As more and more grocery stores jump onto the green movement and also try to cut down on expenses in this tough economy, we can expect that the day will come when free grocery bags won’t be provided to customers.
We’ve seen how many grocery chains, including Wal-Mart, are pushing the sale of reusable Green Bags. That’s all well and good if you live five minutes away from a grocery store and you only buy a few daily items; But what about rural shoppers who buy hundreds of items only once a week? How many green bags should customers be expected to purchase and to carry with them into a store?
I’m one of those weekly shoppers and I have no intention of purchasing bags when I often spend over $200. on groceries in just one store. As far as I’m concerned, the store should be giving me all the free bags I need! If a store were to refuse to give me free bags for my purchases, I’d walk away at the checkout counter and go elsewhere!
Store managers need to start thinking creatively. Green bags with the store name and logo are sales tools. Perhaps one or two could be offered as a free gift to purchases over a certain dollar amount?
Or green bags could be discounted for purchases over X amount of dollars?
There have to be reasonable and multiple options or customers will shop elsewhere. It only takes one bad experience to lose a customer forever.
See what happens when a store just suddenly runs out of free bags and the manager doesn’t have the good sense to remedy the situation to the customer’s satisfaction.
Last week I received the following e-mail that was forwarded to me:
I just had what was probably the most amazing/unbelievable shopping experience of my life at Albertson's and it makes me want to comment on customer service. Since I've been on the road much of the month, I hadn't been shopping for more than Dr. Pepper's since 2 January so I went to Albertson's and loaded a buggy full, only to find out when I got up front that the Albertson's in Roanoke, TX had no bags. Yes, you read that correctly – no bags. The manager informed me that "we're trying to do something about it" and basically let me know that I could just unload everything from the buggy into my car and then carry it in the house when I got home… probably 50 items and he wants me to carry them in individually in a nearly freezing drizzle.
So it makes me think: what would I do if I was managing this situation?
#1. We'd let the customer know that we cared.
#2. I'd offer to help the customer in whatever way I could.
#3. They have shopping bags for sale in that store; if I were the manager, and I was about to lose a good customer with a buggy full of groceries, I'd give him all the for sale shopping bags he needed. I'd go to the back and find some boxes that goods had been shipped in and load them up. I'd do something that let the customer know that I valued him and didn't want him to go away dissatisfied. Point is this is a tough economy that is going to get tougher and Albertson's won't be getting any more of my money.
By the way, I contacted the Albertsons in Roanoke, Texas and discovered that they now have free bags and that was only a one day occurrence. One day of poor management decisions lost one customer who sent out a mass e-mailing on the subject. No telling how many more people were turned off to that particular store. Not good!