Groceries. Stock photo.

Last Tuesday night, a few hours before that anticlimactic storm, shoppers bustled about our neighborhood Kroger, which that night was full of first-world annoyances — for example, they were out of my favorite cheese and those pre-peeled boiled eggs in a bag (don’t judge). Looking around I noticed several sparsely stocked shelves. Some of this can possibly be attributed to post-weather-report survivalist mentalities. Despite the crowds, only one lane, save self checkout, was open. Self check is only OK when you have less than 4 or 5 items, all of which fit neatly into bags. Otherwise self check equals an exhausted working mom glaring at a machine that is politely repeating, “Please remove item from bagging area” in perpetuity. I shop at Aldi, too, and I happily bag my own groceries, understanding that by doing so, I am saving. At Kroger, not so — paying full price, overstuffing a bag that will rip open somewhere between my car and kitchen.

Anyway, I chalked it up to my own grumpiness and oversensitivity until yesterday morning, when a reader emailed me asking, “What is up with my Kroger?” For two weeks now, he says, he has noticed carts out all over the parking lot, a lack of familiar faces, un-stocked shelves and all the ice cream on sale, not that he’s complaining about that last part.

The reader wondered, are they just cleaning house? Preparing to close? Something else?

Turns out that they have been experiencing some challenges of late, but regional manager Don Collins expects everything to be back on track soon.

“I can assure you we are not closing or having any type of sell-off at this location. At this time the store is experiencing a pretty significant shortage with labor, he says, adding that the regional human resources manager “is working directly with the store team to help with their hiring needs.”

“I have been working to get them some help from other stores in the district to help improve the overall shopping experience. I would expect the store to be much better prepared for the customer this weekend,” he adds.

The store will host a citywide hiring event on May 14, Collins says, so if you — or your high school or college kid home for the summer — needs a job, opportunity is knocking.

In 2010 this Kroger store upped its game, remodeling, adding a sushi and olive bar, a gas station, and, following the city’s rezoning of wet/dry areas, a booze aisle.

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