Jewel-Osco has introduced a new mascot: JOJO. Someone should have told them that a character conceived in a pool of nuclear waste is not very appealing. What made them think that a furry one-eyed monster would excite the masses? The positive impact on business is difficult to comprehend. It is hard to say what kind of character would make a positive impact. But this is not it.
Maybe they should have given JOJO magical powers. The ability to remove the City of Chicago’s seven cent per bag tax from a bill with the wave of his hand would get people excited. Not only does that tax waste customers’ money, it wastes the time it takes at checkout to count bags used. The only alternative for customers is to try and remember to bring funky reused bags to the store each time like some kind of hobo.
Jewel could be opting to pay the tax on behalf of customers. But they are not, possibly because supporting the tax reduces their overhead. Less people using bags means less bags need to be purchased and kept in stock. They can also make money selling reusable bags.
Another idea: JOJO should pick up a few shifts bagging groceries at checkout. There are never enough baggers to go around. Maybe twenty year-old hipsters think it is cool to bag their own groceries. So might old hippies. But others do not.
Nowadays if you expect your groceries to be bagged the checker might verbally mock you as elitist. Practical Chicago witnessed this exact situation recently at the Broadway & Addison location. Or the checker might bag your groceries for you. But it takes twice as long with no bagger there, and that forces the customers behind you to wait as well.
Once upon a time Jewel’s checkout stations ran like a well-oiled machine. At the Green Bay Road Evanston location in the 70’s and 80’s a crew of clerks asked if you were parked on the lower or upper level of the parking garage. Then they efficiently moved your groceries to either pickup location and loaded them into your car with no questions asked. At Wilmette’s Plaza del Lago in the 90’s there was always one bagger for every checker. Customers moved through swiftly.
The checkout process, which was once quick and painless, has become an aggravation. If you buy two hundred dollars worth of groceries you should not be expected to buy your own bags, then bag your own goods. Having a bizarre monster running around in stores is not going to make up for that insult. If anything it makes it worse.
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