My duel for fuel

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.)

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The Kroger coupons I receive can lead to big savings.

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 Double fuel pointsgrievance into her computer and thanked me for calling.  I blew a gasket when Kroger announced they were doubling fuel points rewards over the summer.

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My June and July fuel points are worthless unless I drive 35 minutes across town.

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. 

Hooray

Hooray!

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8 thoughts on “My duel for fuel

  1. You would think that companies would begin to realize that by ignoring customer complaints they lose customers. A quick reply with an effort to make things right goes a long way with consumers, too bad that these companies have yet to figure this out. Let us know if you ever get a reply.

    • I agree 100%. In the past I’ve written to the presidents or vice presidents of T-Mobile, Bank of America and Time Warner. I received wonderful responses and continue to use their services (though only because Bank of America holds my mortgage. That’s a truly evil corporation.) Kroger won’t even let me ask questions about this on their Facebook page. They keep deleting my posts. Lovely, huh?

      • Nice. As an attorney we are subject to being disbarred for failing to answer/return client phone calls, etc. in a timely manner. It is simply believed to be an unacceptable way of dealing with those people with whom you have a working relationship. Obviously, this does not apply to the corporate world, where they can do as they please. Deleting your posts is just another example. You are smart to not allow them the benefit of your patronage.

  2. Wow; I’ve never even heard of Kroger gas stations. I agree that they should be able to figure out another way for you to redeem those points. We have friends who live in Nags Head, NC. Their local Harris Teeter does not honor its own coupons during the summer months when all the tourists come, thus punishing their loyal customers who live and shop there year-round. She has written to them to no avail and now boycotts them.

    • My only comment re the Harris Teeter refusal to redeem coupons in the summer is at least it’s an across-the-board policy for all customers. If they publicize the policy in advance then it’s fair game. Still, it’s not very customer oriented.

  3. Earn 4X Gas points from Kroger!

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