are in their store after 9 p.m. They wait until shoppers are lined up 20 deep before begrudgingly opening another aisle. Their parking lot never feels safe at night. Visibly present security would be helpful. Also, I worry about having my car dinged by the baskets strewn all over the parking lot.

Another major chain can’t seem to keep its shelves stocked. Come in after 7 p.m. on Friday or Saturday night and they are out of the very basic items like lettuce, tomatoes, and oatmeal. If an item is on sale you can be sure they are sold out and the shelves are not restocked. The advertised prices listed on the shelves or in their flyer never match what rings up at the register. This is not some rare occurrence. It happens nearly every time I shop there. I once asked for a customer suggestion card and was told they did not have such a thing. That pretty much says it all.

The third major chain shuts down their service desk at 10 p.m. and locks one of its main doors at 9 p.m. (sometimes at 8:45 p.m). I recently assisted an elderly gentleman trying to push his wife in a wheel chair while pulling a full basket of groceries across the entire length of the parking lot. He had parked his car near one door not realizing he would not be able to leave by the same door before 9 p.m. Sale items often do not ring up at the advertised price as well as being frequently mislabeled on the shelves. Their self-scanners are extremely irritating. If the item price is incorrect, getting the attention of someone to correct it is time consuming. And the automated voice is always scolding me to place the item in the bag before I have barely had time to drag it across the scanner.

Another source of irritation with local chains comes with the use of digital coupons. Elderly shoppers that have been loyal customers for years are shut out of using them because they do not own computers or smart phones, and do not know how to access them. Offering digital coupons may be fine, but they should make it fair and simple for everyone by printing the coupons in their weekly flyer.

Another problem for me is the way these stores treat their greeters. Many greeters are elderly employees that are forced to stand for their entire shift. I recently spoke to an elderly gentleman that was near tears from standing so long. He said he had just had back surgery. I asked why he was not allowed to have a stool. He said it was not permitted. Why is all this standing necessary? It makes no sense to me.

We are lucky to have a couple of smaller independent stores here in Jeff, and I love them. I try to give them my business whenever I can. But they are limited in what they carry and in their hours of operation.

I certainly don’t want to make it sound as though the chain stores do nothing right. That certainly is not the case. All of these stores have some fantastic employees that go above and beyond when you ask for help. But a brand new full service grocery would give our big three some much needed competition and force them to improve their inadequate customer service. This would improve the dreaded grocery shopping experience for all of us.

BETHONY BARKER, Jeffersonville

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