As part of my job description, it is up to me to keep the office well-stocked. We provide quite a bit of food for the employees, more than most companies. This is partly because of the nature of the deadline-driven business (sometimes there is a rush project due), and partly because the boss thinks that happy employees are good employees. She is probably right. But I am always struck by the insane difference in the way I shop for my family, and the way I shop for work. With my family groceries, I have limits, I buy store brand, I try alternatives even if they don’t always work out (like Equate’s “Vaseline intensive care” lotion is not the same as the real stuff, which happens to be my favorite). And I think most importantly, I am not afraid to put stuff back. But when I shop for work, it’s almost like all bets are off. I have been chastised for not buying the brand name of things. I buy a LOT of candy. I try to substitute where I think it won’t be noticed, but when I screw up and get something bad, I hear about it. Boy, do I hear about it. From everyone. And their mother. And some things do make more sense in an office situation. For example, I buy the nice, thick, “select-a-size” paper towels for work, because most of the time, it only takes a little paper towel to do the trick. I think we save resources this way. These towels happen to be more expensive. At home, we buy whatever is cheapest. And rip them in half if we need to. I almost never buy processed foods for my house. The most we do is $5 of chips every two weeks. And I would get rid of that expense if I could. But at work, the foods we buy are based on time. Cup-o-noodles and easy mac. Anything to get the worker-bees back to work sooner. A lot of the foods are also snack-related. Again, not something we buy a lot of at home. I am also probably a little more liberal buying for work than I am buying for my home. At home, I have to weigh stocking up vs overall price. At work, I have to make sure that 25 people don’t burn through all the toilet paper before I get back to the store (there has only been one toilet paper related emergency so far).
I have also learned and observed some interesting people behaviors. If it is out, it will be consumed. Be this crackers or plastic cups, if there seems to be a finite supply, it will disappear. Since I started putting the stash of cups in the cupboard, the stack on the water cooler disappears much slower. I guess I am guilty of this myself sometimes, but usually when it is the last cookie, because Alann is a cookie hound! I eat it, but not because I want it right then, just because I wanted one out of the whole package.
On a related note, I hate Wal-Mart. I shop there for the usually decent prices on certain items, but I hate the experience as a whole. I had to return a bottle of lotion because the lid was broken. It was a pump, and when you pumped it, lotion squirted out everywhere. I went to a different wal-mart than I bought it at, and somewhere between the car and the return desk, lost my receipt. I think it must have blown out of my purse. It was rather windy. So first off, the greeter totally ignores me for about 2 minutes, even though I said hello and that I needed to return something. Then I go to get the replacement lotion. I just want an exchange. The only lotions of the same size and type have a “freebie” attached. Sweet I think. Free stuff. I like free stuff. I go to the return line. I stand in line. For 10 minutes. (Had I just returned it, I would have been helped almost immediately.) At this point of standing in line, I realize that my receipt is missing. I get helped by a VERY unfriendly man. He asks for my receipt, I tell him what happened. He is mean to me. Then he asks if I have the little freebie package. I tell him no, I didn’t buy one with it. He pulls the freebie off. I said “look sir, I am not trying to steal it, I bought it at a different wal-mart and it didn’t come with it.” He looks at me as if I am not only trying to steal his two-ounce bottle of lotion, but now I am lying about it too. If I had known it would be such an issue, I would have removed the freebie and stuck it in my purse. Then I ask for a receipt to prove the exchange because I need to shop a little too and don’t want to be accused of stealing the darn thing. He says that he can’t give me a receipt because I didn’t have one to start with. Um, what?? By the time I was done with him, I honestly wanted to cry. He made me feel about 2 feet tall. I am sure that they deal with a lot of people who are trying to steal things or get away with more than they should. I am not one of them. It is a bad customer service policy to treat every customer as a thief. So I shopped, and then stood in line. For 20 minutes.
Sigh. I hate wal-mart. Next time, I am going to super-target.