Grocery store questions create opposing responses

Last week I overheard my parents arguing about something unusual. Apparently at grocery stores the employees are now trained to ask: how is your day going?

Photo on 4-15-14 at 8.15 PM
Many grocery stores have begun retraining their staff to ask more personal questions. The hope is that these questions will spark genuine dialogue. However, some say they dread the question. Photo Courtesy of Lila Englander.

When I heard this, I naturally agreed with my mom. I rarely want people to talk to me at stores, let alone talk about something personal and unrelated to their expertise.

According to one manager at Whole Foods, the response is about half and half. Some people can’t stand the new question, while others love it.

At first my parents decided that this makes sense because some people are simply more extroverted and some more introverted. But I disagree; I believe the debate comes down to one’s purpose when entering a grocery store.

Some, like my mom, go grocery shopping for just that, to shop, to purchase food and leave. It’s one chore out of many.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who agree with my father. Like him, they visit the grocery store for an experience. He will often bring his laptop to Whole Foods and work there for hours, maybe coming home with only one or two specialty foods.

Regardless of which side of the debate you stand on, this change in customer service style will affect everyone, and could spread to many more industries. It will be intriguing to watch this phenomenon and its aftermath unfold.