#30 Plaid Pantry

It really is difficult to say an entire franchise of rundown mini marts sucks… but that’s the magical uniqueness of Plaid Pantry. These tacky urban landmarks can be seen on street corners throughout Portland. Since it was founded in 1963, generations of Portlanders have walked through the grease-streaked glass doors for a quick snack or Mountain Dew. Now, like rabbits multiplying, hundreds of stores live on your neighborhood street corners sucking the class right out of us.

On the inside, Plaid Pantry represents the epitome of a rundown Quik-E-Mart. They stock their shelves (or sometimes just leave the boxes out in the open) with expired goods and rarely mop the floors. P.P. does provide a large range of unique keepsakes, such as Harley Davidson lighters. And you can always pick up the latest edition of Tattoo magazine. I’m sure you can just imagine the whirlwind of a buying experience. In general, the Plaid offers almost zero incentive to shop here… except maybe for their late night happy hour (late night snack attacks, pre-2:30 am beer runs and cigarettes).

Continuing on, seems that McMenamins and Videorama aren’t the only local businesses to hire terrible customer service reps.* P.P. clerk has always been a nemesis of mine. From pre-2:30 a.m. beer runs, I find this villain to deny people no matter what level of intoxication. You may begin a pleasant conversation on your way to the beer fridge. But at any given moment, the clerk may turn on you, denying any sort of alcoholic beverage based on your ability to physically match your driver’s license photo. Et tu, P.P. clerk?

I can’t think of one good thing to salvage from these rundown mini mart franchises. The feeling of “ick” has been festering at each location. Plaid Pantry… Get in, Get it, Get going!

*Yes, they are a bad example of customer service, but the late night P.P. guy on NW 23rd/Glisan is a peach.

40 thoughts on “#30 Plaid Pantry

  1. Their money order service is a complete disaster. You cannot cash money orders you purchased there, nor can you refund them. In fact im struggling to receive any help or input regarding my problem AT ALL! Theres a reason theyre only .89!!!

  2. Correct to assume that plaid stores are definitely not a “class act”. Each store varies in cleanliness and customer service depending upon the manager. Working class folks love the idea- get in and out quick (that is if they don’t have to stand in line behind the neighborhood rif-raf while they count pennies to buy a 40 oz beer several times a day) for the most part clerks and customers are friendly and and happy! In some cases crappy customers, crappy clerks. It is what it is for minimal wage and expensive health insurance. The employee turnover is huge I am told. So, be nice to your clerk and I bet your clerk will be nice in return!

  3. So very funny and excellent writing skills. A friend of mine mentioned the “plaid panties”, which is what he calls the Plaid Pantry, because the logo used to look like polkadot underwear. I googled it since I had never heard of it. I read the article to him and we both got a huge laugh out of it. He says the article is true, from his memories of the Plaid Pantry, when he used to live in Oregon. He said “right on”!

  4. I have never had a bad experience at The Plaid and I’ve lived here since ’99. Just sayin.’ You don’t like it? Fine. Go somewhere else. Be PROactive, not REactive. Sheesh.

  5. actually kind of hard to imagine that anyone that works at any store could be a bigger asshole than the self important idiot who wrote this

  6. I couldn’t agree with the author more, PP hires the biggest A-holes out there. But it’s not to say there are not some cool employees at PP. I have encounter them once in a great while when I shop there. But every one cool PP clerk, there’s 100 jerk off PP clerks. I always try to be polite to the clerks, but no matter, what those PP losers are always rude to me for being a Native American and/or wearing a Rock t-shirt.

    If you think I’m lying, go to the PP in St. Johns and encounter a clerk name Lindsey, who will be very rude to you if you’re not Black. Try to complain about her to the owner Karl, he won’t do s**t. He’s works in the mornings. I even report her to the head office. Last I heard, she’s still there. That’s just one example, I got plenty more from other locations, but don’t have time to type all week. Also PP’s environment is horrible. When I used shop there, there were boxes everywhere.

    It’s very unorganized, that it feels like below a cheap $1 store. But then again, Oregonians are the laziest people on the planet. Standards means nothing to them, so PP reflects that. Which is why I only give my business to outside companies like 711. Love the author’s post, keep up the good work. 😀

  7. Ana, I agree with you, I just got a job here by lloyd and I am I trangender male, preop and hvent had my name legally changed, but most all of my paperwork and even my nametag say ryan. As far as underatanding theyre awesome.

    • Oh and did I mention I also get paid to know that if Im killed while working graveyard, my family will be taken care of with a whole wopping 1000 dollar life insurance plan? Try to cover a funeral on that.

    • Dont forget being demanded to care enough to earn the store more profit through pushing coupons but not seeing a damn change in my paycheck

    • Wow, you are one angry, ignorant, bigoted person.

      BTW, elective surgery is rarely covered by insurance. Hence the tag “elective”. Health care is expensive for a myriad of reasons: for starters, the people providing it are trained professionals, using very expensive equipment. Someone or something has to pay for that. Also? In our country a lot goes to cover all the paperwork and bureaucracy. Plus insurance companies are businesses who are looking to make money.

      Now go yell at some kids to get off your lawn. It’s Easter!

    • To be fair Ana, $212 million in revenue isn’t all that much for a company as large as Plaid. And while I can certainly understand why you find it sucky, why not then take your retail experience and work at the mall? Even if you have a bunch of tats, etc—-there’s Spencer’s Gifts and Hot Topic! Both are always hiring.

    • Tommy,
      I didn’t know a single point could have so little basis. First, the healthcare I would recieve through my company is NOT public healthcare, it is private insurance which means tax payers have nothing to do with it. Secondly, my surgery is not counted as elective, but medically necessary. The american psychological association, the american medical association, the supreme court (since 1973), and even the IRS agrees on that. Thirdly, I’m not shoving anything in anyones face anymore than anyone else who has a medical condition is. As I said my trans status is not known umless I tell someone. So your point is therefore invalid.

  8. This guy is a jerk. I work at a plaid pantry currently in SE, and I have nothing but good things to say about my job. I love it there. Yes like any company we have policies, but for a girl who was denied hundreds of jobs in Michigan for being transgender, (even though here in PDX I get hit on all the time so it’s not my looks), of course I am going to enforce the policies that my job has put in place. It’s my job! I’m not exactly eager to hand over your cigarettes or beer without an ID so that when my manager reviews the tapes later I can hand over my job as well. Look, I drink and I smoke but if I get turned down for not having ID or because I’m too intoxicated good on that employee. Yes there are some that are a bit stricter than maybe they could be, but don’t fault them for wanting to keep their job. Work is a precious commodity not easily found, especially for someone like me.

    Secondly as far as store cleanliness and stocking things, these jobs are very time consuming and many times I find myself rushing in order to keep up. Plaid only has one worker at any given time. And for some reason it often seems when people come to the store they flood it all at once. So while I have someone at the back of the line snapping at me to hurry up, it’s very frustrating because I have so much side work I need to finish before my boss comes in at 6am. I want to hurry and I’m trying my best, but snapping your fingers at me is getting me more flustered than I need to be and interfering with me doing a good job.

    Finally not everyone has great customer service skills, but I know for a fact I do. So many customers have come into my store and said how much they like that I work there. I very rarely let a customer go out the door without a smile on their face. And not surprisingly the ones that do are the ones like you who think your beer or cigarettes are more important than my job, and ultimately the paycheck, health insurance, food, and roof over my head that my job provides for me. Stop crying.

  9. The person who wrote this review must be one of the late night asshole who come in and spill a full 44oz soda all over the front counter. I have worked at plaid for 13 years. I am not crazy, lazy, or under paid! The job is what you make of it. There are crappy employees who thinks its just a job and then there are others who love their work. The bad seeds get weeded out of the garden so to speak. I work my butt off everyday to make a difference. This dude has never had a job where rules are followed and the are penalties if laws are broken. Why don’t you go work there and then call the kettle back. Oh and who ever said all beer cases should be around the same price, it’s called a sale for a reason. READ THE SIGN!

  10. I work at plaid the floor gets mopped every night, in between helping customers we stock and clean. for the people who think we are assholes for our id polices we take it very seriously, if we get stung and fail there are severe consequence we don’t mean to be mean we’re just doing what we were told to do.

    • I love being carded at PP for using a VISA. You don’t need ID to use a credit card – that’s what the signature is for. Does that matter here? No, I just get kicked out. Clerk is just “doing what he’s told”. Complain to the manager that his employees are violating PP’s merchant agreement? Hahahah… yeah right. Ok guys, don’t play by the rules, that’s fine, in your universally disgusting little stores. Ever wonder why when people finally get pissed off with life it’s Plaid Pantry the go into and murder the clerk? It’s the epitome of what’s wrong in this city. Filthy, lazy, ignorant cheaters running useless businesses. And apparently encouraging perverts, too. Hooray!

  11. Pingback: Plaid pantry | Alleycats

  12. The guy who orignaly wrote this is a complete retard first off plaid is a corperation not a franchise and yes plaid employees are strict on carding but only to the age of 30. Floors are mopped every night all outdated food/items are pulled from shelves. And if a certin plaid is very s**tty its for one reason s**tty employees. But plaid employees get insurence and health benefits. Week payed vaction with yearly raises. Beer is always on sale. Cheep smokes and candy. You really caint find a better convenience store. And would you really risk getting introuble with olcc cuz some retard doesnt have an id for a beer. Its illigal not to have one in the first place. And if you fail a olcc sting you losee ur abilty to sell alchol EVER. So whats the problem is it really that hard to bring ur id I mean you did drive to the dam store.

  13. A stellar combination. Horrible service, crappy products and outrageous prices. The place is run almost exclusively by degenerate dickheads. Best of all is their pricing scheme. You will see a sign on the door:

    Miller Light 12 pack $9.99!!!

    You think, oh, the light beer 12 packs are $9.99 (since we’re all aware the big 3 brands all match each other’s prices). Grab some Coors Light, head to the counter and BOOM $16.99 for a 12 pack that they paid the same price for but had no price marked.

    It’s a s**tty way to do business but hey they’re s**tty people.

    • You saw a sign that said Miller, grabbed Coors, were shocked when the sign wasn’t applicable, and still came to the conclusion that Plaid Pantry are the idiots in this scenario?

  14. Samuel John Klein said:

    “Well now you know the OLCC just lurves them to get them PP employees on them employee stings they do so much.”

    Huh? “lurves”? “Them PP employees on them employee stings”? I’m trying to get the point here, but obviously English isn’t Samuels first language. Perhaps he could type his message in whatever language is his 1st, and we could translate?


    • I have been wondering for 3 minutes if this Cezanne of the comment is the same Cezanne I met working at PP last night.. That would be 6 years! Whoa

  15. I worked at Plaid Pantry for 6 years, and I’ll let you know RIGHT NOW that none of those policies that were deemed unfair by my customers were enforced with the idea of “screwing them over”. I have been through a lot in my time working there, and after nearly of month since I finally left on their good graces, I still have dreams about it.

    ANYONE who can stand right there with their arms folded and tell me that I’m a jerk for doing my job, can suck me. I never went ANYWHERE NEAR “above and beyond” to enforce policy, and despite that, my life was still threatened on two occasions, the latter of which communicated to me that it was time to get the hell out of dodge.

    Even through all of this daily turmoil, I was never ONCE robbed. That should be a testament to my character. I know that most PP workers jackasses; I went the other way and killed everyone who walked through that door with kindness. Even the hardest-boiled criminals treated me with respect because I was kind to them.

    Be well.


    • I’ve never been to an Oregon store, but here in Seattle the floors at the Plaid Pantry stores are mopped every night, without exception. I doubt Oregon policy is different and I suspect that this non-fact was added for dramatic contrast, as TAPTS is trying to be the Hunter S. Thompson of convenience store reviewing.

      Tattoo magazine! Cigarette lighters whose design philosophy you disapprove of! Your disdain for these things, Mr. Things Suck, show you to be a truly superior person.

      The penalties for selling alcohol to minors are rather severe, on the store and the individual clerk. People who demand to buy beer after the cutoff time (2 up here) and who become petulant and whiny when refused are very special people indeed! “You should risk jail time because I want beer now!” I fail to see the problem – rubbing alcohol is legal to sell all night, after all.

  16. One thing about PP you forgot to mention is that there’s ALWAYS at least one shady looking person hanging out in front of the store. As sure as one will always find the latest issue of High Times or a Nickel Ads in the Plaid magazine rack, you will always see this person standing in front of Plaid with that unmistakable “I’m up to no good” look on their face. (Although sometimes, these people simply have the look of confusion…as if they have no idea why they’ve been standing in front of that Plaid for the last hour.)

    In fact, whenever I drive up to a Plaid Pantry, if I don’t see someone loitering out front I just assume something is wrong, and I drive away.

  17. Well now you know the OLCC just lurves them to get them PP employees on them employee stings they do so much.

    And anyone working a PP is depressed, burned-out, or cynical enough that they’re not going to risk losing that low-paying job *and* getting a citation and a fine for selling underage because The Man’s out to get them. They’re certainly not going to lose their jobs over denying someone alcohol sales because they don’t like the look of your ID or it’s 2:28 AM.

    Then again, if you’re so desperate that you’re buying cheap beer at the Plaid at 2:28 AM, maybe it’s time for you to quit drinking for the night.

    Just throwin’ that one out there.

  18. A PP clerk denied my friend cigarettes because she had a state-issued ID card (as opposed to a state-issued drivers’ license). Her ID clearly stated she was over 18, but that was not good enough for Mr. Minimum Wage. Apparently it’s illegal to smoke if you can’t drive a car.

  19. Several years ago I spent a summer between school terms working the night shift in a Plaid Pantry with the world’s strictest alcohol policy. We were required to ask everyone, no matter how old, for ID. You can imagine the sort of horrible situations and encounters this policy created. It was all due to the fact that this particular location was one step away from losing its OLCC license for selling beer to one too many minors.

    Needless to say, I enforced the policy for a grand total of two shifts, given the sort of customers any given Plaid Pantry attracts. There was no way I was going to ask the shirtless 40-something guy with a gigantic Alien tattoo across his chest (one of our regulars) for ID.

  20. For some reason I thought PP folded a few years back. Then when I was last in Portland for a Blazers game, I saw that PP was a sponsor inside the Rose Garden. This could mean 2 things;

    1. PP is on the rebound.
    2. Paul Allen and the Gardeners are willing to take any cash and throw up some signage.

    Most likely #2.

  21. During 5th & 6th grades, my Dad had a failed attempt at building and selling unfinished furniture. We lived in a 600 sq.ft. “house” near the corner of SE 112th and Division – what was once known as Powellhurst. Across the “busy” street of Division, dwelt the still existing Plaid Pantry with their intoxicating Icees. My younger brother and I constantly begged Mom to let us cross Division to buy an Icee.

    I collected the Icee Bear proof of purchase diamonds off the cups in order to send away for prizes of get free Icees. (An Icee is the cousin of the Slurpee, sold by 7-11 – back when 7-11s were open from 7am to 11pm).

    I passed through the 112th & Division intersection a couple of weeks ago. The neighborhood has deteriorated, but the PP is still there. Our house is still there and the shop/warehouse is still there. But Division seems narrow and not quite the “busy” street it once was.

    Nostalgia is a two-edged sword.

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