But you look so well
Wednesday July 23rd 2014, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Food,Lupus

I know how privileged my part of the world is that this is the kind of problem I have to deal with.  You know how you’re supposed to keep it short and sweet? I didn’t, and maybe that’s why I got the response I did. My note to Costco:

Got the robocall (two, actually, one for each of the past two weeks’ worth of boxes, I assume): Listeria in my peaches. Dangerous for the immunocompromised, which I am; I have both systemic lupus and Crohn’s disease, two major autoimmune diseases.

One box had gone bad quickly and we’d tossed most of those peaches and bought a second box. The recycler took the first one away this morning.

So I took the newest one back to the (I named the specific) store. The fruit wasn’t ripe yet so the box was still full. Did a little bit of shopping first while it sat in my car and asked and was told that I had to have the peaches with me and I had to take them to the membership desk.

Okay, I was prepared for that.

So I put my new groceries in my car, grabbed the peaches and went back in. And that’s where it got interesting.

There were four people at the help desk. One was processing returns and that line went all the way to the front door. There was one customer, and then none, for the other three employees to process.

The employee at the door saw me trying to balance the heavy box in one hand since I have to use a cane for balance in the other hand and told me to go straight to the service side of that desk.

Where I was told I had to go back and wait in that long line.

I wasn’t trying to butt in front of everybody else, but I explained to the young woman (new employee? Didn’t recognize her) that I cannot stand still in one place for a long time: my blood pressure falls. If I’m moving around I’m okay (sitting, I’m fine, too, I’ll add here) but just standing in one place there? For the amount of time that would take? That line was not moving. I physically simply could not do it.

She was maybe too young to be able to figure out any workaround and shrugged and turned away and went back to chatting with her colleague. And that was more productive how? If two of those standing around had taken on doing returns and left the third to handle all others that might theoretically come for other problems it would have worked, both for me and for everybody else.

I stayed there a moment, silently pleading come on, guys, the fatigue in my arm getting to me, at which her colleague glanced my way and half-shrugged apologetically but did not help either.

So lots of people continued to stand in that line while three employees continued not to help them because they weren’t processing returns and the hypothetical Service questions were more important than the actual people needing them. And I took my box of peaches that could kill me if I touched them and left with them to try again later.

Except that I had come near closing time because that is when the potential UV exposure that would trigger a lupus flare would not be a problem standing at that membership desk. Coming at a less busy time of day with the bright sunlight streaming in could put me in the hospital.

I’ve been a weekly Costco shopper for years and have spoken highly of you again and again. I like that you treat your employees well.

But they need to treat the customers well too. My experience has been that you certainly do. But these guys blew it.

One other thing? If you have it in your records that I bought two boxes of the recalled peaches from you then your requiring that I prove that I bought those peaches from you by my physically bringing them in (too late on the first box now, folks, and now I know why so many of those peaches went bad so fast), can you see how that might not go over well? Why wouldn’t you simply refund the bills of everyone who bought them?

Thank you for hearing me out. If you are who pressured the fruit packer into doing the voluntary recall and cleaning their lines, thank you for that, too. But please? Could you take a moment to refund my account fer cryin’ out loud? I did everything I could tonight to try to comply. Thank you.


I hit send on this letter. The page I got in response was this:

The following error occurred:

Error:The web templates system was unable to process your request.
(Ed. to add, So, having saved it, I simply posted that letter above.)
(Edited again to add, Their produce guy told me that only people who actually bought the recalled ones got those robocalls. I got two calls. The UPC code on the second, since I could check that one, was a match.)

5 Comments so far
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… at least you’ve got a copy saved to try again?

Comment by Lanafactrix 07.23.14 @ 10:44 pm

Not just refund for BOTH peaches, you deserve compensation for time and gas and the inconvenience! They could be facing a major lawsuit if those peaches made you sick and now the hassle and indignity of how you were treated! Threaten to take this to higher levels both inside the company and outside.

Tell them the peaches are outside in a bag,if they want to send someone around to collect them.

Comment by LynnM 07.24.14 @ 12:25 am

Oh, Alison. Here you try to do what they ask, and they make it so much harder for you than it already is. Would it be ok with you if I tweeted a copy of this letter to Costco? That way, at least their social media people would see it, and hopefully will pass it along to the ones in charge of customer service.

I hope you don’t suffer any ill effects from yesterday’s mess!

Comment by Pegi 07.24.14 @ 5:19 am

I’m so sorry that they issued a recall but then didn’t make it easy for you to return the fruit. To me, it sounds as though it’s not only not good for you but also not good for lots of other people. If a store has sold food that must be recalled, then shilly-shallying about when it comes time to take the fruit off people’s hands makes it so easy for people with recalled fruit to keep it. And possibly use it.

Growing your own peaches is a better plan than I had heretofore realized. Got enough clamshells?

Comment by RobinM 07.24.14 @ 11:04 am

Oh, my! Yes, I know the routine, having bought and eaten the potentially Hepatitus-A infected berries last year. I had to return the berries, and then return again to get reimbursed for the vaccine shot I had to get. It is very poor customer (not) service, and particularly irksome for anyone with other health issues as well. Have you heard anything yet? Would you like me to send my own message to Costco and link to your letter? I’m just so very glad you hadn’t eaten any of the peaches.

Comment by DebbieR 07.24.14 @ 11:20 am

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