American Supermarkets

Watched a DVD last night, Employee of the Month not great but passable.

Anyway in the film certain items are sold in a supermarket, I have to ask…

Do US s/markets really sell coffins, cars,tyres.

Do you really have separate lounges for cashiers and “box boys”

Do you have cashiers and “box boys” working as a team

And why don’t they stay open 24/7

Employee of the Month doesn’t take place in a typical supermarket, but in a “warehouse club”, which are overgrown monstrosities where you can, in one trip, buy 4 tires, a computer, a 20 lb jar of peanut butter, a case of 144 packs of Ramen noodles, a swimming pool, a gallon of milk, a TV, fresh steak for tonight’s dinner, frozen pizza, etc. I think some even sell produce now. Ubiquitous examples are Sam’s Club and CostCo.

Having caskets and cars for sale in the movie was a joke. Tires was not a joke. If I remember right, I think everything in the scanning competition was something you’d expect to see in one of those stores.

I’ve never seen a “cashier’s lounge”. Just a plot device.

I’ve never experienced a place where the cashiers and “box boys” work as a team. When I worked at a supermarket many years ago, I would try to keep certain bag boys on my register as much as I could, but we didn’t have enough bag boys for a 1-to-1 ratio.
When I last shopped at Sam’s, they didn’t box your goods for you, you had to do it yourself.

Many supermarkets do stay open 24/7, but not all, and very few if any warehouse clubs do. People just don’t really demand a 35lb jar of pickles at 3:30 am.

aktep Thanks, that clears it up…I think.

Incidentally, what you call warehouse clubs are known as “Cash and Carry” over here and they are usually open 24/7. They cater to the retail trade and not usually the public

We have that too, but they are a different kind of entity.

What aktep describes is one of our American Cathedrals of Consumerism. They might buy overstock, or force cheaper prices on suppliers, or buy tons of one product to be able to sell goods at discounted prices.

And, there are some where you can get a casket.

This isn’t the greatest link, but it should do. . .

I don’t know if Europe has much of that yet.

IIRC, there are some Costco’s that do sell caskets.
They at least sell them on their website, plus pet urns!

ETA: I got beat :smack:

And while they don’t sell cars they normally do have a car from an outside dealer in the store with signage saying that as a member of the store you can receive a discount at that particular dealership.

That was the original intent of our our warehouse stores, but the business owners found that there were a great many things that a warehouse store could also provide for their home use. Then the family got cards, and your employees could get cards, so they threw the whole thing open to the public, and anyone can get a card (Membership card) for a joining fee.

For many, the joining fee won’t cover the savings for a year. I buy lots of things there, and on just our meat purchases alone, I save 2-3x the fee. I find that in large packages, untrimmed, I often pay $2-4 less per lb than I would to have the butcher instore do the cutting. That savings, over 4 to 6, 22# cryo-vac purchases of flap meat (steak tips/fajita meat, uncut) per year saves me quite a bit. Add that to HUGE boxes of diapers and wipes, and I’m in the money.

Not everything is a bargain however, and you still need to know the normal retail prices to compare to…

Unless they are pregnant. :smiley: (I of course, never had to run out at 3:30am for some strange food, but I married the perfect woman, who produced a perfect little girl :cool: )

Most ShopRites are open 24/7 and the one in my town does have an employee’s lounge.

Yes, but in the movie there is a special lounge just for cashiers. It’s exceedingly nice, and is a source of conflict in the film.

I found this a tad odd given that cashiers are generally just a step up from being the lowest employee. That said it was just a film

Wasn’t Sam’s Club in the used car business anymore? Some of them tried it for a while, IIRC.

I suppose the movie used the lounges as a plot device rather than the real differences between men’s washrooms and ladies’, as in “Why do you get a couch and we don’t?” “Because we have fewer toilets than you because we can’t go standing up.” Kept the rating down where Jessica Simpson’s fans could see it at the expense of Dane Cook’s usual sort of “humor.”

I think of warehouse clubs as antidotes to rampant consumerism, not cathedrals to it. Buying in bulk is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. (Less total packaging; fewer trips to the store.) They are places where you give up some choice as a consumer in exchange for frugality.

(My comment applies primarily to Costco, of which I am a member and with which I am in mad, passionate love. Sam’s Club is evil for other reasons that belong in other threads.)

When I think of a “supermarket” I’m thinking of a medium-large sized store that sells fresh produce, dry goods, canned foods, bread, dairy, and meats. It probably has a deli section where you can buy prepared food, and it may have a bakery (for donuts and bagels and cakes). It will have an aisle or two for frozen foods, and aisle or two of home, health and beauty products (light bulbs, soap, cleaning supplies, hairspray, etc). It may have sections where you can buy wine/beer, or flowers, or magazines, or basic school/office supplies. An odd few stores may have a seating area for its delicatessen.

Most supermarkets have a small section for automotive needs, usually only brake fluid, oil, window cleaning fluid, and a few tools. They sometimes have a small counter for buying film, batteries, and renting movies.

The bathrooms and employee areas are often restricted from the public, but there is usually only one employee break area. It is festooned with required-by-law posters about employee rights, minimum wage requirements, safety regulations, and so on. It might have a microwave and refrigerator for the employees.

Many grocery stores in this area are open 24/7.

Now, we do have a few stores that are super-everything stores. I know them by brand name (Fred Meyer, Wal*Mart, K-Mart, Costco) more often than by any collective name. They’re sometimes called “big box” stores because the buildings are shaped like a big box without much in the way of decor.

These “big box” stores are catch-as-catch-can for what they sell, but most often sell things like vacuum cleaners, CDs and movies, clothing, plants, a few simple furniture items, home electronics (like video games and DVD players), shoes, childrens’ toys, dishes, and towels. Occasionally they will sell area rugs, lighting fixtures, stereo equipment, and sporting goods.

I have never personally gone into a building where cars or coffins were sold alongside all that other stuff.

Fish Yes I think of a supermarket in much the same way.

While on holiday in the USA I went into a “Supermarket” in Michigan, I think it was called Meijers or something.

Anyway, this place was ginormous, I’d never seen anything like it before and I’d been to the US at least 5 times before that.

In this place you could honestly have driven a car around it was so huge, the staff were drop dead friendly and the whole experience was utterly fantastic. I mean to be greeted at the entrance and asked if I needed any help at all finding anything was a revelation in itself.

Once they found out I was a Brit. on holiday I was escorted around the place like some VIP, I left the store having spent about $10 but carrying stuff worth a darn site more that staff and management had given to me.

Returning home I felt obliged to write them thanking them for all they had done, they replied saying if I was ever back in Michigan to drop in for a chat and another tour.

One day I’ll do just that…God Bless America :slight_smile:

God Bless England…in equal bits :)…well maybe a bit more

Never saw any coffins though

Meijer – like WalMart, it sells a wider range of stuff than some other supermarkets, such as furniture, electrical goods, clothing, etc.

That’s the place, the one in Grandville

Whew! At least you don’t have some crazy British term for such a store, like calling it a skintbargle grocery circle or something equally silly.

It’d be much better to call it something logical and American, such as a dime store, or a trading post. :slight_smile:

:smiley: :smiley:

I can’t guarantee this is true. I was told that the reason motor oil is now sold in plastic bottles is that the oil companies wanted to sell oil in supermarkets. The old can had aluminum ends and waxy-cardboard-and-foil sides, and they occasionally leaked. Leaking oil is a no-no is a food store, so they went plastic.

Some 25 years or so ago when I worked at Dominick’s near Chicago, (a supermarket chain that’s now part of Safeway) we sold oil in the paperboard cans.

I think the bigger reason for the switch was improvements in plastic containers and being able to make squared-off containers so very little space is wasted between the containers, gaining some efficiency in shipping.

**chowder ** - what is the retail trade vs the public? Around here, sales to the general public are retail. It’s wholesale that’s somewhat off-limits to people and theoiretically limited to resellers.

As for what they sell, there’s practically nothing that Costco does not sell. Whether you want a carton of 15 dozen eggs, or a casket (overnight shipping is available) or a whole raft of services such as health insurance, tires, garage door installation or new car purchase, or even a mortgage, you can get it.