Also on the agenda at Monday's ANC 6D meeting was Safeway and its new "Quality Assurance Program" (i.e. greeters who check receipts as customers leave the store). This part of the meeting became somewhat of a heated debate as some ANC commissioners and audience members accused Safeway of targeting the Waterfront Station Safeway store for its new policy, not to increase customer service, but because of shoplifting and subjecting all shoppers to this new receipt check was degrading. A couple of Safeway representatives countered that all stores in the District have experienced shrink (when the actual inventory is less than what is thought to be on the shelves) and the increase occurred after the bag tax was instituted in the city. Another potential cause of shrink is the design of the store, which has a food court area in the front of the store that customers who didn't use the parking garage have to walk through in order to leave the store. The Southwest Safeway was chosen as a test case because of four main reasons:
- The SW Safeway has 35,000 customer counts per week - more than any other Safeway in the city.
- The clientele is diverse (including residents, office workers, tourists, and baseball fans) which serves as a microcosm of the District's population.
- They have faith in the store's management team to implement the test.
- There has been an increase in shrink.
The test will last up to 26 weeks and after the test period, Safeway will evaluate whether to implement the receipt check in other stores in the District. Not satisfied with Safeway's explanation, which didn't mention anything about customer service, but focused on "shrink," the ANC voted 5-0-1 to send a letter to Safeway's regional management team expressing their dismay with the new policy and requests that the store implement the receipt check at a non-urban store (Georgetown's new Social Safeway comes to mind).
Has anyone experienced issues with the new receipt checking procedure?
Update: Here is The Washington City Paper's take on my post.