Every week my family and I make at least one shopping trip to Trader Joe’s at Campbell Avenue and Limberlost Road and we always shop by bicycle.
The shopping center has one bike parking area for the entire center which houses a restaurant, coffee shop and veterinarian in addition to the Trader Joe’s.
The bike parking is in the corner nearest the grocery store. Recently the shopping center added a second rack, unfortunately they added a rack that doesn’t work for most bicycles because you can’t actually lock the frame.
Every October bicycle parking becomes even more difficult because they put their pumpkin patch where the bicycle parking is located.
I mentioned to a manager this weekend that the setup makes it difficult to park. I received a less than stellar response and decided to write to the store’s general manager and corporate office. Here’s what I’m sending:
Trader Joe’s General Manager 1899 E Limberlost Dr
Tucson, Arizona 85719
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to alert you to a unfortunate interaction I had with one of the managers at your store.
I am an avid bicyclist and run a blog that covers Tucson cycling. This letter will be published there as well.
I am also an avid shopper at your Trader Joe’s. My family and I visit your store several times a week for groceries and we always do it by bicycle.
We were pleased to see that you recognized the need for additional bike parking and have added more bike parking. Unfortunately the rack that was added is inadequate because it only allows the front tire to be locked rather than allowing the frame to be locked. This essentially means only the two bikes on the outsides of the rack can be securely locked.
That isn’t why I am writing however.
We’ve come to know many of your employees on a first-name basis and have always had a pleasant experience. That’s why I was so shocked by one of your managers’ reactions to a complaint I had about your pumpkin patch and how it interferes with bicycle parking.
I told this gentleman that the pumpkin patch completely blocks the new bicycle rack you installed and partially blocks the original racks.
While you can still access the racks, navigating the area with a bicycle loaded with groceries in an area full of straw and pumpkins is not easy and probably not safe.
When I pointed this out to the manager on duty I was told it’s better than last year where bikes couldn’t access the racks at all. I responded by saying that whether it was better than last year wasn’t really the point. I was then told “at least there is something for you.”
It was said in a way that made it seem like the money I and the other numerous bicyclists spend at your store is less valuable to you than the shoppers who show up in cars.
Judging from a Google Maps view of your parking area, there are more than 100 car parking spaces in your lot and only eight functional spots for bicycles. At a store that has direct access from a major bike path.
I would like to kindly suggest in the future you consider taking the two parking spots in the corner near the bike racks and converting that to your pumpkin patch. It will be near your entrance, will allow for plenty of parking spaces for your customers and your bicycling patrons will be able to access the racks without worrying about crashing into your pumpkins.
Thank you for your time,
Thoughts? Did I overreact? I was more perturbed about the manager’s response than anything else.