|| The QFC "Advantage Card" is No Bargain
Prices aired on KIRO (CBS) Channel 7 TV
June 14, 2002,
Kroger steps in, imposes
a card, and raises prices
Kroger, the largest grocery chain
in America, has spent the last decade swallowing up locally owned and operated
supermarkets around the country. When they bought out QFC and Fred Meyer stores
in the Northwest a few years back we were not surprised. Nor were we surprised
when, despite assurances that QFC would remain card-free, Kroger imposed a
shopper surveillance card called the "Advantage Card" on QFC shoppers on May 1,
Of course, QFC is promoting the card as a great way to save
money, but experience has taught us to take Kroger's savings claims with a
grain of salt. We did some checking and found that this this time was no
| QFC "Advantage
Card" prices are no deal
When a local volunteer and
I examined QFC's sale prices for KIRO Channel 7 TV in Seattle, we found that
many of the new "Advantage Card" prices are no bargains. In fact, on items
throughout the store it's obvious that the card is actually taking advantage of
| 7 Sale Items
||We picked out 6 common grocery items -- all national brands
that are the same at all stores (except strawberries, which looked identical to
us). We bought two 2-liter bottles of Coke, bringing the total up to 7 items.
All items were promoted as being on sale with the "Advantage Card."
Many QFC prices
nearly 50% higher than the competition
(To see copies of the actual receipts click
the totals above)
||QFC Price without a
||QFC "Advantage" ard
||Albertson's Bonus Buy Price
No Card Needed
By shopping at QFC without a card
we paid over $9 more for our seven grocery items. (That's 81% more!) Even with
a card we were overcharged nearly $5.
For a huge number of items
throughout the store QFC "Advantage Card Savings" turned out to be much worse
than at the card-free competition.
|Kellog's Corn Pop
|Adding insult to injury by circling card "savings"
you tell the customer how much they saved and point out and circle the amount
at the bottom of the receipt. Also, thank them for being a QFC Advantage
- QFC's written
instructions to checkers (according to an employee)
Though we spent $4.87 more with QFC's card
than we did down the street, QFC had the nerve to claim at the bottom of the
receipt that the "Advantage Card" had saved us $4.16.
are even instructed to circle the savings with a pen as they hand the receipt
back. What better way to rip off customers than to nearly double prices, reduce
the total a bit, and then make a big deal over how much customers saved?
This fake savings strategy leaves many customers smiling all the way to
the cash register. How often have you heard this:
"Yeah, it's creepy
that the card spies on me, but it's worth it -- look how much money I
The solution is simple:
If you don't like the idea of shoppers being
taken advantage of and treated like fools, the solution is simple: Boycott
QFC. Don't play their price manipulation games. Once card opponents STOP
SHOPPING at Kroger-owned stores (and I believe there are millions of us) the
financial impact on Kroger will be so overwhelming that it will force them to
drop the card.
Stay away from Safeway stores, too, since they have been
manipulating prices and collecting data on shoppers for years now. There is no
other way to put an end to these programs than to refuse to
Unlike shoppers in many parts of the nation, Seattle
residents have a wealth of card-free shopping alternatives. Head to your
locally-owned Red Apple, Thriftway, PCC, Larry's, and Madison Markets. Trader
Joe, Tops Markets, and Albertson's are also card-free shopping alternatives.
Patronize these businesses and thank them for respecting your privacy -- and
Be sure to also write a letter to Kroger explaining
why you're leaving QFC. Tell them you want the same low prices for all, and
that you'll be back just as soon as they drop the card.
For more on the
June 14, 2002 television price comparison, see KIRO TV's website:
Consumer Group Protests QFC's Advantage Card
news segment is also available in streaming video format on request for members of the
media and other interested parties.