BALLWIN, Mo. — When Heather Wright opens her pantry, there's one name that stands out on her shelves: Schnucks.
"We're very loyal Schnucks shoppers," Wright said. "I mean, we spend $400 every time we go, probably once every six to seven days."
But on a recent run, Heather and her husband, Nick, were almost finished loading bags into the car when they noticed something: smudges and drops of blood on every bag. The blood was not from them, nor the meat they'd bought.
"My hand's almost touching that one," Heather said as she scrolled through photos of the Schnucks bags. "That gives me the heebee-jeebees."
The Wrights immediately took their problem to the store's customer service line, but they say they were frustrated by the service they received.
"She said, 'OK, what would you like me to do?' And that's when I kind of looked at [Nick] and thought 'Why are we being asked what to do?'" Heather said. "There should probably be a protocol, especially with anything blood borne."
Heather said staff called over their bagger, an employee the Wrights call "their favorite" for his speed and efficiency. The Wrights said the man — who has special needs — didn't realize at first that he was cut. (Schnucks public relations told us it was a hangnail.)
"They slapped a Band-Aid on him and sent him back over to the line," Heather said. "That made me very upset because I thought the line should have been stopped, it should have been properly sanitized, and he should have been taken care of."
A Schnucks representative sent 5 On Your Side an email that said — in part — "We apologize that our customers had this experience... The store team, as required, reached out to our Food Safety team, who instructed them that cleaning the area is required per regulations."
Schnucks staff said they offered to "re-shop" the items for the Wrights, but the Wrights said they were offered new bags.
Schnucks said the Wrights asked for a percentage-discount, but the Wrights said that's a misunderstanding.
"We were so taken back by everything that we just walked out like, 'Did that just really happen?'" Heather said.
The Wrights took their groceries — and a $20 gift card — but tossed a lot of the items when they got home, and the situation still didn't sit right with them the next day.
The Wrights decided to post the photos online as a warning to other shoppers.
Heather said she got a message from Schnucks corporate after the posts and were offered a $50 gift card when she called them back, on top of the $20 they'd already received. Heather said it was fine for them to mail the gift card, but Nick called back to turn down the offer. Nick said it's not about the money; the Wrights want staff to get more training.
Here is the full message from Schnucks:
We apologize that our customers had this experience. Here is what occurred.
On Thursday, May 2, two customers approached the store's service center to inform them that after leaving the store with their just purchased groceries, they noticed what appeared to be blood on some of the bags. The store team checked with the bagger who bagged the groceries and discovered that the bagger - who has special needs - had a small cut on his finger that he had apparently been unaware of.
The store team offered to re-shop the groceries for the customers, but the customers stated that they had children at home that they needed to get back to. The customers asked if they could instead be given a percentage off of their order. They were offered a $20 gift card, which they accepted.
The store team ensured that the bagger's cut was cleaned and bandaged.
The next day, the female customer called our Customer Care team, told them what occurred, and asked for additional compensation. Our Customer Care Manager apologized to the customer and offered her a $50 gift card, in addition to the $20 gift card the customer had received. The customer agreed to the amount and the call ended.
Approximately 10 minutes later, the male customer called and said that $50 was unacceptable, and said that they instead wanted the entire order for free. Our Customer Care Manager indicated that he was unable to approve that amount, but he could send along the $50 gift card. The male customer refused the amount.
The store team, as required, reached out to our Food Safety team, who instructed them that cleaning the area with is required per regulations. That did occur. (We've also learned that the "cut" was actually a hangnail. The bagger's hand was cleaned and his fingertip was bandaged.
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