Several years ago, one of
our editors threw together this piece about how annoyed he was to have
Safeway employees constantly greeting him with disingenuous
platitudes, butchering his last name at checkout, and peppering him
with pseudo pleasantries every time he stopped in to pick up a six
pack or roll of toilet paper. Since that time, due we suppose to the mysterious ways of Google, we have received a plethora
of e-mails from other annoyed customers, some of whom seem to think
they are contacting Safeway directly when they write to us. Not knowing what else to do
with them, we've decided to collect the missives and post some of them here.
We present them in chronological order with the most recent at the top.
R. T. McCarthy
Pregnant lady has sandwich and is jailed? Last of my
dealings with any safeway because they aren't safe.
Phyllis Heitkamp MH
I have been trying to
contact safeway about spoiled food on their shelves and NOWHERE on
their sitedoes it give a 1-800 number or Customer Service Line...
how retarded is that? I was just there (note we are in late
November) and I pulled several packets of shredded cheese off the
shelf... with expiration dates of (and no, I am not kidding here)-
August 15, Sept 9, Oct 15 and Oct 22... And those were the "sell by"
What a wonderful place you have provided for me to
vent since I have been
unable to find a Safeway contact program. Our issue is the recent
ploy to remove even more of our money under the guise of 'treating
that.' Not to mention the guy in the pseudo-jail who needs X number
donation dollars before he can ge out. Our beautiful, newly
Safeway has more of a Carnival atmosphere complete with Barker over
speakers now and is really annoying. Whatever happened to the
background music much more easily ignored? Don't we have enough
disasters now we donate to that we have to have our local market
Why force people to listen to such horrible music when
plan not to shop at Safeway again but to shop at the Giant.
redneck music is so loud and uncomfortable that I couldn't
get out of the store in Waldorf, Md. yesterday. Store #0105.
music should be played at all as one can't concentrate on
are about to buy. If any music should be played it should be
instrumental music and not vocals.
Goliard - Please pass this on to Safeway
What's your policy about employees
smoking right at the door entrance of your Safeway stores? This was
how I was greeted today when I entered my local Safeway store to
shop. At least 6 employees on-break smoking at the enttrance. I
walked through a "cloud of smoke" before I could get insde to shop.
How disgusting! I guess I need to shop somewhere else from now on.
Trudy - That
does sound gross.
Take your business elsewhere. - Ed
I wrote the
following memo to Safeway. It is not to be missed.
Having just got home I could not hesitate to forward my comments and
displeasure at my recent shopping experience at your Freedom Center
store located in Watsonville, California.
It is my assumption that when items are marked/priced on the isle
shelf they are to be honored. While in the check stand I had asked
for a rain check on Squirt sodas 12 pack sleeves as there were none
on the shelf. The price was marked “Buy 2 get 2 free”. The checker
perused through the advertisement (newspaper) insert found a
different price and refused giving me the rain check. When I asked
to talk to her supervisor this is what resulted
The floor manager did not even bother
consulting with me face to face.
Refused to neither check the price on
the isle herself nor direct another individual to do so.
Exhibited a total disregard for a
customers direct request, displayed an arrogant if not flippant
attitude in front of me and other customers. I felt embarrassed to
even be asking for this delayed purchase as the line was building
behind me. But more so, embarrassed to be denied a legitimate
purchase in front of several customers. If I was wrong then shame on
me. But if I was right shame on who
I was a little miffed by all this would be an understatement. I have
had other incidents with this Floor manager as well have other
friends who shop there. I do not use the “B” word very often,
however today she was a complete “BOZO”.
the privilege of being the Plant Manager of a Food Plant for 20+
years. Customer service was essential for building long-term
business relationships and we took pride in our efforts to satisfy
even the smallest buyer, purchasing manager or plant operations
manager. Even, if it meant additional cost to our company. These
types of people remember you when contract negotiations come up. Not
unlike Industrial Sales, Retail is a Partnership between the seller
and buyer and Customer service IS the driving force behind Repeat
business. I know I am deterring from the complaint but I take
Customer service very seriously. In my humble opinion Safeway Stores
failed to live up to the standard that is marketed nationally. I
mean no disrespect to Safeway Stores or its employees.
regret that I can no longer shop at Safeway Stores or its affiliates
in the future. But consider this. I spend $4000/yr. (I’m single)
Tell 10 friends (w/-families) about my experience, they tell 10
more, those 10 more. Soon, lost sales revenue is 7 digits and I’m
not including the decimal. Hypothetical yes………...but? And just for a
PS - I did
not like customer complaints. Nor did I like Quarterly review
sessions in front of the Board and my peers, explaining how it
happened, what it cost, and what action was taken to remedy it from
occurring again. NOT FUN!
Hardly a scathing
attack Dave but every little bit counts - Ed
The Safeway near our house sucks.
Just letting you know.
Keep on keepin on - ED
This is a short letter to pass on a complaint that I have.
On Sunday night at about 9.15 pm I went into Safeway Liquor in
purchase a block of Tooheys Red for my husband. I asked the
young girl at
the counter how much it was and she didn't know so I told her I'd
a block myself out of the fridge and see if there were any prices in
that I could check out myself.
On the way to the fridge I saw a display with the Tooheys Red Blocks
blank price banner above it. I asked her if the blocks were
going to be on
special the next morning and she said no she didn't think so.
I again asked her if she was sure because to me it looked like they
were going to be on special and if that was the case I would
return in the morning to buy the beer but she insisted that it
wasn't going to be on special. So I
reluctantly paid $38 for that block that night.
The next day when I went into
Safeway I saw on the board out the front of
Safeway "Two blocks of Tooheys red for $55" and was totally
especially when the girl insisted the night before that it wasn't
be on special. I was in a hurry so didn't go into the store
morning but was back there Tuesday evening with receipt in hand.
The manager had already left for the day so I didn't get a chance
until Wednesday morning to return and voice my complaint. When
I finally did so, Wednesday morning 9am, I entered the store and
checked out the display again, it was still there but with a price
banner of $29.99 for each block. The young lad behind the counter
said there was nothing he could do about it and put it down to
"HUMAN ERROR" whoopee do!! No apology, no nothing.
I have to tell you - I hate being ripped off!!
Needless to say, I am really disappointed and if the box had not been
opened I would've returned it, asked for a refund and gone elsewhere
my purchase. It is a good thing that we have a Coles in Wallan
that's where I'll be going from now on.
sure this is the same chain but sorry to hear about the subversive
practices. - Ed
To whom it may concern at Safeway:
This letter is to let you know that I had made a
very worthless purchase of
Lucerne (strawberry cheesecake) ice cream in your
Vacaville, CA, store the other
day. To be blunt, each and every bite of the stuff
was extremely disappointing. I
am happy to announce to you that it now sits in my
garbage can, and will be in
it's new home - the dumpster - very shortly.
What was the problem? Absolutely no flavor. None. It
could not have been any more
bland than it was. Even the strawberry could not be
tasted, although several seeds
got stuck in my teeth. I thought that Lucerne was a
good brand to buy, but
apparently not. It's expensive enough to live nowadays
as it is, and when I spend
more money for something special, I expect something
special. I'll stop now.
I would appreciate it if you would forward this on
to them because I want them to
know that business will be anything but good if they
continue to make junk such as
this. Thank you.
Cathy - Condolences on
your unsatisfying dessert. Will post your pithy, succinct and well
written retort with the rest - Ed
Why do you hire such sketchy characters
to run the checkout lines at the Safford Safeway? I stopped in for
some essentials the other night and a guy who obviously should be in
an insane asylum greeted me, rang me up, bagged my groceries and then tried to
help me out to my car!!! His hair was grotesquely greasy and he looked all jittery like he'd just laid down a meth
pipe and come in off the streets. I didn't feel safe or clean after dealing with him and would
have avoided him just on sight if I could but he was
the only one with a checkout aisle open. Then, as I was leaving, he looked on the
receipt and slowly pronounced my name saying, "you have a good night
now Miss Cock Ran" with a lascivious grin and added that he
hoped to see me later. You might think about doing a better job screening potential
hires and trying to keep the complete degenerates back in the stock
room at least.
But don't do it on my account as
I'm never going in to your store again anyway. I'll
walk through the trailer parks or squatter villages around here if I want to meet another man like
Geez R. Our
sympathies that you felt assaulted by a greasy criminal and left
feeling unclean when you were just trying to get some
food for your family - Ed
I work at Safeway and I hate the whole greet and plastic smile
thing. I work customer service and its horrid to the point that I
cry all the time. I just turned 17 and needed it for my college
application. I get paid badly and I get abuse from mean and rude
customers demanding refunds. I am told to do things like clean vomit
and bring in shopping carts, collect trash, and I'm not supposed to
do that according to my job description.
Safeway employees have no rights and the world should know it. And
we live in constant fear of those secret shoppers.
So my smiles are always halfhearted but its required and silly at
the same time.
Anyway, I liked reading your site. It made me feel better.
Thanks a lot.
Glad to hear from someone on the inside. Sounds brutal. - ED
Could you please pass this
letter on to Safeway.
Dear Arundel Mills
I would like to start with the way I have been treated at the meat
counter at your Arundel Mills store. I was at that location at
on Sun. 7/29/07. I asked the guy why he had the cover on the meat
counter and he, with sarcasm, made the comment that "he wasn't open
I had my daughter with me and later had to try to explain his rude
behavior. Needless to say I had to go to a competitor to buy my
for the week. The sign on the counter said the hours were 10:00am to
8:00pm so I didn't think that was a stupid question to ask. I drove
min. to get to the store when I have a Superfresh 2 miles from my
house. I will not be making that journey in the near future. I had
another incident at the same store at the same meat counter with
employee back in November when the older black gentleman kept his
me for 20 min. I cleared my throat and he looked around and kept
about his business. I saw a familiar employee and explained what had
happened and he did say he would like to make it right but I was to
angry and left the store without my groceries. With the competition
grocery business as it is and new grocery stores coming to the
area with the attitude of your employees you won't be in business
You may contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org should you want to apologize.
PS. You may check my account at your grocery chain and see what I
spend and where I am at now. James D. wolfe
James - Glad
to help out. - ED
Could you please remove my letter from your site? Our Fort Hunt
Safeway has gotten much better, better managed and run lately.
Yes, they still pay poorly. Yes, they have trouble keeping people. But
I don't feel I am in the same place I was when I wrote that letter and would very much like to see it removed from you website.
Consider it done. Glad you have found a different place whether it be to shop or personal. - ED
I just read this letter about Safeway on your web site, and though it's probable that you won't care,
I wanted to tell you that I think you are way off base to accuse anyone of "buying" an MBA.
The folks down in Pleasanton, CA are probably pretty bright people with MBA's
from fairly respectable schools.
I'm working my ass off to get an MBA from a state school, so I can imagine how hard it was
for them to EARN their degrees.
Enjoy the rest of the day, stewing in your
A Concerned Reader
Dear Stephen Williams (aka A Concerned Reader)
Thanks for weighing in on the Safeway situation. Of the hundred or so letters we’ve received since we half
jokingly published this piece a few years ago, yours is the first that mentions the MBA angle. In case you’re interested,
roughly seventy percent of the correspondence agrees with the gist of the letter that Safeway is a
misguided conglomerate with ridiculous employee practices. Another twenty percent take some exception
with our position, or at least the tone in which it was written, and cite various things about their respective Safeway stores that
they appreciate. The last ten, which we suppose now includes your effort, address some part of the posting
that grabbed their attention for one reason or another and that they felt the need to sound off about. One thing that seems
clear looking back at the situation is that Safeway stores and their clientele appear to differ greatly around the country.
As far as the sentiments of your missive are concerned, like one might suspect of an MBA candidate, you seem
to be more focused on some supposed bottom dollar and therefore may have missed the point entirely. The comment about
buying MBAs was meant to insinuate that only a group who had purchased the degrees as opposed to earning
them would be so out of touch. We would like to believe that if someone actually had to battle through graduate level marketing,
accounting, and economics classes at an accredited institution, they hopefully would have learned somewhere along the line
that humiliating employees and aggravating customers isn’t really a recipe for building a satisfied clientele base.
On the other hand, Safeway remains successful, which we’re sure is why you and your ilk have a positive opinion
of them. Walmart is successful as well and we don’t shop there either. Perhaps when you graduate with your hard
earned degree, you can assume a position in the corporate offices of one of them and grab your piece of the pie.
And as far as the staffer who wrote the piece and his alleged ill conceived smugness is concerned, once we let him know
that he appears to have irritated a self righteous MBA candidate currently working his ass off somewhere north of Pleasanton CA,
his day may actually improve to the point where he can enjoy it. - ED
Hi my name is Angela Gimbel. I'm
from the Chewelah-Valley area in Washington. I'm writing to you in
hopes that my letter will make it to a Safeway personnel. Anyway,
what I basically have to say is quite simple. It seems every time I
go to Safeway here in Chewelah, and buy more than two or three items
I get ripped off, along with some of my friends and family. Let me
tell you a little story that happened two days ago. I decided to go
to Safeway and buy some groceries and after my things were rung up
my bill totaled about $61.00. Now I pay the cashier and go outside
and start looking over my receipt and realize just as I had
suspected, I had been over charged. So now I have to go back inside
and solve this issue wasting about another 30 minutes of my time.
After already waiting in line for 20 min. because they hardly ever
have but two cashiers checking. Safeway had over charged me $8.00.
Now $8.00 may not be a lot to some people, but to others it is and
it adds up over time. After I get this taken care of and leave my
cousin who has been patiently waiting for me with my cart and son
asks me to take a look at her receipt and right off hand I noticed
they over charged her for cooking oil and minute maid juices. It
seems to me they put stuff on sale and do not follow through with it
when you reach the check out because this is not the first time this
has happened to me. If this happens to me one more time I will tell
everyone I know about this.
Angela - We'll post it with the rest.
Safeway is sure running the gamut of ways to piss people off - ED
Could you pass this letter on to
Dear Mr. Burd;
I am writing
to call your attention to a major problem in our area. I shop at a
small Safeway on Fort Hunt Road in Alexandria, Virginia. Many of the
customers of the store have shopped there for ten, twenty, and even
thirty years. We have gone to retirement parties for former store
managers. We have enjoyed conversation with the "veteran" employees
as we shop, sharing our lives as our children have grown. We like
our store. Recently we have had problems at our store. We were
without a store manager for four months. The district manager
apparently changed. Safeway security swooped in and fired twelve
employees, and this dremovedistrict manager neglected to replace them. Then a new store
manager was installed who is never seen by customers and who has
still not hired any replacement workers. The "veterans"
are leaving for other stores, encouraged by the District Manager to
go to the newer, larger store a couple of miles away. They are eager
to go where they are more supported and valued. I don't blame them.
What does it take for the parent corporation to notice difficulties
that are caused by corporate indifference? I understand your pay
scale for new hires is half of what Trader Joe's and Whole Foods
pays. You have lowered the hiring age to sixteen just to find
workers. Sixteen-year-olds don't last long when they find out they
can make more at Starbucks. Are you trying to kill our store? Are
you trying to kill Safeway? I certainly hope this isn't the case. I
sincerely hope you will take heed and look into this awful
situation, so that we who depend on the Fort Hunt Safeway can look
forward to better management, more intelligent treatment of
employees, and thus "superior service". This is what your
advertising espouses. Make it happen for real!
Gail, no problem. Glad to be a conduit of
change. If it makes you feel better they recently razed our
neighborhood Safeway to the ground. Good riddance we say - Ed
Someone's sic here...... You may
not recall that just a few short years ago Safeway stock was the
number one pick in the nation and is still way way up there as an up
and coming "raring to do business" store.
I suspect the Safeway bashing was
just to get more response and had nothing to do with the author's
actual feelings. Either way, as a therapist I suspect the author has
these characteristics and could do well finding someone who can
adjust to help develop a kind, considerate spirit toward other
1. Illium in the hip is around
behind the sacrum rather than in front, which causes lower back
problems and acts as a dimmer switch to the bodies electrical
current returning to the brain after moving muscles in the leg area.
2. Has acid reflux, which is just the check valve on top of the
stomach being pushed up into the diaphragm and with a small kink in
the check valve the acid is allowed to burp into the throat. Easy to
fix and also acts as a little dimmer switch between lower body and
brain current. 3. Has a stiff neck which is usually caused by the
skull moving slightly on the Atlas. Easy to fix also and acts as
another dimmer switch for returning current 4. Also appears to have
after effects of a concussion at one time or other. Easy to fix and
is a big dimmer switch.
The above 4 listed difficulties can cause depression,
""anger"" and many other symptoms. Now, it will
be difficult to find someone properly qualified to work on all of
the above symptoms. Many therapists can do one or two of them but
only a few therapists on the North American continent have an
understanding of how to completely balance the body electrically.
The result is often nothing short of phenomenal.
The general populace will continue
to shop at Safeway, where they get the absolutely best service of
any grocery store I have ever seen and I have shopped at many. I
don't just shop for price anymore and find myself going to Safeway
more than any other store because most employees truly mean
---------- HAVE A NICE DAY AND THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT
SAFEWAY...... See some humans do realize that most everyone feels
beat up a little, just by living in this day and age, and a little
kindness goes a long way for that person.
Hmmmm, consider living in this
country 400 yrs ago when you had to pretty much kill your own or
catch your own or plant your own food and women were pretty much on
edge a lot worrying about neighboring tribesmen killing their
spouses so they could steal them and their daughters to make more
babies for the other tribe. We've come a long way baby... Actually,
the other day I was in Safeway and noted live Oysters, so one could
take them home and have the experience of killing their own in a pan
of boiling water and mostly not have to worry about someone from the
neighboring town stealing your wife or daughter ------at gun or
Keep smilin and HAVE A GOOD
Hey Jim Arse,
for the free psycho babble. Glad to hear that you find going to Safeway such
a pleasurable experience. Your dime store diagnosis had about the
same nugatory effect
as the few hundred "Have a Good Day's" in a row we've
the hapless and miserable employees of Safeway. It got us to
thinking though that, judging by the response we've
received since penning the aforementioned screed, we've ascertained
that what part of the country a person hails from seems to play a
part in how they view the great red and white. We haven't done any
sort of thorough study of course, but in the Pacific
Northwest, for example, where 1) good shopping alternatives abound,
people are generally happy and healthier, and 3) folks don't cotton as
much to phoniness, readers seem to almost unanimously have bad words
to say about Safeway and sympathy for the employees and their
plight. On the other hand, those from the Bible Belt seem to enjoy
shopping there and feel uplifted by the service. Hmmm as you so
arcanely articulate. Since you don't say where you call home your
can't do you the favor of a return diagnosis and speculate why you might be so titillated
by such a mediocre place. Too early on a cold toilet seat probably.
Unfortunately not an easy fix.
Perhaps in some parts of the country,
Safeway is the finest store around and people are proud to work
there and genuinely like their jobs and therefore don't come off as
fake and ridiculous like they do around here. Perhaps god fearing
citizens are used to the psuedo joy and smarmy treatment that
Safeway peddles and to them it seems like a friendly place to be
instead of a freak show of plastic smiles. Whatever the case, it's been an enjoyable
exercise and hearing from readers like yourself makes the twenty
minutes it took to write the letter worth it. - Ed
PS - We tend to eat our oysters raw here at the Goliard so your suggestion of taking joy in
killing our own food in a boiling cauldron is lost on us as well. Although we don't suppose
they live long once they are slurped down the gullet so perhaps the effect is the same.
Maybe if we'd ever had a concussion or suffered from acid reflux
things would be different. Not that the Safeway around here
carries oysters anyway. The saps in the butcher department are so busy mustering up
the energy to parrot the Have a Nice Days required of them, that they can't even put
out a Porterhouse or decent piece of fish. The place really is a
classless pile of crap and we've gotten annoyed again just thinking about it.
Luckily a Trader Joes recently went in down the street so we're not even
tempted to go into Safeway anymore.
exchange with a reader involving Safeway, misfortune, malfeasance and matters eternal
Whoever wrote that letter to Safeway about their employees' forced
courtesies needs to get a life. I shop at Safeway sometimes, because
it's nearby. I often shop at Costco, though because Costco has
better prices. I don't find Safeway employees' smiles and courtesies
annoying, because I know they're only doing what their job calls
them to do. There is something unpleasant about everyone's job, and
sometimes we just have to suck it up. However, if Safeway's policy
annoyed me as much as it did the person who wrote that letter, I'd
be more concerned about my own personal life--which appears to be in
need of some serious help. Maybe he or she should get a job at
Safeway and try scowling at customers just to get back at
Mary Lee Ruby (email@example.com)
We'll pass that suggestion on
to the editor behind the Safeway letter although we doubt they'll be
able to fulfill your suggestion since, given the fact that Safeway employees are fired if
they don't smile and greet every single customer, the experiment
wouldn't last long enough to be worth conducting. We're sorry your job is so unpleasant (it
probably involves church work of some kind) but glad to hear that
your personal life is such that you feel confident advising others
to improve theirs. However, a person writing in to Safeway hoping to
make a stand for employee dignity certainly doesn't seem to us to be any more pathetic than
a person writing into the Goliard about folks having to "suck it
up" in their daily jobs. We've received many letters agreeing
with our position and yours is the first one to come in on the other side so we
appreciate the contrary point of view. We're still not shopping at
Safeway however since fake smiling employee's who are busy sucking it up
continue to be unappealing to us and besides, the last time we
entered one of their stores some jackass spilled a jar of alabaster
oil over one of our heads. Jesus Christ!
I'm sorry that I wrote to you -- it was very petty of me. I
didn't realize that your job is to write letters like the
one about Safeway. No, I don't have a job that is
unfulfilling now, although I did work for the Federal
Government for 35 years--long enough to earn a retirement
salary which enables me to do something really fulfilling. I
now spend a lot of my time helping my daughter-in-law care
for my severely disabled 5-year-old grandson. He is a
beautiful child who smiles despite the terrible burden he
carries--and he brings much joy to my life and the lives of
those of us who love him.
Usually I don't have time
to write to people like you; but yesterday, I was looking up
Safeway on Google--and your letter showed up. I stopped to
read it, something I don't usually do. It made me realize
that there are a lot of people out there who don't know how
truly fortunate they are. Safeway employees' requirement to
be customer friendly (or whatever they call it these days)
is so petty when compared to the burdens that some people
carry; but being healthy and probably well educated gives
you time to complain about things like that.
I often go to Safeway to
pick up baby food for my grandson's feeding tube. There is
one young woman who works there who always asks me about my
grandson. I know that Safeway doesn't require that she do
that; she does it because she is kind. And, yes, she tells
me that she prays for him--and I know that she does. From
your letter, it appears that you don't put much credence in
matters relating to prayer--so I will try to remember to
pray for you next time I'm in church (which, I admit, is
I apologize for writing to
you, and I hope you have a happy new year.
mary lee ruby
assure you again that the person who wrote our Safeway
letter spent no more time on it than you have spent writing
to us. Therefore, we fail to see the distinction between
someone "like us" who has time to complain about
Safeway's ridiculous business practices and someone
"like you" who has time to research Safeway on the
Internet and write in to The Goliard about the quality of
life the people on the other end must have. It seems to be a
matter of choosing which battles to fight and we obviously
have different ones, just as most people (and most
governments and religions for that matter) have differing
agendas as well. There is certainly no need however, for you
to apologize to us about the "pettiness" of
writing a letter to make your feelings known since we happen
to think it's one of the valuable freedoms still available
to an ever more apathetic public and is in danger of becoming
a practice that is underused
On the other hand your epistolary effort makes all sorts of
assumptions about our happiness, health, education privileges
and need of prayers just based on the fact that we took the
time to write a quick screed against a large corporation
that we, and most people we know, believe to be mistreating
their employees. It does not surprise us that you have found
a genuine nice person working at a Safeway somewhere who is
willing to pray for a customer who she barely knows anymore
than it surprised us that you, despite the condescending
tone to your missive, said you were willing to pray for us
even though you clearly see "people like us" as
beneath you since we apparently haven't suffered enough. And
while it is obvious as well that you consider yourself some
sort of martyr in a sea of unappreciative, fun loving
philanderers, you of course have no idea how much we've
suffered, the state of our loved ones and their various challenges
and handicaps, or what we do with the other 99.99 percent of our
time when we are not writing to Safeway and responding to
the mail that doing so generated. So go ahead and continue
praying for everybody you come in contact with if it makes
you feel better and we'll try
to have a happy new year despite the fact that more and more
people in this country seem content to sit around praying
for each other instead of taking any meaningful action
against the institutions chipping away at the quality of
I didn’t mean to imply that
people like you are beneath me in any way. As a matter of fact, I
always have applauded people who are willing to take the time to
stand up for what they believe in—especially those who are willing
to devote their lives to such endeavors. I guess we’re both angry—or
maybe disappointed—for different reasons. Until my grandson was
born five years ago, I took one day at a time and never really stood
up for anything. I just muddled though life hoping that things would
work out. I applaud you for standing up for your beliefs, because I
I don’t consider myself a martyr
in any way, shape or form. I’m just someone who was caught up in
an unfortunate situation. The circumstances of my grandson’s birth
were a shock to everyone in my family. My son and daughter-in-law
took the news much better than I did. I was angry, and still am,
about a lot of things—
I’m angry at two doctors who
ignored my daughter-in-law's concerns during the last trimester of
her pregnancy, telling her that the pains she was experiencing were
to be expected during pregnancy—not to worry about them. The
doctors also ignored the fact that her baby was very small—under
five pounds at birth—and that he was very, very sick. They let her
endure 12 hours of labor before giving her an emergency c-section.
The little guy was so sick that he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage—the
worst the neurologist had ever seen—several days after birth,
leaving him severely and permanently disabled. He was in the
neonatal intensive care unit for seven weeks after his birth, and he
went home under hospice care because everyone expected him to die.
I’m angry at the lawyer who
charged them $4,000 to determine if my grandson could qualify for
assistance from the no-fault Virginia Birth Fund—only to tell us
that my grandson’s brain injury was not due to lack of oxygen at
birth and he therefore was ineligible for any assistance.
I’m angry at insurance companies
for refusing to pay legitimate medical expenses, playing games with
people over technical issues so that the companies can save money.
I’m angry with the Federal
Government and the State of Virginia, which refused for four years
to assist with my grandson’s medical expenses, claiming that my
son held a job and therefore was ineligible for Medicaid—that his
son could qualify for Medicaid if he were unemployed or if my son
left his wife destitute. In other words, he was penalized for
working and supporting his family.
I’m angry because more than
one-third of my son’s modest annual salary for the past four years
has gone towards medical expenses for his son and for his wife—who
suffered three grand-mal seizures three years ago and now is under a
I’m angry at people in shopping
malls or public places who stare at my grandson like he’s some
sort of freak, or who tell their children not to go near him—ignoring
the fact that he is a living, breathing human being who deserves
respect despite his numerous disabilities.
I’m angry with some of the
self-righteous people who were annoyed because my son and
daughter-in-law fed the little guy during a church service. I’m
angry at the woman who told me that I need to caution them not to do
that again because it makes people uncomfortable “to see something
like that”—a disabled child being fed via a feeding tube.
I’m angry with bureaucrats who
treat my daughter-in-law in a smug, condescending manner because she
doesn’t understand bureaucratic language or technical medical
terms—leaving her frustrated and feeling stupid.
I was angry when I went to visit my
daughter-in-law several months ago and found her on her knees
rolling coins so that she could go to the grocery store.
I’m angry because the Federal
Government continues to chip away at Medicaid benefits for disabled
people while continuing to support pork barrel issues that are of
special to individual congressmen.
Most of all, I’m angry because
there are thousands of people out there just like my grandson, and
nobody seems to care about them.
Let me assure you, however, that my
life is not filled only with anger. I gain solace in running (which,
at 60, I may not be able to do very much longer), from my family
(which now includes two normal grandchildren), from holding my
disabled grandson and knowing that he feels comfortable and secure
in my arms—and I feel like I’m holding just a little piece of
heaven. I also gain solace from God—yes from God—a God who doesn’t
appear to be answering my prayers, but who I hope is up there
somewhere and who someday will make sense of all of this.
I regret taking up so much of your
time, and I hope you continue supporting those issues that you feel
strongly about. Thanks for listening. I won’t bother you any more.
Mary Lee Ruby
Now that's a
decent letter! The kind that we strive to write and the kind we'll
be proud to publish. It sounds like you have every right to be angry
with just about everybody you've had to deal with since the
conception and birth of your grandson. If you'd like to provide the
names of the specific doctors, lawyers and agencies that have
behaved badly then we'll be glad to publish those too. We'll even print the names of those idiot individuals and the specific church if you'd like. The beauty of the Internet is that little people like us finally have a medium to get our voices heard without being squelched by the major institutions and all their resources.
As you found
out while researching Safeway, search engines like Google put our
letter in a place where people seeking information about the store
can then find it and be exposed to another viewpoint. If someone prints the names
of the doctors that misdiagnosed your daughter-in-law's prenatal
symptoms or the lawyers that billed your family a bunch of money for doing nothing and someone is researching potential care
or representation and reads your
story, you may prevent another tragedy and save a family from having
to go through what yours has. As long as the information is accurate
and truthful, why not get it out into the public record?
As far as the rest of your letter and the aspect of religion that
has entered into our exchange thus far, we'd be disingenuous if we
didn't mention that it seems obvious to us that the recent rise of
the religious right is directly to blame for much of what you
complain about and the policies of the current administration are
achieving almost nothing other than making it increasingly difficult
for someone like your son's family to get any assistance and have
any hope. By greasing the wheels of large companies and making it
easier for them to act irresponsibly, by cutting back on medical
research, ignoring science, chipping away at health benefits, and
focusing on such non issues as same sex marriage and the other religious
garbage that gets everyone all worked up, they are making regular people with real needs (many of
whom voted for them) much worse off. Additionally, we should say
that we've seen more hypocrisy of the kind you describe
with the woman who didn't want your grandson fed in public within
the walls of organized religion than anywhere else in society. In
our opinion this is because many of the people involved are basically selfish and only
in it because they want to be convinced that they are special enough
for eternal salvation in the face of all evidence. They want to
believe they are more chosen and different from the family of another race or
another faith and don't want to see the disabled boy who makes them even more
uncomfortable than they already are by reminding them of their perceived
Praying for a child while denying him resources that could improve
his life sums it all up pretty well which is why we reacted the way
we did when you said you would pray for us. We say don't bother and
write more letters instead. We'll publish all of them if you like. We'll even
give you your own column.
writing and give your grandson a hug for us. If we were there we'd
be proud to do it. In public and in church. Especially if it would
make the people there uncomfortable. - Ed
This whole Safeway business sounds
pretty bizarre to this Connecticut resident. We do not have one
nearby which sounds like it could be a blessing. My thoughts are as
I have generally found even HERE in "unfriendly cold stuffy New
England" that if the manager/management of the store and the
employees have a good relationship then no one needs to tell the
staff to be friendly. I go to several different grocery stores. At
those where I see managers "wandering the aisles", with
pleasant expressions, not pointing out problems but being
supportive, watching for when lines get to long, and doing the other
little things that make the shopping experience more pleasant for
the customers and staff, the staff tends to be friendly naturally. In
stores where management "hides" when lines get long, where
they avoid contact with both customers and employees, and where the
store seems to be understaffed the experience becomes less pleasant.
I have also found that cashiers, stockers and sales clerks
"mirror" my mood. If I want the checkout clerk to be
pleasant I only need to be pleasant back. If the person in front of
me in line has been a real jerk to the clerk his or her mood
reflects that, usually a smile and a small jab at the unpleasant
customer gets a smile out of the clerk and my transaction goes
If Safeway needs to tell employees
to be friendly then they should wonder why they need to be reminded.
People are naturally friendly, some more outgoing then others, but
still most would rather laugh than snarl. People generally prefer to
be smiled at, maybe if the manager handing out the cashiers drawers
was friendly and pleasant first it would go a lot farther than a
"smile or else" edict. NS - Grennington, CT
weighing in - Ed
While I totally agree with your complaints about Safeway employees
having to act friendly all the time (and looking ridiculous in the
process) that is far from the most annoying thing about the store.
Have you noticed that they put their cheese in three different
places in three of the four corners of the store?!? This is so
you'll have to walk the entire floor to find what you want and
hopefully do some spontaneous purchasing along the way. They also
always pretend to have things on sale and then mix other things not
on sale in with them hoping you won't read the fine print or notice
the loopholes. And what about those Safeway soups? There's about
1000 calories per cup if you look closely. It's basically just
reduced butter and cream. The whole place is smarmy and underhanded
in my view. Add on the Stepford wife pleasantness of the check out
girls and the place is just creepy. I'll be doing my shopping
elsewhere. WW - Evergreen, CO
Us too! - Ed
Hi, I just Googled
Safeway, because every time I go there the same irritating thing
happens. I end up having a conversation about it with others and
even an employee or two. They don't like the greeting policy and one
reason it is carried out by them is because we may be 'the mystery
shopper'. Talk about spying on your employees!!!! Well today, I was
going to start my campaign. I see you have already done it for me!!!
I don't like the reference to my last name either at checkout.
Reminds me of a restaurant server tag!! hey martha< how bout some
more joe!!!! HOW DEMEANING!!! Now I am going to read Safeway's
reply. I DID read the first line....greeting and ASSISTING
customers. That's not what we are talking about. I appreciate help
when I need it. I can ask.... Sandi
Eon Britz Gallery
633 SW Deschutes Ave
Redmond, Oregon 97756
Sandi, Thanks for joining the cause. We had
hoped that it would peter out by now but it seems to continue. We'd
like to be in the room when Safeway management pulls an employee in
to scold them for not properly greeting customers. "Our mystery
shopper was walking along minding her own business looking for some
pantyhose when you failed to get in her face and say good
morning!" How could they keep a straight face? - Ed
Here here on the Safeway thing. Going into that place was one of the
most annoying experiences that I used to endure on a weekly basis.
Recently however, I went into the store up on Hawthorne here in
Portland and was walking down an aisle and slipped in some water and
nearly cracked my knee cap. I dropped my basket and a jar of mayonnaise
smashed against a wine bottle and seeped out all over the vegetables I had
selected. Just as I was getting myself together, a smiling stock boy
came by and parroted "good morning how are you today." He
continued to smile as I told him what happened and went smiling off
to get a sign about the wet floor. The smile never left his face!
Either he must not have seen the tears in my eyes or his face is
just frozen that way when he's at work. The kicker was that I saw him that
very night on the bus and he almost knocked me over to get to a
seat. He wasn't smiling then. To Hell with that place. I'll just
have to ride a little further to do my shopping. -- Rochelle M -
This sounds like a typical tale. Instead of hiring people who would
actually care if someone was injured, it is more important to them
to have employees who merely appear friendly. If the workers weren't
so busy going around interrupting everybody with Hellos and How are
yous they might have time to mop up some spills.
(care of the Goliard apparently)
I have a safeway paper laying on the table beside me. It was
delivered to us last night in the Prospecter. Last night was the 6th. Today is the
7th. Your add in the paper is good for April the 4th,5th,and
6th. This add was no good to any one. I guess the Prospecter thought no one would
notice. I am a safe way shopper, but do not go out at night to shop,
because of all of the nuts out there. Thought you would like to know
that your add about ran out the day we got it. Only good to those
people who shop at night. Sincerely, Hazel Thrush
Well thanks for writing Hazel. We
appreciate anyone who feels strongly enough about an issue to take
to the keyboard and pound out a complaint regardless of how poorly
punctuated and nonsensical it is. Not sure where this particular
offending Safeway store is or of the circulation of the "Prospecter"
(sic) but Safeway be warned, if you piss off enough of the good folks of
this great country like Hazel and Wilbur Thrush, it will eventually begin to
show in the bottom line. - Ed.