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Jul 12, 2009 02:52 PM

Problems with Whole Foods in Harbor East

I was just wondering if anyone else has had bad customer service experiences with the Whole Foods in Harbor East. We've been living in Baltimore for a year now, and we've had more than one issue with that store. I just got back from yet another disappointing visit to the store where I even took the time to speak with a manager who was totally unhelpful. Just wondering if it's just us or if there are other folks out there who have noticed issues with this particular Whole Foods. In future, we'll try to avoid them--easy enough to find good produce elsewhere in the summer.

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  1. I certainly don't think it endemic to any one location. I have had bad service at Silver Spring, Tenley, Rockvile and Arlington. The last WFMs I have ebeen in are Silver Spring, Tenleytown, Rockville and Arlington. I can't actually remember thelast bad service free time I have been to a WFM actually.

    1. It's kind of hard to respond to this when you give no indication of what you mean by bad service. How about an example or two?

      I have my complaints about Whole Foods, but at least to date they haven't involved the service.

      My experience is at the Harbor East Whole Foods.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Hal Laurent

        Slow check out service. Phoned in an order for bread and asked that it not be sliced or placed in plastic. When we got there it was sliced and placed in plastic. I had to wait for the bread to be rebaked. Called and asked for a goodly quantity of flat iron steak (10 pounds) was told they had it. I said I'd be there in 15 minutes and gave my name. When I got there the steak was not ready and I was told another 5 minutes. It finally took another 15 minutes, and I had to ask, and I had to trim some of it myself because I couldn't wait any longer. I have not been greeted at the Silver Spring store in my last 5 shops by any team member. I have asked for all my groceries to be single bagged and gotten laughed at. I have asked them to fill the bags more and gotten laughed at. The cashier and supervisor were laughing and fake fighting and dancing while we waited for the cashier to notice we were ready to be checked out. This does not account for the two times they were out of garlic (out of garlic... WTF?!?) or forgot to put the potatoes in my bag at checkout or failed to charge me the right price etc. I only shop there when I have absolutely no other choice.

        1. re: deangold

          Perhaps you should stick to Eddie's of Roland Park?

          1. re: aubzamzam

            I concur--Eddie's is an excellent choice. Buty, they are a bit pricey.

            I also like Graul's in Ruxton. I've encountered wonderful service. Albeit, the store is very tiny and, again, pricier then Giant or SuperFresh.

            Wegman's is fantastic as far as selection. But, it can be overwhelming having so much to choose from. In addition, I live about 30 miles away, so it isn't convenient. I only shop there for special occasions.

            I find the service at Harris Teeter to be exceptional. No, there isn't a person greeting me at the entrance. I don't care about that aspect. But, they have the most efficient check-out system. The cashier unloads your cart, then scans the item, while another person bags and takes your cart out to your car and loads the groceries. It's effortless!! FoiGras

            1. re: FoiGras

              Eddie's in Roland Park is SO overpriced, and the way everybody greets you and keeps saying "hello" and hangs on your every move drives me crazy. I like a little anonymity when I shop. Doesn't anyone else think that Graul's is just dirty??? I shop in the Mt. Washington Whole Foods simply because it's convenient, but I'm certainly not blown away by it. ... but I hear so many good things about Wegman's I really need to check it out. How does it compare, price wise, to Whole Foods?

              1. re: scrimps

                I'm gonna sound like I work for them (which i don't), but Wegman's is fantastic. They have a cheese selection that's every bit as good as Whole Foods if not better. Prices are roughly the same. They have better meat and fish, and yes, you'll pay for it -- dry aged steak is expensive no matter where you buy it, but you can get ground beef or chicken for about the same as other stores.

                In fact, for regular everyday grocery shopping, including produce, they not only beat Whole Foods, they beat Giant and Superfresh (with better selection and quality too). You can save even more if you buy the Wegman's house brand, and you should -- it's quality stuff, not crappy generics. I've never been disappointed with any Wegman's product.

                If Wegman's has a price flaw it's that you'll blow what you saved on everyday stuff in the upscale items. There's so much and it's so good. My favorite grocery store ever.

                1. re: JonParker

                  I'm totally inspired to check it out!

                  1. re: JonParker

                    My father likes the Wegman's brand coffee already ground in the can, swear, it's $1.99.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      I agree with just about everything you said, Jon. And, I think they have amazingly good customer service.

              2. re: deangold

                Why, that's absolutely outrageous. <g>

                I never expect service at a grocery store, I consider them to be essentially self-service except perhaps for the meat and seafood counters when I'm actually in the store. If you want call-ahead groceries, you'd probably be better served by a wholesaler.

                No excuse for incorrect prices at checkout, however. Computers should, and do, work better than that. It shouldn't be up to the customer to check on the data base, though I can't imagine that they have the incorrect prices to intentionally overcharge the customer. Someone's not doing his or her job carefully.

                I miss the days when cashiers were responsible and were allowed to use their brain. If they're going to eliminate this with a computer, at least the computer should be error-free. Nowadays, they're so dependent on electronic data processing that without it, they're out of business. One day last week, I found Frozen Dairy Bar closed - because the computer was down and they couldn't use the cash register! Can't the cashier take money and give change? Nope!

                1. re: deangold

                  You expect to be greeted at a supermarket? The only place I am ever greeted is by the security guard at the disgusting Shopper's in Locust Point and by an elderly lady when I went to a Wal-Mart four years ago. So I don't equate greeting with quality.

                  1. re: deangold

                    Like I said, the staff at Safeway and Giant (and most ethnic grocers) are generally quite helpful and nice.

                    You should check them out. The Safeway and Giant food offerings won't kill you.

                    1. re: deangold

                      Wholefoods does maintain certain standards not found at Safeway and Giant. No antibiotics (ever), no partially hydrogenated oils and I think no high fructose corn syrup. They derserve credit for taking these measures. Now if they just take the next step toward maintaining high quality and moving away from the industrial organic. They should also stop double bagging everything.

                      1. re: jfish

                        Maybe so but the Whole Foods near me needs to begin labeling their salad/hot food bar items correctly. Often they throw up a sign that is "like" the prepared food, but has different ingredients (+/- dairy or meat items). I have seen this on many occasions. Each time I notify the manager/customer service, they apologize and change the size and then repeat incident happens soon after.

              3. I regularly go to the Whole Foods in Mt. Washington and since one unpleasant employee left years ago, have had nothing but stellar customer service at checkout and when I've made requests of the manager. If you can make the trip, it has always been a wonderful experience, at least with the employees.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mukalu

                  I'm going to second the Mt Washington recommendation. I've never had anything but pleasant experiences there. Their employees are great.

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Looks like they need to re adjust their focus from growth to (quality per dollar spent).
                    Wegmans is growing but at least they're not a publicly traded company. I am thinking that the Whole foods as a, must carry items that are probably in need of monitoring by qualified employees with at least a certificate in food sanitation, and in the case of the health and wellness section a background in vitamins and supplements, Fresh Fields was pretty good at that. But Whole Foods is becoming the Home Depot of alternative food markets.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: keithlb1

                      My biggest problem with WF has not been the customer service. Rather, I find that if you watch the register, they overcharge at least 25% of the visits. Sometimes, the prices are substantially different from what is marked on the shelf. This is almost always to the store's advantage rather than to the customer's advantage. I point this out most of the time and usually they just credit me for the difference. That said, it is a pain to always have to check the register. It is extremely rare for this to happen to me at my other favorite stores- TJ's and Wegmans'.

                      1. re: baltymoron

                        I've heard this to be quite common at Whole Foods. At one point there was a rumor that this was done on purpose because most people don't look at each item being added up. If this happens to you on more than a few occasions, I would report this to the Better Business Bureau until this WF gets straightened out.

                      2. re: keithlb1

                        Maybe it's just me.... from Day 1 I considered Whole Foods to be the Starbucks of grocery stores.