Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How much is that "FREE" turkey?‏

For this Thanksgiving, the Safeway chain of grocery stores has been advertising free turkeys with a purchase of $100 or $150 or more. As you can see from this in-store signage, if you spend between $100 and $150 in one trip, you may pick up a free turkey up to 16 pounds. There's one obscure stipulation however, as I unfortunately discovered after leaving the checkout.

Safeway Turkey Deal - Rantomness

The 15.22 pound bird I had in my cart was somehow registered in the 16-20 pound category, and with only $115 or so scanned, that meant my turkey cost a little more than $8. I noticed this as I was paying, but decided I was likely wrong and waited until I got home to check the receipt to be sure. Turns out, I should have stopped at the store. There was a small charge for the 'free' turkey. It was a big discount over the base price, but still not free as was advertised. I thought, "No big deal. I'll just get with customer service and get the refund." Well, it wasn't that easy.

I called the customer service department at that specific store, and explained that I felt I had been over-charged for the turkey. The woman on the other end of the line asked if I had purchased any alcohol or dairy. I assumed that these types of items were excluded from the promotion (alcohol makes sense, but milk?). I had purchased neither alcohol nor $15 or so worth of milk, and the woman accepted this. Next she asked how much I had spent, and I gave her the ~$115 answer, to which she then responded to tell me that I had not spent enough to receive a free turkey. I argued with her a bit, and she basically told me there was nothing she could do for me. (How’s that for customer service?)

WHAT? Look at that picture! It says “Spend $100 – Card price [for turkey] = FREE Safeway Frozen Turkey up to 16 lbs.”

Oh wait… Oh SNAP. Fine print says “$150 minimum purchase” How in the hell does that work out?

After getting off the phone with the woman, I drove down to the store (where I then took this photo with my cell phone to explain my point to her) and went to the customer service counter. I was eventually helped - I did get my $8 back - but I got the feeling it was an attempt to get me out of her hair, more than it was admitting Safeway was wrong.

Something smells rotten. I just hope it’s not Thanksgiving dinner.

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