Saturday, June 13, 2009

Meijer and the dress down friday

in the spring of 1989, at a Smith's grocery store's pharmacy waiting area, I had the misfortune of sitting next to an old codger. he was dressed in his Sunday best, even though it was Tuesday. he was wearing his permanently pressed polyester pants in the classic 1935 fashion--waist line high enough to nudge his man boobs, but not close enough to chafe.

I on the other hand epitomized the modern 1989 style of fashion. I had my classic Levi's ripped at the left knee with just enough strands of jean fiber hanging from the gaping hole. I was wearing a red wool cardigan, last two buttons buttoned, sleeves pushed up 3/4, white cotton t-shirt underneath. top that off with a mismatched set of earrings (one diamond stud, one large hoop) and pumps. yeah...vogue.

mr. codger took one look at me and declared, not muttered, but declared: "I wish people today wouldn't dress like vagabonds."

ouch.

so, fast forward to 2009. lately, walking through Meijer makes me feel like the words "mrs. codger" are tattooed across my forehead, in a very neat and tidy font, of course.

things are getting a little scary my flannel-pajama-bottom-wear-them-as-if-jeans friends. you are not fooling anyone into thinking that hot pink, drawstring flannel, with cartoon monkey faces, is actually day wear inspired by New York fashion week. but even the jim-jam attired patrons, or the winter coat over bathrobe patrons, or any other fashion "don'ts" that saunter across my Meijer aisle path, none of them are as bad as my experience yesterday.

just finished my checking-out exhaustion with chatty cathy cashier. she wished me "have a great day, and go Red Wings!" (they lost the Stanley Cup later that night). with that send off from her check-out lane, I pushed my cart to the right, and fell in line behind a woman that I guessed to be 67 years old.

her blondish hair was styled in a low pony tail, when she turned around to check that she hadn't left anything at the check-out lane, I saw she was wearing make-up, wore earrings with matching bead necklace. she turned back around, still in front of me, when I noticed her outfit...
I realized her black linen shirt was see through. I could plainly see her black bra straps and her pale skin through the shirt.

my eyebrows raised, surprised that a 67 year old with a non-hard body would be so daring. just after that surprise, I noted that she must have sat in something, because her white linen capri pants had a light blue-ish stain on her left bum cheek. a few more steps closer, made me cringe. it wasn't a stain...it was a bruise...showing through her unlined linen capri pants, that were intended to be worn with a swimsuit or at least very white, very concealing, underwear!

yet there she was without panty lines, without the obvious solid white underwear color beneath the linen...it was all her--all na-tur-al! quickly diverting my eyes, I gave a sigh of relief that I was just walking behind her, can't imagine the macabre peep show that could have been forced on me if I had been walking toward her.

the morning conversation I had with my husband while he dressed for work came to mind; "It's dress down friday at work!" he exclaimed.

apparently, 67 year old linen-lady got the memo.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meijer and the touch screen conversation

u-scan screen: "are you using your own bag?" screen displays I'm using my own bag button.
me: index finger tap.

u-scan screen: I'm using my own bag. (again)
me: index finger jab/tap.

u-scan screen: I'm using my own bag. (AGAIN)
me: middle finger jab twist, followed up with verbal, "what the?!"

u-scan screen: picture of purse, keys, and red arrows pointing up and out, "please remove items from bagging area."
me: trying to get the attention of the u-scan lackey, while explaining to the u-scan, "I want to use my own bag!"

u-scan screen: "please wait for attendant." green light above touch screen now turns to DEFCON red.
me: trying to get the attention of the "attendant" chatting up another u-scan customer about the amazing technology advances in the grocery industry. I turn back to the screen in exasperation as it loops through its message for the 6th time, "please wait for attendant."

foreshadowing note: should I ever completely lose "it," please use this blog to prove that Meijer is the culprit and should pay for a live-in nurse to change my adult diapers.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Meijer and the top 5

after years of observation, and a few days of thought, I've created my top 5 Meijer Associate Employment Choices:

5. cashier-yeah, don't be deceived by the "beauty" aspect of cashier employment: scan items, chit chat, talk on the phone, take money, and they don't have to walk around a whole lot. there is an "ugly" side: bagging, chit chatting with a Meijer crazy, union boss, and they don't get to walk around a whole lot. but I think the pay is good, at least better than jobs 6-10 that didn't even make the list.

4. tzar-again appearances can be deceiving. sure it looks like you rake in the BIG money just wandering around all day laughing on your Meijer issue cell phone, but what happens when the power goes out (been there, done that, twice) and the wheels of technological grocery-dom come screeching to a halt? that's right...firing squad for the tzar!

3. greeter-this would be my #2 winner if I was about 20 years older. I'm not quite mentally prepared for this mind numbing gig, but on the other hand you collect a paycheck for standing around and mumbling, "welcometoMeijer" or "thankyouforshoppingatMeijer."

2. stock-see now this appeals to me. as a stock person, you take up as much room as you want in an aisle, in frozen foods you get to wear gloves, you can whistle, talk on your phone, smile (or not) at customers, and often you are the hero, "oh thank you for bringing out a new case of frozen concentrate orange juice! I could only find the fresh stuff!"

1. Pat-this has to be it. the best job in the whole store. no, not being a genderless human, but being the eyes of Meijer, the law, the free spirit. you wander around the store seemingly engrossed by the ingredient list of butter, while stealthily watching the chronic "taster" pilfering the bin of bulk gummy bears.

as scary as the above top 5 are, the scariest is the possible reality that with this economy, my full-time mom status may switch to a full-time Pat status.

cue shivers...and empty your gummy bear filled pockets.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meijer and the banana blitz

no, I haven't been issued a "cease and desist" from the Meijer minds. just enjoying my kids' winter break from school and finishing some "research" for my blog next week...

I'll post this short, but sweet Meijer crazy gem:

Meijer is having a sale on apples, $1 per pound, color me red and delicious. actually, I opted for something a little more flamboyant, the PINATA apple (tilda over the "N" implied). the name says it all, resistance is futile.

I'm feeling festive with those massive apples in my cart as I samba my way over to the bananas. Pinata (again with the tilda) apples with Chiquita bananas, I smell par-tay! with carnaval music thumping in my head, I manuever next to a couple silently/blankly staring at the bananas. I'm tapping my foot to the only-in-my-head beat, perusing for some sunshine-y delights when the woman next to me suddenly throws up her hands and declares (a little too loudly), "I can't deal with the bananas right now" turns to her husband(?) and wimpers, "you deal with them, I can't take it today."

there are days when I wonder if I should be wearing a kevlar vest to Meijer.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Meijer and the pharmacy phenomenon

amoxil, trimox, zithromax, bacitracin, erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, omnicef and cephalexin.

these are the words I have learned after years of study and residency for my MdC degree--Mother of diseased Children. yep, I can engage in playful banter, or serious brows-furrowed consultation, with any pediatrician and/or ENT specialist. my ability is a powerful one, but I adhere to the advice of Uncle Ben to Peter Parker, "with great power comes great responsibility."

for instance, when a non-MdC degreed mom is being pushed into purchasing the grape flavor for her omnicef prescription because the Meijer pharmacist lackey tells her it "really improves the taste," I will feign reaching for blistex and whisper, "save your money, nothing makes omnicef taste better." I will not, however, share the omnicef side effects that the poor victims (child and parent) will endure: gagging, tears, teeth clenching in refusal to take the med, and bribery may all occur three times a day for 10 days. to reveal that much information would just be cruel and looking like a "Mrs. Know-it-All, MdC" who wants to come off like that? tee hee!

so after years of shoveling out the multi-syllable words along with multi-dollarsign co-pays, the years of standing in the Meijer Pharmacy line while child-in-pain begs to be shot and put out of their misery, years of the genteel elderly hacking up phlegm into their wadded up handkerchiefs (hmmm, handy pocket bacteria at your fingertips!), what miracle of miracles happens...FREE ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS! AND...brand new MEIJER PHARMACY DRIVE THRU!

can you even believe my luck?! as a mom with the monogrammed bench for her Gold-Level sponsorship in the pediatrician's office (not really, but I should look into that), I am finally given a break--free antibiotics--or as we liked to call them "ickies." and I can keep my precious, disease infested, angry as a rabid dog, cherubs in the car and away from breakables. the elderly are included in the "breakable" category.

the pharmacy drive thru was placed on the west side of the parking lot--yes next to the Garden-for-5-months-of-the-year-Center. the large red-lettered signage declares "drive-thru pharmacy" over a large drive-thru banking type of window. it doesn't have the sucky-uppy tube like a bank, just the shove out drawer, flanked by two red painted cement posts. my "raging ear and sinus infection daughter" (that's her pet name at the peds office) is literally writhing in pain in the backseat of my odyssey, she reminds me of a Star Trek episode when Kirk is tortured with an awful high pitched noise and... dramatically... falls... to... his... knees... gasp!

apparently, when the plan to put the drive-thru on the west side of the building was concocted, they forgot that there is this big, blinding thing called the SUN that sets in the evening sky...everyday. I reach out to press the buzzer and am suddenly blinded by the reflection of said "sun." I feel for the buzzer and press frantically while I cover my eyes to readjust. the poor pharmacist walks towards me with her arms stretched out trying to reach the phone to talk to me. she put a hand over her eyes, and gives me a harried, "can I help you?" I squint my eyes and shout out my child's name. the pharmacist runs from her direct exposure to the sun, retrieves my med then approaches the window with one hand covering her eyes while the other searches the counter for the phone.

needless to say, paying with my debit card turned into a drive-thru drawer nightmare with me unable to reach it (remember the cement posts), getting out of my seatbelt, body through car window, squinting to type my PIN on the little machine, waiting for pharmacist to go through an acrobatic act with the VISA machine in order to read the digital "approved" readout, her search for the bag of meds she put down, shove the meds into drawer, while I wait with my hand over my eyes, hanging out my odyssey window as Capt. Kirk screams from the back seat, "THE PAIN! STOP THE PAIN!"

sheeesssshhhhh! but here's the best part, I've only had to go through that scene once. apparently, with the onset of free antibiotics and drive-thru windows, my children are cured! my up-to-this-point-bags-of-bacteria-susceptible-children are suddenly the embodiment of all things hardy and thriving. welcome to my world.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Meijer and the Catch-22 situation

"all is not gold that glitters."
"not everyone who has a cowl on is a monk."
"all are not cooks that walk with long knives." (personal fav!)

man, I love a good Russian Proverb, don't you?! how about one more, just for kicks and giggles, let's call it a Meijeran Proverb: "not all rooms with toilets are restrooms."

I'll admit it, I'm a "judger." I do judge books by their covers, I do judge people based on first impressions, I do judge Mexican restaurants by their beans, and I do judge stores by their attention to bathroom cleanliness. like it or not, public bathrooms are important to me. why? because until my children are beyond the age of dying-from-public-bathroom-germs (anyone know what age that is?) I won't be able to relax. and I'm a woman attached to one massive, unpredictable bladder...my 4 year old son.

at any given time while shopping at Meijer, I can tell you how far away I am from the nearest Meijer bathroom. I've had to develop this 8th sense (6th, talking to "dead people" aka teenage son and his friends, 7th identifying Meijer crazies) over the years because my children seem to have every digestive tract ailment while at Meijer. yep, everything from public retching to a 3 year old's unholy screams of "my penis is bent!"

now as I've posted before, my Meijer has gone through a serious/extreme make-over. all of the store's sections and the gas pump have been updated, but apparently, restrooms are slated for a phase VI surgery. this is very frustrating because currently Meijer's "daily restroom maintenance plan" relies on their customer demographic to be 99% neat freaks, or that each restroom guest will adhere to some sort of civilized restroom "honor system." in Target, and Walmart I've noticed they have a sign in the restroom asking customers to inform management when the bathroom is not up to standards. here's the handwritten poem(?) I found once taped to the inside of a Meijer bathroom stall: "If you sprinkle while you tinkle, be a sweetie, clean the seatie."

there are two public restrooms at Meijer, west side entrance and east side Meijer eatery. they have two things in common, poor ventilation (ackkk), and plumbing poltergeists. don't know how strong your constitution is, but I get the gags from strangers' overwhelming inner-body smells that make their outer-body exits. the sight and/or sound of someone heaving their stomach contents doesn't make me want to play copycat, it's the odor. yes, there's a reason I didn't follow my mother's and my grandmother's career plan and become a nurse. but, even with how bad the ventilation is, I'm not sure it's as disturbing/disgusting as chronic plumbing issues.


without sounding like an alarmist, I'm pretty sure Hogwarts' Moaning Myrtle lives in the Meijer eatery restroom. every time I walk in, there is a puddle of liquid large enough to cover the entire floor of the only two stalls and then a separate puddle directly in front of the sinks. heaven forbid you should be sporting your Meijer brand flip-flops and mistakenly head into that restroom! you'll either be grossed out by the idea of very runny ectoplasm seeping over your Meijer manicured toes, or the other obvious liquid seeping over your now heebie-jeebie'd toes. shivers and ewww!

so, here I am, in a Meijer induced Catch-22: I must be crazy to frequent the potentially bio-hazardous Meijer restrooms, but on the other hand, I would be a "lifer" in the Meijer Crazy Commune if I were to investigate the severity of a bent penis(!) in the frozen food section.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meijer and the big idea

"necessity is the mother of invention." Plato, The Republic.

that is what I call "big 'T' truth." needing something does make the juices in the gray matter flow but so does Waste-ity. see, I think I'm actually a child of the Depression Era. whenever I see something being wasteful or going to waste, I get all I Love Lucy-ified and start thinking of all sorts of clever (read goofy) ways to turn that waste into...non...waste. hmm, it's beginning to sound like I'm talking about sewer or landfill matter, ewww. poo imagery aside, I hate to see things go to waste, but love it when need and waste team up to become The Mutha of invention. Donny Deutsch's studio chaise lounge has hosted plenty of "muthas," and perhaps it's time to make room for me.

so, I've got a Big Idea for Meijer. wanna hear the terribly interesting process that made me come up with my Big Idea? heads nodding? okay, come on!

well, as you know, because I've told you, Michigan has about 5 solid months of winter temperatures. that's point #1. for years now, during each winter, I drive by the massive, fence-enclosed, winter-makes-it-defunct, Meijer Garden Center--frozen, barren, useless. that's point #2.

so, here's my Big Idea that I'm willing to give to Meijer: (fine print--for a mid-five figure idea fee and 12% (just like the number twelve!) of all future gross profits.) outdoor ice skating rink. call it: Skating Under the Stars. or for something more brand-pointed: Meijer's Polar Cap. Meijer, wake up to the money machine sitting out in the wide-open-west parking lot! an outdoor ice skating rink would provide the community with a days-gone-by, Rockefeller Center-esque, winter wonderland attraction. Meijer sells coats, hats, gloves, socks, spandex tights and tutu's (if you're into that kind of skating experience), long-underwear, and even ice-skates! sales of Starbucks coffee would sky-rocket if they would move the existing in-store Starbucks kiosk over to the Garden Center, providing easy access to coffee and cocoa for the chilly skaters. cha-ching! and, heaven forbid, should a mishap occur on the ice, Meijer sells Tylenol, Motrin, and about a zillion different sizes of band-aids. cha-ching, ching!

Meijer is open 24 hours a day, plenty of Midnight Madness skating, and they could re-hire all the phased-out bagboys, creating new jobs and reducing unemployment! and I'm pretty sure Meijer's existing linoleum cleaning "Zamboni" could be used to smooth the ice. Michigan has all the demographics needed for an outdoor ice skating rink. we live in the hockey-mania-heartland, constant profit flow from that demographic. another demographic, lovebirds dying for a better date alternative than a stop at Chipotle and taking in bad, politically- driven Hollywood "entertainment."

and don't be idiotic and ignore the Kristina Yamaguchi/Brian Boitano wannabe demographic. this group would pay any price (and has the ego/desire) to flaunt a toe loop turned into a Lutz, then fake-smile a humble bow to their oblivious fans. oh! the myriad of annoying mountains of bulldozed snow dotting the entire parking lot could be collected to become a sledding feature for families that are split between skating and sledding. ooooo, what about an ice-climbing wall/cliff for the truly adventurous! there you go, two whole new demographics (and merchandise opportunities), take that REI!

so, minds at Meijer, feel free to leave a comment with your contact information, and Mr. Deutsch, I would like dark chocolate green m&m's and cold skim milk in the green room.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Meijer and the battle of the bands

the age-old dilemma is this: Costco allows me to buy in bulk and store food/toiletries for a few months, but it's soooo easy to spend $400 at Costco, then get home and realize you have to go to Meijer to go grocery shopping!

if grocery stores were rock bands, then Meijer and Costco would be the only "artists" that would get any play time on my ipod. granted, they are completely different music genres, but you can't always listen to alternative/techno 80's music, occasionally you need some old school rock...from the 80's.

side note: I'm not exactly an expert on the whole rock music scene. only went to one concert during my six years of living in Colorado--you know, home of the Red Rocks Amphitheater, where u2's Sunday Bloody Sunday music video was taped. well, the Howard Jones concert (pathetic?) I went to was more than memorable for me. my hair was lit on fire by a drunk friend. I use that word loosely. it was a little difficult to have symmetrical big 80's hair after that, and gather the courage to go to another concert.

so I will be using all my MTV (circa 1983-1989) acquired knowledge to make this post genuine. here's to hoping you care about genuine...

there is definitely an old school rock 'n' roll vibe at Costco, you've felt it right? first, you have to flash your backstage pass (membership card) at the massive entry's bouncer in order to get into the venue: makes me feel giddy with special-ness. once inside Costco, there are huge flat screens of entertainment, the floors are industrial cement, there are wafts of pizza and churros in the air, leather lounge chairs and couches (some with massage capabilities), glass cases of rockin' diamond and gold "bling," and the venue's ceilings are gi-normous, even by gi-normous standards. and then there are the Costco roadies.

the roadies at Costco don't wear red (stretched out or otherwise) golf shirts, they don't wear any type of uniform dictated by "The &%@# Man!" Costco roadies wear the international uniform of rock--jeans and t-shirt. even their id tags are stylin', hanging from a lanyard around their neck, clipped on their crew collar or, my personal favorite, on their jeans' belt loop, old school-like.

the grunge looking, working-to-pay-for-pizza-and-beer roadies walk around the store chill-axing in their orange, glow-in-the-dark safety vests. they hang out at the front of the venue, waiting for a call on the walkie-talkie to heft a Nordic Track treadmill into a waiting van. dude...what an awesome career!

and then there's Meijer. no special back stage pass to enter Meijer! Meijer is a free for all mosh pit, they let anyone in. in fact the more crazy your hair, piercings, tattoos and personality the better! totally rad, man. ceilings aren't quite as gi-normous as Costco, but they are swathed in not-too-white paint, and sport mod, domed, tinted plasti-glass cameras that hang from the ceiling, similar to my favorite college dance club--Plastique! no huge flat screen entertainment as you walk in, Meijer offers several sleek small flat screens throughout the store, showing previews for failing network television shows and the occasional Meijer ad. yeah, blatant 80's consumerism at it's best.

the floors aren't the industrial coolness of cement, just beige flecked linoleum with scuff marks from devoted groupies looking for a deal on potato chips. Meijer doesn't have roadies per se, more like red uniformed Devo-esque worker drones, (Cool-Whip, it good!). Meijer doesn't smell like pizza and churros, but there is an ever-present contemporary smell (off-gassing?)of plastic and metal. however, on a bad winter day the store does take on a complex gut-wrenching smell of mud, wet dog and open 24 hours-a-day body odor. Meijer's cases of "bling" are definitely reminiscent of the alternative rock bands make-up: purple/pink jewel tones surrounded by curious shapes of silvery metal.

so in my little world of grocery bands, do I prefer one group over another? not really. I guess it boils down to this: whether Meijer or Costco, the heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Meijer and the scientific reserve

FYI: Scientific reserves are smaller (10–100 hectares). They protect ecological groupings, plant or animal communities for scientific study and education. They are ...often used for intensive research or education programmes. (www.teara.govt.nz)

it's a chilly evening and I'm walking/trudging toward Meijer's west entrance. I notice a woman in front of me trying to quickly reach the warm Meijer airlock by doing the Michigan jig of hop-skip-and-a-jump across frozen tire tracks and semi-frozen puddles. I'm fairly impressed since she looks to be 60 years of age. "Nordic blood," I think to myself. I always mutter that when I see feats of winter wonderment; guy that shovels snow in shorts, joggers casually flicking sleet from their eyes, or geezer-before-his-time being warmed by his cigarette on a "smoke break" during a blizzard. Nordic blood, obviously.

back to human Petra Cottontail. I'm keeping up with her and notice that as soon as we reach the airlock, her pace slows, her shoulders slump and her head tilts to one side. "that's odd," I think as I come along side her, ready to offer assistance should it be required. the second set of doors open and I watch as P.C. beckons Meijer greeter to her and in a whispery/raspery (made that one up) voice and sudden arthritic limbs she indicates that she needs a motorized cart. hippity-hoppity say what?!

I grab a cart from the cart corral and head toward the produce section. I was still a bit flabbergasted that people pretend to be stroke victims to avoid using their perfectly healthy legs, just to get a very slow ride around the superstore. is my analytical/scientific mind missing something? what, is this the equivalent of riding the Meijer penny pony for the healthy but lazy geriatric set? maybe putting on an act is just her way of "mixing it up?" or maybe this is a prank; she's a new rushee pledging for some assisted living facility's sorority, Omega Lambda Delta? (Ω Λ Δfor Greek fanatics)

I'm trying to analyze these questions (and more) when I vaguely notice a Meijer customer exit a cashier stall about 100 feet in front of me. he pushes his one-bag-in-the-cart towards my direction about 5 steps, then for reasons unknown to me, stops and mumbles something in frustration, takes his bag out of his cart and leaves his cart perpendicular to the aisle and walks off in a huff. he is literally 95 feet from the cart corral (and he's going to pass the cart corral) but, he has to leave his cart in the middle of a high traffic area.

like a patient Jane Goodall, I watch as more exiting customers 1.) halt at empty cart, 2.) frantically search for owner of obstacle, then, 3.) accept their pitiful plight. repeatedly, the same solution is applied; 4.) carefully maneuver around empty cart. not one subject moved the cart out of the way. from the time it took me to reach the blocking cart I watched this play out 5 times, with the only variable being the occasional swearing angrily at empty cart. (scientific journal note: my deep-seated dedication to science doesn't allow me to interfere by removing this hindrance from people's grocery experience. I'm here to observe and record. sometimes the demands of science aren't palatable, but I've accepted my role as objectionable observer--I mean--objective observer. tee hee.)

perhaps not to be outdone by the other two cases that I have just observed, I happen upon this field observer's gem: upon arriving at the produce section I see a woman plop a $4 clamshell container of blueberries in her at-capacity cart, push her cart over to Meijer's "eatery," stand there for a moment (possibly reflecting on life's intricacies?), then leave her cart and exit the store. I meandered around the produce section for about 10 minutes, subject never returned.

that's what I love about the protected anthro/psych scientific reserve at Meijer, field studies offer so many questions, so many possible answers, and so much material.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Meijer and the holidays

since my near collision with the Meijer Law, I've decided to take a hiatus from the superstore. I'm hoping the black and white, fuzzy, smeared, xerox'd photos of me carrying a bag of unpaid groceries has been removed from the store's wall of shoplifter shame--well, I guess technically I was an almost shoplifter...who had no intention of shoplifting. oh, whatever.

but I did want to wish you all a belated: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy?/Merry? Kwanzaa, and a very Happy New Year. woo-hoo 2009!

the vacation is nearly over and I for one am looking forward to the normal long lines at Meijer, the normal 8 out of 32 lanes open and the normal union's disregard for the customer. ahhhh, how I've pined for the normal superstore during this jam-packed, frenzied holiday season.

I was just thinking, it's only 42 days 'til Valentines day, do you think Meijer has yanked Season's Greetings/Happy New Year and has "decked their halls" with pink and red hearts yet?

I'll keep you posted.

oh, Happy Valentine's Day...in advance.