September 4, 2018 by phicks2012
I’ve never shopped much at Family Dollar Stores, mainly because until recently there haven’t really been any nearby to patronize. It wasn’t “personal”. However, based upon recent experience I’ve decided that I might be simply psychic and, on some obscure level, knew not to waste my time.
I was down in Macon, Georgia in June and needed a cooler. It didn’t have to be an expensive cooler guaranteed to keep ice for a week. A cheap cooler was really all I needed. Hell, a Styrofoam cooler would probably have done the trick, so I stopped at a nearby Family Dollar Store to pick up whatever the hell I could find to put ice in.
It was a hot, muggy day – yeah, June in Macon — and I probably should have gotten a hint when I drove into the parking lot and saw the doors standing wide open that it just might not be any cooler in the store itself. In any case, when I went inside it didn’t even pretend to be air conditioned — or maybe they just didn’t think it was important to turn it on. It was miserably hot, so I hurried and grabbed a cooler and headed for the register where another customer was already (more or less) checking out.
I say “more or less” because she and the sole clerk were playing “Old Home Week” and catching up on the various twists and turns their lives had taken for the past few millinia, and were in absolutely no hurry to end the conversation. I stood there sweating for over ten minutes while baby pictures were shown and families were chatted about before the customer finally moved on and the totally disinterested cashier got around to letting me pay for my single item and leave.
I though this was probably an anomoly though, at least until, in July, I dropped into the brand new Family Dollar near my house to pick up another single item — again on a hot day. Again the doors were standing wide open, and again if they had any air conditioning running it wasn’t evident. The store was not at all comfortable, but at least there were two clearks and only two customers when I approached the registers, so I figured I was okay. Silly me!
Unfortunately, the two customers (a mother and daughter) were apparently stocking up for Armegeddon, because the daughter had two buggies full of pictures, and lampshades, and other household decor, and the mother eveidentally was planning never in her lifetime to run out of makeup. I got in line behind the mother because she seemed at first glance to have less in her single cart, only to discover that while the daughter had over $200 worth of larger stuff the mother had over $300 worth of small items — few of them costing over $2.
Then of course, literally all of them simply had to be commented upon by the customer herself and by a lethargic cashier who obviously could have cared less that the line of customers was getting longer, and longer, and L-O-N-G-E-R — “Hmmmmm, you really got a deal on this. I didn’t know we had these on sale”. In point of fact, neither clerk was in any rush, and me and the other people standing waiting (in one line or the other) had the joyful experience of waiting, and waiting, and waiting in that hot store for (in my case) nearly 15 minutes before getting a chance to check out. Hey! The other people waited even LONGER!
I have no idea why the doors were left open in both stores on hot summer days, or why the cashiers in both locations thought it was acceptable to make their other customers wait while they worked at a snail’s pace, but I know of one other Family Dollar location I’m vaguely tempted to try — and if I have the same sort of experience at that one I’ll be following the “Three Strikes is Out” rule and striking Family Dollar completely off my list.
Of course, if I see the doors wide open when I pull up I’ll probably just skip the other steps. I mean, if it’s company policy to let the stores get hot and uncomfortable to save money by not running the a/c, I probably shouldn’t really blame the employees for lacking the energy to work any faster — or for giving less than half-a-shit about customer service — but then again I don’t work for Family Dollar and don’t have to patronize hot, uncomfortable stores staffed by indifferent, shiftless clerks either.
So next time I need a cooler, or a fan — or anything else really — I may give that other Family Dollar a try, or I might just be driving right by Family Dollar on my way to Dollar General or Walmart where at least I won’t melt into a puddle waiting on lazy-ass cashiers to get around to ringing up my purchases and thus allowing me to trickle out the door.