One Woman's Kroger Nightmare: Thanks to Staff, Wallet Trashed, Credit Cards Slashed, Driver's License MIA
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.
Customer says nightmare at West 11th Street store has reached "theater of the absurd" levels.
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.
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.