Here in Chicago some people shop at Jewel. Some people shop at Dominick's. A&P is looooong gone. And I guess some people aren't loyal—they shop wherever the best deals are.
I'm a Dominick's shopper. Now that I am car-less, the Dominick's at Clark and Howard is my primary grocery store cuz it's within walking distance.
Just For U Was Not for Me at First
When Dominick's started the "Just For U" discount program in 2010 I was quick to sign up. Heck, they were giving away free eggs and I am all about saving every penny I can.
It seemed like a pretty straight-forward program: Browse through sales pages online and click the "Add" button to load items onto my Fresh Values customer appreciation card. Then, when I shop, the sales items I added to my card would get discounted at the register. Simple, right?
But, OMG, what a pain in the ass it was that first year! It got to where I could count on spending an additional 20 minutes at the customer service desk waiting in line and getting my receipt straightened out! Not once in that entire first year were all the discounted prices reflected correctly on my receipts. After several frustrating trips to the service desk when I first started using the program, the manager told me to print out my Just For U shopping list and bring it to the store to compare it to the receipt.
That led to months and months of trips to the service desk to quibble with the customer service clerk over 30 cents here and 20 cents there. A few times they put me on the phone with someone from the corporate office, which meant I had to repeat everything I had just told the clerk! On a few of those store visits I wound up getting back as much as $10! At the very least it was $2 or $3—every time.
Unlike most Dominick's customers, however, I was a captive audience. I couldn't just hop in my car and go over to the Jewel on Howard Street in Evanston (and there was no way I was going to haul groceries home on the bus)! So, I kept shopping at Dominick's and got really good at checking my receipt for errors and was practically on a first-name basis with the customer service staff.
Just For U Got Better—Thank Goodness
I'm happy to report that the corporate techies finally worked out the bugs in the Just For U program. I hardly ever have to go to the service desk anymore. I still check my receipts closely but am pleased to see that when I load a couple of coupons from my computer to get $3 off a bag of cat food, it shows up on my receipt. Until today, that is, which brings me to the whole point of this post.
As usual, I loaded a bunch of sale items from my computer, printed out the list and headed for the store. I planned to save about $2.50 per pound on meat and was excited that one of my favorite bakery items was on sale: cake by the slice. Normally $2.49 per 7 oz. slice, Dominick's was offering Just For U customers four slices for $5! Yum! And the bakery even custom-packaged my two favorite varieties—Just For Me!
My Mom Would Have Been Proud
But wait! When I checked my receipt on my way out of the store, I noticed they under-charged me for the cake. Instead of the $5 special, I was charged only $1.69 (the per-slice discounted price). I have to admit I thought about blowing it off for no other reason than all the time I wasted at that stupid service desk, trying to get my money back. It's only a few bucks, right? No big deal, right?
But I just couldn't do it. Honesty is the best policy, I thought, hearing my mom's voice in the back of my head. So, I turned around and went to the service desk, where I was met by the nice young guy who has helped me sort out receipts in the past.
"Well, here's something you don't usually see," I said, smiling. "You guys UNDER-charged me!"
I showed him what had happened. He tried to reason that maybe I got a refund on my card from a previous purchase. When I showed him what I was charged, compared to what I should have been charged, he nodded in agreement.
"You're right" he said. "This is not something we ever see."
In the end, I think the service desk employee just didn't want to bother with having to figure out what I owed. "It's OK," he said. "Thank you for being honest, but we'll just leave it as it is."
I cheerfully obliged and went on my way, satisfied that I had at least tried to do the right thing, cuz that's the way I roll. And Dominick's earned a little extra customer loyalty, to boot.
Here's More Info About the Just For U Program