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Feb 7, 2011 04:56 AM

Grocery Shopping Question


I was in a very well-known store that advertises itself as a 'gourmet' shopping experience (I have an email out to them, so I want to see if they redeem themselves before listing what store it was), and picked up an 8 pack of Honest Kids b/c my 2 y.o son was crying for a drink.
I have never tried Honest Kids before, and I got the Super Punch flavor. It was completely undrinkable. It literally tasted of water with some kind of artificial sweetner added (I KNOW this is not the case, but that was how it tasted).
So, I brought it to the front and informed my cashier that I thought it was bad and showed him that we had an almost full container of one carton of juice, and the other seven were untouched. He told me not to worry about it- the manager would take care of it.
The manager returned and informed me in a really loud, obnoxious voice that there is 'nothing wrong with the juice, its delicious and she drinks it all the time- you cannot return something just because you don't like the way it tastes'. And, I understand that, I really do... but... in other similar stores like Whole Foods or TJ's, they would never make you pay for something that you say doesn't taste good, nor would they give you major attitude about it.
It wasn't like I had just brought this juice to the front either- I had a bill of around $150 that was already mounting up!
I would have thought that most grocery stores would just take a small hit for a $5 container of juice rather than be so rude to a customer (especially when they can probably return it to the manufacturer and cite customer complaint anyway).
Am I completely wrong for not expecting to pay for something that was not to my taste? If this happens again, what would be the correct way to handle the situation?

  1. while it would be nice, there is nothing wrong with the product, so they have no obligation to take it back. it isn't broken, it isn't spoiled, it isn't missing anything. imagine you went and bought a $100 of filet mignon, only to decide the texture isn't to your taste, and you like sirloin. is that the stores fault?

    1 Reply
    1. re: thew

      We are talking about $5 not $100. And honestly it was more of an issue with the obnoxious way of talking than the $5. (Plus, this wasn't a piece of meat- this was a box of juice that could be returned to a manufacturer).

    2. Am I completely wrong for not expecting to pay for something that was not to my taste?

      Yes, you're wrong.
      If a product was spoiled that's a different story.

      Check the package of juice, maybe there's a money back guarantee.

      Maybe shop at places TJ's, WF and Costco if you expect more liberal return policies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: monku

        That's the thing. I did shop @ a place very similar to TJ's and WF! That's why I expect more :)

      2. You should have been able to return the un-opened containers and affect a refund of those seven, but not the one you opened and drank from.

        2 Replies
        1. re: CarrieWas218

          I asked for that option. They said they couldn't do that. I didn't even take the unopened 7 cartons- I told them to put them in the trash!

          1. re: CarrieWas218

            only if they sell single containers, which they may not

          2. You opened it IN the store before the actual purchase, then didn't want to pay for it?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Cathy

              Would you rather she continued to shop with a thirsty, crying 2 yr old?

              1. re: viperlush

                No, but I'd expect that she take the thirsty, crying 2 yr old to a drinking fountain...or to get a drink from a vending machine (many of them sell non-pop alternatives)...or reach into her bag for the travel sippy cup of water or juice box that the rest of us hauled around when our kids were that age.

                Doesn't excuse the manager for being rude, but opening a drink and then refusing to pay for smacks of a scam (I'm NOT saying that's what the OP was doing; but if you were a manager at a grocery, I'm guessing you'd deal with those who WERE attempting a scam in that manner on an hourly basis).

                1. re: sunshine842

                  There were no options of a vending machine in this store. And I fully intended to buy the product. If I had taken it home and opened it, I would have brought it right back and returned it. I am fairly confident that this particular store would have accepted it back if I expressed that it wasn't good, and if nothing else given me store credit or let me exchange it for different juice.
                  I actually did have a sippy cup with water but if you remember from your 2 y.o days- when a 2 y.o is SCREAMING for something, you usually give it to them.. Especially my 2 y.o who seems to enjoy having terrible 2 moments more than most others.. ;)

                  1. re: marissaj

                    "when a 2 y.o is SCREAMING for something, you usually give it to them.. " ...Um, no, I didn't. What I had available was all THEY had available, and screaming for something else wasn't allowed.

                    "Especially my 2 y.o who seems to enjoy having terrible 2 moments more than most others.. ;)" -- this is frequently linked to the fact that they learn fairly quickly that if they keep screaming, they get what they want. 2-year-olds are amazingly astute and logical little creatures.

                    I am NOT judging you...there isn't enough information here, and this is not a parenting forum...but the two sentences are inexorably linked. Sounds like this might be your first/only, and it IS SO EASY to fall into the trap they weave...but you have to be the mom sometimes.

                    At any rate...buying the juice was the right way to could have brought it back later, contacted the manufacturer, or just pitched it...but ***even though I know that's not what you were up to*** -- it's not too hard to see how the manager thought it was. dump123456789 just downthread is thinking the same way.

                    (and like I said...this isn't an admonishment or a judgment, just a "been there, done that" bit of advice that hopefully cuts down or eliminates a little hassle from your life)

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      As I wrote below, I called all the chain of stores who all told me that they don't expect the customer to keep something they aren't fully satisfied with.
                      Yes, he is my first and only child, and since I was shopping I did not want to deal with him screaming and twisting and turning in his seat pointing to a container of juice boxes that I was going to give him when I was in the car anyway.
                      I told them at the store to pitch it. I agree, btw, that it would be easy to think this was a scam, but surely if someone was going to scam, you would pick something better than a box of juices. Oh, and btw- I showed her the first container, totally not drunk. To which she responded how delicious the juice is and how she drinks it all day long.

                      1. re: marissaj

                        Nobody's trying to excuse her for being rude.

                        And if you actually spent time phoning other stores to point out what rat bastards this store is, you are taking this WAY too seriously and you need to let this go. You have a beautiful child...focus on the good stuff.

                        Don't shop there any more -- give your money to those other stores...but you've spent way too much time and angst on this already.

                        And don't give in to tantrums. If you have to take him out of the store, then do...but giving him the juice immediately just reinforces the "if I pitch a fit, Mom will do whatever I want" that he's already learned. It'd still have been water (and was, the few times mine decided to try tantrum as a convincing argument.)

                        I was not, and still am not, a perfect parent, by the way...tantrums was one that I simply never tolerated, though.

            2. You should have expected to pay. While it's nice that TJ, WF and Costco would not make you pay, that doesn't mean everyone else wouldn't. Perhaps your store has a history of people who think the store is one giant sampling station. I suspect if you'd paid for it before drinking it, you might have gotten a different response.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dump123456789

                +1. If the store did their part in bringing in the item and storing/pricing it properly, then as a customer, your responsibility is to pay for it if you make the product "unsellable" (e.g. you open the package).

                If the item seems defective or is not to your taste, then I think the proper outlet for your displeasure is to contact the manufacturer of the product. This is the course of action I'd recommend in this instance, and for the future.

                I hope that replies on this thread do not extend the unpleasant experience (e.g. seem like personal attacks). You're asking for read on a situation, and hopefully thoughtful responses can provide you perspective (assuming you have an open mind, and are not simply looking for support of your initial position).