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Should I call the manager or the health department?

a
AlyKen Oct 29, 2007 04:43 AM

I've been shopping at the same grocery store, Shopper's Food Warehouse in Severn, MD, for 2 years. During this time, I've seen the produce quality drastically diminish to the point that all 4 types of tomatoes were rotten this week. I've also noticed that there are a large number of expired items on the refrigerated shelves, where I have been unable to buy certain dairy items due to the fact that they are all expired. I complained once to the produce stockers about the poor quality of the produce, and was told they just put out what they get. Last month, I purchased a bottle of the store brand of light cranberry juice. When I opened this bottle, I realized it was cran-grape and probably not light. I've been to other branches of the same chain, but have not seem such poor quality produce. Should I call the manager and complain? I have a feeling it will fall on deaf ears. Should I just call the local health department?

  1. coney with everything Oct 29, 2007 06:39 AM

    Do you have other stores you can shop at? I'd write a letter to the manager and copy the corporate office if there is one, tell them how much you spend there and where you'll be taking your business if they don't feel obliged to respond within 48 hours.

    1. s
      smartie Oct 29, 2007 07:58 AM

      you have 2 issues here, quality of produce which is a store and head office issue and food past expiry date which is a health department issue and head office issue.

      Write to HO and copy it to the Health Dept. That should buck them up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smartie
        a
        AlyKen Oct 29, 2007 08:13 AM

        I actually ended up going through the HD records. The store has been open for 2 years and has never been inspected. It's almost as if the county didn't know they existed. On that, I called the HD and emailed corporate. No store should be selling moldy fruit and vegetables. It was like something out of Kitchen Nightmares.

      2. w
        wayne keyser Oct 29, 2007 06:50 PM

        Health Department? Yeah, sure, and you know why?

        Because quality at other Shoppers Food Warehouses (certainly the Arlington ones) is very high, indicating to me that the problem is a management problem and stems from the chain's inadequate exercise of control (good manager, good store ... sloppy manager, sloppy store)

        Shopper's corporate - get on the ball!

        1. q
          QSheba Oct 29, 2007 07:59 PM

          Slight different situation, same question. Last weekend my husband and I were on our way home from a road trip to DC and stopped at an "upscale fast food" place. Food seemed ok...until my husband told me today that he had seen a cockroach in the DINING area. Even though I did not witness it myself, I feel as though I should do something. Letter to corporate (it's a chain) and CC the HD? Just the HD? What do the chowhounds think?

          3 Replies
          1. re: QSheba
            w
            wayne keyser Oct 29, 2007 10:51 PM

            I hate to say "it happens," but it does. If you went there often and it happened again, I'd think it might indicate a pesistent problem, but please consider:

            1 - Hopefully the inspectors will catch a persistent problem (these little devils inevitably leave traces, and an inspector looks for them "top of the list."

            2 - If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know that these (and worse) simply cannot be kept out of the waste area outside, and they are pretty sneaky about inviting themselves in. The only solution is regular treatment by a pest control specialist, and those treatments are only capable of abatement ("holding actions") not elimination.

            I would hope not to have to suffer this more than once, ideally not at all, but the only way to utterly eliminate the pests would be to spread pesticide around so thick that the whole place would be hazardous to human life.

            BTW, never EVER go to any commercial area that's largely uninhabited at night (oh, say, the backside of a shopping mall around 2 a.m.) and shine your headlights around. You won't like what you see running around "after hours" attracted by even the tiniest speck of what we humans leave behind.

            1. re: wayne keyser
              j
              justagthing Oct 29, 2007 11:26 PM

              must agree with the wayne k. having grown up in the restro business, it is not that easy to keep the pests away. you do the best and go from there. If you were disgusted by that, you should read Fast Food Nation....probably keep you from many more places.

            2. re: QSheba
              t
              Tay Oct 30, 2007 12:19 AM

              I have seen the occasional roach in some of the city's finest restaurants. There is a reason the little buggers have lasted a gazillion years. As the other Posters have said: Where there is food, there will be roaches... And then some.
              BTW.. I think "Upscale Fast Food" place has got to be an oxymoron. :-}

            3. s
              smartie Oct 30, 2007 06:32 AM

              I did my Food Managers course last year and our trainer told us there was no such thing as a pest free restaurant. Roaches, rodents, sugar ants and flies being the common ones. Especially here in Florida.

              Certainly in Fl, all restaurants have to have a contract with a pest control company and the Inspector looks at your last inspection report when they make their annual visit. As someone else said here all that can be done is to keep the blighters down but they cannot be 100% eliminated. Roaches arrive in cardboard boxes and in produce. They like greasetraps and drains and warm places like behind the ovens.

              I bet our supermarkets are also infested in the storerooms!

              We don't usually see the pests in the dining rooms when we go out to eat but I am willing to bet they are in the kitchens and stores of everywhere there is food for sale.

              1. s
                smartie Oct 30, 2007 06:34 AM

                forgot to add that a produce seller told me he used to fumigate his truck once a week on his day off or it would be full of roaches if he didn't.

                4 Replies
                1. re: smartie
                  PeterL Oct 30, 2007 09:02 AM

                  So the produce he sells is full of pesticides?

                  1. re: PeterL
                    revsharkie Oct 30, 2007 10:42 AM

                    I'm assuming smartie means he sprayed the truck on his day off when it was empty...

                    1. re: revsharkie
                      s
                      smartie Oct 30, 2007 11:04 AM

                      correct. The truck empty not full of produce. However there will be a residue I guess, but I would think all produce trucks if not most have this done.

                      1. re: smartie
                        revsharkie Oct 30, 2007 01:46 PM

                        I'd think you'd have to. The residue would be minimal, I'd imagine, on the produce itself because you don't really ship it in direct contact with the surfaces in the truck; most stuff is in some kind of box or something, isn't it?

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