This is the second post about the Alessi Farmers Market. It was a store ahead of its time.
There were many interesting characters that worked at the store and many subplots. Some of my favorite stories revolve around one special employee named Marvin. Marvin started his AFM career working on the front end bagging groceries.
The HR Director at AFM, altruistically, believed in giving mentally and physically challenged people jobs. We had several of those individuals employed, including Marvin.
The store had all of the fresh departments that operated as little fiefdoms. Each manager was responsible for the profits that it generated. The one area that did not have to answer to gross margin was the front end. That is where most of the special-needs personnel worked.
Marvin knew that my wife, Therese, was the wife of the owner and he was very impressed by her. He called her Mrs. Alessi. Marvin followed her around the store calling out with a lisp, Mithes Alessi, Mithes Alessi.
Marvin seemed to be doing just fine bagging groceries until one fateful day. A lady customer upset him. She was evidently giving Marvin explicit instructions on how to bag her groceries. That was when he threw up is hands and blurted out, “Hey lady, why don’t you just bag your own #@%$ groceries!” I think that Aldi’s may have gotten the idea of customers bagging their own groceries from Marvin.
The store manager Robert Z. knew at this point that Marvin could not be interacting with customers. Marvin called Robert Z. Mr. Alessi. Therefore in Marvin’s mind Robert & Therese were married. The solution was to transfer Marvin to the bakery.
The bakery manager Robert G. quickly recognized Marvin’s special talents and made use of them well. Marvin was tasked with doing requisitions from the produce department. The bakery would use much produce in their creations.
Early one morning before the store opened, the produce manager happened to be walking through his department. There was Marvin doing a requisition of bananas for the bakery. Marvin was standing in front of a scale with a case of bananas. He was peeling the bananas, before putting them on the scale. Bob F., the produce manager, looked at him in wonderment. “What the hell are you doing”?
Marvin replied innocently, “I am peeling bananas. We don’t need the peels!”
You have to love the simplicity of that logic.
Wish Farms is headed for great things, with or without the peels.