Fred Meyer Sold Us Moldy Food

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.

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6 thoughts on “Fred Meyer Sold Us Moldy Food

  1. Interesting how the big corporations only give a positive response to a problem when it goes public like on a blog or with a television problem solver. My wife is always saying how “Get Gephardt” on channel 2 in Salt Lake City is my hero. I found that sometimes you only have to invoke the name and it gets results. When my wife had a problem getting her retirement settled, (it had gone on for months) I finally told them it was time to get Gephardt. They said “please don’t do that” and they settled within 24 hours.

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  2. Wait, you wouldn’t bring in the food in the first place? That doesn’t make any sense, shouldn’t you do that to prove that the food is moldy instead of just saying that? Makes more sense to me, since people could try and trick stores out of money that way.

    Just seems irresponsible to not prove your side entirely.

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    1. No, I’m not going to take moldy food back into a store to prove that I bought less than $9 worth of butter and bread. Fred Meyer can see that I purchased both and can see that I’ve never returned food so I’m not a person trying to trick them into giving me $9 worth of food.

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  3. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a big corporation or not. There are many levels of store management in a business that’s open for 16 hours a day. There will always be behavioral issues with store associates. It’s the company’s job to coach, teach, train or even term “rogue” associates who try to abuse their authority. A company can only follow up on issues if the customers speak up; regardless if they do it via a blog, Facebook, or even just coming back in a speaking with the store manager. Mistakes are going to be made. How the company responds to those mistakes will differentiate the good from the terrible. Each customer votes with their pocket book. If Brett decides to continue shopping with this company then they’ve done their job and taken care of the issue.

    Good Luck Brett!

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  4. first off without the items there was no way they could have looked it up even with your rewards or debit/credit card. Second people try to get there money back every day for perfectly good products all the time with out bringing the products in. The average store loses thousands of dollars (if not millions) on returns (Most are frauds) and they have to do something to protect themselves from it. and why would you not take it back they sold it to you bad so return it to them in the same fashion. That way they can return it to the manufacturer.

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    1. You’re wrong. Both workers told me they could lookup the items from my rewards card. How do you suppose they tell what coupons to print out for me? They keep track of exactly what I purchase. Also, I’m not taking $9 worth of moldy food back into a store. I’ve bought food that went bad quickly, and have never been asked to bring it to the store. The two times that’s happened, the teller replaced the items. And the Fred Meyer manager told me, after the fact, that would be the correct way to handle a spoiled food complaint in the future. He agreed that I should not have brought moldy bread and butter back to the store.

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