Saturday, April 17, 2010
Boycott Kroger - I will not spend another penny in a Kroger Store
Kroger has long been a tiny thorn in my side - and recently I had given them the benefit of the doubt, but no more. I will not spend another penny in their stores unless and until they do right by the people who shop at their Hillcrest Store in Roselawn.
There is a large community of Senior Citizens who walk to this store from the retirement communities directly behind and also from the surrounding community. I have rarely been in the parking lot when it was not full. I've shopped there many a time for church functions and meals as our church is in the neighborhood. I have taken several people grocery shopping there after church or during the week. This store is needed and utilized.
But Kroger simply does not care. Just like the travesty of a store they keep on Vine Street downtown, the barely passable store in Clifton, and the one they are closing in Roselawn, Kroger has proven time and again that they do not value their customers in low income and predominantly black neighborhoods. While affluent white neighborhoods do their "Krogering" in pristine, enormous supermarkets, black neighborhoods have scuffled by on stores that were last grudgingly renovated in the 1980's.
Kroger is legendary for leaving empty buildings as a nuisance for police to handle. In the mid 1990's, Kroger closed two stores - One in College Hill and another in 7 Hills. They built a spanking brand new store right off Cross County Highway in North College Hill and left two neighborhoods without a grocery store in walking distance. The Seven Hills store was located in a strip mall that to this day has trouble keeping a tenant.
However the College Hill store was a stand alone Kroger Building. Over a decade later it sits empty, the police use it as a speed trap which I guess is a fair trade-off since they have to chase people off the vacant property anyhow. Despite pleas from the College Hill community for Kroger to sell that space & let it be developed into something, anything other than a vacant lot with an unsightly and depressingly empty reminder that there used to be a grocery store in walking distance of their homes, Kroger has declined all offers, including stalled negotiations with the City of Cincinnati over the property.
And so it sits.
When the Kroger Store first opened in North College Hill opened, I would shop there for my mother. The staff was so rude and the security guards so plentiful and unwelcoming, I felt like a criminal just for buying a loaf of bread and some grapes. I had previously stopped shopping in the Kroger on Colerain Avenue because the staff was so rude. I would drive from Colerain all the way out to Biggs in Forest Park to avoid shopping there. I wouldn't even pick up incidentals there I hated shopping there so much. Anything I couldn't get at Walgreens I would pick up at a Lo Bill that was on my home form work. When Biggs on Colerain opened(also recently closed much to my despair but that's another post), I did the majority of shopping between there and Aldi at Pippin & Galbraith. But I refused to go to Kroger.
It's only in the past few years and then only of sheer laziness, that I have taken to going into the North College Hill store. It's simply around the corner from where we live. Not to mention a certain friendly cashier who was so cute my daughter actually consented to be seen in public with her Mother anytime I so much as mentioned grocery store. I continued to complain to my friends about how much I hated Kroger - highest prices of any grocery store, rude staff, and meat that was less than fresh (although I attributed that story to them mistakenly; the ground beef incident actually happened to me at a Sam's Club).
Last summer, I was buying candles for my daughter's birthday cake. I had two different candles and a manager NOTICED (yes, it was a woman) and said that she KNEW where the candle was that matched the one I wanted and went all the way back to get it.
I think my perception of Kroger started changing right then. I still complained but I threw in the birthday candle story for ballast. They hadn't and still hadn't changed enough for me to my major grocery shopping there, but I did start shopping there for weekday items like milk or bread and produce. Gradually, they were pulling me back in.
And it was just a few weeks ago, that I said that I would actually have to stop telling my "I don't much care for Kroger stories." Their grocery prices don't seem so bad, even though I detest their shopper card. And most of the staff seemed much friendlier. I could even tick off several that I liked. Candle manager, cute guy my daughter is crushing on, stocky guy who always double bags, round faced girl who always asks about my dog.
And the manager who used to work at the Hillcrest store in Roselawn. When my daughter was in daycamp, we'd stop at that Kroger and get her daycamp snack. He used to work there as a cashier and he was as nice a guy as they come. He was a cashier back then but by the time I saw him several years later in the North College Hill store he was a manager and still a very nice guy and he remembered us. Come to think of it, it seems about the time he came, that's when I started noticing the changes in staff and that it was a much nicer crowd than it used to be.
So despite having done the majority of my shopping in Aldi & Biggs over the past 15 years, Kroger has been very much a part of my shopping experience. When the Biggs store on Colerain closed their doors this week, Kroger put a bad taste in my mouth for a quick instant with a sign that seemed to relish in Bigg's downfall: Welcome Bigg's Customers. I found it very distasteful but then I realized my only shopping option left is Wal-Mart because with the close of Biggs I am now surrounded by Kroger stores. Two on Colerain and the one in North College Hill.
And after the ground beef incident at Sam's Club and the clerk sneezing on my turkey incident at the actual Wal-Mart, I swore off shopping at WalMart. However yet again, this past February, looking for a small, yet pleasant cake for my mother's birthday, they had exactly what I wanted at the price I could afford.
Mind you, I will shop at Wal-Mart for some things, but I have refused to do my grocery shopping there.
However, I guess that's where I'll be going now. Because I will not spend another dime in a Kroger store. I've had it with them and their closing the store in Hillcrest at the expense of so many who depend on them is why.
It is truly, the final straw.