One Woman's Kroger Nightmare: Thanks to Staff, Wallet Trashed, Credit Cards Slashed, Driver's License MIA

Categories: Spaced City

KrogerLogo.jpg
Customer says nightmare at West 11th Street store has reached "theater of the absurd" levels.
Bonnie Sheeren says she has shopped at the West 11th Street Kroger for 20 years. A former teacher at nearby Reagan High School, she knew many of the employees. It felt like home, less like a corporate leviathan than a neighborhood mom-and-pop.

All of that changed at around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, August 13. She tells Hair Balls that on that steamy morning, a homeless man got caught lifting some merchandise near the register where she had just checked out, and, distracted by the spectacle, she left her wallet behind.

She noticed it was gone about five hours later, and returned to the store. She was directed to lost and found at customer service, where a sullen woman produced a box of junk, rooted through it and told her it wasn't there.

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She returned the next day, resolved to speak to Jesus, the clerk who had checked her out the day before. (She's been shopping there so long, she knows most of the clerks by name, and also many of their shifts.) Jesus reassured her that her wallet was "in a safe place."

Which turned out to be lost and found, where she was once again showed the plastic box of junk and told her wallet was not there.

Shereen started complaining, and Kroger started making excuses.

Finally she demanded to be told what really happened, and an employee decided to level with her. She says the employee told her that her wallet had been thrown in the trash, her credit cards had been cut to pieces and her money put in the cash drawer. She was told her driver's license was in the mail.

Sheeren was in dire straits. Her husband was working on a film shoot in the Rio Grande Valley, so she could not immediately cancel her credit cards until he returned home 48 hours later. What's more, she had no money nor ID.

She says Kroger floated her an emergency loan of $40 cash to help her reconstruct her billfold, and a kindly manager offered her $30 worth of store credit.

So far so good. At that point, she believed it was all a big misunderstanding, that her beloved neighborhood store would do right by her in the end. She believed her license would turn up in her mailbox and that would be the end of it.

But it didn't show up. As the days turned into weeks, using her "nice teacher voice," Sheeren lodged several complaints, ascending Kroger's corporate chain of command in a series of phone calls. The Houston-area manager told her that he would just call the post office and they would track it down. Sheeren told him that it was unlikely the postal service would be able to do much of anything, as it was her understanding that the letter had no tracking number.

She was then passed up to Texas-Louisiana manager Rob Hamilton, who, she says, first regaled her with tales of his wonderful recent Florida family vacation. Sheeren says he droned on and on about what a great time he'd had, and then abruptly turned nasty when talk came around to her lost license.

Sheeren says he was practically yelling at her when he told her that in giving her money after destroying her credit cards, trashing her wallet and losing her license, Kroger had actually done right by her. "You left your wallet! We did you a favor," he snapped, according to Sheeren. "You only had about three dollars in that wallet," he added.

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46 comments
bkwardstraveler
bkwardstraveler

I misplaced my bank card at a Safeway once. Realized it the next day and call their Customer Service desk to ask if they had it, which they said they did. When I picked it up, the lady behind the counter asked for ID (understandably), smiled and handed the card and DL back. I asked where it was found, she pointed to a courtesy table a few feet away. I remembered sitting at that table the day before. All was good in the world.

 

My point is that I'm glad Kroger doesn't have stores in my area...oops my bad...they do.

They're known as Frys.

Alienesque
Alienesque

Well creepy story when it comes to ID theft.  I had some problem in the Dunlavy Walmart when the machine wouldn't accept my check, the clerk asked for my driving license which she left facing upwards on the till and wandered off.  Normally that would be okay, except the guy in the queue behind me seemed to be pretending he was reading an email, but I suspect he was snapping it with is phone.  It's worried the hell out of me ever since.

Kathy Neyens St Romain
Kathy Neyens St Romain

I've been boycotting ALL Kroger stores for several years now and encourage everyone to do the same. HEB does have the best prices overall and, in my experience, top notch customer service.

mydingaling1234
mydingaling1234

So odd... I "left" my purse at a local Kroger--F4L, and realized it a few hours later.  Called them, and NO, no purse left...I showed up there the next day, and again told by management that they had no purse in their lost and found.  I figured it was a lost cause, and the $100 or so I had in there, along with credit cards and ID and everything was gone... And then, 5 months later, I get a call on my cell (I'm still not sure how they got my cell number) from a woman saying she worked at that store, and she had a purse in her safe with my ID in it, and she didn't know if there was any money in it, but I should come and pick it up before it was sent back to corporate. I was told that no one had gone through it.  I came to pick it up, and the MOD was flummoxed, and said she knew nothing of a purse.  I asked her to check the safe, please.  She finally checked, and checked my ID's in the purse an gave it to me.  There was no cash in there (as I expected), but all of my ID's and cards and personal info had been banded together---so obviously someone had gone through my purse!  I was also missing a 16g  thumb drive... Don't trust anyone working there anymore....

Jeff Lutjemeier
Jeff Lutjemeier

If they have it on film that they took your wallet and the money. Why not press charges with the police?

jmb04
jmb04

I worked for Kroger. Do NOT believe them when they say that they have videotape of anything. Of the countless cameras in the store, only ONE actually worked (the one pointing at the customer service desk.) Even then, there were countless times where managers stole money left behind by customers. Kroger is a miserable company to work for and in turn creates miserable employees.

WheresMyJekyll3
WheresMyJekyll3

I had a $4000 bicycle stolen right off the rack 5 feet outside the front door of a Kroger owned grocery store.  2 different managers refused to let me look at the video of the theft telling me they would only show it to the police with a court order.  Despite 4 separate attempts on my part, the police of this large city would not send an officer to review the tape since it was just a bike theft.  Eventually the digital video system overwrote the video of the theft destroying the evidence.  Now Kroger's story is "Gosh we wish we could help you, but the tape was erased."  I'm never shopping at a Kroger owned grocery store ever again.

Alma Chavarria
Alma Chavarria

My partner and I call this The Evil Krogers after a horrible experience where we got in the 15 items or less line by mistake and the line of rich, yuppie customers practically formed a lynch mob they were so verbally abusive and aggressive. The cashier and a disinterested security guard did nothing but watch. We shop at the smaller 20th street Krogers and they have always been lovely to us in every way.

Heather Cantrell
Heather Cantrell

Sorry to hear this. I quit Kroger years ago for bad customer service and high prices, but nothing like this poor lady. Hope things work out for her.

Gina Johnson
Gina Johnson

HEB has better prices & better service. Kroger robs you and evidently your sanity now too.

fmontes
fmontes

It's a shame that what turned into a simple misunderstanding and flawed policy lead to that. All in all the license  probably got minced up with the credit cards. They did do a good job at trying to make up for the situation but as with most corporations the higher you go the more crap you'll get from hardened assholes who are focused on more 'feel good' situations than actual resolutions. The higher you go up the ladder the more you'll get shit on in some cases. At the same time there are stories that counter this where good companies and people go out of their way. 

Gary Denton
Gary Denton

Worse and worse behavior as she was passed up the customer problem line. I would fire some people.

Connie Marmolejo
Connie Marmolejo

Kroger has the worst managers, That's why I shop at HEB.

Machelle DeRon
Machelle DeRon

I can't stand Kroger....Ms Sheeren, you made the best decision by changing to HEB! Sorry for your pain..

Andy Glenn Bail Bonds
Andy Glenn Bail Bonds

Somebody at that Houston Kroger should be needing bail bonds to get out of jail. That's just wrong.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Oooo, a new goody to post on twitters.

RiceMilitarian
RiceMilitarian

Oh drama. Good grief. What would she sue for? Just put an alert on your credit, get your cards replaced, and move on with your life. My wallet was stolen recently and no telling where my info is, but shit happens. Obviously stupid of Kroger to not just have a safe spot to put stuff like this. I'm sure people leave their wallets there frequently, and this clearly should not be the procedure. It's a huge hassle to replace all those cards.

 

The flip side of this, however, is that I too left my wallet at that very Kroger a couple of years ago. Left it in my cart in the parking lot during the late evening. Didn't even know I'd done it. About 11:30 p.m. a guy is at my door saying, "I'm from Kroger and I have your wallet." Holy crap. Dude went out of his way to drive to my house to bring my wallet to me. Special place in the heavens that guy will have some day. Much appreciated. So, I wouldn't get too hot and bothered about Kroger being a bunch of big baddies up in here. Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. This lady was the bug that day. That's life. Take your money elsewhere, obviously, because they screwed up. But continuing to flail about it isn't doing anybody any good.

Meaghan
Meaghan

That's absolutely insane. My husband and I shop almost exclusively at the 11th Street store, and this article certainly makes me a little more wary about it.

 

Who, after 5 hours, would arrive at the conclusion that it's appropriate to shred credit cards and pocket the cash? It's scary to think that's an acceptable level of customer service for @krogerco . 

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

I left my purse in a cart in the parking lot of a Kroger in west Houston.  Returned 15 minutes later and someone had turned it in and it was handed to me intact.  I was grateful and somewhat amazed.  Also, her legal advisors give Kroger's lawyers way too much credit and jurors not nearly enough.  She should talk to a different lawyer, if she is willing to pay an hourly fee. 

Bruce
Bruce

She will be happier at HEB. Better choices, better prices.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

Absolutely terrible! I left my card at a bar the other night and they charged up more money on a *new* tab!

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

@RiceMilitarian How did you get your TDL? When I took my Mom to get her's I was told we had to have TWO forms of ID. Birth cert and Social Security card are most common but her Medicare card WASN'T acceptable. At the SS office we were told we could not get a replacement SS card (even with the number and a birthcert) without a photo ID. Believe it or not, your experience is exclusive to you. Meanwhile, you flail on about the injustice to a CORPORATION you don't own or work (?) for.

BrittanieShey
BrittanieShey moderator

 @RiceMilitarian Um, it would freak me out if a stranger CAME TO MY ADDRESS to return something to me. Incidentally, I lost my wallet last week at Arena Theatre. Chick who found it turned it in to security, then found me on Facebook and sent me a message saying she'd sone that. Luckily, I realized it was missing on the way to the parking lot, so we went back inside and I found it with security before I'd ever even gotten her message. There is a right and wrong way for businesses to handle stuff like this, but the botton line is that all businesses should have a policy, and that policy should include not taking what you want for yourself and then throwing the rest of the person's stuff in the trash.

LauraHatesStupidity
LauraHatesStupidity

 @Meaghan  @krogerco I, too, thought it was pretty odd they had already gone about cutting credit cards and assuming the money into the register.  Since when is that a standard of practice?  Also...why have a lost and found if you're going to put the cash in the drawer, cut up the cards and mail back the license?  And while we're at it...why not mail the whole wallet if mailing the license?  None of that shiz makes sense!

Kunstler
Kunstler

 @Bruce Maybe not. I recently got a piece of cod from the new HEB in Montrose. It was wormy and my son noticed the buggers were slithering out as I prepared to cook it. Called the store, told them about this. Then the wife insists I return it that evening. Got there and went with the manager to seafood, where they were packing up, combining pieces of cut fish into tubs, mixing it all together.. The workers in seafood had no clue that I had called and alerted them to wormy fish.

So went to HEB website and posted my experience. Their reaction: zip. Nothing.

RiceMilitarian
RiceMilitarian

 @BrittanieShey It did freak me out. Luckily, that house had a gate before the front door so I could see what was going on. But it rattled me so much, I didn't think to give the guy a $20 out of my wallet (and it had a good chunk of cash) for his trouble. I emailed the manager and asked if there was something I could do for him and he said he'd give the guy a spot bonus. But still, to go out of his way like that seemed pretty extraordinary. Maybe I (and we all) need to put a "if this wallet is found lost, please call ___" prominently displayed. :)

Anse
Anse

If you're going to buy seafood from a supermarket, you may as well buy frozen. The stuff in the case--with rare exceptions--is previously frozen anyway. I have reluctantly started buying frozen seafood for this reason; when I want to prepare a serious seafood meal, I'll make the drive out to Chinatown. The markets out there have very fresh seafood. Last time I went out there, dude was gutting live snapper and putting it on ice while it was still kicking. And it was cheaper than most supermarkets, too.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

 @RiceMilitarian  @BrittanieShey I used to work for Kroger. They don't pay bonuses to sackers. Not ever. We got raises when Congress raised the minimum wage.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

You, too?! @Reppin2 @RiceMilitarian @BrittanieShey

Blake
Blake

 @john.lomax  @Anse LET IT BE KNOWN: John Lomax shops at the scratch-and-dent grocery store. I'm sure his seafood recommendation is a solid one, but understand that he is braver than you and temper your expectations accordingly

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

 @Anse Live seafood at 99 Ranch Market.  Pick your own and they'll dispatch it for you right there.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Yep, I've seen anglers selling the day's catch to them right over the counter. @john.lomax @Anse

john.lomax
john.lomax

 @Anse There are a few Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall seafood joints worth looking into. The one on Stella Link has good stuff.

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