Monday, July 7, 2008

Trader Joe's Egg "Policy"

On our way back home yesterday, after driving 15 hours from Michigan, through Canada, having our car chosen for a "random search," and picking up Beans from my terrifically sweet friend/coworker, we stopped at Trader Joe's realizing there was absolutely no food at home. Little is worse than coming home to an empty fridge after eating nothing but snacks and junk food on a 2 day road trip... So we stopped by the store to pick up a few things. I went in while D waited in the car with Beans. I got the essentials, baby spinach, salmon, milk, crumbled goat cheese, ice cream, frozen lunches for work, and eggs. Oh the eggs.. We eat cage free eggs, from free-range chickens. They're a bit more pricey money wise but way worth it in the whole sustainable farming scope of things, that's a different post altogether. Anyway, i pick up a carton and check the eggs at the register. I discover one is cracked. Not totally broken as in leaking all over the place, just a bit cracked on top. I ask the sales associate if he wouldn't mind waiting just one second so i can go swap an egg.

He says, "no need," takes the carton and tosses it in the garbage behind him. I stare at him blankly. He says, "don't worry, i'll send someone to get you a new carton."

I say, "but only 1 egg was cracked."

He says, "it's store policy." My eyes tear up. Trust me, i don't usually get emotional over eggs but you've got to remember that i walked into this store directly following a 15 hour road trip. I'm tired, i'm smelly, i'm irritable, i'm in desperate need of food that does not come out of a plastic bag in the shape of a chip, i want my fucking eggs.

"Wasting 11 perfectly good eggs because 1 is cracked is terrible protocol, if you ask me" I say.

He smiles and has the audacity to answer me, laughing, "yea, lots of costumers get upset about this, we usually wait to throw out the product until they leave." WHAT?!

"I want those eggs that you just threw out, i'll buy the damaged carton, i'll buy all 12 eggs, including the cracked one, i don't want to be responsible for you throwing away 11 eggs, i will buy all 12."

He gets stern with me, "No. I can't sell you those, they're damaged. And i can't give them to you at a discount either" At this point i'm pissed. I want those eggs. I don't want a discount, i just want THOSE eggs.

"I would like to speak to your manager please," I insisted. He reluctantly rings the bell which gets the manager to whom i explained how incredibly wasteful it is to throw away 11 perfectly good eggs just because 1 is cracked.

The manager reiterated the whole "store policy" thing. I told him i was tired, i wanted to get home, i just wanted to buy those eggs in the garbage for the full price. I couldn't believe they were refusing to make a profit out of this. Finally, after a few more minutes of this, and probably after the manager could see that i was not budging (literally or in my argument) he sold me the eggs, at a discount.

D and I both couldn't believe that this was their policy. We loved Trader Joe's. We were still upset about it this morning. D called their corporate office to file a formal complaint. The costumer service rep D spoke with was very friendly and assured D that this was not their policy. Rather, what they are supposed to do is donate their "damaged" products. We liked this policy a lot more. I next called my local Trader Joe's to let them know what happened and that i called corporate to complain. The person i spoke with said he'd address the cashiers. I'm not sure if he will but a gal can hope :)

P.S. My vacation was wonderful. Lots of sun, sand, s'mores, and friends :)


Renee said...

I am not surprised by this story. We waste an incredible amount of food. This is part of the reason some people have started dumpster diving. It is possible to fish an entire weeks worth of groceries out of a dumpster. Imagine that...Now some corporations have started locking these dumpsters because they want the profit. I think we all need to be a little bit more concerned about what we consider garbage.

Joylene Green said...

I can't believe throwing out 11 eggs either! What waste. I'm so glad you addressed it.

I'm enjoying your blog...

Lindsay said...

Is that the Trader Joe's in Orange? Boo. I'm always disappointed by the lack of fresh produce in that store. We don't have any in Minnesota so I'm just getting used to it, but the lack of produce and now this egg thing makes the rest of their awesomeness shine just a little less.

phd in yogurtry said...

Excellent that you complained! Sounds like a severely wacky "policy" and suspiciously like "lazy cashier solution."
Tho I was wondering if the throw away policy had to do with risk of salmonella poisoning. Would still seem ridiculous to me. And wasteful. I hate waste.

But back to you, glad you had a good vay-cay. Welcome back.

C.L. Jones said...

Wow, that is rather wasteful. I am glad you took a stand. Big up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it took you not getting out of their face and then their "policy" changed? I would think what they said is what they said, not "ok, so you're actually really upset now, I guess what we said before we won't stick with". Trader Joe's donates half of their food (hopefully) but yes, 1/2 is thrown away just like you saw, right in the trash wheather it's just one broken egg, no label or even one slightly bruised product in a package of four. I used to like trader joes and will now go out of my way to not shop their because I do not believe in their so-called "company moral".