Dear Shoprite. This Is It Between You and Me.

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I have been a loyal and enthusiastic Shoprite shopper for as long as I’ve lived in Bedford and as long as the Shoprite in Bedford Hills has existed. Decades.

It was my go-to store for most things with the exception of fine meats and fish but otherwise, I stocked up to feed the family there. Good produce. Good prices. Clean store. Carried everything I liked. Great employees, many of whom worked there for as many years as I shopped there. Friendly. Helpful. And the best darn manager in the land, John, who kept this Shoprite as neat as a pin – the floors so spotless you could eat off them and the shelves never out of order. And John played the best music too. Great 60s tunes that kept shoppers happy! What’s not to love??

Well, the new management, that’s what. About April of this year, a whole new management team came into this Shoprite. John was moved to the store in New Rochelle, which I hope for him was a promotion and a big pay raise because he was hands down the best manager on the planet earth. He deserves every good move up the ladder Shoprite gives him and I hope he becomes the CEO one day.

Anyway, I digress, it didn’t take long at all for me to start noticing the changes in the store. It got dirty quickly. The music was different. The shelves sloppier. I let it go a bit until one day in July when it was SO bad I stopped and spoke to the manager who was responsible for the cashiers, Victor.

I told him what I saw and how unhappy I was. We chatted for a good fifteen minutes and he was very understanding and apologetic and said he would speak with the new manager.

Photos taken July 25: rotten sweet potatoes, one all moldy. Carrot bin almost empty and the meat shelves, disgusting with dripping blood all over. Not exactly enticing for the buyer.
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Later that day or the next, I called the Shoprite Customer Service number and voiced my concerns. I was treated wonderfully by the woman to whom I spoke and I told her that if she wanted to pass along my phone number to anyone, she could.

The next day I got a call from the District Manager, he too wonderfully understanding and concerned I was unhappy. He in turn gave my number to the new store manager who also called me and, like the others, he was very concerned and vowed to improve the store. He suggested I come into the store and walk around with him, which I did, twice, but funnily, both times he was “in meetings”. Ha. Ha!

Fast forward to this:

early October, on my way to Rhode Island, I stopped for a few things to take up with me. One of which was a container of grated Romano cheese. I did NOT see that it was completely moldy.
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The store, once again, was a thorough mess.

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Who doesn’t want a ripped-open pack of toilet paper??

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I found a manager, Ivan, and told him I was leaving, that the store was filthy. He asked me to show him what I meant and by chance, right behind us was a pop-up display for Pepperidge Farm bread, next to the bacon shelves. The bread on the display was all a-jumble, one loaf upside down, another on the shelf backwards. I pointed to it and asked who would look at that display and actually buy that bread? His answer floored me. He said would you have us walk around all day and straighten things out? Um, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If a manager can’t see that the store is dirty or that special displays, for which I am SURE Pepperidge Farm plays extra, are akimbo, then what hope is there for my once-favorite Shoprite? None.

Off to RI I went, with the cheese and a box of pasta from the store and only days later when I went to use the cheese, did I see how badly moldy it was.

I once again called the Shoprite Customer Service number and said I wanted my money back for the cheese, all $10.95. I explained I was out of town, was going to throw away the cheese there and would not be returning it to Bedford Hills. The woman was very understanding, said she would put an $11.00 credit on my Shoprite card so I could buy another container of cheese at my convenience. I thanked her.

Oh if only this was the end of my tale. But, get this, I went to buy new cheese, just ran in for one thing, the cheese, and found a check-out aisle empty. I explained I had a credit on my rewards card and the cheese would be free. Guess what? No one actually put the $11.00 on my card so I had to PAY for the new cheese. Un-freaking real.

Still with me? I went to the customer service desk at the store, explained my problem, and was asked if I had a pin number. Pin number, for what? The guy behind the counter said I needed a pin number to access the credit. I asked why no one at the 800 number didn’t tell me that, that I didn’t every have a pin number. I asked to speak to one of the managers at that point. Enter Victor, who understood the story, gave me back the money I just paid for the cheese, and gave me cash to total the full $11.00.

What the dolts at the Shoprite don’t get, despite my best efforts to explain to them, is that this is the ONE moment in time that they need to be perfect. With all the old A&P’s sold around me, one becoming a Stop & Shop and the one in Bedford becoming a Key Food (yes the low end Key Food coming to Bedford??!! Hard to understand!), others who are tired of a dirty Shoprite will just leave. NO ONE else will take the time to give such detailed constructive criticism to the management. No one.

So bye bye Shoprite. Twenty five+ years down the moldy cheese drain because your new management can’t see how to keep a store clean. What a shame. If I were the CEO, I’d fire the whole lot of them and hire me to run that place. I’d have it back in shipshape order in Leona Helmsley fashion in no time!

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38 thoughts on “Dear Shoprite. This Is It Between You and Me.

  1. Thanks for being my voice. I am not the type to say anything although I too noticed how dirty Shoprite got. Our new options, Stop&Shop and Key Foods are underwhelming to say the least. We need a high end store in town but we get middle of the road merchants. I’ll go over to Stop & Shop, to stand side-by-side with you in your effort to get Shoprite to understand how bad their new management is.

  2. A local chain called Market Basket hit the national news last year when one side of a funding family took over. Suppliers wouldn’t deliver. Supporters of the losing side boycotted by refusing to shop there. Losing side ended up winning and attracting a whole slew of new customers. I’m one of them. Prices are excellent. Food is fresh. Staff is helpful and very nice. The only problem is that no store is at all near where we live.
    Stop and Shop is nearby and I don’t like it very much at all. Prices at the one in my town are higher than those at S&S in the next town. Different weekly circulars are sent out. I recently bought one green pepper.It looked and felt fine.I needed only one for the recipe I was making for dinner that night. Cut the sucker open and found it brown inside. Frozen and thawed? Who knows. Several times I’ve gone on a Saturday to find the specials out of stock until ‘tomorrow’s delivery’. Right, a trailer is going to swing by on Sunday. I’m talking about basics like butter.
    Wegman’s has stores in MA but none close to us. Last time I went to one I saw piles of lobsters, beautifully arranged on beds of seaweed. Not in a tank but out on a table. They weren’t moving.
    Wegman’s didn’t wow me.

    1. I’ve heard others say they like Market Basket. Never been in one though. Nor have I seen one.
      The Stop&Shop in Fall River is mediocre at best. They sell a lot of mystery beef. Agree it isn’t Lees or Clement’s. When I was in NC, I popped in to a Harris Teeter. Wow. Reader RLRR shops there and has often sung their praises. It was gorgeous and I’d kill for a huge beautiful grocery store by me.

      1. New Bedford and Attleboro have Market Baskets. I went to the Attleboro one following the RISD visit and was quite impressed.
        I went to a Harris Teeter somewhere between St. Simons and Amelia Islands. Thought it was great. Great enough for me to get a shopper’s card in case I ever returned.

  3. From a small, struggling cooperative with eight Members – all owners of their own grocery stores – Wakefern Food Corp., the merchandising and distribution arm for ShopRite, has grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States and the largest employer in New Jersey. The cooperative is comprised of 45 members who individually own and operate supermarkets under the ShopRite banner. Yours is part of the big group owned by ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc., they own the NY ones.

    ours in CT are owned and operated by
    Grade A Markets, Inc.
    Our local one in Stamford is excellent.

    I appreciate this does not help, but thought you might be interested.

      1. The Shop-Rite’s in Stamford are all owned by the Cingari Family, neighbors I grew up with. The newest one is on the Greenwich border of Stamford at Commerce Park, there is one in Ridgeway Shopping Center at Bedford St. The original Grade A Market is on Shippan Ave. near the owners home so it’s great and there is one up on Newfield Ave. I believe the Norwalk Shop-Rite on Rt. 1 is also owned by the same family, it’s a good store too. Come try a CT Shop-Rite.

    1. The Stamford Shoprite is owned by the Cingaro family The next time you look at the meat, please note, they never indicate the grade on the sales tag, It is “select”, the least desireable versus Choice and
      the best, Prime. Go across the street to the Stop & Shop. The meat is far better as well as the veggies. Shoprite is good for a brand name (not theirs) and on sale.
      I am referring to the Shoprite on route 1, the Post Road not Grade A on Hope Street. Cingaro owns Hope Street as well Cove Road and the one in Norwalk on the strip with several other stores

      Acme has opened today, replacing the two A&Ps. Did not get there to check them out yet.

  4. I’ve given up on all grocery chains. I can’t stand Whole Foods because of its entitled LuluLemon crowd. Trader Joe’s isn’t for every day items. Fairway is okay but also not for everyday items. I can’t afford Citerella. So I end up at Stop and Shop, tossing items into my cart the way Mary Tyler Moore did in the opening scenes of her show.

    My son lives in California where they do markets well. Albertsons. Ralph’s. Vons. All excellent.

    Do you want the executive offices to reach out? Is that your goal in writing this?

    1. Funny reference to MTM. I remember that toss.

      I had a son in Santa Barbara and agree their stores are leagues better than our choices. Is it reason enough to move there Jane? I know your grandchildren are there.

        1. it was Safeway that KKR acquired back in ’86. Safeway and Albertson’s have merged, but, i don’t shop at either, so, i don’t care.

          when i lived in Greenwich, Hay Day in Riverside was my go to place.

        2. Aha, this is breaking news chris. You DO have a connection to Greenwich. I did not know this. Not that it’s any of my business. It’s just interesting.

        3. yeah, it was about fifteen years ago. kind of related to your Wanderlust, but, not all that interesting. i will always remember battling the SUV moms in the Whole Foods parking lot.

        4. I would think a California Boy like you would be a fish out of water in Greenwich, Whole Foods notwithstanding. Bet you are happy to be back on the left coast. I gotta say when our son lived in Santa Barbara thinking I could easily easily move there. Not rich enough to grab an Oprah-like mansion in the sky overlooking the Pacific. Sigh.

      1. I’ve been to the Darien Whole Foods. It is nice. For me, WF is like diCicco’s. Very high end, and I can see why people love it, but I don’t shop organic at all, nor am I gluten free, nor do I need free range eggs, or milk from really happy cows. I’m – Milk, bread, butter, yogurt, broccoli, bananas, pasta – the basics, Shoprite was just my speed.

  5. Key Foods is taking over the A&P at Hunting Ridge? Where did you hear that? That’s awful. My housekeeper won’t shop at the Key Foods near her on Fordham Road saying its filthy and she’s a great cook and owns a spotless home.

    I wonder if the space is too old and small for a bigger chain to claim the space. The whole strip mall needs a stick of dynamite. It’s embarrassingly ugly for such a pretty town.

    I was in the A&P that’s becoming a Stop & Shop today. Most of the shelves are empty and lots of sales. I asked when the transition is expected. November 12 I was told. Can’t wait.

    1. I read it in the local paper. And heard it elsewhere. Key Foods is about as low as a chain goes but given how ugly and old the Hunting Ridge space is, your assumption is likely spot on. No one else would stoop so low.

  6. I go back to the days of the carriage trade grocers. Every Wednesday my mother would call in her order to be delivered on Friday. The bill came once a month. Of course, that grocer couldn’t provide everything our family wanted so we would fill in at the supermarket which was actually quite small. After checking out, the groceries were put in a big plastic container and sent outside where you would drive up and someone would place the groceries in your car.
    Years ago, when we spent summers in the small town where I now live year round I often shopped at the local grocer who would cut meat and fish to order and provide most of the groceries we needed. We paid a price for the quality and convenience but the bills came only once a month. Sadly, they decided to move to a new location with higher expenses and didn’t manage to survive for long.

  7. In every instance you spoke with Shoprite employees, at the store or on the phone, you got yada-yada’d. If the new manager cared about your opinion he’d see how long you’ve been a customer and take your comments seriously. He did not. Nor did anyone else to whom you spoke. Yada Yada.

    1. Yes I have. The problem I have with it has nothing to do with their quality for they do have lots of good things. A, I never ever go to Armonk. B, I don’t shop for much anymore with the kids all gone and I get my fish and specialty meat from Mount Kisco Seafood. That leaves staples and produce and a few frozen things and I don’t need to pay a premium for that stuff. If I had all the kids home I might shop there more often.

    1. Nobody has ever responded to a tweet of mine. With a whopping 34 followers, (that’s not a typo!), of whom I think 33 are spam bots, I’m sure when a corporation sees a tweet from me, one step up from the generic egg Twitter icon, they figure whacko and don’t even bother to read it.

  8. I follow your Twitter feed and last I checked I’m not a FemBot.

    Any good corporation should have people who read social media sent their way. You’ve said more than once everyone to whom you spoke was nice but look at the customer service agent who was going to post your $11.00 credit and didn’t. What good was it that she was nice? She didn’t do her job. If she doesn’t, and the new managers aren’t, then I say the problems go much farther up the food chain (pardon the pun!).

    1. You are one of my followers? Thanks but I am not a good Tweetie Bird. I’m more of a tweet reader who re-tweets and who occasionally trashes the president.

      But to your point, a good one, I agree that any company who has social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, etc, should have a person on staff to read anything sent directly their way.

      I also agree that the woman who gave me the credit slipped up and funnily, the first woman I spoke to back in July didn’t log in my comments tagged to my Shoprite card number. I know that because when I called to get the credit for the cheese, I said “refer to my conversation from July to know why I’m unhappy”. She found no record of that long conversation until I gave her my home phone number. That was frustrating, to say the least.

      I don’t expect to hear from a soul at Shoprite. Thinking out loud, the only time I really got feedback from a blog post that included a tweet to the corporation was when I had a problem doing something nice for a friend at IHOP. I finally got to do what I wanted and an IHOP senior exec posted a comment on the blog post getting to this one. So they get credit for contacting me, probably because they saw I was trying to do good. Shoprite sees a complainer.

      https://earthoceanskyredux.com/2012/01/12/this-ones-for-you-gloria/

      1. Your IHOP posts are some of your best writing. Thanks for linking this one. I cry reading the comments.

        Hey, no comment from you about Biden not running? I’m shocked. You are such a political junkie.

        1. I was crazy busy all day, gone most of it. I volunteer at a food pantry and it gets busy this time of year.

          I was shocked that Joe decided not to run. I still don’t believe it. Here’s my jaded take: Obama got his FBI to tell him there would be no indictment forthcoming for Hillary. Without Hillary out, Joe didn’t see how he could climb to the top. I disagree. I think he would have beaten Hillary hands down and would have been far more formidable an opponent for the R’s.

          Stupid as a post Reince Priebus put out a statement that will end up biting him in the ass – that Hillary is easy to beat. Uh oh. The Rs can be so dumb.

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