BY ZEKE McCARTY, YPC Leadership Board
I recall an instance when I was grocery shopping with a good friend of mine about a year ago. We were walking through the beef section of the meat department at our local King Soopers, checking prices and cuts just to see if anything stood out as a “must have” at the moment.
As we were browsing, we hear a man behind us ask the meat department employee a question. He held up two different packages of beef and asked, “Which is better: Angus or Choice?” The employee quickly piped up stating, “Angus is better.” As soon as my friend heard her answer, he couldn’t help but intervene in the conversation to make sure the consumer was quickly educated on the facts of what exactly Angus beef was and how that compared/related to USDA Choice beef. It was a textbook maneuver if I had ever seen one. He politely introduced himself into the conversation, provided his credentials in order to be viewed as a reliable source, and explained the facts.
As I reflected on the occurrence, I thought: “What would have happened if my friend had not said anything?” That consumer would have been “educated” by the meat department “specialist” when in reality, it was simply her opinion. That consumer would have gone along, for potentially his entire life, without knowing the basic facts regarding Angus beef and Choice beef. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to discount Angus beef by any means. I just believe in the principle of allowing someone to make their own opinion after they’ve been provided the facts. But not only that, think about the number of people this one consumer could influence throughout his lifetime with the information he was provided by simply word of mouth.
A few weeks ago, at the same King Soopers’ beef section, an almost identical situation arose. I happened to overhear a man ask a meat department employee (different employee) what the difference was between Angus and Choice beef. At least this employee didn’t take it upon himself to offer his opinions as facts which I give him credit for. He simply told the man, “I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference.” I knew at that moment, it was up to me to step up and provide a little education, which I did. As I reflected again, I couldn’t help but imagine how many times a day that must happen. How many consumers look to these “experts” in their field of customer service and are provided with wrong or no information at all?
Now, my purpose isn’t to degrade my local King Soopers or ridicule the meat department employees by any means. I still continue to shop there and still continue to interact with the people. My purpose is simply to challenge you as I have myself. Be aware and take advantage of the little opportunities that arise where you can provide some insight and knowledge concerning our industry. If we want our industry to strive, we must do our part to provide and promote the truth and facts in a misinformed, consumer driven world.
Editor’s note: If you would like to know more about beef cuts and grades, check out the Interactive Meat Counter for more information and ways you can save at the store. Images and information provided by the Beef Checkoff. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.