by Meredith Maczka
AN OPEN LETTER TO MEIJER: THANK YOU FOR CHANGING MY LIFE
DEAR MEIJER CGO (Chief Grocery Officer):
Is that a real title? If not, it should be.
I have exactly 24 minutes before this episode of Wild Kratts is over and one or all four of my boys complains of starvation, empties all of the previously organized Lego containers on the floor in search of Han Solo’s hair, hits/bites/pushes/kicks/slaps one of his brothers, takes something that wasn’t his first, or needs help wiping his bottom.
So, if you don’t mind, I am just going to be blunt. Do you have any children?
If you answered “yes,” keep reading.
If you answered “no” keep reading.
Like how I did that? #jobsecurity
I’d like to think that you have children because otherwise, how could you have been genius enough to design, implement and execute something amazing like Meijer Curbside?
Only a parent with your kind of power could have possibly fathomed a game changer of this magnitude.
THE FREE COOKIE WAS A GOOD IDEA, TOO
Now, your “free cookie” predecessor does deserve some credit.
He or she was on the right track with the whole “free cookie” gimmick, but let’s be honest: the plan was flawed from the start.
Those delicious sugar cookies are inhaled by small children across the Midwest in less than 2 seconds leaving moms and dads fighting the if-you-don’t-get-me-another-cookie-I-am-going-to-kick-and-scream-and-throw-everything-that-is-in-the-cart-out-of-the-cart-while-simultaneously-swiping-everything-I-can-off-of-the-shelves-onto-the-floor battle, from the meat section to the bread aisle.
But really, if you’re anything like me and you take an extra-large adult sized bite out of said delicious sugar cookie prior to handing the remaining half to your cranky toddler, then that really only leaves you with approximately 1 second to find and purchase all 78 items on your grocery list.
It is Not Possible to Buy 78 Items in One Second.
Ok, ok. I got busted. Yes, there may have been a time (or ten) that I accidentally told the little old lady in a hair net behind the bakery counter that I needed five cookies, not four. You know…for that one other mysterious child of mine lost somewhere in the produce section. Don’t judge.
In order to fully express my gratitude to you for making Meijer Curbside a reality, you need a glimpse into my life circa 2014 BC (Before Curbside). Here is how it would go down.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SURVIVAL AT THIS STAGE
Our family of six would literally be surviving on an orange peel and a stick of butter before I would admit that it was time to go grocery shopping.
That is how much I hated grocery shopping.
Two days later, once my grocery shopping denial subsided and the stick of butter was gone, I would start making my grocery list. Essentially, this was a 2 hour process. From meal planning, to writing the list, to separating the list by section, to re-writing the list into two lists, to highlighting each item on the list according to my sophisticated color coding system.
After reading that, you probably have a lot of questions. Let me try answer them.
We have four boys ages 6 and under, so my husband and I relied on the divide and conquer philosophy at the grocery store. Hence, the need for two lists. My husband was responsible for doing part of the grocery shopping, hence the need for highlighting.
FACTS ABOUT MEIJER CURBSIDE
-Meijer Curbside is currently only available at the Meijer location at Knapp’s Corner (update: Cascade and Jenison are now open, as of late 2015!)
-There are plans in place to implement Meijer Curbside at other undisclosed Meijer locations
-Currently, there is no fee for the service but there will be in the future
You know what they say “There are no free lunches.” Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
-To make the Curbside Service experience more efficient, updates to the Meijer website will be rolled out on May 12th
You know what they say “All things get better with time.”
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
When we got to the store, we would split into teams. My husband would take two of our sons and tackle the produce, the deli and the meat section. Meanwhile, I took our other two boys and was responsible for the non-perishables, the dairy items, the frozen section, the paper products, and our personal hygiene needs.
Sounds pretty well thought out though, right? Well, not really.
Our shopping trip would almost always be delayed as soon as the sliding door of our van opened because boy no.1 and boy no.2 would both want to be on Mommy’s team, but boy no.1 and boy no.2 weren’t allowed to ride together because putting them together would inevitably lead to an all-out brawl involving dozens of raw eggs. #cleanupinaisle2
Upon hearing the news of their ultimate separation, boy no.1 and/or boy no.2 would immediately throw a temper tantrum because they realized one of them would be stuck on a losing team with Daddy and either with boy no.3 or boy no.4.
**Insert cookie bribe no.1 : “If you or your bother don’t go with Daddy and boy no.3 or boy no.4, you are not going to get a delicious sugar cookie from the little old lady in a hair net behind the bakery counter.”
Twenty minutes later once we finally decided who was on whose team, and physically made it into the store there were never two boat-sized “bench” grocery carts available. You know which ones I’m talking about, right? Those big red ones…that have a turning radius of a Mack truck, need a reverse beep and GPS?
This meant that one of us would have to walk all the way down to the other entrance (past checkout lanes 1 thru 344) in the hopes of putting a down payment on a second boat-sized grocery cart. I always appreciated the fact that this pilgrimage included a walk past a reputable bank with a bowl full of Dum-Dums. You know, should there be a need for financing, and more bribery. #obviously
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Have you done the math here? I bet you’re good at math. I mean, you don’t become a C-Suite executive without being able to crunch some numbers. Right? Well, just in case I lost you, we are now approximately 40 minutes into our grocery shopping trip and neither team has placed a single item in his/her boat-sized grocery cart.
Once everyone was strapped into their life jackets and our mandatory boater safety review with the Coast Guard (read: Meijer greeter) was complete, the race would begin. What race you say? Oh, did I fail to mention my EXTREME competitiveness? Not to be confused with extreme couponness.
Is that a word? If not, it should be.
CURRENT FEATURES of MEIJER CURBSIDE
-Emails are sent to customers when:
- An online Curbside order is received
- Whenever a change is made to your order based on availability at the store
- When your order is ready for pick up
- After your order is picked up and completed
-Since Meijer online accounts have been merged with MPerks accounts, your MPerks coupons are automatically applied to your order
-Your groceries are organized and bagged by category (example: frozen, refrigerated, room temperature)
-Your produce is bagged and labeled
I COULDN’T ACCEPT MY HUSBAND’S ONION
This whole grocery shopping thing always turned into a battle of the sexes. Just like mother nature intended. Unfortunately, my husband’s eye for the right sized onion, perfectly ripe banana and suitable ground beef proportions weren’t always up to my standards. Plus, my speed sprint through the store was often sabotaged by a desperate crotch grab or two, or someone screaming, “I have to poop!”
Nothing sends my feet into overdrive quite like a bowel movement announcement. One time on the way to the bathroom, I had to quickly maneuver the boat sized shopping cart between a maze of large ill placed produce stands full of apples, tomatoes and oranges. With barely enough room to squeeze by, several collisions sent a few of the once-neatly stacked displays of fruit and vegetables to the ground.
A couple bruised avocados weren’t going to stand in my way of winning that week’s episode of Supermarket Sweep.
(Please tell me you remember that show.)
Two hours and seven “you’ve got your hands full” comments later we make it to the checkout lane. EXHAUSTED. At that point, just the simple thought of reaching into the boat sized grocery cart and lifting every box, every can and every veggie onto the belt made me want to curl up into child’s pose and cry.
The added thought of loading the boys and the groceries into the car, unloading the boys and groceries out of the car, removing every box, every can, and every veggie out of every darn grocery bag, then putting every box, every can, and every veggie in its proper place in the kitchen instantly reminded me to check the boat sized grocery cart for the wine.
Who got the wine? Was the wine on your list? Or, my list? SOMEONE GET ME SOME WINE!*
*que child’s pose
You know what they say, “Misery loves company wine.”
By now you’re probably wondering what the point of this letter is. If I remember correctly, it had something to do with my long winded answer (see above) to “What do you like MOST about Curbside?” from your Meijer Curbside customer satisfaction survey that exceeded the maximum character limit:
Long story short, I now realize that a much simpler version of my answer should have been “It makes me a better mother.”
HOW TO GET STARTED:
Create an account at www.meijer.com
- Previously, Meijer online accounts and MPerks accounts were kept separate. If you already have both of these accounts set up, you will be prompted to merge them into one account upon login
- I’ve found that using the “search” feature to find items on my grocery list is much more effective than using the “Shop” category in the tool bar
- You will find that some items may be “unavailable” hopefully, this will be one of the improvements we can expect on May 12th
Use the Notes section
- Upon checkout, you can provide as many details as you want about the items in your grocery cart. For example: Include the items that were “unavailable,” or get specific about something already in grocery cart “Please get 4 ripe/yellow bananas and 4 not ripe/green bananas.”
- Upon checkout you will be prompted to select your Meijer Curbside time slot