Since we moved to Auburn six years ago, we’ve spent more money at Fred Meyer than anywhere else. More than Trader Joes and Costco combined. I estimate we spend about $800/month at Fred Meyer. I continue to shop there although there are an Albertsons and Safeway close by.
But over the past few months Fred Meyer has been under construction. That means products have been moved around to make room fixtures. A shopping trip that took 30 minutes can now take twice as long. Last week a construction worker was using the sledge hammer just feet away from the entrance while the store was still open. My ears were ringing so much that I cut my trip short and told Kim was getting close to trying another store.
I’ve remained loyal to Fred Meyer because I knew the construction would eventually end, and I’ve been treated well over the years. My only real complaint up until now has been the gauntlet of employees on break who smoke too close to the entrance. I’m certain I’m not alone when I say I don’t appreciate walking through a cloud of cigarette smoke as I enter the store.
Kim recently purchased a couple of small containers of spreadable butter and some whole grain bread. When Kim opened the butter yesterday it was moldy. In fact, both containers were moldy. And today, we realized the bread had mold spots all over it. We tossed all it in the garbage. The three items total about $10.
When I went shopping tonight, I decided to stop by customer service because I knew they could look up our purchases by our Fred Meyer rewards card. I explained the situation to Jacqueline who began by searching for the items on my rewards card. I explained the items were on Kim’s card and gave her our phone number to begin the search.
There didn’t seem to be a problem until Bobby stepped to the counter and began spouting off how “we aren’t a data center” and that I needed to bring the moldy food to the store for him to see. I told him there’s no way I’m bringing moldy food the store. He reiterated that his store isn’t a data center and finally said, “this discussion is over.”
My days of shopping at Fred Meyer are over too.
I never once raised my voice or was aggressive towards Bobby or his colleague. I asked to speak with the manager on duty and Bobby said, “That’s me.”
I decided it was time to walk away.
I understand that corporations have policies. Jacqueline and Bobby don’t set those policies. They are merely trained to carry them out. What disappointed me most about the encounter tonight isn’t that I’m out ten bucks worth of food, but that my six years of business with Fred Meyer apparently means nothing to them.
I left the store and drove to Safeway where I purchased the $50 worth of items I’d put back at Fred Meyer. A few items were more expensive, but I didn’t mind because I didn’t smell like an ashtray as I rolled my cart up and down the aisles.
Update #1: I received an email this morning from @Fred_Meyer on Twitter asking for my contact information. I was told the store director would contact me.
Also, the manager of the Auburn Fred Meyer sent me an email. He apologized and asked when we could speak.
Update #2: I met with the manager. He apologized and took the time to listen to my concerns. He was professional and sympathetic. He walked with me around the store to gather the items that went bad. He placed them in a bag, along with a gift card, and told me that hoped I’d return some day.
I was also contacted by Bobby who apologized and also sent me a gift card. I’ve been impressed with the fact that Fred Meyer contacted me the day after I first posted my experience. They went well above what I expected.