Safeway, Part 2

Posted by on Aug 13, 2009 in Customer Experience
Safeway, Part 2

Yes, more adventures, this time at a different store. Exactly the same checkout experience, namely, swipe my Visa card, get prompted by the payment terminal to answer yes or no, did I want to donate to a good cause? Then asked by the cashier all over again at the end, “Would you like to donate to Muscular Dystrophy today?”

This time I said in my most pleasant and civil voice: “I’m surprised. The payment terminal asked me that question just a moment ago, and I answered ‘No.’ Now you’re asking me again. Wouldn’t you find that annoying if you were a customer?’

The cashier apologized and explained that she understood, but it was the policy of management (of course) to require checkers to ask the question again. “They even send mystery shoppers through to make sure we’re asking you if you want to donate.”

I wasn’t surprised the checker was working off a script; that’s a no brainer. My immediate impression however was “Safeway management is pursuing a policy that is going to offend some customers. And they may know they’re doing this.”

Gaynelle said, “Yes, they probably do want to shame you. Maybe they know that’s the only way you’ll give.”

Meanwhile at the store, the woman in line behind me wearily fetched a “Your Feedback Is IMPORTANT” form and thrust it at me. “Here, take this. It’s much more effective. The cashier is powerless.” Then I thought, “You’re right, the poor cashier is caught in the middle, just following the rules, occasionally taking abuse from prickly people like me.” I looked at the cashier; she just shrugged tiredly and nodded.

“Dear Safeway. Maybe you’re way smarter and more far-seeing than me. But you’re really bumming me out.”

It’s not like Lucky or Nob Hill are so far away.