Award Winning Blog

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Curious Blend of Millennial Indignation and Glitchy Bar Code Pricing

            A grocery store cashier called me a liar and shot me the bird yesterday as I insisted a 2 for 1 promotion applied to my pretzel purchase.  Wow! I didn’t think Millennials knew about obscene gestures, nor did I think a representative of this “snowflake” generation could muster the indignation about something having nothing to do with her.

            What a bizarre story I have to tell that combines defective bar code pricing with a Millennial’s reminder that I have no reason to live, much less demand application of a promotional price.  The Weis grocery chain currently offers buy one get one free for their store-branded pretzels.  However, at the same time as the promotion, the company has changed the trade dress, reduced the portion size and changed the bar code for the product.  At purchase, the scanned bar code did not trigger the savings, despite on the shelf price tags touting the 2 for 1 offer.

            As this pricing glitch had sucked 20 minutes out of my day on the previous day, I expedited the display of my lawyer tone which offspring and student alike consider “yelling.”  For the record, I cannot yell, having had vocal cord surgery that substantially reduces the volume I can generate.

          The 60-something cashier handling my order gladly offered to check the price, but her granddaughter cashier in the next line reported the price without a doubt.  This Millennial refused to accept my report of the discount and quickly escalated the conflict.  How could an old person like myself possibly know the price of an item, or maybe she tagged me as a petit scam artist?

            Do Millennial service workers reverse the traditional business premise that the customer is always right?  For my part, I accept that customers are not always right, but surely they cannot always be wrong.

            I had a pleasant, but inconclusive chat with the store manager and suggested that customers do not deserve vilification as liars when challenging a price.  His perception of the situation was influenced by another, more regular customer, who attested to the wonderfulness of the cashier who shot me the bird.

            My university has forced me to reframe the student-teacher relationship into one with high touch customer service in light of Millennial expectations and the cost of post-secondary instruction.  I suspect that lesson has not reached many Millennials when the shoe is on the other foot.

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