I’ve been on the fence about writing about this. When Kroger announced their new annual subscription service it was something I was instantly interested in. I’ve never really had a problem with the service they provide, and getting the delivery benefits among other things seemed like it would benefit me greatly.
With nearly a year of using the service, I have had four major incidents that have ultimately made me decide to not only not renew the service, but to stop shopping at Kroger altogether. However, I want to focus on the most recent situation as others could be attributed to a mistake being made by an employee who didn’t know better.
When it comes to finances I have learned to budget. I’ve been doing it religiously for quite some time now and am trying to account for every dollar and every single cent that I use. Even the smallest unexpected charge will force me to re-evaluate things and ensure that accidental renewals are avoided at all costs. I’m not exactly in the best financial situation as a result of the last ten years or so, but am doing a lot to make great strides.
When checking out at Kroger.com, I had a specific amount budgeted with a little bit more available in the case they needed to change something out. Sometimes Kroger will be out of one item and exchange it with another item. If that item costs more, they pass that cost onto the customer rather than giving them an option most of the time. Half the time when I am told there is a substitution, I am given an option to either approve or deny. However, I’ll respond in like 15 seconds and it will tell me I am too late and they have already checked out, so you don’t actually get an option.
$100 was my budget for this order. I had five items on my list as I tend to eat a Keto diet most of the time. It was a fairly simple order and enough to get me through to the next pay day. I allocated the rest of my budget towards other things that are needed to improve my standard of living, pay off some debt, and invest in continued education.
My grant total was $76.60. By default, it allocated an extra $3.83 as a tip. That’s fine. Sometimes I’ll even increase it depending on what’s going on. In this case, I would prefer to wait until I have the food in hand and might increase it since I still have a little bit left in my budget.
It took around an hour for me to receive my first notification from Kroger about any action. As a Boost member, I get an expedited service, but I can certainly wait an hour. That’s more than fine. I get the notification that they have begun shopping.
Shortly after that first notification, I get a notification that my roasted almonds are not in stock, and would be refunded. That’s odd. They can actually just substitute with another brand or even with another type of roasted almonds. That’s what they always do. It’s fine. I’ll reallocate some of the budget to get them somewhere else. It’s important to my diet. I did respond with a “Y” though to approve it. Got a notification that the refund was approved.
Another notification comes in letting me know they are also out of mild cheddar cheese. Again, no option to substitute. That’s very strange. There is a 0% chance they don’t have an alternative in place. I ordered their brand, but they can easily substitute with another brand. Having talked to a family member that was in buying cheese a little after this, they had plenty. They bought some. They were not out. Strange, but OK. I could just get some later.
I sent a “Y” again to approve the refund, as strange as it was. The response was disappointing.
“Sorry, your shopper has already checked out.”
Shortly after, I get a notification that the shopper has checked out, and that I’ll receive an update when my order is on the way. It took 4 minutes to receive that notification.
Ten minutes later, I receive a notification that my order is on its way. My delivery estimate is 5:35 PM. Ok. I work from home on Wednesdays, but this is after hours. I am able to wait upstairs for it. So I wait.
That delivery estimate was the last text message I received for the entire order. What I would receive next, three minutes later, was an email thanking me for my order, giving me my final receipt. No delivery confirmation at all. Nothing. I was asked to rate the order and change my tip.
What? I haven’t received the order. I wait a little while. Perhaps the driver accidentally marked it as complete. After nearly 30 minutes of nothing, I end up deciding to go ahead and contact Kroger to find out what happened. This would be the most disappointing part of the entire ordeal.
According to Kroger, I had received my order. It was marked as delivered. It was also an order for $197.14. That isn’t even in the same ballpark as the amount that I approved. That is beyond the $100 that I had budgeted for the groceries. That is over two times the amount I agreed to pay to begin with.
Upon checking the order, four of the five items had actually been “out of stock”. On top of that, someone seemed to have done their own grocery shopping on top of the order. Someone was definitely living the high life, receiving free groceries while I am over here without groceries or the money to be able to place another order at a competing grocery store.
By the end of this whole ordeal, Kroger told me I would receive a refund for the entire ordeal in 7-10 business days. That’s two or more weeks to wait until I can order groceries again. If I don’t have any other money to be able to order, Kroger thinks it’s fine for me to just fast for that entire duration. That’s Kroger business policy, apparently.
Think about all of that. I am paying an annual subscription only to be told to just wait until it’s convenient for them to rectify a situation they clearly caused. I am out money because I paid extra to be a part of Kroger’s ecosystem for delivery. I bought in and they had essentially given me nothing in return.
Today is one week from the incident and I still have nothing to show for it. While I did get another respond from Kroger this morning, the response was them copying and pasting the original response for the most part and taking no ownership over the whole situation.
Going forward, I will avoid shopping at Kroger at all cost. I have cancelled my Boost membership and would urge others that have alternatives to cancel theirs as well. It’s likely that Kroger is doing this to try to compete with other delivery services out of fear of being outpaced by the competition, but as a result are cutting corners in trying to actually fulfill their end of the deal with their customers. If you’re investing in Kroger, I would suggest looking for a smarter long-term investment. Kroger is not where you want to be.
Since I published this article, I received a notification from Kroger letting me know they have terminated my account on the website per my request and have deleted any account information related to me. I have also finally received the refund they owed me. It only took them ten days to finally make things right. During this time, to get my money back, I have had to make sure to post a negative review to nearly every single platform I could find. I also had to report them to my state’s consumer protection agency.
I would still, of course, highly urge you to not sign up for Kroger’s online services. Both delivery and pick-up have problems, but more so the delivery service which doesn’t seem to actually be handled by an actual Kroger employee.