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Eudora Tonks 
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Recent Comments

Re: “Kroger plans in Little Rock

Here's the thing about all those extra folks converging on the serene Heights store, Hugh and Conform: it's happening out at the Markham store, too. I talk to lots of folks who live in Hillcrest and who have chosen to go to one or the other store, or back and forth between them.

And in my experience (which may not be the same as others's), the Markham store handles the influx much more effectively and graciously. Admittedly, it's bigger and the aisles are larger.

But the management seems better, too. And the tone of any business's management will affect the tone of all of its staff.

I do have one more concrete example to illustrate my point, Hugh. I shopped at Markham earlier this week. When I went into the store, a manager happened to be standing in the doorway.

I've only shopped there since the Hillcrest store closed. But I've gotten to know at least her first name and we exchange pleasantries when we see each other. I brought a concern to her once and she handled it right away.

She greeted me with a smile and asked how I was doing (I'm old and I'm slow, but I keep chugging). That was a nice beginning to the grocery rounds.

When I left the store, one of the employees happened to be in the parking lot as I unloaded my cart. He came up, asked if he could help, and then asked if he could take the cart away.

Neither of those things ever happened to me when I shopped at the Heights store in the past. And I can't imagine them happening, to be honest. Some people handle an influx of newcomers more graciously than others.

Posted by Eudora Tonks on 08/25/2010 at 4:57 PM

Re: “Kroger plans in Little Rock

@Hugh, I'm not basing my comparison between these two stores on any specific "encounter." I'm basing them on overall perceptions of how they're run and how much attention they seem to pay to customer service. Because I've shopped between them after my local Kroger shut down for repairs--and finally chose the Markham store--I have a strong overall impression that the Markham store is far better run and cares a lot more about customer service.

And yes, that those who shop at the Markham store just seem flat more welcoming than the folks at the Higher and Better Folks' Kroger. What I can say I have encountered on a routine basis when I mingle with the Higher and Better Folks is plain rudeness--shoving carts down the aisle in direct opposition to the flow of traffic and then glaring if you are in their way; cutting you off with their carts as if you aren't there; yammering loudly on cell phones as if no one else is in the store; refusing even to look at you or exchange a smile or greeting when you excuse yourself for passing in front of them as they look for something on the shelves.

I don't find many of the folks at the Markham store that way. And so I do my business there because the experience of shopping there is far more pleasant. And in my view, that has a lot to do with the management of that store, too--always on the lookout for snags at the checkout lines, quick to open new checkout lines if they're needed, available to be asked questions and willing to find the answers you need.

There's definitely a difference. And I think it has a lot to do with the management of both places--but also the clientele and the impression the Higher and Better Folks seem to give many of us who climb up the hill to shop there now that our store is shut down that we're not wanted.

Posted by Eudora Tonks on 08/25/2010 at 3:24 PM

Re: “Kroger plans in Little Rock

@Snap, I did suspect you were being tongue in cheek. Which is why I added my happy-face symbol to my first comment in reply to you.

@Mud, "I've got news...........they are just grocery stores...with microscopic differences."

Uh, no, they're not. They're not just grocery stores with microscopic differences. They're places of business with customers. And those of us who fork over our hard-earned dollars at a place of business have a right to expect good service.

As I've said, one of these two stores strikes me as very well managed and welcoming. The other doesn't. They have totally different demographics, as well. And that makes a difference in their approach to customers.

If you're satisfied with shoddy customer service, that's your business. I'm not, and I let a business know when I appreciate it or don't by voting with my dollars.

Posted by Eudora Tonks on 08/25/2010 at 2:34 PM

Re: “Kroger plans in Little Rock

@adman0468, a very good point, about Kroger's neglect of the stores in less affluent neighborhoods in LR.

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Posted by Eudora Tonks on 08/25/2010 at 12:08 PM

Re: “Kroger plans in Little Rock

@Citizen1: I don't discount your experiences at the Markham Kroger and its checkout lines.

But mine have been just the opposite. I find that invariably when I go there, managers are stationed at the end of the shopping aisles facing the cash registers, to monitor traffic. When they see that lines are backing up, they open new ones.

I've actually had managers at the Markham store--twice--come and tell me to move to a new line they've just opened to relieve the crush of people checking out. And though some of the checkout staff at the store are as slow as molasses in January, others are among the fastest I've ever seen.

And nice to boot--smiling, helpful. I don't blame the folks working at the Elevated Kroger Up the Hill for being surly, though, when they deal with such ungracious shoppers on a daily basis. And when their management appears not to give a hang.

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Posted by Eudora Tonks on 08/25/2010 at 11:31 AM

Re: “Kroger plans in Little Rock

Snapback, funny how y'all don't want us outsiders coming to your Heights Kroger. But when I get to the cash register there, my money is just as green and spends as freely as anyone else's. :-)

After trying the Elevated Kroger and the one down on Markham, I've decided to take my green dollars to the latter. Much nicer folks there, and outstanding management.

The Heights Kroger: meh. Wonder if the Kroger company has any plans to address the management and customer service issues in their local stores, with all these expansions? If so, I suggest they use the Markham store as a flagship store to teach some of the others how management is done and what good customer service is all about.

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Posted by Eudora Tonks on 08/25/2010 at 10:17 AM

Re: “Unique omelet

We must have seen each other at Hector's, then, UnHappiest.

I've gone there over 20 years myself. Love the place to death, and its owners, too.

And precisely because I've gone there over 20 years, I can tell you flat out that something's changed with the hygiene. Not the same place it used to be.

Sorry, but I don't buy the "kitchens smell that way close up" argument.

Mine at home surely doesn't smell that way, and no one is closer to it than I am. And I don't ever give myself a case of the trots with the food I cook. The one I and a whole table of breakfast diners got on our last visit to Leo's gave me the proof I needed that that "normal kitchen smell, close up" is about poor kitchen hygiene.

It's because I value this place that I hope they'll listen to some feedback from a longtime, supportive customer and clean up.

Posted by Eudora Tonks on 07/09/2010 at 7:48 AM

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