Customer Loyalty

This morning, Elizabeth and I went to a mom’s club event, a backstage tour of the local grocery store. It started with me realizing a half an hour before we were supposed to be there that it takes time to load the car and get places, so I got Elizabeth dressed in a huge rush and put her in the car.  While I was doing last minute stuff, she was packing up pretty much all of her toys into her backpack.  She carried the ones that didn’t fit in her backpack in her arms.  Apparently she thought we were going somewhere for a long time and that when we got there, there wouldn’t be anything to do. We arrived and found “our friends!” (quote from Elizabeth) in the front of the store.  They got us all dressed up in hair nets and we got started. The tour started backstage in the bakery department where they demonstrated how to decorate a cake.  Elizabeth was delighted.  “Is she doing green now?!?  Is she doing pink?  Is brown going to come next?”

Then we went back into the main part of the store and they demonstrated how they make sandwiches in the deli.  Elizabeth spent this portion of the tour marching her doll up and down the condiment section.

Then they showed us the produce department.  I couldn’t hear any of that because I was way at the back.  Elizabeth spent this portion of the tour marching her doll up and down the juice display.  (The tour was more geared towards the elementary school crowd, not your average two year old.)  They took us into the fruit section and gave everyone a sample of watermelon.  Elizabeth ate one bite, only because the slightly older girl that she admires took a bite at the same time.  Elizabeth spit her second bite out on the floor.  (Yes, I picked it up.)  Elizabeth has always been very suspicious of watermelon, I don’t think she likes the texture.

Then we were taken back behind the scenes to the loading dock.  I am pretty sure this is where most of the kids experienced their favorite part of the tour.  The manager opened the loading dock door.  This is apparently the most fascinating thing that a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers have ever seen.  Then we went outside to look at the loading dock.  Also amazing out there, they showed us how the loading ramp goes up and down.  Then, back inside, they demonstrated the use of the cardboard crusher machine.

We were shown the meat department, where the meat manager showed us exactly where on the cow each cut of meat comes from.  (I thought this might be a bit too much detail for a batch of people who haven’t yet realized that meat used to be alive.)

They took us into the dairy refrigerator, during which Elizabeth wrapped her doll up in her arms to keep her warm.  (But really would have preferred to keep one of her idol’s dolls warm instead- a three year old is pretty awesome if you are two and this three year old brought a baby doll too.  Amazing.  They switched baby dolls for a while on the tour and both of them found this to be pretty spectacular.)

After the tour was over, at the front of the store, they had goodie bags packed up for each child.  They had a coloring book, crayons, a magnet, a bag of chips, an apple, an orange, a string cheese, and a juice in each one.  They also had a huge bag full of snacks for our next playgroup.

After the tour was over, I did our grocery shopping there, along with about a third of the other moms.  (Hey, why waste a trip to the store?  The only downfall is that this is not my usual grocery store and it is not my usual grocery store because it is the second most expensive regular grocery chain in the country.  I shop there when I need to pick up a few things because there is one seriously close to my house, but when I need a whole week’s worth of groceries, I go somewhere cheaper.)

While I was shopping, Elizabeth ate lunch from the goodie bag- everything but the orange.  It was the most peaceful grocery shopping trip we’ve had in a while because she was so occupied with food and sat in the cart the whole time without complaint. After we got all the groceries, I stopped at the bakery and Elizabeth got her free cookie.  And then after we checked out, the bagger (and the guy who loads your groceries in the car, if you let him) got Elizabeth a free balloon.  So, with all the fantastic stuff she got, I think this grocery store might have gotten Elizabeth as a customer for life.  They also have shopping carts shaped like green cars.