Dear Mister Dierberg, …

This story began a couple of weeks ago and revolves around the food product, Nonni’s biscotti, examples of which are pictured above.  As near as I can tell biscotti is Italian for biscuit and in England a biscuit is what we call a cookie, so biscotti is just an Italian cookie.  Whatever you call them; I like them and have one almost every morning for breakfast.  Sometimes I buy one from Starbucks.  I like theirs the best, but they are also the most expensive.  Usually, I have Nonni’s biscotti; they come in a box of ten, they are individually wrapped and there are about a dozen different varieties available.  I use to be able to purchase them at our local Schnucks grocery store, but they have discontinued them.  I can still get them at the nearby Dierbergs and that is where this story unfolds.

Usually Dierbergs sells Nonni’s for $4.99 a box, but frequently they are on sale for only $3.99.  When this happens, I tend to stock up on them.  They went on sale a couple of weeks ago and I started stocking up.  That first day, I grabbed four boxes.  Later in that shopping trip I saw that Dierbergs had set up a separate display where they were selling a new Christmas biscotti, gingerbread.  Even though they were displayed separately from the rest of the Nonni’s, they were still marked-down to $3.99, so I picked up two more boxes.

The next day, I was again shopping at Dierbergs and bought two more boxes of Nonni’s gingerbread biscotti.  This time I noticed that the gingerbread biscotti were ringing-up for $4.99 and not the $3.99 that they were suppose to.  I told the checker about this and she quickly corrected the error.  It was only after I got home that I thought to check the previous day’s receipt and sure enough I was over charged then also.  The next day, I went to the customer service counter, explained the predicament, showed my sales receipt and was promptly handed $7. Not understanding this transaction, I questioned it and was told, “$2 for what you were overcharged and $5 dollars for being overcharged in the first place.”  “Sweet!” or so I thought at the time.

A week later, I was again buying Nonni’s gingerbread biscotti at Dierbergs.  And once again they were still ringing-up for a dollar more than they should.  And do I tell the cashier this time?  Heck no, I wanted my $5.  Two days later, I brought my receipt to the customer service counter and once again presented my case.  At this point my get rich quick scheme started to go awry.

The young man at the customer service desk was clueless.  He tried looking us the sale price in the store’s newspaper circular, but couldn’t find it.  I suggested that he let me show him the sales display, but he couldn’t leave his desk.  After about twenty minutes the store manager showed up.  I again made my case, but as it turns out customer service wasn’t in her lexicon.  She first asked if I had brought the product with me.  No, because I don’t want to return it, I explained.  At that time a store clerk brought up a box of the biscotti in question and also explained that it was an in store sale.  This explained why it wasn’t in their newspaper ad.  At this point a bad situation turned to worse.

Even though my sales receipt itemized two “Nonni’s gingerbread”, the store manager questioned that this was the right product, “How do I know that this is the right kind?”  She then rang-up the box of biscotti and got $3.99, “See it rings up correctly.”  At which point, the clueless young man interjected that my receipt said $4.99.  She grabbed the receipt out of his hand and says incredulously, both in tone of voice and by what she actually said, “This receipt is from two days ago.  How am I supposed to know what the price was then?” In retrospect I’m guessing, because you are the store manager?

I should have just bitten my tongue and remained silent.  She was wrong and it wouldn’t have taken too much longer for her to admit this, but I didn’t.  Tired after a long work day, frustrated by this debasement of the term customer service, I issued an expletive and she was on that in a flash, “We don’t use language like that in Dierbergs!”  A minute later she told clueless, “Give him his money.”  I took the $7, but instead of continuing my shopping, I turned to leave the store.  Over my shoulder I called out that I was going to Schnucks to shop instead.  She retorted, “Good! We don’t want your business!!”

I have not been back to the Brentwood Dierbergs since this incident.  I cannot understand why my customer service experiences could be so dramatically different.  I guess that I can see why Dierbergs might offer its customers a $5 bounty to find price discrepancies.  I find them annoying when discovered and have dreaded going to the customer service desk to rectify them, even before this last incident.  Fundamentally though, I question the wisdom of such a policy.  If its intension is to eliminate overcharging than it is woefully ineffective, as I discovered three times over about a week.  If its intension is to promote customer goodwill in the face of an endemic problem, then all I can do is laugh.

3 thoughts on “Dear Mister Dierberg, …

  1. They probably don’t pay their employees very well and you get what you pay for. And I have a whole bunch of other thoughts but I probably shouldn’t put them on the internet 😉 Anyway, back to work!

  2. If you have the name of the store manager from this episode, you should write to the main office for this store (owner, general manager, whomever) and provide the specifics of the incident and the fact that you are a very unhappy customer. If that doesn’t get their attention AND an apology (at the very least), then don’t go back.

  3. Karen, that would probably be the right thing to do, but I just wanted to vent about it some. Now that I have done that I just as soon forget about it. As you can see from the picture, I have plenty of biscotti to tie me over. I’ll think about going back when they run out.

    OBTW, Starbucks had a gingerbread biscotti too and it is quite yummy.

    On and KW, the work police are now coming for both of us.

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