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Different grocers' policies and procedures in different areas or countries

There's a good thread going about self checkout vs regular checkout at the grocery store. I am curious about your stores' policies regarding membership cards. We don't have them in StL! When we buy groceries in other cities, that is the first thing I hear after the groceries are checked--do you have a membership card. Sometimes we get a spiel, although I usually cut them short. "We don't live here!"

I would really resent it if I had to give my name, address and other info to get a card so I could get a discount at the store. Do your markets require this? If so, do all the markets in your town/city do this too?

And, do your markets give you a choice whether to get paper or plastic bags as you check out?

And are there any other unusual or odd practices where you shop for food? Anything great? Anything drive you crazy?

FYI, I really like my market and I do the bulk of my buying there. It is a locally owned local chain. I am not asked to get a card. I am not forced to take plastic bags. I can bag my stuff if I want--or not. The place has actual floor covering on the floor, instead of bare concrete. It has a great deli, and helpful clerks and stockers. It has a few weaknesses. I find the produce is not as great as it used to be. I've started visiting Whole Foods once a week to fill in the blanks. But otherwise, it is a great place to buy food. And, I like shopping at WF too.

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  1. Some of the stores here in KC have loyalty cards. One of them offers a discount on gas with a minimum purchase. I personally don't have an objection to signing up. They never call or send me anything. I suppose they can track what I buy but so what.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Samalicious

      I downloaded the app KEYRING into my phone and no longer need to carry any of the loyalty cards; so far I haven't run into one grocer that doesn't offer a KEYRING account for me to tap into; including app specials, regular coupons and special one day deals. The app alerts me to new programs and new deals. All I need to do is hand my phone to the cashier for her to swipe. My purse is alot lighter and the convenience is appreciated. KEYRING works at all major retailers as well.

      My food shopping is extensive in that I shop everywhere. My only loyalty is to scoring fresh food daily at the best price I can find. I always bag my own groceries with reusable bags I keep in the car. If I have any complaints in policy or procedure I wouldn't hesitate to bring it to the attention of a dept Mgr or store personnel. Recently, the amount of water being sprayed in the produce area was downright ridiculous and I did let the green grocer know about it. Sometimes prices are mismarked and it can hold up an order.

      My biggest pet peeve is when a cashier does not know their produce and charges me the wrong price (high or low) because they weren't trained properly. Some markets do not clearly label the organic and standard produce properly and pricing can get confused at check out.

      I enjoy small markets, pick your own farms, specialty shops as much as a well stocked grocery but in my area in order to be proactive about my menu planning I really do need to shop everywhere.

      1. re: Samalicious

        I have supermarket loyalty cards for Stop and Shop, Big Y, Shop-Rite, Adams and Shaws. Market Basket does not use them. If you are applying for a card at most of these chains and tell them you will not be shopping with checks you do not have to provide personal info. Otherwise, if the store requires this, I make up a name, address, and bad email address. That way I get the discounts and no contact.

        The cards are required at many stores to get the sale prices on many items. At the self checkout registers at Stop and Shop you can push the forgot my card button on the screen and gfet the discount but no loyalty points.

        I mostlky use the loyalty points at Stop and Shop for gasoline discounts. Yesterday, I redeemed 400 points whgen getting gas and giot 40 cents off per gallon, paid $3.59 instead of $3.99 on an 18 gallon fillup.

        1. re: bagelman01

          The Stop & Shop gasoline discount is only avail in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island.

          1. re: HillJ

            We live in Westchester County and have NEVER heard of a gas discount at S&S!!

          2. re: bagelman01

            A family member in another place does this with a Kroger chain. (The chain was bought out by Kroger and is not named Kroger.) She uses the loyalty card, takes points and gets discounted gas.

            This is the second year of our Costco membership. It is simply not convenient to buy gas there, so we don't. But the Costco card is supposed to get you discounted gas. Also, I find that I am not attracted to shopping for food at Costco. The amounts of food you have to buy are too big, with some exceptions. I do like their canned tuna. And most of the offered food is processed too much, or too fatty or carby for either of us. I think we will pass on the membership next year.

            1. re: sueatmo

              after belonging to Price Club which morphed into Costco for twenty yeras, I did not renew my membership in 2010. However, I will need new eyeglasses this spring so will rejoin for this year only. I found food shopping there not suitable for our tastes and small family size. The gas at Costco was no cheaper than Stop and Shop and far less convenient

              1. re: sueatmo

                I just went to Costco for fuel. It was $4.059 /gallon. On the way home, the 7-11 was $4.23/gallon. I do live only about 3 miles from my Costco. Depending on the size of your tank, that is worth the cost of membership.

                As far as food at Costco, most is sold in multi-packs, even the chicken thighs at 99ยข/lb. I buy more basics than processed food there.

                One advantage of having the Costco membership card is they know what you bought and if there is a recall, a phone call and/or postcard shows up immediately. It has happened with milk, produce, meats and tires...telling us that the product either needs to be brought back or is out of the range to be part of the publicized national recall.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  their basmati rice is out of this world. so too is their ice cream (haagen dasz, labeled kirkland)

            2. all the groceries around me have loyalty cards. The discounts can be quite significant, especially when they do a "earn a 10% coupon for every $300 you spend". Last Christmas I got %30 off my major Christmas shopping trip, saving $100+. I don't really care if they have my address.

              1. Many of the grocery stores I frequent have them. I don't have an issues about using them. Unless you pay cash for every purchase your buying habits are being tracked one way or another.

                I did overhear an interesting thing regarding a loyalty program. The woman ahead of me at the customer service desk was returning a recalled item. She had been contacted by the grocery about the recall since they had her sales and contact info through the loyalty program.

                1 Reply
                1. re: meatn3

                  I was contacted by my grocery because of a recalled item that I had purchased. If not for the card I wouldn't have known about the recall so I always use my cards now.

                2. Not really a loyalty program, but I'm a member of the food co-op I do most of my shopping at. I avoid the 5% surcharge added to prices for non-members (different way of saying a 5% discount), but I also receive a dividends check at the end of the year.

                  1. only winn-dixie in my area has loyalty cards..
                    but since winn-dixie reorganized and closed some stores a few years ago theres only 2 left in our area..so i shop there less often than the publix which is 2 minutes down the street...which doesnt do a loyalty card...
                    i do like the cards..i do use coupons and at the end of ringing up i hand over the coupons and then my card...i like watching the price drop...
                    as far as i know none of them require the card..u either can or cannot sign up..its your choice..
                    and i dont recall an increase in junk mail or spam from winn dixie...

                    and yes i have been asked for a card when i was visiting the inlaws and i stopped at harris teeter..(i just gave them their phone number and they gave me the discount)

                    i dont find it annoying tho...

                    they do ask for paper or plastic in the stores here

                    and the only pet peeve about grocery stores is the baggers...most of the time they are bad at it...
                    i was one a long time ago and i still remember that u dont mix soap/cleaners with food stuffs..
                    or put all the heavy things in one bag so that it rips apart the minute u try and get it out of the car...

                    and the only other really annoying thing is at sams..
                    the have a door guard/receipt nazi who wont let u out of the store if your receipt doesnt match..

                    which happened once..my wife got her prescription at the pharmacy and paid for it there..while i was checking out with the other things and went to leave i didnt realize she still had the receipt in her purse...so the door guard wouldnt let me out the door...like i went into the pharmacy and stole the prescription...
                    and even after loudly asking that i couldnt leave until we produced the receipt ..(which my wife had in her purse while she took our baby into the restroom to change her diaper)..
                    all i was told was its store policy sir......

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: srsone

                      Funny, I was just commenting to the fine folks at Costco the other day that if they must place a line across the middle of my receipt while checking my cart and before allowing me to exit the store, at least draw that line on the blank back side of the receipt so I can still read it or turn it into accounting to read. Dear Costco, why is it necessary to draw a black magic marker line down the front of a customers receipt?

                      1. re: HillJ

                        sams at least usually uses a yellow highlighter...

                        1. re: HillJ

                          They draw a line through the receipt so some of our less than ethical residents do not leave the building with their purchases, then return to the store with an empty basket and fill basket #2 with exact same groceries and then leave stating they had to run to the bathroom. Ingenuity in the criminal youth.

                          1. re: nobadfoodplz

                            Listen, I understand we all have a job to do. But, the attendant is glancing at my receipt and glancing at the purchases in my chart. Underline: glancing. Therefore it was never my impression that the "security" was high level expertise. If the attendant needs to look at the receipt, do so with some real focus and if they need to draw a line in the middle of the receipt use a marker that doesn't make the receipt worthless to the customer later. Here's ingenuity, use a yellow highlighter in the top corner and leave the money detail alone.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I have never had much faith in the reciept checker either until a few weeks ago when he noticed that I had been charged for two packs of paper towels and only had one in my cart. He sent me back to a manager who promptly refunded the money and apologized. He mentioned that the reciept checkers catch cashier/bagging errors more frequently than attempted thefts. It seems that their presence is somewhat of a deterrent to shoplifters, but their secondary job is to make sure that everything that the customer paid for ends up in the cart.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Mr HillJ

                                I was answering the question you posed above. Why the "listen" and "Here's ingenuity" response addressed at me? If you do not like the way your local Costco is doing the check-out please speak to a manager there and make these suggestions.

                                1. re: nobadfoodplz

                                  LOL, again with the Mr.! All woman here.

                                  My ingenuity remark was aimed at Costco not you nobadfoodplz. Your suggestion to me was sweet and well intended yes? Thank you. I've made the point numerous x's about the receipt at the store (to attendants & CS) and usually turn the receipt over for the attendant to draw a line on the back now.

                                  And to chcocat, yes I understand as well that the attendant is there to catch mistakes. I still don't understand the benefit of drawing a black line thru the receipt print.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    that's so weird -- "my" Costco in my US hometown always, always uses a highlighter to "cancel" the receipt.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      sunshine842, I have always found their receipt practice odd.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I have noticed highlighters 'erase' the ink on that odd paper used for receipts and Costco using colored markers (red, orange and blue-probably from a multi pack they sell), not highlighters.

                                        Again, the people at the door are looking for multiples on the receipt and then checking the amount in the cart. Hence, the 'glance and mark' quick action you usually see. Then you can't walk out to your car, come back and say 'I only had one in my cart, but the receipt shows three'. It shows who checked.

                                        1. re: Cathy

                                          I understand why Costco does this checking, I don't understand why they use a black marker or why they need to draw a black mark down the entire front of the receipt. Maybe this doesn't occur at your location but it does every day at the one we shop. So, once my cart has been checked by the attendant, I turn the receipt over and ask that they mark the line on the blank back. No one has refused me.

                                          Since this is the only market/warehouse/store that has this kind of checking policy (Sams, BJ do not) I'm going to request this blank back side mark every time I shop there. My receipts are turned in to the accounting office. They need to be able to read it.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            I understand your frustration with the black mark through the critical part of the receipt. My BJ's checks receipts at the door, then uses a hole punch to mark the top of the receipt - the store gets security/loss prevention, and I get an intact, legible receipt. As far as I can tell, the cart-inspectors are primarily checking to make sure the number of items in the cart matches the number on the receipt - they only look at specific items if the number doesn't add up.

                              2. re: HillJ

                                It shows that the receipt has been checked in case you leave the store with some problems in security. It has happened.