In the fourth of his continuing look at supermarkets, Bods looks at the things that happen there.
Statistics published in the staff newsletter for the supermarket I work for, proclaimed that a store refurbishment can increase sales by up to 30%. Perhaps why this is the reason for all the builders right now at a certain nearby supermarket in Dukinfield...
Not to be outdone by their Ducky opponents, head office decided to spend £60,000 on some new fridges, freezers and air conditioning at my store. The result: sales of meat, dairy and frozen food increased. In a bid to increase them more, the Grocery manager (a one time butcher, and once, but no longer (THANKFULLY!) my boss) decided it was time to hold a Freezer funday, to celebrate his new equipment, and to persuade people to part with yet more of their hard earned cash while they were at it.
His vision saw the whole store getting involved. Staff dressed up, entertainers, balloons, and lots of free samples. Hey, even Warbutons turned up with some tasters.
All this happened on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd December. Bet you're dead upset that you missed it, eh?
There was a certain problem though, as to what part the bakery was to play in all this. We have a great tastings policy, you see. If we are hungry, we do some tasters. So that was out of the question.
Due to hygiene regulations, we were also unable to dress up, or have any fancy make up of any kind (oh what a shame!) My boss had the ultimate idea. She wanted to get frozen food from the freezers, and bake bits off in the bakery oven, for tasters. Things like burgers, kievs and such like. Things, basically, that she wanted to shove down her throat.
So you have an expensive bakery oven used to bake bread, and you have a boss who wants to do her hamburgers in it.
Problem one: what about the smell. Bakeries should smell of bread, not of the fat dripping off your Birds Eye piece of fat and floor scrapings.
Second problem: a typical day in the bakery consists of standing around for a couple of hours before realising that there are no French sticks on sale, so there is a mad rush to meet demand, before we all go in the back and eat cream cakes.
Which leaves a bit of a problem if you suddenly run out of French Sticks before the burgers are done.
"Oh sorry, sir. You can't have your bread as the chicken burgers have to stay in for another fifteen minutes." Hmm. Complaint time?
I can see people going to the store manager in droves, moaning about being deprived of their favourite Farmhouse loaf.
Still, you have to remember that Grocery is dead important, and (in the eyes of Grocery Managers) Bakery is the spew from the gutters. Simple when you think about it, really.
This is all, 100% completely true. Unbelievable as it sounds, this is true. It happened at Food Giant, in Hyde in January 1996 we really did have a Freezer Funday. There were balloons, clowns and people wearing strange outfits handing out Food Giant pens.
There were, however and very thankfully, no hamburgers cooked in bread ovens.
Oh and the tasters policy - well, that was often a case of "Whoops! I've dropped a doughnut on the floor. Confound it, now I don't have ten to go in this bag. Just what am I going to do with the other nine? I guess we'll have to cut them up and put them on the counter! But they might not taste right. Maybe I better try one out and see!"
Of course we got away with it partly because the fresh food manager would always - and I mean always - turn up at the exact time we were doing them, and help himself to a few.