Subject: My Visit to Marlene’s Today

Hello, Kim! My name is Martin Douglas, and I visited your store earlier this afternoon. A little background about me: I’ve been working at another area supermarket— Northshore QFC— for five years, and I’m a freelance music journalist with a lot of experience in traveling and food (side note: I LOVE FOOD), so I have a lot of experience in visiting grocery stores I’ll probably never go to again. I’m not trying to say this is true about Marlene’s, because it really is a great store on a fundamental level. Perhaps customer service is one of the areas in which I think should be improved.

There were a few employees who were very, very nice. (One in particular was a young blonde, whose name tag I didn’t glance at. She was very friendly in a way that seemed far more genuine than the other people I came into contact with.) However, when I was ready to go, I waited at the checkstand while the cashier rang up a big order, and I noticed a taller gentleman— perhaps a front-end supervisor or something— just standing behind me as I waited. I don’t want to bring my own employment into this, but the way our store is set up, there is not a single person on the front end who doesn’t have a customer in front of them if we’ve got customers. This front-end-supervisor-type person was friendly but insincere, so I just shrugged it off while he stood behind me as I waited to get checked out.
I looked over, and there was a middle-aged lady (late-40’s, early-50’s) who seemed to reluctantly call me over to her line. I tried to make small talk with her about how it was my first visit, and she said something about finding things I couldn’t find anywhere else. That was fine and all, because there was a lot of cool things, but as I mentioned earlier, there was only one item I bought that I wouldn’t have been able to find at the QFC I work in. She was at least trying to make conversation. I talked about how it seemed pretty relaxed to work there, and I saw her eyes tense up, as if it would make her uncomfortable if I asked how to apply to the store. From that point, she was polite but very standoffish— like quite a few of the employees I saw in the aisles except for the friendly blonde girl— and I took my cloth tote and left.
I’m not exactly sure how you can improve this type of customer service, or if it’s even any type of concern for you. And granted, I’m sure there are a lot of organic grocery stores that would treat a young, African-American man like kind of a newcomer or an outsider. But I didn’t experience what I experienced at your store when I went to the Trader Joe’s a mile away. In fact, I had an entirely opposite experience as far as their employees are concerned. I don’t experience what I experienced at Marlene’s whenever I stop into Whole Foods for a frozen dinner, or when I blow through $200 on their impeccable selection. I don’t want you to think that I’m horrified or aghast by being treated like a fish out of water in a store I’ve never visited. Maybe I’m a little offended, but I assure you it’s just a minor annoyance. This letter is just a friendly suggestion on how to improve customer relations, and I hope it’s taken into consideration.
Martin Douglas


  1. telepathicaffair said: Wow. You are the nicest person ever.
  2. smoothbrightwhite reblogged this from oldtobegin and added:
    People are foul.
  3. nomoreundead said: YOU. YES. GOOD.
  4. the--safest--sounds said: Oh my god. YOU’RE LIKE, THE NICEST PERSON IN THE WORLD. They fucked up big time.
  5. oldtobegin reblogged this from douglasmartini and added:
    in which my bff, one of the most “organic” dudes i know, is treated like an alien at an organic supermarket because he...
  6. douglasmartini posted this