By MAGGIE ISHINO
(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on May 26, 2011.)
Within the past six months two “chain stores” of well-known food establishments were opened. Since both are in my neighborhood, I went to each of the establishments to see what it was like and do a little shopping.
The first one was actually down the street from my apartment. I could not believe the parking situation. I had to drive up a ramp where two cars were going in and out of the establishment. It was so narrow, I nearly hit the wall of the ramp. The parking was inconvenient to say the least, and so closely marked, I had to almost hold the car door partially closed in order to keep from bumping the car next to me.
After arriving into the establishment, it was like going into a long tunnel. The way the food was displayed was so disorganized, it was most frustrating. I could not believe how disorganized it was because their other stores are so organized and make shopping a pleasant task.
I had to go up and down long aisles to find what I wanted. The signs on the aisles were not properly placed, so it was necessary for me to ask an employee a few times where such and such was.
The second disappointment applies to another food establishment that was recently opened.
The parking situation was worse than the food establishment mentioned above. The parking spaces were situated like an upside-down horseshoe and it was most difficult to get in and out of the parking lot. It felt as though I were walking a whole block in order to get a parking space.
I had to go all the away around in order to get into the establishment since the entrance was not clearly indicated.
As I entered the establishment, I again felt as though I were walking in a tunnel like the establishment mentioned above. Immediately to my left was a stand where stationery, cards, etc. were displayed. I wondered why the stationery stand was displayed there. It gave me the feeling they couldn’t find a better spot.
In order to check out, one had to stand in line between the right and left shelves where certain types of food were displayed. It made it very difficult for those standing in line with their carts and those wishing to purchase a product from either the right or left shelf since they had to maneuver their carts because those who were in line could not move.
Since there was a wait of almost 30 minutes, I struck up a conversation with a few in line. One said, “I’ll never come here again even though it is the closest one to my house.” Another said, “I couldn’t find too many things that were advertised or on sale, because it is so disorganized.” Another said, “It’s very confusing the way the check-out system is.”
Even though it was very disappointing to shop at these two stores, I have to admit that I was able to purchase a few good bargains. Perhaps these were bargains in order to entice people for “opening day.”
In closing, may I say that I hope the convenient locations of these two establishments will in one way, help sustain the business into as successful an enterprise as their other chain stores.
Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. Ochazuke is a staff-written column. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.