Truth About Kroger

Kroger fired me on Sep 7 for this site. It will remain up. Here's some pics of how bad it was when I sent this out. (More details in Pickup.) Our Facebook is here for anyone sharing experiences. You can send a message there or email us. I keep anything from employees confidential by default. I'll only share it in ways that protect your jobs. If you're a believer, please pray with us.

(Survey is here for current and past employees only. Anyone else feel free to share your stories on the Facebook page.)

Introduction

I worked at Kroger for 14 years in many departments with high marks. Kroger was a company that charged a bit more for great service and quality. Customers loved us. Many employees worked hard with great pride in their company. Now, many stores look totally different: many workers don't care, the shelves are very empty, cart lobbies often empty, lines are long, customers bag their own groceries, Pickup orders might be delayed an entire day, and then maybe no calls for deliveries. They claimed it was all just the market but their competitors looked well-stocked.

Kroger's biggest problem is its management, plain and simple. They cut staff constantly while increasing work, esp side jobs. For years on end, customers were trying to buy more groceries while Kroger, via staff cuts, refused to sell them. Those consistent, preventable losses could've been years of profitable sales to happy customers. Despite billions in profit during COVID, Kroger cut staff again with recent focus defrauding Pickup customers. Both Kroger's corporate office and our store manager (Sharon Mister) keep ordering us to either stay silent or lie about what's going on. Already tired of folks suffering, I wasn't about to help them add to it.

My Motivation

Before I tell you Kroger's story, I'll tell you why I did this. Again, I was there for 14 years serving. That let me see and learn from many talented people. From good times to staff cuts, our teams did our best with often little to no staff for more years than I can remember. In Pickup, they started defrauding customers by taking orders they knew they couldn't fulfill on time (or at all), advertising delivery waits that were off sometimes by an hour, offering items they knew weren't in-store, and so on. I didn't care much anymore since even the CEO, Rodney McMullen, just laughed when I told him about all of it during his 2019 visit to OB.

"he (Jesus) was crushed for our evil deeds; upon him was the punishment that brought us peace, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isa. 53:5)

"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Rom. 10:9)

Afterward, God crushed me for my own sins (evil), called me back to Him via Jesus Christ, and transformed my life. COVID kicked in around that time with people unable to get toilet paper, food, etc. People got more hateful toward each other. I cancelled starting a business to stay helping people get supplies while trying to learn who Jesus was and how to love others like He did. After months of study, the Spirit inspired me to put up a short, plain-English version of the Gospel with proof it was true. That Gospel has our purpose, how we'll be held accountable for our choices, how Christ brought us piece with God, and how His Spirit enables us to live our true purpose before spending eternity with Him. The Scripture says God works in our hearts to draw us to Him. That we'll know this is different and true if we just humbly seek Him. Ask Him to speak to your heart, read it, and see for yourself. For believers, I also put up how to share it here. Both sites' content are free for anyone to use or remix.

Back to Kroger. I was going to leave Kroger to serve the Lord more. Though an order picker, I was often forced to run the desk or manage Pickup where I faced all the customers. Another department, where I didn't have to harm people, wanted me transferred there. They'd give me a nice schedule for serving outside Kroger. My store manager blocked it. If I stayed, I warned her I'd be forced to take action against their fraud, lies, and so on. Justifications included Isa 1:17, Eph 5:11, and Jesus' example of loving others. Can't simultaneously love others and let them suffer if it's maybe preventable.

She refused my transfer. They kept forcing me to do management jobs (like handling angry customers), do deliveries in the heat (106-108 index) for 6.5-8 hrs at a time, and finally ordered us to lie to and keep hundreds of people in the dark. We were setup to fail daily. Then, I'd be required to do evil to hundreds of people a week. Instead, I put up this site, made a Facebook page, told a lot customers they abused about both, and then they fired me. They don't want customers knowing the truth about why their shopping experiences are so terrible.

On that note, here's what's really going on at Kroger. I think you all deserve to have information to make informed decisions plus chance to avoid fraud and abuse. :)

How Kroger Changed: Intro, Then Department by Department

Briefs on Other Topics

Front End

Two things come to mind when I was a supervisor:

- The first was when we were cut to one cashier with nobody at customer service at prime time (1p-3pm). Our store manager worked customer service. Auditors came in telling us we'd need three registers open to meet performance, we'd fail if we didn't open two more, and having one body wasn't an excuse. We "failed" every audit like that. The results of these audits and mystery shops literally just said we didn't do our jobs. No mention of inadequate staffing.

- Later, the company that couldn't afford one minute of cashier time spent (we were told) "hundreds of millions" deploying QueVision: an AI system that would tell us how many lanes to open now... and in the future! It used highly-expensive, infrared cameras (white things above checklanes), tracking software, monitors with three balls w/ numbers in them, and guessing software. It was either painfully slow or totally wrong. We pulled stockers from stocking shelves regularly to stand at registers doing nothing until they just impatiently walked off. We were ordered to not tell them it didn't work, though, on top of obeying it even when it angered customers. They even bought Windows phones for managers that buzzed any time we disobeyed it. Corporate Office had a screen tracking all of them for the Mid-South so they could chew us out for non-compliance. Some of that was discontinued after years of bad results. I think main system is still on but idk current rules on "1+1" compliance.

Frozen

No room. Main thing I'll note here is that there was too much load left in the cooler in our location to receive incoming load properly. We'd have pallets sitting out. For many reasons, the ice cream especially unfreezes and refreezes. Then, they cut the refrigerated storage and overordered during some holidays where our turkeys, etc were in non-frozen storage (Dairy and Produce). We protested on food safety grounds just in case it was dangerous. It's an on and off problem with most consistent being frozen pallets sitting out long periods.

Scans

After cutting staff, the corporate office mandated we improve what's on the shelf by scanning what's empty, generating a report, and they'll look at it. Our store has over 30,000 items. Workers would stock less to scan more with scans only counting against them. When they just scanned less, Kroger allocated corporate staff to scan stores. One scan had over a thousand lows and holes. We argued it made sense to increase labor since each item times the number on the shelf probably equaled a small fortune per day. They cut staff half a dozen more times. Then, mandated for a while that Produce stop stocking shelves to scan its department every hour. That's 10-15 minutes per hour of scanning, not stocking. Losses mounted. "Wall to wall" scans at our store currently take a lot longer than that.

Security

We have devices that wrap around high risk products. That's especially GM but included seafood boxes, too. Being cheap, Kroger didn't order enough to protect the list of items. We'd put a device on 1-3 items in a whole section of them, thieves just grab those without devices, and we still got threatened for not protecting the 1-3. Later, they cut security costs by putting dime-sized, white stickers on items like detergent. We still had to subtract from stocking time to wrap or stick large numbers of items. If you're wondering, stickers didn't stop thieves but empty shelves stopped sales.

Ultimatums

All this came to more stores, including OB. It was right before Mr. Hill (store manager) left [due to all that]. The CEO (Rodney McMullen) and multiple Presidents (now Victor Smith) personally visited our store with the President there often. Instead of reversing cuts, workers were told for years that stores that don't meet their performance requirements will just be closed as bad for business. Kroger has been closing stores all over the country citing a tough market where they didn't perform well. They've also been cutting staff all over the country. The true cause might vary store to store even though workers suspect mis-management I've just described. I can assure readers they've been doing this in the Mid-South for almost ten years with no reversing of the trend. Store managers, co-managers, leads, and workers have been coming and quiting in droves for years. A previous manager told me he'd hire 35-40 workers in a month at OB Kroger but lose them about as fast due to working conditions (esp management). I have no current data past hiring table at the door that isn't necessary in competitors with higher retention (esp Publix and Costco).

Conclusion

That's the actual situation. Kroger has a high management/corporate-to-worker ratio, constant staff cuts of production workers, no ability to stock/checkout/pick/deliver at required performance on most days, and that problem worsens with a growing number of side jobs that they enforce with equal or greater priority. After years of complaints, I just stopped shopping at Kroger a few years ago. Aldi, Costco, and Piggly Wiggly are well-stocked in comparison. There's trade-offs to make. I don't know which do Pickup or at what quality. I'm just writing this so our customers know the truth. They deserve to be able to make decisions based on honest information.

Recommendations

1. Shop elsewhere if you can. Let them know why on the way out. That's because they've done this for years straight. Maybe enough lost sales will cause them to act like they have sense.

2. Put highly dissatisfied on every trip that has these issues. Mention them as the reason for highly dissatisfied. Their bonuses are partly due to customer satisfaction. This might incentivize them to fix their issues.

3. Some call the corporate office with complaints asking for a discount, or credit. They usually get about $15. If you do it, please be firm and persistent, but not abusive given the call center people have nothing to do with it. Also, the credits themselves have been unreliable with some customers missing their orders and credit for previous late orders. So, watch out for that.

4. Maybe do charge-backs if you're not too worried about future orders.

5. Take action via Better Business Bureau, state agencies, or courts.

All I can offer for now. Other than praying for you all as I already do.

(Obligatory disclaimer: The facts and opinions on Truth About Kroger are those of many Kroger employees, ex-employees, customers, and ex-customers. The Kroger company itself is not involved in any of this. They made that clear when they fired the person who published it. This site is totally independent of Kroger.)

(Read a short version of the Gospel with proof it's true, quickly learn to share it, or pray with us.)