Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chronicles of the New Giant: Produce and Bags

So, I have visited Rolling Giant in Springfield about 3 times in the past week.

They rearranged the whole store; I guess they wanted to wait till the proverbial smoke cleared from the logo rollout. When I went two days ago, all the signs were down. So no one had any idea at all where anything was. The store wasn't too busy, so it was easy enough to just wander down the aisles. Speaking of the aisles, they are shorter, both in height and length. Although they are tighter at the front of the store. None of this makes sense to me. It seems like there is less product because of this, and horrible jams are being caused up at the checkout lines when it is 'rush hour.' But they are still working on it, so let's see what happens.

The produce section has also been totally rearranged, with new fixtures and new lighting. Most of the produce is in baskets. The floor is half done; they are putting in wood-colored linoleum. It does soften the appearance of the store; less harsh. There are new lights, too. It makes for a better experience, but they don't look like fluorescents, so I think that all this new brightness is coming at an energy cost. Of course, if Giant is planning to jump on the solar bandwagon and put panels on their roof, they'd help to offset that. (I have no idea if they are planning to do this; I just know that companies are out there, like Recurrent Energy, that broker deals to do such things with large retailers)

Most important ... the produce looked good, which is a change. I sat there and thought for a good 5 minutes about whether or not the produce was actually better or just looked better due to the lights/fixtures, and I decided it WAS better. There were fewer rotten spots on the onions, the peaches weren't hard as frozen bricks, and they had some produce they rarely carry (like red cabbage). Some things seem odd to me, like limes being at the totally opposite end from lemons, but in general the change seems good.

I talked to my favorite cashier, whom I call "Mr. Smiley," and not surprisingly he loves the new uniforms. I talked to two others, and they weren't as enthusiastic.

I also want to mention that every time I've gone to Giant since the change, I haven't gotten any of the push-back or bad-attitude I used to get at bringing my own bags. So clearly, there was some training on the re-use of bags being a priority for them.

So, things are looking pretty good at that Giant. I haven't been to the other Springfield Giant (International Giant, as I call it) for over a week and I haven't been to the Alexandria Giant at all since the change. I'll need to do that soon, and report.

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