Our Taoist Safeway, is indeed timeless and unchanging. Although, not always in a good way…
Sure, the interior received a sporty makeover a few years ago. But one part of the Bernal Safeway experience never seems to get better: There are seldom enough cashiers, so the checkout lines are infuriatingly long.
This is sad, because in theory, there’s a lot to love about our local Safeway. The location is very handy, and the store’s compact footprint means that finding what you need can be done efficiently. And the prices are reasonable enough by contemporary ridiculous post-gentrification standards. Yet all that is overshadowed by one grim fact: The checkout lines are so insane at our Safeway that many Bernalese have given up on the store entirely.
Complaints about the long lines pop up regularly on social media, but a recent blow-up even got the attention of the hapless soul who staffs the official @Safeway Twitter account. It all started here:
That prompted this Official Response…
… which only generated further rancor, because the long-line problem has been so bad for so long. Pretty soon, the trickle of complaint turned into a flood:
No surprise, then, that the Bernal Safeway gets a paltry two-star ranking on the Yelp. Typical comment:
So will anyone at the Safeway Mothership actually do anything about this?
Last year, the entire Safeway chain was acquired by a group of private equity investors led by Cerberus Capital Management, which also merged Safeway with the Albertson’s supermarket chain. That does not bode well for the long lines at the Bernal Heights store, because it generally suggests the new leadership team is likely focused on the tricky task of integrating management teams and meeting near-term profitability targets, rather than on the nuts-and-bolts tasks of local staffing and customer satisfaction.
Coincidentally, on January 30, 2015 — one day before the local Twitter blowup — a Supermarket News article marking the completion of the Safeway-Albertsons merger included this comment from Safeway’s CEO:
“We plan to be the favorite local supermarket in every community we serve,” said Safeway president and CEO Robert Edwards, who becomes president and CEO of the newly combined company, effective immediately, in a statement. “We will do this by knowing, listening to, and delighting our customers; providing the right products at a compelling value; and delivering a superior shopping experience. We will also continue to be active members of our local communities.”
Memo to Safeway CEO Robert Edwards: NOT SEEING THIS IN BERNAL HEIGHTS.
But who knows. Maybe someone at the Safeway Mothership will read this and realize they have a problem on their hands at 3350 Mission Street. Maybe they will understand that our Taoist Safeway is a store that many Bernalese want to love, if only the management didn’t make that so difficult. Here’s hoping…
PHOTO: Another long line at the Bernal Safeway, on January 31, 2015, by Li Jiang