Comments: Kroger Update

What's a Kroger?

Posted by Marcus at November 20, 2004 02:54 PM

Wow. So that feedback site must work. Cool. Good luck...hope ya get a big coupon or something out of it.
I shop at Kroger here, too. So far, I haven't had any trouble there, except they never have enough regular Coffee Mate. heh

Posted by Pammy at November 20, 2004 06:18 PM

Good luck. I'm actually surprised that they got in touch with you. Maybe I should re-evaluate my view of human nature... nah...

Posted by Beth at November 20, 2004 08:19 PM

Obviously, she hadn't read your post carefully, in which, as I recall, you provided the exact location of the store. Still, the letter is a good sign.

Posted by Jim - PRS at November 20, 2004 08:22 PM

My parents house in New England where I grew up was built in back in the dark ages. The house had recieved several facelifts over the years, but the kitchen was spartan and hopelessly out of date. My parents decided to remodel the kitchen from scratch: The room was stripped to the bare walls and started anew. New cabinets, counters, sink and appliances. Everything. I was 12 yrs old at the time.

My Dad went to Sears for most everything. All new Kenmore appliances were installed, including one that we didn't have before - a dishwasher! When we went to install the new sink, my parents remembered they had forgotten to pick out a faucet. They had a good laugh at themselves and back we went to Sears to buy a faucet.

I was there. In the plumbing dept, my Dad explained to a salesman what he needed. He specifically stated that he wanted a good unit that wouldn't be obsolete in 6 mos (hence unable to obtain replacement parts). The salesman said "this is the one you want, right here". Dad bought the faucet, took it home & installed it.

Dad's words turned out to be prophetic and thus began the Great Sears Brand-New Junk Episode of 1976.

The dishwasher leaked from day one. It took Sears 4 attemps to repair the offending unit and while done under warranty, repairs were performed with a marked lack of enthusiasm. On the 3rd repair attempt, the repairman damaged the kitchen floor. The new 'fridge quit at 5 wks of age. Sears replaced the unit under warranty but the appliance movers damaged the kitchen doorframe badly when replacing it. Then the icemaker in the new replacement wouldn't work. When Dad asked the local Sears who would be responsible for the damage to the floor, Sears employees brought forth much obfuscation. When Dad asked who was going to help repair the doorframe, his question was met with restrained ennui.

There were other faults too numerous to mention, then came the heaviest straw: The hot water knob on the new faucet broke at 6 mos of age. Back we traveled our well-worn path to Sears, model number in hand, only to be told by the very same salesman that sold my Dad the faucet that "we don't make that model anymore".

Dad was as furious as I'd ever seen him. His fury is the quiet & dangerous kind that you can see on his face. The look is a cross between the "I'll rip your lungs out, Jim" and the "Are you soft in the head or just plain friggin' stupid?" looks. We kids had seen the look before and we knew not to screw with Dad for the next few days.

The following day was a thursday. At work Dad had his secretary take a letter to Sears Corporate. In the letter he detailed all of the problems he had been encountering with Sears, along with some pointed observations about Sears employee's ancestry, if any. He signed his name over his title:

Government Contracts Administrator,
Special Weapons Guidance Systems,
MPB Corp
Keene, NH

It took 10 days. The reply letter from Chicago was succinct and to the point. The 1st paragraph was dedicated to something akin to a heartfelt apology. The rest of the letter provided detailed instructions for my parents to pick out new appliances & schedule installation of same at no charge. Sears also cut a check to reimburse my Dad for damages done to the kitchen by their staff. Then came the faucet gem:

"Sears-Roebuck prides itself on the knowledge and courtesy of it's sales personnel. The member of our sales staff that did not comply to your wishes has since been discharged."

In the end-game Sears made it right, but I learned a valuable lesson from The Great Sears Brand-New Junk Episode of 1976, all at the tender age of 12. The customer is not always right (I'd like to find the individual who coined that phrase and meet him/her in a dark alley with a number 34 baseball bat). Though the customer isn't always right, The customer is still THE CUSTOMER and deserves to be treated as such. The blue vests that Wal-Mart employees wear typifies this: Printed on the back are the words "How May I Help You?" That's buisiness philosophy in one sentence, and every employee carries the philosophy everywhere they go in the store.

I've long since retired from flying and currently repair automobiles for a living. Since I'm human and vulnerable to error, I've made my share of mistakes. Typically, the mistakes I make involve an underlying intermittent fault that refuses to manifest itself while a vehicle is in my presence. I've had several customers call me on the carpet for my personal errors, but there's been a couple that I've paid close att'n to. They were correct in their complaints and I've thanked them for complaining to me. It gives me an opportunity to make corrections, rather than have a valued customer judge me incompetent and go elsewhere.

Mama, by complaining to Kroger both publicly & privately you are doing them a tremendous favor. Here's to hoping that Kroger's corporate decision-makers have the wisdom to absorb your input, and the wherewithall to do something about it.

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