There’s much I like about my neighborhood Kroger grocery store; it’s within walking distance from my house, clean, and well-stocked. It finally joined the 21st century a few months ago by installing a salad bar and gourmet cheese section. Most of the employees are friendly and helpful. My favorite thing is the small carts available for times when a standard buggy is too big and a hand basket is too small. (Somebody recently told me “buggy” is a Northernism.)
I’ve raised four kids and numerous pets on Kroger groceries. I still feed one hollow-legged teenage boy every day (and night) so my investment is ongoing. I spend so much money there my Kroger Plus card triggers all sorts of coupons on many of the items I buy on a regular basis. I often receive coupons for frees stuff. And my loyalty is rewarded with tons of fuel points I amass that mean big savings at Kroger gas stations.
And there’s the rub.
Neither of the two Kroger stores on my side of town have Kroger gas stations. The third Kroger in Columbia is 23 miles away in a part of town I visit maybe three times a year.
I’ve discussed this dilemma with the store manager and several other employees, all of whom have the same complaint as I. They urged me to call the customer service number and lodge my complaint. The robotic agent typed my grievance into her computer and thanked me for calling. I blew a gasket when Kroger announced they were doubling fuel points rewards over the summer.
I finally wrote to W. Rodney McMullen, the president and chief operating officer of Kroger Co., letting him know of my extreme dissatisfaction that loyal customers are not able to redeem their fuel points. I suggested customers who don’t have access to Kroger gas stations be rewarded in alternate ways. That shouldn’t be difficult since, by monitoring my shopping habits through my Kroger Plus card, Kroger knows perfectly well how to reward me. I’ve waited weeks for a response. I’m still waiting.
From now on, I’m shopping at Bi-Lo because their fuel program lets customers redeem loyalty points at any Shell gas station.
Note: I posted a link to this blog on Kroger’s Facebook page asking nicely for a response. I got a response: my post was deleted within 10 minutes. Customer service at its best.
UPDATE: I posted this three years ago and I’m happy to report that a Kroger with a gas station where I can use my points is being built less than 5 miles from my house.