The Widder Got’s Her Dander Up! – Ralph’s New “Check-Out” Rack

by on May 21, 2013 · 15 comments

in Culture, Economy, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

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Ralph’s new check-out rack. What if you wanted paper? (All photos by Judi Curry)

As the “mother” of this household – put the emphasis wherever you think it should be – I do all of the grocery shopping. My feet are not anchored in cement, and I shop at a variety of stores – CostCo, Barons, Stumps, Vons, Ralph’s, etc. I like various things at different stores. (I used to shop at Sprouts until they fired an employee I liked.)

My main shopping store is Ralph’s, for a variety of reasons: I use their pharmacy and all my prescriptions are on file there; the items that I purchase are lower there than at other stores; they have the variety of items that I frequently look for. I seldom buy my produce there because I think they are over-priced, under-ripe, and outdated. I shop there at least once a week; sometimes twice.

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It’s messy. And no paper bags in sight.

Today, when I did a relatively large shopping at Ralph’s, I noticed that the check-out area had a new configuration.An annoying one.

Gone are the long assembly-like belts that take the food to the end of the counter, to be bagged and placed in the cart.

No, they have removed the belts and have substituted a nightmarish revolving rack with plastic bags hanging from hooks that allows the checker to put frozen food in one bad; flip it a little and put other like items in another sack, etc.

And then the checker has to walk around to put the item in my cart. It is so easy for him or her to miss something – as he – in my case – did for the lady in front of me, and he went tearing out of the store to give her the bag he missed.

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No room for check-writing in this new age.

Also, now, there is virtually no place to count out your money, or write a check. It is claustrophobic, besides being unfriendly.

The woman behind me said “it’s just like WalMart and I don’t like it.”

I don’t shop at WalMart. Never will until they begin to treat their employees better, but if this new invention is a copy of one at WalMart, and I may never shop at Ralph’s again either.

Further, I absolutely refuse to use the self-check lanes. They are paying their help to check me out; bag my groceries; and, if necessary help me out to my car.

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Customer and checker are surrounded and besieged by an overwhelming array of stimuli.

When they lower the price of those using the self-check lanes, THEN, and only then, will I use them.

They are banking on my using their self-check lanes, saving money by not employing others, and charging me the same thing for me doing their work.

No thank you.

How many employees have they let go since they have put in the self-check lanes?

I will continue my boycott until the stores are fair to their employees. And if it means going to a different store, I have many to choose from.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Hartley May 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

I agree with you on this issue Judi. I don’t like Walmart at all and for a variety or reasons. They do have this contraption too. It takes up a lot of space and I don’t see it as anything but a monstrosity.



barbara May 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Haven’t done that at my Ralph’s yet. I use my own bags always. Checkers often hate it since they are not uniform. I often bag my own stuff anyway. Your comments regarding the self checkout are spot on, Judi.


judi curry May 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

There isn’t any room for your bags at this new check-out station. You can put them on the hooks, but the products will be on the other side of where you are standing. Unless you stand next to the checker, loading your own bags will be a problem!


OB Mercy May 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm

My experience with these stupid carousels is that you can forget bags, just like you witnessed! Which happened to me the first time I used one somewhere. They forgot to give it to me (I had multiple bags) and I didn’t know it was there!

I like self check out when I only have a couple of items.

Checks? Didn’t know anyone really wrote checks anymore at a market, or almost anywhere. I only use debit cards. But I do have to write a check to my lamelord. But it is ridiculous that you can’t rest your purse anywhere to even take out your debit cards. Sheesh.


judi curry May 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I tired to contact the Public Relations Department at Ralph’s only to be told that their computer was down and wouldn’t be up until tomorrow. I will send them a copy of the OBR – it will be interesting to see if I get a response.


unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG May 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Shadow labor (Ivan Illich). You may do the corporation’s work for the same cost.


Susie May 22, 2013 at 1:03 am

I also am Boycotting Sprouts. Their lame excuse
for firing him is so lame and not true.
I do like Ralph’s better than.Vons.


Dave Rice May 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Was this at the new Sports Arena Ralph’s they just opened in the old Mervyn’s building, or at the old Vons they just re-opened as a Ralph’s on Rosecrans? Seems like it would be a big cost re-designing Sports Arena given that I don’t even think the existing equipment was a year old, plus the huge number of checkout lines they have. I haven’t even been to the other store yet.

I also use my own bags most of the time, and mine are over-sized to fit a ton more stuff into…baggers tend to hate it, as I have to finish unloading my groceries onto the first conveyor belt before I can get to the bags and they’ll sometimes start bagging without even looking at me trying to grab the cloth ones to hand them. It also seems to cause a problem when I ask for my dairy and meat to go into paper or plastic, with everything else in the reusables (leaky blood or milk residue can cause bacteria in the bags, which I only wash every few months, so I don’t want to take that chance).

On the Sprouts thing I’m with you too – I used to spend $40-80 a week in there, not a penny since the unethical firing incident. Which is really too bad, their prices and quality on fresh produce and meat were tough to beat.

Okay, enough ranting on other subjects – I think these bag carousels are stupid too, and although I split my shopping at the big union grocers between Vons and Ralph’s if I experience the same problems you’re describing I’ll probably end up taking 100% of my business to Vons…


Dave Rice May 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm

On second thought, I’m not done ranting. Baggers – fill the damn bags up! It’s not hard to put a couple heavy things in, then a couple lighter things on top – I don’t need a separate plastic bag wasted on each quart bottle of juice or tea if I’m buying a dozen of them and don’t have my cloth bags!


judi curry May 23, 2013 at 6:47 am

Good Morning, Dave. I am talking about the Ralph’s on Sports Arena. I was told that the new one is smaller, doesn’t have the same items, etc. In a way I agree with you re: the way things are bagged, but I also now have a problem I didn’t have before – trigger fingers and torn rotator cuffs – so appreciate the lighter weight bag. However, I do bring my own and mix them up. I use the plastic bags for my dogs waste.

The new Ralphs is where Vons used to be on Rosecrans. And let me spout off about the gas station across the street. It is still higher – even with their “points” than others around. Gas I buy at CostCo. I wish Ralphs and Vons would just lower their prices and forget the gas.


Dave Rice May 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

I was actually part of a focus group about grocery stores and gas rewards a few months ago – the general consensus was that the points are pretty much worthless because even if you take the max 20 cent reward at Shell (Ralphs) or Chevron (Vons), it’s still going to be more expensive than somewhere like USA Gas or Costco. The Vons gas station is actually pretty cheap, though, and you can get up to 50 cents off there – the only problem is that I rarely go to PB where the only Vons-brand station I know of is, and saving $2-3 on a fill-up isn’t an enticing enough reward to get me to go 20 minutes out of my way.

I still find it bizarre that they’d rip out all the “old” check stands to put in these new contraptions at the just-built Sports Arena store…


judi curry May 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Like you, I am seldom in PB and never use their gas station. And I will probably never use the one that is now Ralph’s either. Even with a discount the prices are higher than CostCo. As far as the check-out stands – I won’t be shopping there either if they persist in this check-out method.


OB Mercy May 23, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I’m always comparing gas prices to the station on the corner of W. Pt. Loma and Sunset Cliffs…I forget if it’s a 76 or what. All I know is, they almost always tend to be a few cents lower than pretty much everywhere else. That’s where I go all the time. The Shell station across from People’s is expensive!


judi curry May 25, 2013 at 9:27 am

Here is the answer I received from Ralph’s. Do you think they even read my letter?
Dear Ms. Curry:

Thank you for contacting The Kroger Co. We appreciate your concerns regarding your shopping experience, in this regard to your checkout experience with our Ralph’s located at 3345 Sports Arena Blvd in San Diego, CA.

We know and understand you have a choice in where you shop and are grateful that you’ve chosen to do so with us. I have forwarded your feedback with the head management team so that appropriate steps are taken to address your particular situation.

I’m very confident that your next visit will be more positive. Thank you for shopping at Ralph’s . There is nothing more important to us than making sure your shopping experience meets your expectations. If I can be of further assistance, please simply respond to this email or call 1-800-576-4377.


Consumer Affairs

Reference: 16026407

Your Comments:


Magret May 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Those revolving racks are such a pain, but I did come home one day from Walmart with a $6 box of cereal for free in one of the bags. I do most of my shopping at Ralphs, Costco and Sprouts (cereal, paper products and cleaning supplies I get at Target or Walmart because of the better prices. I left my purse one time in a shopping cart at Ralphs and drove all the way home…they kept it for me behind the Managers desk also my house keys at another time…same deal…so I have a little bit of a sweet spot for their employees.


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