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Bait & Switch
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
RANCHO BERNARDO, CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA -- Von's constantly runs bait and switch ads for specials and fake two for the price of one promotions.

Even on St. Patrick's Day they were still running radio ads claiming to sell corned beef for $1.27 a pound despite having run out in our local store 2 days earlier. Yet the sign for the sale priced corned beef was still there. Not realizing this I selected a piece and headed to the cashier. That piece, which was right in front of the sign saying it was on special rang up at $3.99 a pound ($14.44) which I then rejected. When I complained TO the cashier, he stated yeah we ran out a long time ago. OK WHY IS THE SIGN STILL THERE; WHY DOES VON'S DELIBERATELY UNDER ORDER A SALE ITEM? Leaving the store frustrated I decided this is the last visit to Von's and this is not the first time I have experienced this sort of thing there. VON'S has no respect for their customers; they don't care because its all about the bottom line with them.

And who needs Von's? Target now has a great stock of grocery item priced
10-20% lower than Von's. All items are clearly marked, they don't have fake sales and they don't try to trick you.

One only needs shop Costco to realize how most items in Von's are packaged in tiny pack-sizes with a massive 300-400% mark-up, yet they endless scheme to fatten their bottom line with marketing gimmicks while they anger and disrespect their customers all along claiming to have the lowest prices.

Von's needs to take a page from JC Penney who recently stopped all the customer manipulation and sells their goods everyday at their lowest price, no games, no misleading signage, no fake sales. Everything they do makes yo mistrust Von's when you shop one day and the beer is $15.95 for a 12 pack and the very next it is $11.95.
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uh huh on 03/18/2012:
. The label will clearly have the price per pound on it. Read it. It is not bait and switch to run out of an item on sale.
Anonymous on 03/18/2012:
This isn't bait and switch. They ran out of a sale product.
BigAl on 03/18/2012:
Many times Bait and Switch is accused by OPs. But this is a genuine case of bait and switch. The bait is an advertised sell price and the switch is a higher priced same type product. If the sell price was not still being advertised (especially in the store) and a sign stating that they are out of the advertised product then it would not be bait and switch. Sometimes due to contractual advertising some products will still air but not be available in the store. Hoowever this store continued to advertise, in store, when the product was no longer available. Good review and good for you for not purchasing their higher priced substitute.
trmn8r on 03/18/2012:
BigAl, I don't see evidence this is a "genuine case" of bait and switch. I can see how the reader may *assume* it is. I'd like more details before deciding it is.

According to the OP, the store frequently runs out of sale items. That alone of course isn't bait and switch.

Now, they picked up a package of corned beef that was near the Sale sign. What if, as often happens, another shopper had that package in their hand, came across this sign and realized there was a sale? They may have said "I'm not paying this higher price when another brand (?) is on sale" and dropped it there.

If the package the OP had in hand was mismarked at the sale price, then the customer service should have sold it at that price regardless of how it rung up.

Finally, here is some information regarding limited quantities of sale items: "advertising a sale while intending to stock a limited amount of, and thereby sell out, a loss-leading item advertised is legal in the United States. The purveyor can escape liability if they make clear in their advertisements that quantities of items for which a sale is offered are limited, or by offering a rain check on sold-out items."
BigAl on 03/18/2012:
Bait and Switch-To offer an item at a low price to get customers into the store then try your best often times using unethical means to sell a higher priced item. The very fact that the store kept the sale priced item still advertised in instore promotions when in fact that item was no longer available is Baiting. The switch is the higher priced item nearby but not properly marked. The OP has every reason to be upset.
Anonymous on 03/18/2012:
I would have asked for a rain check from the manager, so that when the product was back in stock you could get if for the sale price. Never hurts to ask:)
Vons Worker on 07/12/2012:
Depending on the Vons and how their night crew orders their inventory it can come in messed up, there are days/weeks where we will order something and never receive it. Then when we don't want it we get tons of it. Sometimes there are occasions where stores will Order a certain amount of it and BRI something. BRI stands for back room inventory which is our system of picking stuff out of the back that we need for the shelf. They system personally I feel is flawed as it doesn't always work properly. We do not do bait and switch. If we run out of a product we will "Take a facing" of the shelf space to make room for something that we have more of till we receive what we need. Typically the tag is moved to the above shelf on the underside of the shelf. till it can be ordered. Ordering facings of grocery versus gm is harder to do just because we cannot just order everything. and fill the shelf. It makes it so we have stuff that doesn't fit and we cannot just take 2 of 12 items to the back room and leave it on the floor. 1 that would be gross and 2 its against policy for most places to do such a thing. Typically you order what is on sale first over the item next to it but if the item next to the sale item is down to 1 thing left and it takes 1 and a half cases to fill the order may have been 2 cases and the sale item wasn't ordered. Depending on the day you went in as well makes a difference as there are 2 days where we don't make orders as well. I work night crew so this is information for everyone out there who thinks this is bait and switch or not. I am one of these people that order and stock your shelves, and make the store look pretty in the morning. We work hard with only 4-5 people throwing up 1000 piece loads in less than 5 hours which means we are throwing around 80 cases an hour. This is not the highlight of our day, But we do care for the customer and we try to keep things in stock because we do get in trouble for having things out of stock especially things that are on sale. Managers do not like this and we get complained to about it if it happens so we do our best to make sure it doesn't. As I stated earlier Sometimes we get stuff we don't want and other times we don't get what we want. It is all based on what the distribution center gives us on out pallets.
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Secret Shopper
Posted by on
The grocery store is a service industry. They do not need to have a secret shopper go around and try to catch their employees who are not servicing customers correctly. What a waste of time and money. All they need to do is watch their bottom line. If a customer or customers are not serviced correctly they will go elsewhere and they will complain to management. Think of this wonderful idea the manager instead of sitting in his office could walk the store and manage by walking around the same as most industries do. All they are doing is upsetting employees with a bad shop because maybe they did not say hello as quickly as the secret shopper wanted?? who knows they are not told after the event so they con correct their action. My daughter works for Vons she is on her last warning. Although the managers are agree she is a valuable employee, and they are not sure what she is doing wrong because they have seen her interact with customers and she has compliments from customers. So who is this SECRET SHOPPER, suppossedly the whole store had some faults, Was he or she having a bad day? Telling employees to ask customers constantly for carry out and they have one item is annoying, asking me if I want cheese when I came in for Ham is annoying. Shopping was much better when it was really on a personal basis and not a forced compliance for fear of the SECRET SHOPPER. What a hoax to create a company to go around and rate your employees. A good manager knows their employees and their work ethics. Better yet all this for minimum wage and you have to pay union dues. Vons can take their job and shove it. Forced Customer Service is not Customer Service. By the way the grocery carts are disgusting, take note they use them to take out the trash then put them back in the cart rack for consumers to use.
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Anonymous on 09/03/2010:
I'm sure it can be frustrating, but most companies have secret shoppers. You may have the anal retentive shopper, or a shopper that is just doing what they are told. If you just do what you are supposed to do, you shouldn't get in trouble.
Skye on 09/03/2010:
I don't know why the idea of a secret shopper bothers you so much. It's a service that supplies jobs to people. The secret shopper companies are often employed by businesses such as Safeway, so they can know what's going on in their own stores, by their own employees.
leet60 on 09/03/2010:
I think there is a lot more to this story than is being told here. I have worked every retail position from the floor to management in several industries. Secret shoppers provide a valuable service to the industry allowing them to improve areas that need focus, rather than rely solely on the general manager's idea of how his/her store is doing.

I can't count the number of retail stores I have shopped in where I don't get any greeting from an employee (and I would be happy with a simple head nod) much less can I find one to help with a smile on their face.
goduke on 09/03/2010:
The secret shopper is attempting to see the store from the perspective of the customer, rather than the perspective of the management team. The employees may not like it, but if the employees liked it, chances are they aren't doing their job.
Ytropious on 09/03/2010:
I can see where the OP is coming from and agree. These check list type speeches that people is customer service positions have to give gets old. Where I work we have one of those "if the cashier fails to ask you for X and X you get a free soda or gift card" deals. I hate it because it forces you to be so robotic with the customers JUST to make sure you covered your ass in case someone calls you out. I don't want to have to ask someone buying a soda if they want to sign up for all our cards and offer them other things they obviously don't need. Again, it's just one of those contrived corporate things that looks great on paper but really doesn't work.

Case and point, I am required to ask the customer if they wish to buy batteries. I must have rung hundreds of customers since we put that policy in place. How many people have said "oh yes I DO need batteries" and proceed to buy some? Exactly 3. I keep count! It's not worth asking EVERYONE just to snag a few people here and there. OP says it best, "Forced Customer Service is not Customer Service."
Skye on 09/03/2010:
It's not just about what the employees are doing wrong. Secret Shoppers are there to see how things are running in general, and this also includes how management is performing.
Venice09 on 09/04/2010:
This is very interesting. I now know more than I ever did about secret shoppers. I too see where the OP is coming from, and I agree more than disagree. It's true, forced customer service is not genuine customer service just like forced apologies are not really meaningful. I would much rather be treated as an individual than be subjected to scripted speeches from employees. I go grocery shopping at night when the employees consist of all the old-timers and the atmosphere is more relaxed. On the rare occasion I go in the store during the day, I immediately notice the difference. Things are more strict, scripted and robotic. Even though everyone is friendly and saying what they're instructed to say, I don't feel as welcome and at home as I do at night. There's a colder, more impersonal atmosphere during the day. I agree with the OP that all they need to do is watch their bottom line.
boy87 on 01/26/2011:
I love bagging for my customers. I'm always smiling and happpy.
PepperElf on 01/26/2011:
ytrop - outstanding point.

That's perfect proof that the SS doesn't actually show a realistic view of a shopping experience or of customer service.

The SS might fault - or even fail - an employee for not pushing the current offer (or warranty, credit cards, bonus cards, or whatever other crap the company is trying to sell). But the Customer might be very happy that they weren't bothered.

2376 ex-employee on 05/31/2011:
I used to work for Vons Barstow 2376.. who ever wrote this complaint is dead on ! Also about taking the trash out using grocery carts is absolutely correct. This happens at pretty much every Vons. You have been warned.
lakevieworegon on 07/08/2011:
I see what you are saying and agree that the manager(s) should get off their butts and go around that store. I work at Safeway in Southern Oregon and we have that same problem too. And plus the managers miss treat their employees. Right now I am in a battle with them cause I just had a miss carriage and had to miss work for a couple of days and had a doctors note, My hours were cut to 9 hours a week and I confronted my manager and asked why and he said "it's because of missing work back in January and February of this year" which I just moved here and got the job and came down with pneumonia. Yeah what a bunch of bull so I claimed another new employees schedule who has been there less than me and Was told I could not do that, which in fact I can, it states it in our union contract!! I would tell your daughter to fight it and stick up for herself and not let them push her around or file a grievance.
Anonymous on 03/21/2013:
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter ! but I worked for Vons when they first started this program. They said they would take no disciplinary action but once again . They pay the same as Walmart but treat there employees worse. Don't get me wrong I'm not for Walmart , I've been a union worker for 30 years. but I would recommend you tell all your friends to shop at Ralphs ,Albertsons or stater brothers. For all those people that that liked the mystery shoppers , they probably work for the company so pay them no mind. I hope their children When they work for companies like this , will finally understand how you feel and I mean no disrespect towards them.
Teresa on 05/10/2013:
Secret shoppers can and do say anything they want.....if they think you are younger,cuter and better than them.....whammy! You will be dinged....they are piss poor excuses for human beings and are just jealous because they cannot get real jobs.LOSERS!!!
Elizabeth on 08/19/2013:
I have been a mystery shopper. I chose to do this job in addition to my profession because of the filth and poor customer service I have experienced in restaurants, hotels and grocery stores. I have secretly swabbed things customers touch to submit for evaluation. I have been at the till when the employee chose not to greet me, or tell me the total of my bill, or even give a parting comment. I have rented a room in an upscale hotel chain, only to find fecal matter on the toilet seat and blood on the bed sheets upon arrival. When management is around, these employees would surely do their job properly, but when a customer comes through, they aren't dotting their I's or crossing their every T. Recently, my Mother was told by the employee at the check out to go online to purchase the same item for half the price. Too bad my Mother wasn't a mystery shopper just then! If you would like to improve customer service, join this industry and do your part-share your experiences from a shopper's point of view!
ASU on 11/23/2013:
Safeway just stopped the program. Done. Over. No more secret shoppers. They will now rely on the receipt survey.
I was one for 2 and half years. Hated it would be putting it mildly. But when I did far away shops, man it paid well with mileage.
I have learned there are some amazing Safeway employees. But I still cannot stand the stores. I love my Trader Joes with all the prices the same week after week, no visual clutter, no ads, no banners and no coupons. Ugghh! And now tthis vegan doesn't have to go in the smelly meat department and pretend to ask about the price of rib eye. Yeah!!! It's over, but I would have loved the satisfaction of quitting.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Working with employee's schedules
Posted on
Rating: 1/51
GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA -- I used to work for Vons for 20 years I was a retail sales manager, now my son works there. He has asked the store manager and service manager at the Vons store in Glendale on Glendale if he could have Thursday afternoon off & Saturday morning off. He told them he was in the cadet Academy for the LAPD program. He can work those days just around those shifts. Unfortunately they are not willing to work with him. I never thought in a million years Vons would hinder one of their employees to better themselves. When I was in management for Vons I always work with my employees on there schedule, I've always believed a happy employee makes a great employee. Vons talks about Walmart on how bad they treat their employees, but they are no better. I guess that's why they call Vons the revolving doors employees coming and go because of how bad management treats them.

The only thing I can do now is not shop there anymore and I well ask my friends to do the same. Thee real funny part of this or not, is I still have some friends in their corporate office and they could not believe that the store manager was not willing to work with my son.
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Karnamay on 03/20/2013:
Many years ago I worked for the province of British Columbia in health care. My fellow nurse was denied time off to compete in the Olympics! She had to quit her permanent full time government position and go on-call because management would not give her the 2 weeks she needed! Some of us volunteered to work her shifts but they still refused. I believe, if you give someone a little power it goes to their head.
Chaparrita on 03/20/2013:
I had a boss deny me any days off when I got my wisdom teeth pulled. I went to HR and was given 4 days off. Have your son go to their HR. it's amazing what strings they can pull that management cannot.
JAKFK on 03/20/2013:
Health related issues (wisdom teeth) are one thing, but chasing another career, training for the Olympics, etc...? C'mon folks. When our company hires someone, we stress that their work comes before any extracurricular activity. I cannot fault a company for asking their employees to live up to their obligations. And I'm not knocking anyone for wanting to better themselves or pursue their dreams, but maybe that isn't the job for you then.
Anonymous on 03/21/2013:
I agree with you !but he is only a courtesy clerk at minimum wages and it is 2 days that he is asking for them to work around. He is not asking for the entire days off just some hours in between his program.I've worked for that company for 20 years and usually when they do not want to do that it's because management has a personal grudge against someone. Even people from their own corporate who I will not name said they cannot believe he was not willing to work with my son.
JAKFK on 03/21/2013:
johnpettit150> I'm curious if maybe it had to do with "why" he was asking for the time off? He's asking to attend the cadet program, which is eventually going to be a different job. Most employers don't take to kindly to moonlighting. If the time off was for being illness, family, etc...maybe the outcome would have been different? But kudos to your son for being honest and telling them upfront, instead of lying or making up excuses. Sounds like a good kid you raised:)
Anonymous on 03/21/2013:
I thank you for your kind words! I don't know if you ever worked in the grocery business. but he is only a courtesy clerk or what some people call a grocery bagger.I work for the company for 20 years and it is our understanding if we treat them well they would like to stay and maybe move up promotion. But we also know that it is a job they due to help them get through school for career of their choice.I'll give you another example , in the other stores the manager there works around his courtesy clerk schedule for there career. also when I work for Vons in El Monte, I had an employee his name was Brian and he was going to Cal Poly.I work around his schedule, believe it or not , he was 1 of my best stockers.
Anonymous on 03/21/2013:
just so we don't get off track of the subject , I am repeating it 1 more time. It is very sad that the managers at Vons in Glendale, Ca. on Glendale, are not willing to work around my son schedule. Again its only 2 days, and not asking for the whole days off. Just work around the schedule he has for his cadet program for the LAPD. So all I can do myself now is shop at another company which I will. Here in Glendale we have (4) Ralphs , Jon and smart & final. Hope that people who read this and my friends would do the same. To show the companies that we are not willing to put up with them treating their workers or our children who work for them that way. I mean no disrespect to anyone and if you are offended I am sorry. If anybody out there has children which I know they do. We know it is wrong for the company's to treat young adults that way who are just trying to better themselves. I hope somebody in upper management at Vons corporate office reads this and hopefully maybe able to help us out THANK YOU.
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Compulsory customer service
Posted by on
I was speaking with a friend who works for Vons. She told me of their customer service program. They have a mystery shopper program that rates employees on service. No wonder everyone is jumpy. Each store is shopped a certain times per unit time. No one knows who the shopper is. But if the shopper is not greeted, offered a hello, and can I show you where the product is, offer carry out..etc. they loose points. A negative shop gives the employee a lecture from the store management. So all these people give you a perfunctory hello. offer carry out etc.. Most people never request these services...but are offered these services without gusto. I think this makes employees less prone to offer better service on their own. In better economic times these employees were sent to corporate for retraining on company expense. No wonder fewer people were working those days...and the lines were longer....
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Anonymous on 08/23/2009:
Mystery shoppers are used to improve customer service.
Any employee providing good customer service, per their employers guidelines, shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Anonymous on 08/23/2009:
^^What C2O said.

Doctor Charlie on 08/23/2009:
All stores have mystery shoppers.
tnchuck100 on 08/23/2009:
The concept sounds good. But depending on how a retailer applies it it could actually be counter-productive. If you have employees that are providing "perfect" customer under the fear of reprimand it will show.

When I am dealing with any company I don't expect stellar customer service 100% of the time. Courteous, helpful service is what is most important.

Hugh_Jorgen on 08/23/2009:
"Mystery Shoppers" have been around for at least 25 years. We had them that many years ago when I worked in retail. If you were doing your job, you had nothing to worry about. If you gave what they considered exceptional service, you could win $50.00.
madconsumer on 08/23/2009:
this practice has been going on for decades. I remember back in 1980 this was used a lot.

how else can a company know if their employees are doing a knock up job? unless the employee isn't doing their job 100%, why worry?? but c2o already said this.
i_am_canadian on 08/23/2009:
How else would they know? How about actually coming out of their hole every now and then to interact with employees and observe them at work? The fact that they need to hire a 3rd party company to spy on workers proves how lazy and stupid the management of some of these companies is.
Anonymous on 08/23/2009:
Just about every store, bank (and yes credit unions) does it. It absolutely does improve customer service, and it helps to point out where they are lacking, and where more training is needed. In point of fact "Compulsory customer service" is just what you should expect and demand from a business.
i_am_canadian on 08/23/2009:
Of course 'Compulsory Customer Service' is expected, understandably. But shouldn't it be management's job within these companies to ensure that such policies are enforced? If they really knew the proper way to assess, manage and motivate employees, while at the same time weeding out those who underperform, there would be no need for assistance from an outside company.
Anonymous on 08/23/2009:
Oh, canada: When the boss shows up, employees suddenly work better. That's why companies use these type of third-party services. I agree, however, that more interaction with employees is critical. (When I was a teen, I was friends with the owner of a small chain of short-order restaurants. He used to have me order food for the two of us, so he could check the quality of the food. If he ordered it, he always got great food, since he owned the place.)

By the way, we are ALL mystery shoppers. If we don't like the service, we take our shopping elsewhere. Employees want praise for good service, they got it - they get to keep their jobs because we shop there. They want to goof off, that's fine, too - as we shop elsewhere, they get to lose their jobs so they can goof off all they want. No real mystery, afterall.
David Cross on 08/23/2009:
Yes mystery shoppers have been around for years. However recently customer service has gone out of control. It is ABUSED by many customers. That's why we have all these scams. If you work retail you will understand this. Due to the bad economy most mystery shops have been severely scaled back. Why do so much of our goods cost so much? theft by consumers. Misplaced items (esp. refigerated items left out on the asiles). That's why costco has a new electronics policy as of a couple years ago. You had people returning plasma tv's after 3-4 years because it was outdated wanting a full refund. If people thought for a bit before buying things they wouldn't have to return things (and they would save a ton of money). All this cost is shifted over to the total consumers. The last few genrerations are consuming too much without thought. We have high school graduation rates below 50% in major cities. and vast majorities of children and high school students who are obese...who will drive up heath care costs which is already to large a % of GDP. This is the whole OBAMA/Congress debacle now. Yes mystershop has been around for decades. But the populuation now is vastly different from before. One feeds upon the other. Customer serivce with mystershoppers simply does not work right now.
David Cross on 08/23/2009:
I am about done with all this jibber-jabber about healthcare, deficit, bailouts etc. I don't hear our great elected president state the obvious. We are in this mess because of our selfishness and greed. Obama and other members of congress would burn too much politicial capital to point the finger at the voting constituents. Health care... we are FAT and lazy as a whole. We are gaining weight. We are not exercising. This has spread diabetes to unheard of heights. We need to eat LESS. We can't supersize and stuff our faces. We order tons of food and we throw it out, rots in our fridge. We overuse a disproporti0nate amount of the worlds caloric food supply. We use xxx amount of water to grow more meats, when vegetables use far less. And we wonder why we are in a drought. We wonder why each water municipality is fighting with another to get cheaper water. Are we not one nation? We say we are against the war. We should pull out of Iraq..and now afganistan. Yet we refuse to drive less and smaller cars. We drive monster SUVs..still very popular..even though most who drive them are only 1 person or 2 people with 1 child. How does the rest of the world do without all these SUVs..minvans (we are the nation that invented the minivan..) and when the price of gas goes up.. we foam at the mouth. A large portion of our oil comes from the middle east..which fosters a lot of the known terrorists. If you look at the recent spike in oil last year to greater than 140/barrel.. you see it was due to price speculation..allowed by the members that be of a few senators who control how the SEC and other organizations are regulated. but that is a digression. If the vast majority of us would look to learn beyond mp3's hiphop music..and learn a thing or 2 about the world..we would have a more transparent government. Where knowledge exsits there is less space available for funny business. We as citizens of this nation need to wake up. Take ownership. Look out for the interest of our neigbors. Doing this we will elevate ourselves as a whole. Did not someone say divided we fall..united we stand? Perhaps this too was largely forgotten and relegated as a mere cliche.
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Are you getting what you ask for?
Posted by on
SAN DIEGO/POINT LOMA, CALIFORNIA -- I was in Vons Groceries today and went to the deli and ordered a pound of Sarah Lee Honey Roasted Turkey Breast. I eat this sandwich meat almost every day of every week for lunch, so I know what it tastes like. After being made to wait by a very inconsiderate manager, I finally had my order filled. When I got home and tasted the meat I realized that the manager had given me the wrong brand. Honestly, I felt like it was on purpose b/c what she gave me very much resembled what was on sale and already sliced. The Sarah Lee was not sliced, not on sale and more of a "hassle" for her. I took the meat back and the manager proceeded to argue w/ me, insisting she'd given me the correct meat. When I asked if I could taste a slice of an unopened Sarah Lee to compare and make sure it was not I who had made the mistake, she didn't want to let me. After I questioned why not when in the past they "offered" a tasting to help you make up your mind, she gave in. Not only did the meat taste drastically different, it even looked different. I'm convinced she knew she had given me the wrong, less expensive brand on purpose, and simply charged me the higher Sarah Lee price and labelled it as such. They'd done this to me before, but I thought it was just me.

When I voiced my complaint to the store manager, he was so busy talking over me and not listening, spouting a blanket comment he probably gives to anyone making a complaint, I realized it was useless speaking to him b/c he wasn't hearing a word I said. He was too busy telling me "let's cross our fingers and hope it doesn't happen again". What is THAT to say to a customer? It was a very frustrating experience, and both managers were extremely direspectful.

If the Vons practice is to try to cheat you, mislead you, and when you complain basically disrespect you, then they are a shady business I will never patron them again.
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Anonymous on 05/13/2007:
Don't go back.
yoke on 05/13/2007:
My local A&P recently did that with cheese. I always order Land O Lakes white. The label said LOL, but the cheese was the store brand. I know the difference since I have bought the store brand in the past to see if I can tell the difference and it was a big difference. I brought it back to the store and the manager was upset that it had happened. I was given the cheese free and a coupon for another pound at another time. After telling a few friends about what had happened, in a positive way, they have said the same thing has happened to them there also, when one particular girl is on.
Anonymous on 05/13/2007:
California, it's the cheese!
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