For the last two weeks, Safeway had suddenly been getting things right. We probably shopped at the Kaneohe store at least five times over the past couple of weeks without encountering an error. This was a dramatic change from the previous several months when I could count on errors appearing every time we shopped there.
I even designed shopping lists heavy with items with one or another of Safeway’s layers of special prices, club discounts, and digital coupons, sometimes with overlapping discounts. And for a couple of weeks Safeway got it all right.
It felt as if the whole system had been quietly upgraded, or perhaps supervisors suddenly started paying attention to their jobs, or maybe they tinkered with the software to reduce the error rate.
If I were really paranoid, I might think that they cleared my personal account to make sure it comes out right, but that’s pretty far fetched. More likely that the bad PR spurred some management-level changes.
Whatever the cause, though, things appeared to have been improved.
Then came our Safeway stop late Thursday afternoon. I bought a few oranges with a special “deal match” price of 67 cents a pound, but they rang up at the regular $2.99 per pound. This resulted in being charged $8.10 instead of just $1.82.
As usual, though, Safeway’s peculiar point-of-sale computer system applies most of the discounts in a blur at the very end of the process, meaning that you usually don’t have an opportunity to catch errors until after you’ve been handed your receipt and are heading out the door.
At just before 5 p.m., the customer service desk was not staffed, and it took several announcements by cashiers and several minutes for a manager to arrive on the scene.
He was all business. In short order, I received a $6.58 refund of the overcharge ($6.28 plus the $.30 excise tax) plus with a $5 gift card. No fussing required, and no need for me to cite the store’s price guarantee. Of course, I’m now a known trouble maker, and I can’t say whether or not other shoppers are having the same experience when reporting pricing erros.
Meanwhile, it’s been over a month since my Hawaii Monitor column at Civil Beat highlighted Safeway’s price guarantee policy, and the column is still among CB’s top ten most popular items.
I would be interested in hearing from other Safeway shoppers. Have you noticed fewer price errors in the past several weeks? And if you’ve asked for a refund after being overcharged on something, did the store follow Safeway’s price policy? Note: the policy is that if you’re overcharged on something costing under $5, you should get it for free, and for an item costing over $5, you should pay the lowest price and get a $5 gift card.
Share your recent experience, please.