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Apr 4, 2011 08:10 PM

Odd experience at Warrington Wegman's

So my friend and I love to eat dinner once a week at the food court at the Warrington Wegman's. Been doing this for about two years now. We both got kind of addicted to coconut water so we always grab one of those, a couple of hot entrees and eat upstairs. Not this time.
We got an older woman named Cath who informed us that she couldn't ring up groceries at the food court register. She was quite sure this was impossible. At this point I should have just walked down to the line of registers about half a store length away and paid for our stuff there. But something about her pissy attitude made me want to stick up for myself. I told her that we always got the coconut water and it was always rung up at this register, no problem. Every time. Cath said no she was quite sure that didn't happen. I made some joke about imagining the last two years of my life, did without the coconut water and paid for the two entrees.
My friend and I were both tired and hungry and just wanted a relaxing meal. We managed to scrounge up some tap water. While we were eating I thought about the nice Indian cashier who one time told us the coconut water was healing, and all the customers we had seen go through the line buying diapers or big bags of pretzels with their beer.
So then I made my second mistake, I asked to speak to a manager. We stood around for five minutes until Mary showed up. Then we got a long lecture about the evil torturous ways of the Penna Liquor Control Board and were told that Cath was quite correct. She was formal and cool.
So all I did besides aggravating myself and wasting my time was possibly getting all the nice sweet cashiers in trouble for ringing up coconut water and such.
Note to self: always suck it up, never complain. It was just the way she kept insisting that they never rang up anything like coconut water in that area. It was like calling me a liar.

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  1. Carbs,

    Fret not. Its not you.

    I've never been to the Warrington Wegmans but their flagship store here in Collegeville with its high end pub (fresh oysters and chilled Grey Goose available while watching the World Cup on the wide screen) is adjoined by the hot food court and sumptuous beer selection as a seemingly separate universe from the rest of the store. There is a polite nylon ribbon "reminder" (i.e. barricade) to let you know that traversing the line with a six pack will have you yelling "Nicht schiessen!!!" and hoping they don't let the dogs out. In my several dozen visits to the C'ville store, the beer/bar/food court transactions have always been separate from the store and ne'er the twain shall meet.

    My take is that Cath and the crew were read the riot act after Ms. Mary Manager was throttled by upper management when PA L&I caught diapers and coconut water to going through the food/beer-only stiles. Considering the Cromwellian-era liquor laws (and hence our designation as a Commonwealth), Warrington was probably in violation and Mary was told to tighten up her ship or ship out. Her lecture to you was only a variation on a theme of what she received.

    I take Mary's stance as "we're never doing it again' more than 'it never happened." She has more egg on her face than you have any blemishes on your character. On that note, please resume former stance of "always complain, never suck up." Again, its not you.


    9 Replies
    1. re: Chefpaulo

      Well stated CP. Having lived in the freedom of SF and with the laws of most NC counties; I can say PA was in the middle then. That was then, this is now and as other states or government entities have evolved to less restrictions good olde PA is mired in the past. The time is right to privatize: revenue directly to the bottom line for the state and they can and will still tax the booze for a net repetitive gain.

      1. re: Chefpaulo

        I love my fellow hounds! >sniff< I thought I was gonna get scolded! All your kind comments mean an awful lot to me. My parents raised me to never complain unless the situation was truly dire. I saw my dad complain Once, when he was served some fish that had gone bad.
        I've been waiting a long time for the Pa liquor laws to change. Dunno what Benjamin Franklin would think of all this mess we have here. Now there was a boy who loved him some beer!

        1. re: givemecarbs

          gmc: If a PA LCB crack down is what prompted this odd product segregation at the checkout line, wouldn't you think that management might put up a sign at the checkout saysing something" "To our wonderful customers: PA LCB regulations prohibit it us from ringing up alcoholic beverages and food items in the same transaction. Doing so could result in forfeiture of our ability to sell those beverages. Please forgive the inconvenience, it is not our choice." If you do end up contacting corporate, try suggesting that.

          1. re: PattiCakes

            I totally agree Patti. What confused the heck out of me is what the store expects patrons to do when they want to purchase a non alchoholic beverage to consume in the cafe. They have a cooler of Wegmans Ice tea right by the check outs. Do they patrons to balance a try of food, and go through two different lines to purchase a drink, and another for the food only to carry it upstairs to eat? Carbs was just trying to purchase coconut water to drink with her meal. Its not as if she was trying to pay for her meal and her groceries.

            1. re: cwdonald

              PattiCakes and CW: Another example of "failure to communicate." Wegmans corporate would very likely welcome this suggestion since they are in new territory with its anachronistic liquor/beer/wine regulations and repeatedly stepping on customers' toes by not understanding this. Wegmans needs to post more consumer-friendly information (in-store and by email to their card subscribers) to address the separation of bar and store, why grandma gets carded, why the delineation of bar/beer in one area with the wine dispenser in the produce court. AND...if they have real you-know-whats, posting the email addresses of local representatives who can address the issue in Harrisburg.
              My experience has always been positive at Wegmans. I'll take any defensive posturing as "we don't know" more than "you know nothing."

              1. re: Chefpaulo

                I have no problem with Grandma being carded. I have seen that behavior in the strangest places before (try to buy a beer in O'Hara... all people are carded... ). I am perplexed at the way they deal wtih people are dining in the store. You are certainly correct complaining to Rochester may help, though I worry that Jack Benny is dead.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  Most regular drinks CAN be purchased.
                  The coconut water may have come from a different part of the store, or just someone been incorrectly tagged in the system as "grocery".

                  1. re: leepinleemur

                    Thats the silliness of it. How is a consumer supposed to distinquish between what can and cannot be purchased especially if its non alcoholic. Government bureaucracy at its worst..

                  2. re: cwdonald

                    "Jack Benny isdead": snort. guffaw.

        2. Just food for thought. Wegmans did an end run around the PA Liquor Laws in order to be able to sell beer, so I would imagine they are under the microscope by the PLCB. I think we will all agree that our liquor laws are insanely complicated and are in serious need of revision.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chefmonty

            The sad part is, this is actually progress for the PLCB.

          2. carbs, I recognize myself in your post!

            Oh boy, the PA Wegman's beer and food line! Yikes!

            At the State College store we experienced the same thing, on New Year's Eve. We had several six packs and a wedge of blue cheese. No way was the clerk going to ring up that cheese.

            1. I grew up in the north where there were always wegmans and have been to all the ones in this region. I have to say that the warrington one is my least favorite of any that I have ever been too. I had a very bad experience with a store clerk there and tried to deal with the manager but to no avail. Won't ever go back. Yes there alcohol rules are annoying, especially when they won't sell beer to my 80 year old mother without carding her. But I am glad that it is available. I would suggest you contact their corporate office. They are still a family owned business. They take a lot of pride in providing good all locations but warrington.

              3 Replies
              1. re: 18465

                Your suggestion to contact the corporate office is right on the money! I had a problem which I thought was not responded to by the local Wegman's managers. I sent an email to corporate and had a followup phone conversation with a corporate customer service manager. If I recall correctly she was THE customer service person at corporate. Things happened quickly to resolve the issue.

                1. re: Bacchus101

                  Actually, in this case, you need to complain to your State Representive in Harrisburg to do a complete overhaul of our liquor laws.

                  1. re: Bacchus101

                    I'll second the "contact corporate" advice. I had a problem at the Collegeville store and emailed corporate. I had a response in about 10 minutes and the issue was resolved within a 1/2 hour. Bacchus is correct, you will get a response, and you'll be talking with someone who has the authority to get something done.

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