Monday, January 24, 2005

How to lose a customer for life

WARNING: SAD BUT TRUE STORY

Stomps With Foot and I had an interesting crappy experience at one Albertson's yesterday. Left me in a foul mood for way too long. Without further ado, herewith is her email to their customer service department.


My receipt: preferred customer 4252423XXXX
1/22/05 14:20 4273 02 0036 XXX
I notice the "customer satisfaction guarantee" listed on the website only applies to items that are purchased, not the shopping experience. Too bad. I have no desire to spend my substantial weekly grocery allowance at any Albertson's after today's shopping trip. I went there specifically for the ten items for $10. and the fact that coupons up to $1.00 were being doubled and up to $.75 were being tripled. My husband and I scanned and sacked as we went through the store since most of the registers now are self-checkout and we wondered why this process was implemented. It certainly isn't saving us time having to do this and I would not call it simple, when it comes to produce, exception items, using coupons and paying with a check. I would think we're saving money for Albertson's since perhaps they won't have to hire as many employees, but I have not noticed prices dropping to reflect any savings on to the customer.

I would think maybe we're saving time for Albertson's employees, except for all the problems we noticed they had to deal with when customers checked out. We had bought an exception item - 3 primrose plants for $5.00 so we had to get help, since they wouldn't scan on our handheld scanner. The process to ring them up erased all the scanning we had done, so everything in our cart had to be scanned again. The person (female manager?) who determined that was the way our situation had to be handled, apologized but didn't offer anything for our inconvenience or time.

I don't grocery shop for a fun, entertaining activity and didn't appreciate that we were in that store for two hours. Then, the check approval machine wasn't working, so we had another delay. It seems like Albertson's has their customers beta-testing their new procedure and I have no incentive to shop there again. My husband and I are both tech savvy - very computer literate and there is something wrong when a customer has to get a multi-screen lesson on how to scan groceries using your new system.

If Albertson's had valued me as a customer, they would've told me the $78.37 cost of groceries was not going to be charge.


The scanning part was kind of fun. Like using a Star Trek tricorder, although I found it ironic that the LASER warning on the back was in 4-point type and all the customers were wearing trifocals. If I had known we would be doing all the scanning and sacking for naught, I would have scanned every item I could find, to rack up a grocery bill of at least ONE MILLION DOLLARS (using best Dr. Evil voice).

Now, there weren't even any paper bags available and we got to try to open those plastic bags (the ones with a 300-year-half-life) that if they were any thinner would only have one side. The static electricity that keeps them stuck together was a wonderful experience in manual dexterity and patience building. Thank goodness for my opposable-thumbs.

So there you have it. If'n yer feelin' like wasting an hour or so for less than $80 in groceries there is only one place to go. Albertson's (you'll wish you had gone Krogering).

AMF Albertson's - you've lost a customer for life.