The Ups and Downs of Produce Shopping: Valli High, Valli Low

There are things about Valli Produce in Arlington Heights that I really like, but this store is fraught with some of the same perils as the other produce stores I have blogged about. They recently remodeled this location and the sleek new look is a vast improvement. Their prices, selection, and quality are generally quite good, although some items are high compared to Joe Caputo & Sons. For instance, during the same sale period, Rapini was $1.79 a pound at Valli and only .89 cents a pound at Joe Caputo & Sons.

My primary complaints relate to the clientele and parking lot, but I have also experienced behavior on the part of workers that borders on downright rude. On my last visit, I found an open cashier and she was chomping on an apple. Instead of putting it down, she made me wait until she had devoured the entire thing. It would be understandable if she was on a break, but she was not and really should have rung up my order instead of making me wait. On a positive note, she did apologize. The week before, we encountered a cashier who was yapping on her cell phone while ringing us up – she never disengaged from the call and was still talking as we left. Needless to say, this slowed things down – maybe there should be a law about distracted cashiering. While these behaviors are a bit irksome, the stockers are completely oblivious to the existence of customers. They will not budge an inch if you are trying to select produce where they are stocking and they barrel their hand trucks through aisles with reckless glee – nearly knocking you over. These things, however, pale in comparison to the customers.

Without fail, every single time I have visited this store, I have encountered a multitude of rude customers. Many appear to have blinders on and will simply smash into you. A few weeks ago I encountered a high-maintenance woman who pushed me aside to look at bananas. I don’t need full body contact while produce shopping. It wasn’t enough that she banged into me once – after she picked her crop, she  knocked my purse off my shoulder and never looked back. On my last visit a customer abandoned her full cart, blocking the cheese aisle so that nobody could get by.  She was nowhere to be found until I spotted her at the deli counter – not even in close proximity to where she parked her cart.

And best of all is the parking situation at Valli – it is almost always busy and the lot can be treacherous. Some of the older patrons take 10 minutes to park, while others race through the parking lot at high speeds for no apparent reason – this isn’t Daytona. What takes the cake, however, is that we often try to park in the back and there is an alley that leads to the back parking lot which bypasses the crowded front lot. We have driven back there many times, only to be blocked by trucks unloading merchandise. We then have to make a U-turn and go back through the alley and traverse the crowded front lot, hoping we won’t meet another vehicle in our path.

So why do we continue to shop here? Great selection of bulk candy and fruits, wonderful array of international foods, and damn good sales – not to mention the convenient location.


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