I received a call last night in response to the complaint letter recently I sent to Stop & Shop. The ensuing conversation yielded the following relevant information:
- TeleCheck probably demanded that I show ID because not only had I never paid by check before at Stop & Shop, I’ve probably never paid by check at any store that uses TeleCheck. I very, very rarely pay for anything retail by check.
- The store manager had the authority and discretion to override TeleCheck and accept my check without ID. It was his choice, not a Stop & Shop corporate policy, to refuse to do so.
- The woman with whom I spoke and Stop & Shop corporate management agree that, as a matter of both customer service and policy, the store manager’s refusal to accept my check was inappropriate.
- My letter was both forwarded “down the management chain” to the store and “up the management chain” to district management, to be used as an opportunity to retrain store managers on how to better handle incidents like this one.
The woman with whom I spoke was very apologetic and sounded sincere, though granted, it’s her job to sound sincere even when she isn’t. I told her that I appreciated her call but would also like a written response, and she said she would send one. If she does, I will reprint it here.
There are two reasons why I say that Stop & Shop has “just about” (as opposed to “completely”) redeemed itself:
- It’s not true repentance until you are put into same situation again and react differently. I’ll never know whether the next person in this situation will be treated differently, so I’ll never know for certain if Stop & Shop has truly, to borrow a phrase from Arlo Guthrie, “rehabilitated itself.”
- My wife says after all that grief they should have offered me a gift card or something. 🙂
Having said that, there’s no denying that they responded well to my complaint.
UPDATE: They sent me a $50 gift card for my trouble. I guess that completes their redemption :-), though I still don’t know (and probably never will) if the manager of the store where I had trouble would react differently if presented again with a similar situation.
Note they update I’ve added to the end of the posting above: They sent me a $50 gift card for my trouble.
I think that’s a pretty good response. Everyone makes mistakes, and you can’t make sure everyone in the company makes exactly the decisions you’d like them to all the time. But owning up to the mistake and saying they’re going to train managers to do better next time is about as good as you’ll get. The fact that they responded at all is honestly a pretty good first step. Lots of large corporations simply never respond to feedback.