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Safeway Food and Drug Stores Masters of Deception
Chuck Langenberg ^ | Unknown | Chuck Langenberg

Posted on 11/04/2004 12:24:57 PM PST by FoxPro

Safeway Food and Drug Stores Masters of Deception

The Safeway system is carefully crafted to deceive their customers using an entire suite of elements. Such as their Club Card, computers, cash registers, ads, slogans, merchandise location, sign location, and the small print on their signs. Each assertion described below, is backed up by specific examples.

This web page is based entirely on my own observations as a customer, with no knowledge or assistance from the inside. If you feel that anything herein is inaccurate or exaggerated, I would really appreciate it if you would please use my feedback form and refer to the issues below, perhaps even including the specific verbiage that you take exception with. I will pay particular attention to replies that focus on "specific" issues, having found that "general" responses lack substance. I may make changes based on your feedback as I deem appropriate. I will not discuss it on the phone, EMail, nor in person. Everything I have to say is above board for anyone to review on this web page.

If you don't get anything else out of what I say, remember one thing; I predict Safeway will "never ever" introduce self checkout stands as long as their Club Card is in use. That's because Safeway's entire entourage of deceitful actions are dependent on their automated systems hammering through your order faster that you are able to catch them perpetrating each of their individual hustles. Self checkout stands (which are starting to be deployed by other merchants) would make it too difficult for Safeway to defensibly conceal the Club Card deception described below with detailed examples. If you're unsure of something at a self checkout stand at another merchant, you can comfortably pause for a few seconds, take your time, really take your time, think it over, verify that the price which appears on the cash register screen matches the price you understood you were going to pay for it. Only then do you proceed ringing up your next item. This scenario is completely opposite of the way Safeway shoves their deceptive line items through. I think Safeway got blindsided by self checkout stands. I'm pretty sure the crooks at their corporate office dreamt up the whole Club Card fiasco before they even conceived of these new fangled checkout stands. And now, Safeway will have to clean up their entire infrastructure of deception before deploying them. I say you can absolutely take this to the back -- they will never employ self checkout stands until the deceptive Club Card goes. Period.

Now I'll get right down to pointing out those specific examples of what I observe as Safeway deception: Location of non-sale merchandise underneath (or next to) a Club Card sale sign. Such as locating 4x3 (1 high) toilet paper right next to 2x3 (2 high). Both packages have 12 rolls, and the rolls in both packages have the same number of sheets, and both look like they're of identical quality to my untrained eye. But the small print on the sign indicates that only the 2x3 (2 high) product number is on sale. And of course they're out of that one -- probably because it was a good deal. My point is that you'll pay a rip price if you buy the 3x4 package. But you guessed it, right next to the sign Safeway has conveniently located a whole bunch of a 3x4 non-sale packages. And hey stupid, it's your problem if you just read the large print on the sale sign which said "Safeway TP 12 Pack". You should have compared the product number on the small print of the sign to the product number which was printed on product itself. I suspect that Safeway thinks you deserve to pay an exorbitant price if you go tossing the wrong one in your shopping basket. Never mind that you didn't have any choice -- because they were completely out of the "sale" product. You're supposed to know to verify the product numbers, and ask for a rain check if they're out of the deal. And Safeway will insure that there will be plenty of things to keep you off balance at the cash register. And if you don't notice -- well you pay a lot more than you thought you would -- which means they make a lot more money. Now I genuinely respect your opinion if you think this just ought to be business as usual. But my opinion is that this is intentional deception on Safeway's behalf.

Another specific example of a similar deception at Safeway, is when they load up a refrigerator with 20 LB turkeys and put a great big sale sign on it. But the small print on the big sale sign states that only 10-12 LB turkeys are on sale. But when I stood right there with the shift manager, in front of the cabinet, and when I pointed out that non-sale turkeys in that cabinet outnumbered sale turkeys 10 to 1, but that they were all mixed together underneath a sale sign. When I pointed out that it all appeared very deceptive to me, the shift manager at the store just shrugged and left the deception the way it was. And that was during the Thanksgiving period. I came to the conclusion that it was intentional company deception on the behalf of Safeway. I really did made an issue of it, and I asked, "so are you just going to leave it that way?" The shift manager politely smiled, rearranged the pile of non-sale merchandise under the sale sign, knowingly left the deception there, then walked away. That manager probably would have resolved the issue if it were left up to their own discretion. Because this is not rocket science here, and I think most people can easily recognize the deception.

I've seen Safeway employ these same deceptive practices, on these same items, in 2 other stores. So now you get to ask yourself if you think this is Safeway company policy or not. You make the call. In both cases the non-sale merchandise will ring up at what they call "regular" price -- which is actually the worst price in town. And the cash register and computer are in on the deception too -- which I will elaborate on further down this page. And because of double pricing -- and the razzle-dazzle going on at the front counter, you are far less likely to notice that you were deceived until after you've paid and walked out the door -- if you notice it at all. After all, they're very efficient, which I'm sure everyone appreciates. It's the deception that people expecting good faith can do without. But you'll be sorely disappointed if you expect good faith from Safeway.

Check this out for yourself -- closely. Their own shift managers, three of whom I've personally spoken with regarding this, all stated that there is nothing wrong with this practice. While it is inevitable that you may occasionally find the wrong item left by a customer below a sign at other food stores -- I think you'll find it to be an isolated exception. But based on my personal experience, and my discussions with Safeway shift managers, I have personally arrived at the conclusion that deception is company policy at Safeway.

I mean I doubt Safeway would be stupid enough to put it in writing anywhere. But it wouldn't surprise me if some of their employees provided me with specific evidence that their management mumbles under their breath that they're expected to participate in the scam. Nobody has ever provided proof to me -- not yet anyway. But I still think this type of deception is an "unwritten company policy".

Maybe a Safeway employee would have the guts to write down dates, times, places, names, and the specific details of the conversations. Maybe they'd carefully document specifically how Safeway promotes this type of deception. Maybe they'd publish these specific details on the web, along with a picture of the manager who made the comments. If I ever come across evidence at how they promote their flagrant deception, I will link to that web page in a minute. I will not publish it on this web page -- I'd just link to it. I'd love to hear from multiple sources in their stores, middle management & corporate IT Department.

If you challenge a Safeway employee and say, "the items underneath or near a sign don't match that sign", they answer you by saying, "If an item is miss-marked, the item is free". And while that may be a good answer, it's not the answer to your question.

This type of pat answer conveniently ignores the fact that the products, which are located near a sale sign, do not apply to the sign -- and are not on sale. In other words, the items under and near the sign had a different product number on them than the product number on the sign itself. On top of that, sometimes the items are marked and sometimes they're not. And sometimes the items are actually marked with two different prices. And then you get thrown off balance when the subject gets changed to free items. But how can you argue with somebody who just offered you something for free? Gee you're going to think, let's play a little game here.

But is their pat answer company policy -- with verbiage approved by their legal department? Is it intended to change the subject and dupe their customers? Once again, you decide. Let me just say it one more time, It's not about miss-marked items. It is about misplaced items and misplaced signs. It's about loading a counter down with non-sale items, and then prominently placing a sale sign near it. Given that I've pointed this out to three of their shift managers, and that I've personally seen it in a number of stores, I believe this is intentional deception.

The verbiage of the signs & the ads. Especially the small print on the bottom. You have to read it and re-read it. Then carefully compare the stock number on the sign to the stock number on the merchandise. Don't get fooled into assuming that the products located underneath the sign apply to the sign.

Quantity limits are kept track of by their computer -- in kahoots with the Safeway Club Card, and supported by their signs. And this is all tied together with their cash registers -- which won't inform you if it rings up at "regular" price. For example (I love examples), if you use your Club Card when you buy the sale limit of quantity of 2 today, and then use the same card again when you buy 2 more of that same item the next day, the blip, blip, blips of the cash register will sound "exactly" the same. However, you'll be paying an exorbitant price for the second purchase. And if your items are being rung up fast enough, and with all of Safeway's added complexity, you're far less likely to notice.

The rub isn't that they have quantity limits, but that they make no effort to inform you if you exceed it -- the blips of the cash register sound the same either way. It's almost as though they're encouraging it.

The Safeway deception is that you are manipulated and deceived into believing that you're getting the sale price when you're not. The ethical thing for them to do would be for their automated system to inform you that you've already exceeded the quantity limit -- and that you are going to pay full price for the second purchase -- like a legitimate retailer would do. But Safeway's cash registers just ring up your supposed sale items at full price, and it keeps on going, without ever mentioning it.

And you can't blame the checkout clerk. They didn't program the cash register. And how are they supposed to remember whether or not you purchased that item a day or two earlier? If you're lucky the clerk might notice that it rang up at regular price, then key in a special code so you'll get the "sale" price. Or maybe you'll be on the ball, see through all the Club Card razzle-dazzle, and notice that it rang up a higher price than you thought it should have. But I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of these go un-noticed.

The end result is that you assume one price, but you pay more, and there is absolutely no doubt that they pull the quantity limit scam that I've just described. So this is yet another specific example of their cash registers, computers, their Club Card -- the whole system being ingeniously and cohesively in on a deceptive practice. Now I realize that you may not define this as deception, in which case we'll have to agree to disagree on that matter. But I say it's intentional deception on Safeway's behalf -- and nobody at the home office is going to change my mind on that, regardless of how they spin it, or how much of their juvenile pathological logic they try to interject as a smoke screen.

And yeah, you could pollute your wallet with a second Club Card. But then you'd have to remember to keep track of which card you used and when you used it. Then you'd have to be sure to hand them the 2nd card the next time you were in -- in which case they'd have you playing their game. And that's not the point anyway. My point is that Safeway deceives their customers. So why would you want to deal with somebody like that? And they may not do it every time either. So don't get duped into believing they're on the level just because the price rang up the way you think it should have on just one occasion. Given Safeway's criminal bent, you have to watch them like a hawk. Every time.

If you shop in a store in another area code, and if you forgot your Club Card, and if you just give them your 7 digit phone number, omitting the 3 digit area code, they'll key it into the cash register at checkout time. But in this case, your discounts won't register. It may work when you're in the right area code, but not when you forget to read them all 10 digits of your phone number when you're in the wrong part of town. This may sound like a convenience. But like so many things at Safeway, it's another opportunity for them to take advantage of their "defensible" deception.

The ethical thing for them to do would be to flag you and/or the checkout clerk that the phone number is not on file. But what happens instead, is that their computers don't say anything. Now this isn't actually a lie, you understand -- so in Safeway's warped corporate mind this makes the scam OK. What happens is, the cash register blip, blip, blips will sound the same. And although you may assume that you're getting the discounts, you'll be charged the higher price. And like so many other cases at Safeway, you won't be notified. Of course Safeway makes more profit if you don't notice until after you've left the store. Isn't it amazing how all of these so-called "mistakes" benefit Safeway's bottom line, but not you? Next ask yourself why "mistakes" like this never turn up in your favor. After that you decide whether or not Safeway is being intentionally deceptive.

I've often wondered if their corporate computers pump out a report that summarizes how much each "oversight" illegitimately nets their bottom line. I can just visualize the good old boys joking about it over the toilet stalls in the men's room an their home office. Do you suppose they give an award to the person who dreams up the most successful & profitable "innocently defensible" scam? I wonder how much money they make on each new area code split.

Here's a paragraph that a respondent entered into my feedback form. I have not personally verified it; "Did you know that their 'special' ads comes out a day in advance of the actual date of the sale? Every other store puts the ad in the paper on the day of the sale. Safeway's weekly ad is early. I have gone into Safeway more than once and bought something only to find out that the sale doesn't start until the following day. I am already at the store so I buy end up buying most of the time. I don't usually shop Safeway anymore because of it."

When you see "Club Pack" marked on meat items, do you automatically think this means they're on sale? I mean at Safeway, "Club" means "sale", right? Wrong, sometimes. Just because a meat item is in a large 3-5 LB package, and just because the packages may be marked with a "Club Pack" label, and just because they're located underneath a "Club Price" sign, doesn't mean that those specific items are on sale. This is a jumbo size insult to you and your pocket book. Because you're buying a large package of meat, but paying a much higher price than you expected. And you won't find out unless you carefully watch the cash register and/or read the receipt. But of course you won't get your hands on that receipt until after you've paid them. You see it's all tied together. So once again, you have to carefully read the sale sign -- two or three times -- because even the small print is riddled with deceptive wording. In other words the wording is legally accurate, but it can easily be taken the wrong way, depending on the person reading the sign.

It would all be defensible in a court of law you understand, but my contention is that they write signs in such a way that they are commonly "misunderstood" -- meaning of course that you're stupid and it's all your fault. And the chump customers who do the misunderstanding pay more.

I wonder if their computer has a "chump" rating for customers -- indicating who gets sucked in by which of their scams. With access to such a list, telemarketers would know just which customers are suckers for which scams, before they even call them. I'm only dreaming about this as I write, you understand. But then again, maybe someday, somebody in their corporate IT or marketing department will come clean & blow the whistle on Safeway's deception.

In addition; in the meat and bakery departments, you "also" have to carefully read the label on the actual product. And sometimes the label will have two prices; a regular price, and a "Club Price" -- for which you must have a "Club Card" -- which may or may not be related to a large "Club Pack".

And sometimes these two-priced "Club Card" items are mixed together on the shelf with overpriced one-price large non-sale "Club Pack" items, but with a "Club Price" sign above them. And so you see, not all "Club Pack" items are "Club Priced". It just depends. Now did you get all that? Ergo, you're likely to get bamboozled if you don't compare the product number on the product label to the product number that's printed on the sale sign. And you'll get nickel-dimed if you're silly enough to associate the Club Pack package with the Club Price sign posted above/near it. I mean they both contain the word "Club", right?

The point is, don't be foolish enough to trust Safeway's integrity. I mean after all, a large package usually means you're paying less, right? Yeah, well, maybe at a legitimate retailer, but don't count on it at Safeway. If you just toss the Club Pack package from underneath the Club Price sign into your shopping cart, you are very likely going to pay more than you thought. So even if your Club Card plastic were to be scanned in through the reader at the register in this case, it would have no effect for some items. Now I mean that's what happens. So you get to ask yourself if that's what Safeway is hoping for. And the blip, blip, blips of those darn obsolete cash registers sound the same either way. Now this what I mean by deception.

And if that isn't bad enough, to add another layer of complexity, the "Club Pack" part of the label may or may not have glue stickum on the back of it. The explanation for this could just be, "Aw shucks, we were saving on labels. You know, so we could get a better price on one kind of label instead of two." And of course they'd pass the savings onto you. Or the other hand maybe they'd say, "We were out of label A, so we used label B". Or they didn't want to mount a different label in the printer. Or they could say, "Those darn guys at corporate, golly it's all just all so confusing." But isn't it interesting how the confusion always works out to their financial favor? Anyway, they could come up with all sorts of excuses. And then that way, when the news media shows up with their cameras, the Safeway Meat Department can claim they simply forgot to tear at the dotted line. Dizzying isn't it? And I'm sorry, but given that the Meat Department engages in this type of obvious pricing deception, I can't help but wonder about what's inside the actual packages. I have absolutely nothing to base my previous statement on, but it just seems entirely logical to me that I suspect anything else they do too.

I took my camera into a Safeway store to take web pictures of the pork deception described above. I felt like I was at a Las Vegas casino or something, because the shift manager visited me and told me that pictures were not allowed. I immediately agreed to his demand, but while I had his attention, I took the opportunity to point out the deception. So there we were standing in front of the meat counter, and I pointed out to him that 95% of the pork under a large $1.29 per LB Club Card sign was in fact going to ring up at $2.99 per LB -- whether or not the customer had a Club Card. In addition, I told him that I felt that placing a "Club Price" sign above meat marked with non sale "Club Pack" items was also deceptive.

Being that he was a loyal employee, he did not admit that any of this was deceptive -- and he didn't resolve the issue either. Heck no! Why would it be deceptive when 95% of the items under the sale sign, didn't actually apply to the sign? But he wouldn't admit it, and he correct the deception either. The end result was that the $2.99 per LB pork deceptively remained underneath the $1.29 per LB sign -- after I had stood there right in front of the scam and clearly pointed it out to him. It would have been easier reasoning with a child or a drunk, than with that Safeway shift manager. So I handed him my business card, and I pledged that I was going to create a web page which would clearly spell out their deception. And this is that web page. And it isn't going away until the deception goes away.

The next morning the dayshift manager phoned me at the number on my business card. Once again I clearly described the deception -- which was very fresh in my mind. But he said that according to Safeway -- putting up a sale sign & then loading it down 95% with non-sale merchandise is completely legitimate. I reiterated to that shift manager too -- that I was going to write this web page

I believe that I was very reasonable -- and I gave Safeway every opportunity to cease their flagrant and obvious deception. And they responded by insulting my intelligence & saying there was nothing wrong with what they were doing.

I've been back to that particular Safeway store on a handful of occasions since my complaints to the two shift managers -- and I've noticed during those visits that this deceptive practice was still taking place. And so for these reasons, I have come to the conclusion that deception is Safeway's company policy.

So now I've pointed out three conversations that I've personally had with three different shift managers. And I have to ask myself, "Is it me? Or does Safeway not understand the concept of right vs. wrong?"

Sometimes the sale price rings up at the end of the sale, and sometimes it rings up as you go. It all depends on when you hand your Club Card to the checkout clerk, and when they scan it in. But either way, there's going to be a bunch of razzle-dazzle occurring during the checkout process.

The complexity that the Club Card introduces makes it more difficult for you to identify their deception. In scenario #1 above, each item rings up at full price "as" the items are scanned in. Later on, when your Club Card is scanned in at the end of the sale -- all of the items that their system recognizes as being "on sale" are reduced in succession -- blip, blip, blip. It all happens so fast that it's difficult to verify. And if you buy enough sale items, the blips happen so fast that it's almost impossible for you to identify their deception until after you've paid them. And depending on the number of displayable line items on the cash register screen display -- only a limited number of these items will show up on the display before they scroll off the top of the screen.

Just as importantly though, note that the only items that are going to be rebated are the ones that their system "recognizes" as being on sale. But the ones that you "thought" were on sale are going to get passed over, lost in the shuffle, and ring up at full price. In these cases a negative "rebate" line item will not appear on the receipt at all on any items that they don't recognize as being on "sale". And it's difficult to verify because the charge and rebate line items appear in two different places on the printed receipt.

Furthermore, what if they scan in 50 items, and then 10 of those items appear as on sale blip, blip, blip at the end. The more items you purchase, the more difficult it's going to be for you to discover -- that by your count -- there should have been 12 items "on sale". But of course they're always right, and you're always wrong. And while they'll almost certainly use their "miss-marked items are free" line on you -- I'll bet you don't know anybody who knows anybody who's ever gotten anything free from Safeway.

In a nutshell, I believe that it is Safeway company policy to screw you -- a little bit at a time. And the more razzle-dazzle they've got going on, the easier it will be for them to conceal each individual hustle. This "convenience" of scanning your Club Card in afterwards makes it nearly impossible for you to isolate on-the-spot any items that they "didn't" recognize as being on sale. And the more items you buy at once, the bigger the haystack will be, and thus the easier it will be for them to bury their individual needles -- or specific deceptive practices as it were.

Now let's look at scenario #2 above -- where the sale price is applied as you go -- first the sale, followed immediately by the discount. But even then, you have to watch them like a hawk. Only a genius could compute as fast as they can scan the items in? In both scenarios (#1 & #2) the more items you buy at once, the more difficult it's going to be for you to nail them at their deception.

It's easy to verify other retailers -- because they simply charge you 50 cents for a 50 cent item -- as you go. They don't confuse the sale process by removing 25 cents from 75 cent item to arrive at 50 cents, but having two line items appear on the receipt. With a legitimate retailer you could tell them as you go -- to omit any items that are not priced as you "assumed". But this possibility has been made fuzzy at Safeway. So once an item is rung up, they've greatly increased their odds that you're going to pay what they say -- whether or not you're paying what you "thought" you were paying..

Complexity is part of the formula at Safeway -- and they cash in on it at many turns. They're masters of deception after all. I'm not saying you don't get bargains there. But they more than make up for it when they chisel you, and gouge you by pawning off over priced items on you -- and which they intentionally deceive you into thinking are on sale.

And when you call them on it, no matter what you say, they're likely going to respond with the catch-all phrase, "miss-marked items are free". But once again, this section is an example of how the Club Card, cash register, computer, and signs are all in on the deception.

The whole Safeway system is efficient, that's for sure. They're good when it comes to getting the sale out the door in record time, But other retailers are good too. I mean they all have similar hardware available to them -- just different software.

But the foundation, and the most critical element of Safeway deception is their Club Card mumbo-jumbo -- which is supplemented by their signs, ads, and everything else that I've mentioned above. Everything is deceptively and cleverly crafted to take advantage of their efficiency -- to railroad through the sale before you've had a chance to recognize their individual scams.

At the end of the sale they'll present you with a total, of course. And the person in line behind you is apt to get annoyed if you don't railroad through your payment. And you are considerate, aren't you? But that's a mistake on your behalf -- because this is something else Safeway will take advantage of. Firstly, that you are considerate. Secondly, that the person behind you in line will huff and puff if you start asking too many questions, or drag the transaction out too long. I don't know about you, but I've sure huffed and puffed when I thought somebody was taking too long paying for the goods. But this is a non-issue with other retailers. Because most retailers just ring up items at either regular price, or at sale price. But the Safeway system just has so many issues built upon the foundation of deception.

Now some people would say that's why they hand you a printed receipt. And like any place else, you are not going to get your hands on that receipt until you've already paid -- which is too late for most "considerate" people to make an issue out of it. But the difference at Safeway is, the chances of you calling their bluff is reduced by the mere fact that they've polluted the receipt with all of the Club Card rebate complexity. And since the receipt is so complicated... And since they print it out more than one way -- depending on whether you handed them your Club Card before, during, or after they scanned in the items... And since things happen so fast... chances are you're going to get screwed at Safeway.

Now after you've paid, after which they've handed you the receipt, it wouldn't be nice to stand there and read the receipt in front of them, would it? That would be rude, wouldn't it? I'll bet the crooks at the Safeway corporate office are counting on that too. So once again, they've stacked the deck in their favor. The chances are that Safeway's automated complexity will beat you again.

Somebody who claimed to be a Safeway employee once visited this web page and said, "The funny thing is that about one in five people actually come back to the register, and even then, they are more than often wrong." Hey, I don't know, maybe he grabbed a number out of the air. But so what if it's 1 in 3 or 1 in 10. His comment only served to make my point -- that Safeway's system is fuzzy. But if they'd just ring up a 50 cent item up at 50 cents -- they wouldn't have 1 in 5 people challenging them, or whatever percentage it is.

And why do they do it? In a nutshell, I think it's because Safeway makes more money off of all the deception caused by all of the complexity that they've interjected.

Don't get me wrong -- everything that Safeway does is legal. Yes sir you bet, they're completely legal. The Federal Trade Commission is never going to take Safeway to court and win. They're too smart for that. I'm not saying Safeway is illegal. But in my opinion, they're deceptive. Intentionally and defensibly deceptive.

But don't take my word for any of this. Go visit Safeway for yourself. And be sure to verify what you find by visiting a number of their stores. Then carefully scrutinize their competitors to see if they're pulling any of these same shenanigans.

Please feel free to use my feedback form to let me know what you came up with. If you know of any web sites describing Safeway's shenanigans, I'll consider linking to them from this web page. I'm not going to put anybody else's pictures on my web pages. If you remember, I stated above that I was halted from taking pictures of Safeway deception by a shift manager. But if you know of other web sites where I can link to their deception, please do let me know via the feedback form.

I've had two kinds of people provide feedback about this web page; 1) Those who agree with me, and 2) Those who don't like what I say.

The interesting thing is that the people who have sent agreeable feedback, have often provided additional "specific" examples of Safeway deception.

However, those who don't like what I say, tend to speak in generalities -- ignoring the "specific" issues that I've brought up. Generalities don't work with me, OK? And neither does ignoring the facts that I've brought up, or changing the subject, or cussing, or name calling, or anything else. I'm wise to that type of a smoke screen.

A pretty common complaint about me and this web page, is when they are extremely abrupt and say that I don't know how to read signs. I've probably had that entered into my feedback form 3-4 times. They never say anything else, they just focus on the signs -- as if to say that they think everything is OK as long as their deceptive, misleading and misplaced signs spell everything out. Firstly, I realize that they're changing the subject when they say that. Secondly, it hasn't gone un-noticed by me that when they focus on signs, they are ignoring 99% of everything else I've said.

When you're in a Safeway store, and when you call them on the carpet, their first line of defense is saying, "miss marked items are free". First of all, that line is catchall smokescreen phrase that usually shuts people up. But secondly, that line is a bunch of crap. Because they don't even mark the vast majority of their items.

I think their next approach is to attack. When you hold your ground and get in their face -- such as this web page is doing. I think their plan B is to be extremely abrupt and say, "you can't read signs". And if they snarl enough, they hope most people will retreat. That's what I think anyway. But I have no way of knowing who entered those abrupt responses into my feedback form.

But one thing's for sure, there's an overall tendency to avoid challenging anything specific that I've written.

This web page contains "specific" scenarios of Safeway deception. I would be more than happy to correct any inaccuracies on this web page -- but you first need to point out the verbiage that's incorrect. I love "specifics". And I can only correct specifics.

If you are an attorney for Safeway, here's how to contact me. But please understand that I will post copies of any subpoenas on this web site. You're not going to sweet talk, or fast talk, or manipulate, or change the subject, or threaten your way out of this. I will remove this web page only if a judge requires it. More likely though, I'll rewrite it for anybody who provides a specific correction. By some far stretch of the imagination I suppose it's also possible that Safeway could completely clean up their policy of deception. But it would have to be cleaned up by my definition. Because it's pretty obvious to me that Safeway doesn't know right from wrong. And I am firmly convinced that Safeway is intentionally deceptive.

Once again -- this web page is not about miss-marked items. Got it? Hello? Hello? This web page is not about miss-marked items. OK? It's about miss-placed items, miss-placed signs, and deception. It's about all of the specific issues that I wrote about above. OK? Now the reason I bring this up is Safeway always says, "If an item is miss-marked it's free." So when you're calling them on the carpet -- don't let them weasel out of anything by changing the subject on you.

In May 2002, QFC began pushing their new Advantage Card And in October of 2002 Albertson's followed suit with their Preferred Savings Card. These cards look curiously similar to Safeway's Club Card. As far as I'm concerned, the jury's still out on how they'll implement them. But so far I've noticed that the QFC cash register blips sound the same whether items ring up "on sale" or not.

As an alternative, I shop at two smaller stores, both of which carry a lot of Western Family labels.

I really like the meat department at the Briarwood Market -- a locally owned store here in Renton, WA. Their meat prices are on par with everybody else, but it's far far fresher than any of the chains mentioned above. I think they just watch everything closer and they take more pride than the big boys. And the meat's never brown on the inside. My bet is because they package it up more often. Briarwood treats meat like it's something you're going to eat, rather than a commodity. It's gotten to the point where I just don't want to buy meat anywhere else.

Another store that I've learned to love is Saar's, Market Place, a chain of 10 stores here in Western Washington. A shift manager recently told me that they're regularly doing 30% more business than the same period a year ago. I think he was being conservative, given that all six of their checkout lanes are running at rush hour. I recently had to park about 20 cars away just to get a parking spot. Then as I was entering the store, there must have been 6 or 8 women leaving, pushing shopping carts crammed to the gill with groceries. If I didn't know better I'd have thought they were attacking me or something. Honest to God, it looked like a scene out of a horror movie. Once I got inside the store there were 5-6 stockers going like a bumper derby.

Saar's Market Place has really sharpened their pencil in the last couple of years. I'm betting this was a return salvo to counter the new membership cards that their competitors are inflicting on us. Brute force seems to be Saar's new niche. I have to tell you, sometimes I'm shocked by their deals. I envision that Safeway lies awake at night dreaming up ways to nickel-dime and dupe people into buying over priced items while thinking they're on sale. Meanwhile Saar's is busy writing purchase orders for truckloads of "true" sale merchandise that you don't have to screw around to get the price on. They pile sale items up to the rafters. They're never out, and in general, they don't care how much you buy either -- as in no limits. Saar's must buy by the truckload to get those prices.

For example, some of their everyday prices are $1.99 LB butter, $1 spices, $1 bags of lettuce, 29¢ fruit pies, and $1 for big 26 OZ cans of Hunts spaghetti sauce, which they heap up on the top shelf, not the bottom shelf. These everyday prices are about 30% less than the "sale" prices at Safeway, QFC & Albertson's. And they're roughly 70% less than the everyday prices at those stores. And I really do appreciate not having to use coupons to get those prices. And rather than using a membership card to enforce limits, I've never seen Saar's put a limit on how many I can buy at those prices. From my vantage point, Saar's certainly has an answer to the crap that Safeway, QFC & Albertson's are heaping at us. Yes indeed, competition is alive and well in Renton, Washington.

I used to shop only at Safeway. But their deceptive tactics backfired on me. Now I'm a Saar's & Briarwood customer.

Please "do" feel free to quote me as you see fit on anything that I've written on this web page.

Once again, if you feel that anything on this web page is inaccurate or exaggerated, I would really appreciate it if you would please use my feedback form and quote me the exact verbiage that you take exception with, along with how you feel it should be rewritten, and why.

By the way, did I remember to say that, "I love specifics"? I love specifics. I gotta tell you, I just looOOoove specifics.

Regards, Chuck Langenberg

TM & © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004 -- Chuck Langenberg. All rights reserved.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: safeway
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I did a Google search for "Safeway self checkout" and ran across this article. I thought it was interesting.
1 posted on 11/04/2004 12:24:58 PM PST by FoxPro
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To: Mears

Bump for later

2 posted on 11/04/2004 12:27:18 PM PST by Mears
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To: FoxPro

Kroger uses a similar card in their stores; at the same time, they were the first chain in Metro Atlanta to begin to use self-checkout lines.

This sounds more like someone with an axe to grind than anything else.

3 posted on 11/04/2004 12:29:21 PM PST by mhking
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To: FoxPro

I shop at Safeway and any time I've not been given a sale price or thought I was not, they've been very gracious to make amends or review my receipt and give an explanation of the price. This story is very one-sided. I could have written the same story about another food chain: Giant!

4 posted on 11/04/2004 12:31:07 PM PST by Holding Our Breath
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To: mhking

The parts I read seem to agree with your assertion.

As a retail employee, I find that customer's often fail to (or can't???) read the stickers to make sure they are getting the correct item. Honestly, it isn't that hard for people to make sure they are getting the right thing.

The charges of conspiracy and trickery make me wonder if this author is a Kerry supporter :)

5 posted on 11/04/2004 12:34:06 PM PST by JakeWyld (Let's face it. Democrats do not deserve to lead America.)
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To: FoxPro

My brother went to Ralphs and tried to buy some Lime Diet Coke...they said the sale price only applied if he had a $10 order.

6 posted on 11/04/2004 12:34:25 PM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: FoxPro

So, don't shop there...

7 posted on 11/04/2004 12:35:22 PM PST by 2banana (They want to die for Islam and we want to kill them)
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To: mhking

Mr. Langenberg needs to get out more. A LOT more. Not only is this a bizarre obsession on his part, from my own personal experience I know he's waay off-base.

Around here, no-one beats Randalls (i.e., Safeway) for good service, and the prices are pretty much the same as Krogers. HEB can be cheaper, but their stock is usually stale in most of the Houston HEB's that I've frequented, so it kind of negates any price advantage.

8 posted on 11/04/2004 12:35:31 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: FoxPro

If I'm asked by the checker if I have one of those cards, I say,"I'm sorry, but my wife got it in the divorce." Every time I've done this (except once), either a lady behind me in line let's me use hers or the checker lets me use hers because they feel sorry for me. I tell them my wife had a better lawyer than me.

9 posted on 11/04/2004 12:35:37 PM PST by Crawdad (Take a camera to the polls.)
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To: FoxPro

This is an example of a "Stupidity Surcharge". The stupider the customer, the more they have to pay. This helps the company cover the cost involved in answering their stupid questions and carrying extra insurance to cover the stupid misuses of the products they sell. The government does the same thing. Many states have enacted a "Stupidity Tax" in the form of the lottery. (Not to be confused with the expression "Stupid Taxes!")

10 posted on 11/04/2004 12:36:12 PM PST by JustRight
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To: FoxPro

People who can write this much about a mundane topic scare me. It's the literary equivalent of muttering on a street corner about people watching you through your TV set.

11 posted on 11/04/2004 12:38:45 PM PST by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: FoxPro

I bet one could substitute the name of ANY supermarket chain in this essay.

12 posted on 11/04/2004 12:39:28 PM PST by Petronski (Report back to headquarters for debriefing and cocktails.)
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To: FoxPro


13 posted on 11/04/2004 12:39:30 PM PST by Bob J ( soon!)
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To: FoxPro
Always look at and compare the unit prices. Pay attention at the checkout. Ask to have the screen turned so you can see it if it is facing the other way. Question anything you think is wrong.

Personal responsiblity - now at your local Safeway.

14 posted on 11/04/2004 12:39:47 PM PST by meowmeow (We are all Buckhead!)
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To: FoxPro

I sincerely hope I never get behind this guy in the check-out line.

15 posted on 11/04/2004 12:41:16 PM PST by 3AngelaD
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To: mhking

I think this article answers my question..."Where is Lyndon LaRouche's speechwriter now?"

16 posted on 11/04/2004 12:41:16 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (I want to have fanatical henchmen when I grow up.)
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To: AppyPappy

That would be Safeway Secret Police peeking through the screen, so always turn away when having a good, manly scratch -- otherwise there will photos of the act on every carton of Safeway milk.

17 posted on 11/04/2004 12:41:55 PM PST by Kiss Me Hardy
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To: FoxPro
Are you sure you're on the right website? This seems more appropriate for or (assuming there is such a site).
18 posted on 11/04/2004 12:42:10 PM PST by Still Thinking
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To: 3AngelaD

He's probably also the guy with 20 items in the express line trying to pay with a third party check from Yemen.

19 posted on 11/04/2004 12:42:14 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim (I want to have fanatical henchmen when I grow up.)
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To: AppyPappy

"People who can write this much about a mundane topic scare me. It's the literary equivalent of muttering on a street corner about people watching you through your TV set."

Excellent analysis.

20 posted on 11/04/2004 12:44:13 PM PST by JanetteS (My heart is as light as a song!)
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