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Jimmy Hoffa Isn't As Important As Deli Potato Salad


everything in it's right place

Conspiracy theories are all around us these days: The price of gas, the location Jimmy Hoffa is buried, is Britney Spears a good mother.

Sure, all of these are interesting things to think about, and get mad as hell about, but why not look at something less important, or something that might not really seem like a big deal: Deli workers giving you too much of what you ask for.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh yes. You know the deal. You go up to the deli counter at the grocery store and order something such as a pound of potato salad. By coincidence, that's just what I did last night at the Bend Fred Meyer deli. The worker there did not appear to be having much fun as he cleaned the meat and cheese-slicing machine. Or maybe that was his favorite job and he just wasn't looking forward to soiling the shiny stainless steel.

Lucky for him, I asked for a pound of potato salad. Now, of course this isn't rocket science so if it's not exactly a pound (which it never is) you move on in life without a second thought. Usually the workers will ask, 'it's a little more, is that okay?' and I'm sure most people always says 'it's just fine'. Now, on this occasion the deli worker just plopped the potato salad into the container until it was full. I guessed that it had to be the one pound container and that most of the deli foods weighed about the same.

As the container was being filled, the worker appeared to be in dreamland, probably wondering if Jimmy Hoffa had been found yet, or something like that. No b.s. conversations or anything like that. He was like a robot, maybe a depressed robot, but one nevertheless. As the potato salad was placed on the scale I could see the weight register 1.13 pounds. Not exactly close, but not a big deal either, except he said nothing and handed it over. What?! I didn't even get the standard, 'it's a little over' speech.

Now, I could have said something, but it was only twelve cents more and it was something I like eating, so more is better, right? Well, this is where the conspiracy theory comes into play. Think about this. If every customer who orders something at the deli, is given a little more than they asked for, what's really going on? I'm going to simply this on a potato salad only level.

On my order I was given, .12 extra pounds of potato salad. If that happened to 50 people during the day that would be six extra pounds of potato salad. Over the course of a month, that would be 180 pounds and over the course of a year 2,160 extra pounds of potato salad sold.

Now, that's not going to send the deli manager on a free trip to Fiji, but it's not peanuts either. On my example I used the 99-cent a pound potato salad. What about stuff that costs 5.99 a pound? Rather than a few thousand dollars or extra sales it's more like ten thousand dollars worth of extra sales. Multiply this by the number of stores in the country and you can see it clear as daylight, they're robbing us blind!

So, what can you do about this? Should you just sit back and let the grocery deli's of the world rob us blind? Hell no. You could either stand up straight and proudly proclaim: ONE POUND! NO MORE, NO LESS!If that doesn't fit your style, then really mess with them and ask for less than you want. If you want one-pound, ask for 3/4 of a pound, or maybe get really mean and ask for 0.9 pounds of what you want. Remember, just because they have the big plastic spoon, it doesn't mean you don't have control.

Posted by monkeyinabox ::: |


Dave Goodman said:

You didn't get ripped off. You agreed to accept more potato salad, and you got what you paid for. You've made the world worse for everyone else by not standing up and demanding JUST ONE POUND!

Okay, kidding. I'm just saying, there's no ripoff. Everything was aboveboard and transparent.

Look at it another way. You're buy potato salad, not hydrogen bombs. (right?) A little more or less doesn't make a big difference in the scheme of things. Potato salad doesn't come in discrete bits, like M&Ms or apples. It's linear. You scoop it out, and sometimes you get a little less, and sometimes you get a little more.

Suppose he scooped and it came to just under a pound. You'd feel short-changed. You asked for a pound and got less. I'm sure customers complain a lot when they ask for a pound and get less. So he's got a choice: give you exactly a pound, or give you a little more.

But giving you exactly a pound is hard. He'd have to add little, then take a little away, iteratively, until it came to exactly one pound. In the meantime, you're standing there waiting for potato salad, and his other tasks are going undone. He's less productive. So the store will have to raise prices to counteract his being underproductive. Or cut his pay. It's a conspiracy, I'm telling you!

What you need to do is invent a state-of-the-art high precision potato salad delivery system that lets you enter in the amount you want and it extrudes precisely that much into the container.

Of course, the machine will be expensive, so the store will raise prices to cover the machine's cost, and they'll fire the deli guy because the machine is doing all the work.

Ain't life grand? :)


Maybe what you should do is ask for TWO one-pound containers of potato salad. Then go and leave one behind some cereal boxes where it will go bad and have to be discarded. That way, you sort of get compensated for being ripped off by causing the grocery store to lose money. And if the grocery store jacks up the price of potato salad to make up for the loss, then you go to three containers. Eventually potato salad will be $100/lb and you'll be ordering 30 containers at a time, but you'll still win because who is going to buy deli potato salad for $100/lb, and they'll get put out of business. Then you can move on to Albertson's.

rae said:

you try working at a deli for 5.75 and hour! it bites. i'd write an entire book on what it's like, but i have more important things to making sure i have a better job for next summer.

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