Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Winco Experience

I was so excited when I heard this town was getting a Winco grocery store.

The food there is far cheaper than in other stores.  Maybe I could afford to eat better.

As Winco opened, the only other grocery even close to me (2.3 miles), closed its doors.   I clocked the distance because when my car breaks down, I have to walk to get groceries and walking round trip almost five miles isn't easy carrying bags on the way back.

Fred Meyer and Safeway are another half mile beyond where the Mega Foods used to be, but I can't afford to shop at those stores.

I used to always shop the Winco store when I lived in Corvallis and was so excited, even though my neighbor for awhile, when I lived in a crappy duplex in Corvallis, worked there and told me some pretty awful stories of what goes on behind the scenes.  According to her, that store in Corvallis, at least when she worked there, was a boys club, and men who worked there got a lot more privileges than women.

Well I hoped they'd changed by this time, decades later.  And celebrated their opening, thinking how wonderful this would be.

Until the experience of a few months ago.

I went in, with my list, wandered as I always do.  I'd gone in mid day because they've had a severe problem with backed up long lines during busy hours, and bad behavior by customers in those lines.  And poor choices by the constantly watching employee, who, when things are backed up, is supposed to get another check line opened.  This store is terrible for that employee to then pull people just walking up or at the end of the long lines, to be immediately checked out at the just opened checker, instead of those who have waited the longest.  This is a rude stupid thing some stores do and the easiest way to turn people off.

So I went mid day.   Every aisle I visited, seemed like some employee was walking up saying "Are you finding everything you need".  After about three such encounters, one gets a little tired of that.  But it was when I headed to the deli section, I encountered an employee who took it to the limit.  He immediately began to follow me, after his first "Are you finding what you need".   I like their wraps and was checking them out when I turned back around and found myself trapped, with the same employee inches from me.  He immediately blurted "Are you finding what you need?, something he'd asked me moments before on the other side of the deli display.  What to do?  This was awkward and horrible and I thought "this is some pervert". 

He  finally moved a couple feet from me and began whistling loudly which was beyond bizarre and I did not know what to do.  I checked out and left and it was bothering me horribly.   It bothered me so much I told a friend and also told her I didn't think I could go back there.  She knows there is really nowhere else to shop that I can afford.  So she came over and we went to talk to a manager.  But the manager trivialized the whole thing.  I asked him directly "Did your employee think I was stealing?  Is that what your employees do when you think someone is stealing?"  Because someone had told  me that online when I described what happened on facebook.   He said "no".

If that was not what was going on, then the guy was a pervert.   I mean, nobody does that otherwise.  It was too bizarre.

I couldn't go back.  People said they'd go with me but nobody ever did actually show up to go with me shopping there.  I don't want to have to look over my shoulder when I'm shopping. 

So anyhow, I guess its helped me lose weight at least.

Walmart's fresh food section is awful and terribly expensive.  When I'm in Salem I do shop at the Winco there, or the one in Keizer, associated with Winco, that is much smaller and I like it.  When I'm elsewhere, I get my food, not here anymore, not much anyhow.

I like Grocery Outlet but almost all their food is canned or packaged and its usually not cheap.  They have almost no fresh food.  What they have is limited and mostly all wrapped in plastic.

I can get the tons of canned cat food I get same price at Walmart and their employees are nice.  I can get it even cheaper at Petsmart when I'm in a town that has a Petsmart.  I'll get my fresh food at the Mega Foods in Lebanon.  I'm not going to spend the little money I have to spend in a store where an employee behaves like that.  They're a private business and can do what they want but I'm not going in there to be treated like that while giving them my money.  That'd be stupid.

My joy at Winco opening a store here didn't last long.   When you got a strange employee doing that, that's one thing, you take care of it.  But when the manager doesn't give a shit, you don't go back.

When my car breaks down again, next time, I'll deal with it, as I have countless times in the past when my car breaks down leaving me a long ways from anything I need.

I tried to write a non cat fixing post.  But here, I can't help it, I decided to add some kittens to the story.

The furry brown tabby is not Timbers brother Rowdy, but Brownsville kitten Buddy.

Timbers giving me the evil eye, over the camera in his face.

Spider Kitten Twinkle
OK, now the post is far more complete and right with the world.


  1. I understand why the encounter with the persistent employee was upsetting. What I thought as I was reading your story that it may be a person who does not understand social cues and was doing what he had been told without the filter to know when it's appropriate. I'm sure he can be trained to have better interactions whatever the reason for his behavior. I hope after you left the manager worked with employee so that it didn't happen again. And if the person couldn't be trained for that, that they found him another job that doesn't interact with the public as much.

    1. You may not be able to picture the encounter. The deli case is as tall as I am and doesn't move. I was bent over it, and when I turned around, my back was to that case and that guy was inches from me. I couldn't even move. I was told by a woman who had a similar experience in the Lebanon Walmart that this is super aggressive misguided misdirected theft prevention, as it turned out to be in her case. In her case, the employee involved was confronted over it by the manager while she was present. I would probably have felt a lot better if I really thought the manager was going to do anything at all. I didn't think that and neither did the friend who went along. I never even thought he might think I was stealing until people online said that's probably what was going on. I was terribly horrified then, to think they thought I was some thief. Then someone else told me it's because of my old ill fitting clothes and poor haircut I was being targeted, as a possible thief there. The experience left me horrified, actually. I no longer feel comfortable at that store.

    2. And so I guess, read previous comment i made, that's why I feel much more comfortable at Walmart because the employees are poor too and aren't going to think anything of someone wearing old clothes. They're not going to think I'm automatically a thief just because I don't have nice clothes in other words.

    3. I will add I have no idea what prompted that encounter at Winco, whether he thought I was stealing, or he himself was some strange person, or if I got targeted for my bad clothes, as a probable thief. It doesn't matter. I'm not going back.

    4. I am so naive that I didn't even think about that behavior as a shoplifting deterrent. If that were the case, the manager's response makes much more sense. If a bad hair day and old ill fitting clothes make someone a shoplifter, then I am guilty as charged.

      I guess that you are going to have to be well planned to coordinate your grocery trips with other trips you have to make. So sorry that the new, local store didn't work out.

    5. I didn't know that either L and L, only after posting about the experience online right after it happened. Then the stories came out from people.

  2. Hopefully that strange employee won't last long and you can go back.

  3. The shoplifting angle occurred to me, but it is bizarre and mean nonetheless. ~hugs~ Besides, doesn't everyone have cameras everywhere? You're making me more and more grateful for my area, and for a person with whom to share it, however goofy he can be. Heh... And thank you for rounding out the post with kittens. Yay! I'm still on the lookout for a needy cat (or a pair of kittens to entertain one another). If he, she, or they are put in my path then my husband can't deny we are meant to be a family. That's how it's worked in the past; I didn't go looking and pick out any of our three (now two geriatric) babies. Now that we've had kitties for near the past two decades I can't imagine this home without any. Take care!

    1. I bet you find some kittens. If it was a theft deterrent thing, its even worse, in my mind, because I don't steal, and to be targeted as a thief, that really hurts my feelings. Anyhow, I have no clue what that employee was doing. I just don't go there anymore.