So, how do you fix your chibbif? And which is better: butter or margin?

These are questions that I have pondered since leaving work today. Yes, I have returned to my former place of employment on a very part-time basis.
I relinquished my position as grocery manager to a new sucker, and have gladly taken up the glorified mantle of in-stock associate, so that I can bring home my 50¢ every two weeks… my 16-hour per week schedule allows me to play “stay at home mom” and forgo daycare.
I enjoy spending a few hours stocking shelves these days, knowing the weight of the “world” (or at least, the skid of tuna fish) isn’t resting solely on my shoulders anymore… I can now sit back and observe the store’s operations with a detached curiosity, and of course, continue to find new fodder for my warped amusement. 🙂

Such was the case today, with the chibbifs and margins. The answer to those questions can be found at the bottom of this blog. 😉

Now, I will be one of the first people to acknowledge there are some totally clueless associates working retail these days… I’ve worked with a few myself, and I sincerely do feel your pain. However, speaking as one who doesn’t employ a local translator or carry a pocket guide to “foreign” languages in my back pocket… the next time you receive a vacant stare or confused response from an employee trying to help you – take my advice:

Listen to yourself. Evaluate how clearly you are pronouncing your words.
Be specific. Just saying “Where the beans at??” (in your best redneck interpretation) doesn’t cut it these days, when most grocery stores sell a variety of “beans” in different areas: canned beans, dried beans, fresh beans, even candy beans.

For example:

A few months ago, I was approached by a woman who (I could have sworn) asked me,
“What aisle are the chili beans in?”

Although I’m not a chili expert, I do know that a variety of beans can be used to make chili. Kidney beans seem to be the most popular with our customers, with Hanover being the best seller of the canned beans; Hormel is a favorite in the ready-made “chili with beans” group, and still others – the “purists” – purchase dried beans to make chili from scratch.

So, in my effort to be helpful by narrowing the field, I asked:
“would you like canned beans, or dried beans in a bag?”
To which she replied, “in a bag.”
Ah, a purist, I thought – leading her to the Aisle marked “Pasta and Rice” in large signage.

At this point, I should have taken her directly to the beans and placed the bag in her hands, but I guess my customer service skills don’t extend that far, or else the aisle was crowded… I do remember giving her explicit directions:
“Halfway down the aisle, on the left… the dried beans are beside the boxes of Uncle Ben’s white rice.” She nodded with understanding, and made her way through the crowd.
I returned to my aisle, and resumed my boring job, assuming the interaction was over…. however, shortly thereafter (30 seconds? 2 minutes? I couldn’t tell you now…) the woman returns shaking her head.
“I wanted candied chili beans.”


Candied chili beans?

What the he–

OH! Okay. *without my pocket translator, I’m clueless*

She wanted JELLY BEANS! … Candy Jelly Beans.

So, of course, as I take her by the hand to the Candy Aisle, I’m kicking my own butt… until it occurs to me,
“Why am I blaming myself for the miscommunication?”
After all, I did ask – “Do you want canned beans or dried beans?”
56% of customers would have stopped me and replied,
“No, you misunderstood me.”
Secondly, I led her to the Pasta aisle, and guided her to a location beside the rice. 43% of customers would have stopped me at THIS point to say,
“No, you misunderstood me.”
Another .9% would’ve stalked off grumbling about my stupidity, and questioning their own intelligence for assuming I would “know anything”.
And that leaves the final .1% of customers like this lady of mine – who actually believe that jelly beans might come in cans, and may possibly be found displayed with pasta and rice.

Answers: I personally don’t “fix chibbif” (cook chipped beef); I prefer my beef “fixed” as huge slabs of steak. And although popular consensus believes that “margin” (margarine) is healthier than butter, doctors recommend using olive or canola oil instead. Personally, give me butter! Arteries be damned.:P