Market on Yates

Market on Yates: Robo-Personalities

I have lived most of life with a certain amount of freedom.  Since I was 17, I’ve had a car.  I started with a ’77 Toyota Celicaand have roamed ever since.  Unfortunately, my life is a little more local these days.No car = your world is in walking distance.  This isn’t a bad thing but it does limit your selection when it comes to groceries.  My closest is a local company called – Market on Yates.

The Order:
I don’t usually go to the market for two reasons – limited produce and high prices.  I’m all about supporting local but I’m also a big fan of having money in my wallet.  It was about 8pm on a Saturday night (oh I do like to party) and I needed a few things to fill in the fridge gaps so I decided to visit.  I hit up two sections of the market – the deli and the produce.    One manned and one where I was left to my own devices.

The Service:
As I said before, the Market on Yates is a little on the pricier side so you’d think they would make up for it with amazing service.  Yeah…that didn’t happen.

First up, the produce.  I didn’t need much and I’m not really looking for assistance of any kind but at one point, I did go mano a mano with a dolly.  Not a girl, the transporter of boxes.  Sneaking up behind me was a milk jockey (what the hell would you call that job) with a dolly of dairy and a destination.  He just sat there behind me.  No “excuse me.” No “could I get by.” Nothing.  I got the impression that I should have known better and moved.  Sorry, just the guy paying your salary. I’ll get right out of your way.

Second, the deli.  After asking if I’d like anything,  the countergirl/woman became a mime. I ordered three things – a quiche (testosterone filled) which she wrapped, ham which she sliced…and when I said I changed my mind on the third thing…, she just walked away.   Literally just turned and left.  No “have a good night”, no “ok”, just, gone.  No personality.  No warmth.  No signs of life.  Stepford Deli.

I’d like to say the checkout counter was much different but the whole store seemed to be on auto-pilot with the personality of a No. 2 pencil (not with the crazy troll attachment on the end, those are crazy).

The Conclusion: 2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.   But I’d like a few things next time – eye contact, a smile, a pulse.  I don’t care that it was 8pm on a Saturday.  It could have been 8am or 3pm, the service should be the same. Give me some effort!  I’ll go out with you again but it’s more out of lack of options than a desire for a long-term relationship.

Service Rating System:

Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call –  If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.

The Tip:
It’s all in the little things.  A smile.  A nod.  A “have a good day”.  I once served in Australia where a philosophy of no tipping results in little to no customer service in the land down under.  (why did that sound inappropriate?)  I’m Canadian and trained to serve so for every Aussie table I had, I got them water…even if they hadn’t ordered one! Or any drink for that matter.  I apparently opened the Australian customer world’s eyes to something it had never thought possible.  The compliments, the raves, the kudos and all I did was put a glass under a tap and drop it on a piece of wood.  Thanks to a little thing, I consistently made tips in a country that didn’t believe in it.


  • Javier Carlos Miguel Sanchez

    I’m a regular shopper at The Market – usually at least a couple of times a week – and would be remiss if I didn’t put in a good word or two on its behalf.

    First of all, as far as prices are concerned, I have found them to be quiet competitive in most areas. Since moving to Victoria a couple of years ago, I’ve floated around between The Market, Thrifty’s, Wellburn’s and Oxford Foods. It’s certainly easier to drop a lot of cash at The Market than at any of the others. Catering to a more affluent/yuppy clientele, they do offer some higher-end choices – $50 maple syrup, free-range chickens that had regular therapy sessions and vacation homes in the south of France, etc. – but I find that the discerning shopper can do just as well at The Market as at any of the other grocers. Certainly when it comes to produce, their prices can’t compare to Chinatown, but then again, whose can?

    I’ll concede that the service can sometimes leave something to be desired (which is not aided by narrower aisles than you’d find at the bigger supermarkets which make it easier to get around, nor by their younger staff who have less experience and are less likely to see their jobs as a career), and Friday and Saturday nights tend to be the worst.

    But the service I get at The Market during peak hours is usually good, if not remarkable. When you factor in some of the products available at The Market that are unavailable elsewhere – a Mexican salami that is to die for, store-made chorizo and freshly ground bison meat, sugar cane colas, hand-made tortillas, etc… – and a generally high level of quality of their products, I’m happy to continue to be their customer.

    • I won’t argue about their products but the zombified service had a lot to be desired. I did return to the Market the next day around 7pm and the service had ramped up a notch. I don’t know if it was because it was a whole hour earlier, because it was different people or because I had gotten them initially on an “off” night, but it was better. HOWEVER, I stick with my argument that it shouldn’t matter what time it is, a smile or any sample of personality should be present.

      You make a good point about the aisles too.

  • I must suggest a second date, but maybe it’s because I’m just not in it for the conversation.

    I am the type of person that doesn’t mind having to pay a wee (that’s right, I said wee) bit more for my groceries, if I get the service that allows me to zone out, think about my day and plan my dinner.

    I hate having to dig for fresh vegetables, walk three miles past housewares to get to the FOOD, run my own till, or bag my own groceries.

    I would prefer to walk to my local store (as opposed driving a half hour to get to the store) and purchase locally grown food, which the Market goes out of its way to supply. Not to mention, they actually do provide some SERVICE.

    And I rarely have to even wait in line.

    I guess you could say I’ve been Upsold.

    • SJ, you sound like a minimalist…or a bank robber. “In and out and no one get’s hurt.” If you’re looking for some service and local products, the Market is for you. My problem is I didn’t receive ANY service. They served the purpose of order takers.
      I will give them a second date though. Their geographical convenience warrants another try.

  • The best customer service at a grocery store is at my local IGA in Cloverdale. They are the sweetest people who go out of their way to talk to you and make you feel welcome. I go there regularly, even though their prices are a bit higher than the bigger supermarkets, because their service is not only good but I actual leave with a smile on my face almost every time.

    I have to give it up for Nikita who works in the deli! She remembers my name, says hi, and even has made me a latte on the house!

    So Russel, next time you are in Cloverdale, check it out!

  • Thanks for the Cloverdale IGA kudos Natasha. Another store that I find to be on the pricier side but as you’ve indicated, they make up for it was fantastic service. You can’t beat leaving a store with a smile on your face.
    Yay Nikita!

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