Safeway Blues AGAIN….I Wonder Why I Still Shop There!!

Today’s fun with Safeway was in the Starbucks store inside the Safeway store at NE 3rd and Franklin.

Now, I have a Starbucks card that I received when redeeming points from an incentive site that I belong to or I couldn’t even afford Starbucks at all; I received this card the day before yesterday (Tuesday July 20, 2010) and used it for the first time at the Cascade Village stand-alone Starbucks store yesterday (Wednesday July 21, 2010).

There was no problem with the card at all yesterday but today when I tried to use it to buy a venti Caramel Frappucino with no whip and a slice of Raspberry Twist poundcake at the Starbucks store inside Safeway it repeatedly gave a ‘card read error’

I do not blame the Safeway employee for the problem with the card but I do blame her for otherwise providing poor customer service, being rude, and being insensitive.

The first thing she did was assume that I had actually purchased the Starbucks card therefore I could by definition afford to pay for my purchase with either cash, my debit card, or my credit card. In this economy, making an assumption like that was both intelligence-challenged and insensitive.

Her whole attitude throughout the transaction was simply trying to get me to pay up and shut up or just leave (and shut up). There were not enough people in line behind me that it was appropriate to try to rush me out of the store either, and there was another clerk in the store too.

She included –in less than 5 minutes total–blaming my card, blaming me, assuming that I paid for the Starbucks card, assuming because I had a shopping cart partially full of groceries that I had cash or some other way to pay for them as well as the Starbucks purchase (not that its any of her business, but those groceries were being paid for with a EBT [food stamps] card).

The problem with all of the Safeway employees that I have blogged about since I started this blog is that they do not see themselves as the public representatives of Safeway and/or Starbucks.

These people see themselves as a cashier or a checkout clerk or barrista or whatever their job title may be, but they don’t see that being polite is part of their job.

They don’t see that being helpful is part of their job.

They don’t see that providing adequate customer service (at a minimum) is part of their job.

They don’t see that making assumptions about their customers is NOT part of their job.

These people are paid to provide customer service yet they often treat their customers poorly or they clearly see them as an inconvenience (

They seem to ignore the fact that without these customers that seem to irritate them so very much they would not have these jobs.

Do they think that store management pays them out of the goodness of their hearts or that the money they get paid comes from that money tree growing in the backyard?

Do they not see the connection between their paychecks and their customers?

While they don’t work on commission nor do they receive tips, the hours they work and consequently their paychecks ARE based on the store traffic patterns and sales.

If they tick off enough people by providing poor customer service, sales will decrease and then their hours will be cut.

They do not appear to care what type of impression they make when dealing with customers. It appears that somehow the concept of ‘customer service’ simply escapes them.

There are some great Safeway employees at this store, in fact a majority of them do provide excellent customer service on a daily basis

I’ve just had the bad luck to run into 3 who aren’t great and who are in my opinion barely passable as employees of any organization.

It is just their very bad luck that I have a blog to discuss them too.

In this case, its also the Starbucks store employee bad luck that Starbucks agreed with me that my treatment at the Starbucks store inside Safeway (NE 3rd and Franklin, Bend, Oregon) was shameful and that Starbucks plans on discussing that treatment with Safeway too.

I wonder if the Safeway/Starbucks employee even stopped to think that I would call Starbucks to straighten things out with my card and that I just might mention my poor treatment.

I’m actually wondering if she even stopped to think about ANYTHING other than shutting me up and rushing me out of the store.

I’m beginning to think I ought to have a category for Safeway alone since some of their employees deliver appallingly bad customer service so often.

Then again, I could just stop shopping there. I shop there because they are convenient and their prices are comparable to the other so-called full service grocery stores in the area.

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