Goodbye, Dominick’s

Dominick'sTwo years ago, I wrote a post about how employees at the Dominick’s grocery store try to show their personal touch to their customers by greeting them by name upon seeing their names on their credit cards.

Each time I go through the one open lane at Dominick’s, after I’ve spent $7.89 on flowers that say “thank you for hosting me” but not “will you marry me?”, I always get thanked by the cashier.

“Thank you, Ms….Leeehrrrr.”

“Have a nice day, Ms…..Leh-hair.”

“It is always a pleasure serving you and allowing you to buy chocolates and flowers in a light and stress-free environment, Ms….Lrrrrr.”

Has anyone else noticed this? They stare at the receipt, taking my name from from my credit card, trying their darnedest to pronounce my name properly.

I bet employees have to go through rigorous name-pronunciation training.  It’s a semester-long class, each week looking at a different culture and country of origin. They probably need to have a special weekend retreat with guest lecturers teaching how to know whether “Levine” is pronounced “leh-veen” or “leh-vine.”

I thank you, Dominick’s, for attempting to personalize my shopping experience. I appreciate the effort, but I’d rather you skip my name, call me “ma’am” or “miss” or “hey you,” and speed up the line so I can spend time with people I actually know.

Well, I guess it didn’t work — because now Dominick’s is closing its doors.

I walked through the store this morning to buy a few things and realized it might be my last time in that store. I am reminded of a favorite story that my parents told about my brother as a young kid.

We went to the neighborhood Dominick’s (which has since become a car dealership), which, on the old version of the sign, had each letter of the name in its own box. My dad would ask Michael to read the sign, and he would say, “D-O-M-I-N-I-C-K-nine-S.” I guess at age 2 he hadn’t yet learned of the apostrophe.

How do you say goodbye to a grocery store? Is it even worth a goodbye? It’s a shame for all of those employees who will lose their jobs.

But I’m excited for a Mariano’s to move into the Dominick’s location near work … but it still feels like the end of an era.

Maybe one day my future kids will read the sign of the new grocery store and have as much fun as we did: “M-A-R-I-A-N-O-nine-S.”


3 thoughts on “Goodbye, Dominick’s

  1. For the record, as a former Dominick’s employee, they thought that the personal touch would make people want to pay more for their groceries… It was in the Safeway training videoes.. Cause it worked in California, it will work in Illinois.
    RIP Dominick’s aka my first job.

  2. Hey, I just saw your comment, they thought the “impression” of personalized service would negate lower prices. Makes no sense, but that was the philosophy.

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