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Wegmans Wows

October 2, 2013

There are lots of people who love Wegmans, but I can’t think of anyone who loves the grocery chain more than Stanford Steph. Incidentally, if you haven’t met her in person, she’ll be leading Saturday’s Fourth Annual Tour de Donut in my absence. It’s open to anyone, so you should totally join her in this fussy little fall tradition.

Anyhow, she was excited about my move to Princeton, as I could now make Wegmans a regular part of my shopping rotation. Steph gave me some pointers. She spoke highly of their store branded products, and also advised me to the advantages of downloading their iPhone app.

I took this advice to heart. Although I can’t say that it all went flawlessly. In fact, early on there was a bump in the road. Nothing serious, but it did make me doubt the store’s glowing reputation.

Then yesterday, I got the most surprising letter in the mail.

Part of the blame is clearly on me. I almost always read labels. But we had literally just moved into our Princeton apartment, the pantry was bare, and I made a late night run to Wegmans so that in the morning there would actually be food for the kids to eat.

Anyway, I was tired. But I still remembered Steph’s guidance, so instead of the name brand, I picked up some of Wegman’s organic plain yogurt. They called it “Super Yogurt” but I presumed that to be some kind of marketing puffery. If anything, I suspected that it might have some more live cultures than other yogurts. Bonus.

Except the next morning when I was eating breakfast it became instantly clear that this yogurt wasn’t plain at all. It was sweetened. Only then did I look at the ingredients to find the yogurt also contained fish ingredients to pump up the Omega 3 fatty acids.

It was disappointing, but it wasn’t a big enough deal to schlep the carton back to the store and test out their satisfaction guarantee policy.

A few days later, I was thumbing through the Wegmans iPhone app. It’s really well thought out. Not only did I find an interesting recipe for vegetarian chili with cashews, but I also learned you could tinker with the set up so that all of your past purchases appear on the phone.

There was that yogurt again. But on the phone, you can review all of the products in the store. And as it turns out, I wasn’t the only person who was nonplussed by how not plain this plain yogurt actually turned out to be.

So I added my own little one star review to the pile. It was short and to the point, since I was writing it on my phone.

“Fishy. There is fish in the yogurt. I wanted plain. Sweetened with fish in it isn’t plain. Yuck.”

And that was that. Even the act of writing down my dissatisfaction and being able to share it with the world was enough of a catharsis to get back into Wegmans and try a few more store brands. It would be unreasonable to think that they all could be winners.

So far, so good. I can’t say I am crazy in love with all of their stuff. But a lot of it is great. What can I tell you, I’ve got some really high standards. That said, their kosher rotisserie chicken may turn out to be my go-to Friday night bird. I’ve been trying out the options all over town (including the Whole Foods) and to date the Wegmans one has been the best.

Then yesterday, I got a letter:

Dear Mr. Berman:

Thank you for calling our attention to the problem you had with Wegmans Organic Super Yogurt. We share your concern and will make the appropriate individuals aware of your comments, including our supplier.

On behalf of Wegmans, I would like to apologize for any inconvenience this experience caused. We have a great deal of faith in the products that bear our name and appreciate your honest feedback. With that thought in mind, I have enclosed $4 worth of coupons which you may use towards a future purchase of your choice.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us, and we trust you will give us the opportunity to serve you again in the future.

Wow. Seriously, wow. I was not expecting this. At all. Plus, the letter was printed on a nice thick piece of paper which not only bears the Wegmans letterhead, but also has a Wegmans watermark.

They were thankful, they validated my grievance, they indicated what action they were going to take to improve the situation, they apologized, they effectively gave me more than a full refund, and then thanked me again.

Their response was so much more mature than my complaint it’s not even funny. Well, maybe it’s a little bit funny to be thanked for writing a fussy one line comment on their iPhone app. But it just goes to show how seriously the company takes the small stuff.

Good show, Wegmans. I think I’m starting to understand why people love you. I don’t impress easily, but you’re kind of awesome.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2013 10:51 am

    Fishy yogurt? eww!

  2. Erin T permalink
    October 2, 2013 10:55 am

    And they’re a great company to work for. I worked there over 20 years ago and they offered health care to part-time employees, as well as college scholarships. They promoted from within and were also one of the first (if not the first) to break the gender barrier on maintenance and cart retrieval positions. I was the happy recipient of a scholarship and one of those initial outdoor maintenance workers, back when their stores were all within NYS.

  3. October 2, 2013 11:21 am

    Nice job on the part of Wegman’s. They’re a great supermarket. I guess I still don’t get why they’re preferred by many to Corti Brothers or the Berkeley Bowl, or Bi-Rite in the Mission. There’s no Wegman’s in the Capital Region, so they’re as out of the conversation for the time being as any of those stores are.

    I’m happy that you had a good experience, though… it does sound like they’re living up to their reputation.

  4. Shawn permalink
    October 2, 2013 4:27 pm

    Fish/Fish Oil is in everything these days. Did the label promote the Omega 3s? Some of the things I have found it in are just ridiculous, yogurt being one of them. By the way, thanks for your help in putting some Golden Harvets apple cider donuts into my hands. They didn’t last long . . .

  5. October 2, 2013 4:53 pm

    Wegmans. Boom. (drops mic, walks off stage)

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