Last weekend marked the grand opening of Sprouts Farmers Market in Aurora, CO. The parking lot was teeming with cars so I dropped my wife off near the entrance and then circled the lot until I found a parking spot towards the front of the store.
Anticipating a delay due to the grand opening crowds, I put a movie on for the kids, opened a window, and relaxed. It was a beautiful day. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and every now and then I’d get a glimpse of some fresh produce or breads sticking out of shopping bags as customers made their way to their cars.
I was now beginning to daydream—anticipating my own lunch made with toasted sourdough bread, fresh produce, choice meats, and select cheeses from Sprouts. Ah…
About that time, a Sprouts employee emerged from the store, leaned back against the building’s façade about ten feet from where I’d parked, and lit a cigarette—drawing deeply before exhaling a cloud of smoke.
As I was downwind, I immediately closed the windows and then thought about how smoking and its residual effects (i.e., second-hand smoke, clothing odor, etc.) are incompatible with what Sprouts is attempting to promote: freshness and healthy living.
I don’t smoke. You may have gathered that already. And my hunch is that the majority of Sprouts customers, who are intentional about planning healthy meals using the freshest ingredients, don’t smoke either.
I’m no prude. I’ve smoked cigars on golf courses and in cigar bars. My point is not to bag on smokers. I will, however, bag on Sprouts for its failure to establish standards that reinforce its mission statement which includes: “…helping America eat healthier (and) live longer…”
If employees are permitted to smoke on the premises, it should not be evident to customers—by sight or smell. It’s simply incompatible with what Sprouts promotes and what its customers expect.
In addition to that, it’s a mood killer. And if customers are in the mood to spend money, it’s a business killer too.