Posted by: Marty Fahncke | December 27, 2007

How grocery club cards affect customer service

Price Chopper

Yesterday, I stopped by my local grocery store (Price Chopper, Louisburg, KS) to pick up a last minute item needed for dinner. My 15-year old daughter decided to stay in the car and listen to music.

I ran into the store, grabbed my intended item and headed for the cash registers.

On the way, I spotted a sign indicating my favorite salsa was on sale. So on the way past, I grabbed two jars.

At the cash register, the clerk asked me for my “club card”.

Unfortunately, my card was on my key chain…which was in my car.

Also unfortunate, the great price on salsa was only available with my card.

I asked the clerk if I could provide my phone number or something else to get the sale price.

The answer I was expecting: “I’m sorry, we have a policy, blah, blah, blah

The answer I would have liked: “Sure, we can swipe a generic card, or some other method of giving you the right price and treating you like the valuable customer.

The answer I got: No

That’s it. No apology, no explanation. Just a “no” and a glare.

Based on the history of less than stellar customer service I have with this store, the response should not have surprised me.

Needless to say, I told her to forget the salsa, rang up the one item I came for in the first place, and don’t plan on going back.

This store lost a sale right then, and a LOT of sales in the future. All because I didn’t have their stupid little card.

I live in a rural area, so the next closest grocery store (which doesn’t require a club card) is several miles further way than this one. However, I’ll be making the trek from now on. The service isn’t much better, but at least the price is the price without having to have a membership card.

So, I’ve had it with my local grocery store, and I’ve had it with club cards. They serve no value to me as a customer, and are an invasion of privacy to boot. (Check out this news story).

There are now groups of people boycotting club cards, and I’m all for it.

I’m sending a link to this post the store headquarters. It will be interesting to see how (or if) they respond.

What are YOUR thoughts about grocery store membership cards?

A bigger question:  What might you be doing in YOUR business which was designed to be a “customer benefit”, but is really turning them away?   Think about it.


  1. Hey Marty, How are you?
    Great topic! The store cards drive me crazy. I have been in the same situation, kids and keys in the car and no card to swipe. I was in the self checkout so had to track down a clerk who had a card (probably her own personal card) and swiped it for me.
    If I had been treated like you were, I would have probably walked out of the store without purchasing anything or else would have gone to the manager to complain. I know a a lot of people don’t care for wal-mart, but one thing about them is they will honor their competitors prices, no questions asked. If its on sale somewhere else, just tell them and they’ll give you the same price.
    Anyways, for some reason you were on my mind, so I googled you and found this blog. Hope all is well for you and your family.
    Take care and God Bless

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