My Biggest Complaint About Wegmans

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

If you have a Wegmans in or near your town, chances are you are totally obsessed with it. The regional supermarket has 93 stores (in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts) and a total cult following.

People love Wegmans — like, really love it. They love the buffets, the cheese selection, the sustainably sourced seafood, and the cases of cured meats. People even talk about how friendly and helpful the staffers are. People talk about Wegmans like it’s paradise.

All that’s to say that it’s pretty uncommon to hear a complaint about Wegmans. And yet, I have one!

(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

The Most Annoying Thing About Wegmans

Although I grew up in South Jersey, I am not a child of Wegmans. My parents didn’t get one until after I had graduated and moved out of the house. I was recently home for a few days and joined my mom on a quick trip to Wegmans one night after dinner.

That’s when I realized it: There’s a very obvious option to pre-ring your own produce before you head to the register.

Although my mom said the produce is fresher and cheaper than anything else around (even Costco!), this pre-ringing thing had me annoyed for two reasons.

1. Some people don’t realize this is optional.

Until just this moment, my mom thought you had to do this. And she complained it slowed her down. She shops for just herself and my father and she often buys things like one red onion, one lemon, two potatoes (you get the gist). She acknowledged that the cashier would have to type in the stuff anyway, but even a part-time clerk has a better chance of recalling the code for an avocado from memory than she does. When I told her it was optional, she said she had no idea. She thought this was totally a requirement — something she had to do before she could even think about getting in the checkout line.

2. It’s wasteful.

When I was there with my mom, I seriously watched a woman pre-ring a bunch of bananas and then put them in a bag just so she could put the printed sticker on the bag. Bananas have peels! They don’t need to be in bags! (Even if the bag is recyclable and made from 100 percent plant-based renewable materials, which it is!) But it would have been too wonky to put the sticker directly on the bananas. For those who put the stickers right on their produce, a sticker is still being brought into the equation for some unknown reason.

Wegmans has a reason, a rep says: “Customers want to see the weight and cost of their produce while still in the produce section and can make changes. It also helps ensure produce is being properly identified. Take apples, for example. We offer numerous varieties of apples, some of which are also available as organic. Customers know exactly what they’re buying, so when they weigh and price it themselves, it minimizes the opportunity for the wrong code to be keyed in at the register, and at the same time, can help speed up the checkout process.”

Oh, and when I was talking to my mom about this story, she added another complaint: “I hate that all the deli meat is presliced,” she says. “If I go late in the day, I can’t help but wonder how long that turkey breast has been sitting out in the case, drying out.” (Wegmans tells us it’s never more than two days — same for the deli meats that are presliced and packaged in the grab-and-go section.)

More on Wegmans

Do you shop at Wegmans? What’s your take on the produce pre-ringing situation?