I too notice the KR division I frequent, Smiths, has a lot of employee turnover in the past year. Front end and service deli appear to be areas with the most turnover. KR has countered the front end issue by overstaffing it which helps to a point to keep the lines down. The service delis are another story and a mess; disorganized, long wait times, not reliably in stock on ready to eat items at meal times, etc.
I was in SoCal a few times in the past six months and went into quite a few Ralphs. Employee attitude is just terrible at Ralphs. I don't know what the issue there is, but it was very consistent in almost every location I went into that the staff was rude. The only one I went into with friendly staff was San Luis Obispo. Otherwise, from El Segundo all the way to Santa Barbara, really rude employees throughout the stores. Not that Vons or Albertsons were much better, but Sprouts, Gelson's, and Trader Joe's sure were...
So, the merger will close tomorrow or Friday. I am sure this message board will go away at that time.
It has been a pretty sad run for SWY. Going from a great grocery chain with well run stores in the late 90's to the poorest run national chain and with the worst service and pricing of almost any chain today. Add in how Safeway destroyed a number of unique regional chains in the process and the story is simply sad.
It is hard to imagine Albertsons is buying this chain, but it has strong private equity backing and is doing it mostly with debt, so we will see how that goes. As of late, Albertsons Stores are run much better than those of Safeway. I expect them to make some improvements to the very poor Safeway operations.