The Safeway Club

Woody Allen (and I think Groucho Marx) once said “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.”

There is a special club, however, that I have refused entrance to dozens of times for entirely different reasons: The Safeway Club.

You see, I’m a huge supermarket snob. So much so that I have an entire post saved up which explains the difference between a good and a bad supermarket.

That said, I found myself at my local Safeway the other day. It’s a supermarket I hate for many reasons, not the least of which is their use of the “Safeway Club Card”. I’ve probably been to Safeway about 40 times in the last 10 years and every single time at the cash register they’ve asked me if I wanted to sign up for a Safeway Club Card. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Cute Checker Chick (CCC): Your total is $45.38. Do you have a Safeway Club Card?

Me: No.

CCC: Would you like to sign up for one?

Me: No thanks. I don’t come here often.

CCC: Ok. Thanks for shopping at Safeway.

40 different visits. Always the same result.

But this time, things went differently. I happened to be buying mostly alcohol (shut up… don’t judge) and the cute checker chick noticed that having a Club Card would take about 30% off my bill.

CCC: Your total is $33.29. Do you have a Safeway Club Card?

Me: No.

CCC: Now you do (throws card in my bag). Your total is $21.94.

Me: Ummm, ok. Thanks.

I tried to explain to the checker the significance of what she had just done but the accomplishment was mostly lost on her. One subtle difference in the delivery of the pitch and I am now a card-carrying Safeway Club member. Doesn’t mean I will start going there any more often, but hey, the card’s in my wallet now so I guess they figure that’s the first step in the assimilation.

All grocery stores with loyalty card programs should sign people up in this way. I can’t refuse a card if I’m not even asked to sign up for one.

104 comments on “The Safeway Club”. Leave your own?
  1. Jack says:

    I just hate the fact they use loyalty programs to turn me into another mindless statistic or another address to send spam to. I guess in this case, it doesn’t apply.

    There’s still the inconvenience of fishing the card out of your wallet the next time you go though.

  2. Eric Schwarz says:

    I was bored one day, so (partly inspired by the Big Lebowski) I signed up for a Ralph’s card. Now, mind you, I don’t live anywhere near California, but they send it anyway…this just shows that the entire supermarket club thing is bogus.

    FWIW, Ralph’s is part Kroger, so maybe I could use the card at my local Kroger, but I lost it a few months ago in my house…I really should find that…

  3. benish says:

    What’s great about her giving you the card like that is that it probably defeats the whole purpose of the card for Safeway. Without your contact information, the data they collect on what you buy is far less valuable.

    I go to Safeway a couple times a year (when travelling to certain locales) and have a Club Card under a fake name. I delight in using it and knowing that they don’t have my actual info on file.

  4. Kyle says:

    I have a method for getting cards that way with a 100% success rate (I’ve never given personal info out for a card).

    1. When checkout clerk asks you for your card, say you have [competing brand’s] card – will that work?
    2. Clerk goes, here – now you have [our brand’s] card.

  5. How’d you get that first card then kyle? :)

  6. Kris says:

    I hate them too, and I don’t have a card. But then I realized that you don’t have to have to carry a card — all you have to do is enter a phone number. And then I realized everyone I know has a Safeway club card (and a phone number). So now I just enter in my sister’s old, disconnected phone number. Works every time, and I don’t have to clip coupons.

  7. alek says:

    Mike,

    I suspect I agree with your implied points, but my wife insists on taking advantage of the savings offered by these “cards” – they do add up. But sometimes I do the shopping and forget to bring it … so I either ask the person behind me in line … or if I say “oh darn, I forgot my card”, the checker will punch their card in.

    I.e. you don’t have the privacy issues but you get the savings – LESS FILLING *AND* TASTES GREAT! ;-)

    alek

  8. jake says:

    you can usually say yea i have one but i forgot it at home and they’ll just type in their own number

  9. Joel says:

    I pretty much consider myself a supermarket snob too. The last straw was buying a peach in August and having it taste like wood. I try to stay at whole foods market but when I must stray for the few items I can’t get there, I always pull the little white lie “It must be on my other key chain” and 9 times out of 10 the cashier will produce their own card from under the hood and give me the discount….

  10. Bradley says:

    Options I have:

    1) Go to the cheapest place, that only takes cash or check and stock varies.

    2) Go to the nicer place that even has sushi, but is often out of many items, like the aforementioned.

    3) Go to the place that always has everything, but requires a card for discounts and is still more expensive.

    4) Drive 45 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart supercenter and attempt to avoid high prices and cards, but shell out time and gas money.

    5) Let Rebecca deal with it.

    She’s so great. I believe it’s usually a combination of #1 and #3. We skip #2 now because I make my own sushi. I usually cook the meat though. It’s really pretty easy.

    The real question for me has always been where to buy your meat. Especially steak and fish. In this case, it’s the more expensive place but I never doubt the meat.

    And I’m still cardless!

  11. I’ve found the Safeway club card to be the perfect tool for scraping coraline algae off the insides of acrylic fish tanks without scratching the tank.

    I get them quite often.

  12. Josh Johnson says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here. My personal data is obviously mine, but I’m more than willing to trade the knowledge of my morning cereal purchase history, in exchange for a substantial savings. I guess if I were ever purchasing something that I didn’t want the world to know about I could easily choose not to use the card. BUt so far I haven’t run into that instance.

    Now are there reasons not to go to Safeway? Sure. But those tend to be more substantial reasons, like the quality of the meat isn’t too hot, or the vegetables aren’t as fresh. But the part I can’t pass up is the commodity items, like gasoline! Using the card to get the lowest gas prices is the best deal in town. :)

  13. Brian Rose says:

    I’ve been living away from home and have continued to use my mother’s old phone number at all of the card-savings markets. It’s easy and they never bug me – I usually punch it in before they get the chance to ask.

  14. roger says:

    hmmm…how can I put this?

    Go read this Tesco stocks up on inside knowledge of shoppers’ lives and then come back here and comment again. If this is going on where I live in the UK you can be pretty sure it’s going on in the US too.

  15. oliver taylo says:

    This just flat-out makes me angry, it is yet another example of how advertising is becoming ever-more pervasive in our lives… they have at last found a way into the most hallowed of grounds… our wallets.

    There is no reason whatsoever to give discounts to “members” because anyone can become a member at any time for any reason with fake information, it’s a total sham.

    The only reason this is done is to place little 2×3.5in billboards in our wallets that remind us every single time we reach for cash that Vons exists… and maybe you need milk.

    And don’t even get me started on tracking…

    Bastards.

  16. Andy says:

    I choose my supermarket (Tesco as it happens) by how logically their stores are laid out. Sainsbury is a close second, Asda is complicated and morrisons is chaos, there is no logic.

    I therefore have one loyalty card, and i use it only to save the question, do you have one? I have no idea what its for.

  17. I’m with Josh Johnson.

    I know this completely off-topic for what Mike was writing about but the comments have seemed to stem off into some conversation like Safeway’s a secret-society mapping some scheme to take-over the world. Let’s not blow the whole concept out of proportion here… They’re tracking what food I buy.

    Why does it matter?

  18. Chris K says:

    If you’re a regular shopper, then having the card makes sense. The store where we usually shops offers a card with points going toward gas discounts at their stations. Saves us a bunch of money. A couple times we got close to a dollar per gallon discount.

    So Mike, needed the booze to get through last nights game? Save any for tonight?

  19. Joel says:

    Humm sounds like she was hitting on you! Did you get her phone number? IF so, and you don’t want it – I’m sure there are other Safway Club members that would love to check her out!

  20. IamWallaman says:

    I was a card-carrying Kroger-bot until a Super Wally World was built about 2 minutes from my house.

    The card now sits at the local dump (in many little bitty pieces mind you ;) )

  21. Alan says:

    What’s great about her giving you the card like that is that it probably defeats the whole purpose of the card for Safeway. Without your contact information, the data they collect on what you buy is far less valuable

    I imagine they’ve made some kind of agreement with the credit card companies so that as soon as you make a purchase with both your Safeway card and credit card they have all your contact information.

  22. Fred says:

    I used to shop at Safeway and started using my sister in law’s telephone number. They had their shopper card linked to her kid’s school. Safeway would donate money to the school through purchases made with the card and give the shopper discount to you.
    They also had a Starbucks in the Safeway and using the card earn points for “free” coffee.

    I thought it was a good idea that they were giving back to the school.
    but simply don’t want to carry one of those cards.

    Why can’t they just lower the darn prices and do away with those cards?

  23. Beau says:

    Instead of signing up for the program, I just use my in-laws phone number. They’ve signed up for every grocery store loyalty program in the area: Albertson’s, QFC, Safeway. I don’t have to sign up or carry a card. I just type in the phone number. And not to worry, my father-in-law recommended this practice.

  24. Evan says:

    didja get her screen name?

  25. Dave Simon says:

    Seems you’ve hit a nerve Mike. :)

    I wonder how effective the data mining is with these things. Nearly everyone I know “cheats” the system in some way – giving false information or just using the card that is at the checkstand. I mean, how valuable is the data if you say, “Oh, don’t have my card on me…” and they scan the one next to the register?

  26. Beth says:

    My local grocer gives you frequent flier miles with your card. Before I always shopped at the large chain stores, but this was definitely incentive for me to get at least some of my groceries at this place.

  27. Drew says:

    I still use my mom’s phone number for it ;)
    Her name shows up on the receipt at the top, mine at the bottom (from my CC)

    They might think I still live with my mom (or that I’m married without a ring) but eh, who cares.

  28. AkaXakA says:

    Haha! Fantastic!

  29. John says:

    I actually wish all companies were this smart about their advertising programs. If I could just get ads that were relevant to me, I’d be much happier. Instead of the market sending me junk I don’t care about, now I get information about products I already want to buy. I make it a point that they have all the correct information.

    On a side note, by giving false information, you’re actually driving up the costs associated with advertising programs. And in the end, you’re hurting all of us by driving up the costs of the products we buy. Thanks.

  30. Patrick says:

    PCC in Fremont for meats, vegetables, fruits and anything else worth buying organic. Costco in SODO for bulk items. Safeway in Capitol Hill for everything else. That’s my routine.

    I signed up for a Safeway card right when I moved to Seattle. It’s definitely saved me money…or so I think. Ahh, ignorance is bliss.

  31. Collin says:

    Supermarket card programs anger me. All the time wasted asking each person for a card.. having to wait for that little old lady to dig through her purse to find it.. millions of hours of wasted time that could have been spent better. And what for? Just so that the super markets can track your buying habits and use that information to ensure that once you walk in the door the item that you want will be the furthest back in the store. Milk on 1 side, bread on the other. Hey at least I get my cardio in while I walk around in circles.

    I first saw this in Safeway then after moving back to the east coast I found that every other chain in Florida Publix, Win Dixie, and Albertsons are all card pushers!

    The worst part would have to be the fact that there are about 8 of these damned plastic keychains on my keys thanks to my wife. Blockbuster decided to get in on the act as well with their rewards program. Which reminds me, I can take that off since I gave Blockbuster a lifetime ban. Hollywood 4 LiFe NiKKa!

  32. Keith says:

    That’s almost exactly how I got both my QFC and my Safeway card. Each time I didn’t have to fill out a thing, they just gave me one.

  33. John Dowdell says:

    hmm, reading the comments here makes me think of a web service that helps people swap cookie IDs for the websites they visit… wonder how that would go over…. ;-)

  34. Devon Shaw says:

    I tend to do this with Reward Zone at Best Buy when I’m selling computers… it’s $9.99 to join and that’s mostly for people who buy nothing but CDs. But when a customer walks in and drops 2 grand on a laptop and gear, I toss it in for free — for those unfamiliar with it, they throw back $5 in gift cards for every $150 spent in the store. It’s not a whole lot of money coming back (it works out to 3%), but out of principle it’s something we offer and I do go out of my way to hand it to a customer instead of a “your decision, your loss” attitude. It’s loyalty, and gives someone a reason to come back. Isn’t that what all businesses should do?

  35. Eric Thompson says:

    What’s great about her giving you the card like that is that it probably defeats the whole purpose of the card for Safeway. Without your contact information, the data they collect on what you buy is far less valuable.

    Not really. They can still track that some person X bought Y at time Z, and that later s/he bought A, B, and C. That’s still useful for market research even without demographics and probably the most solid data in terms of accuracy, considering that even Joe Mama at Noneofyourbusiness Street can’t falsify his purchases.

  36. Dustin Diaz says:

    Mike, you write about anything and the world comes and shares. You know, it’s funny that supermarket commercials without clubcards pitch it to the public like it’s new and hip to “not have a club card” … like:
    “You get great everyday low prices and you don’t even need a club card!” bah!

  37. Esteban says:

    Most people don’t realize that you actually don’t have to carry the card, but just enter your phone number. In fact, I have friends in Arizona, Californa, Colorado and Washington all using my phone number for their Safeway purchases. My bonus…I get free things faster, cheap gas, free bread and sandwiches and just the other day I got some razors in the mail.

    Everyonce in a mail my friends get the freebies but that just means they owe me the next time we hook up :)

  38. Jonny says:

    I grow my own beer and brew my own vegetables, that way I don’t have to interact with people :)

  39. rob says:

    haha, those cards are similar to posting comments to a blog like this one; you have to pay (some contact info) to play. before the haters come out, i know it’s different, but see? its also the same. I trust the operator of this enterprise to keep my data private, but then again, there’s nothing to say Mike couldn’t sell me out one of these days if he decided his reputation was worth the money to be made by selling my email address. The grocery stores are the same way; the moment the opportunity becomes lucrative enough to offset the negative effects, its off to the races. I don’t use a card at the grocery so I don’t know if they have already started or not.

    Another creative use of people’s shopping data: a lawyer friend of mine told me about a court case where a guy fell and hurt himself at the local grocery store. they pulled up his shopping history and said “look! he was buying beer almost every week! maybe he was drunk when he fell! maybe he is an alcoholic!” It sounds like an urban legend, but I believe in it enough to think twice about getting a card. What if it was his insurance provider that wanted to know how much beer he was drinking?

  40. Dennis W. says:

    I know, I know. They track the things that you buy so they can gather demographics on you. I guess I don’t have as much of a problem with that as I do with the fact that you don’t get any of their sales prices without the card! If you don’t have a card they are one of the most expensive stores around. It’s like a costco membership that you don’t have to pay for. Why can’t anyone anonymously shop and still get a good deal.

    The Safeway card was the first and only one of those cards I’ve registered for. It’s like I’m planning to become an alzheimer’s patient because I only go to stores that I’m familiar with so they don’t mess with my routine. So when I went to Albertson’s, I noticed that they too have a card program that I didn’t want to sign up for. Similar to your experience, they asked if I had a card and I said, “no.” They didn’t give me a card, but the cashier did have one on hand at the register that she swiped so that I’d get the sale prices anyway. I don’t shop there often, but I liked that they do that.

  41. bingojackson says:

    The card I have for Sainsbury’s (in the UK) allows me to have multiple cards. Some of my friends who also shop there but didn’t want cards of there own, use copies of my card to give me the points. I don’t care if the supermarket know what I buy, or they think I buy, but every month I save enough to get a free weeks shopping.
    I’ll leave it to Sainsbury’s to figure out why an unmarried man, living on his own buys tampons and nappies…

    Let ’em wonder I say

  42. Melissa Gray says:

    Slightly off topic, but that logo is so old! They used that logo here in the UK when my worked for in the CO just before my 12 year old brother was born. I hate Morrisons/Sainsburys/Somerfield for buying over all the Safeway stores, because they were the cheapest.

    Oh, Andy – I’ve boycotted Morrison’s just for the way they lay out the stores and the cheap and nasty look of everything. It’s like Main Street USA at Disney the way they’ve named each other in “cute” ways, like the Deli and Fishmonger and stuff. And I hate the yellow and burgandy colourscheme in my local store.

    On topic, I think that’s an interesting way of making people take a card, maybe she had a target to meet? Or just wanted to meet you after work?

    Ok, that was lame.. I didn’t realise it was 4am, my brain isn’t working.

  43. Dustin Diaz says:

    That logo doesn’t look too old to me. It’s the same card I’m carrying right now.

  44. Melissa Gray says:

    Dustin,
    I can’t remember the last time I saw that logo in a Safeway store*..they had a massive re-design of their stores, at least in Scotland, and that logo just didn’t return.
    this was what replaced it, although that was a good couple of years ago too going by the uniform.

    *Or indeed a Safeway store.

  45. Jeremy says:

    I signed up for a Safeway card using a fake name and address. That way they can send promotional flyers to Mr. Smith at one of their own store locations. I don’t mind them tracking an anonymous shopper but I have issues with trading my entire shopping history for a few bucks off my bill so they can mine my purchase data by name.

    What’s worse is in the northeast, Stop-N-Shop requires you to consent to a credit check if you want the privilege of ever writing them a personal check. I wasn’t going to use them anyway but it seemed ridiculous.

  46. Don says:

    Mike,

    You missed the point … cute chick … she likes to party … she was hoping for an invite. Way to miss the obvious.

    D

    Oh I read backwards now and see Joel understood as well. So Mike with 7.3 megapixels in your pocket, where’s the pixture?

  47. I have to say, I love Don’s theory.

  48. Kevin M. says:

    Don,

    Ya nailed it. ;P

    Well I want the grocery stores to mine my shopping habits. If it means I’ll get better discounts so be it. Come on people are you that naive about privacy. Guess what now from the day you are born ( ask any expecting mother about all the stuff she mysteriously gets from Pampers / Similac and others) your privacy is limited.

    Also I have shopper cards at over 10 different grocery and other stores, guess what other than a few mailers for sales or sending me discount coupons I get nothing else. So perhaps this privacy fear is overrated for the moment.

    I figure I save close to $300 / mth since often times these cards get used for impulse or convenience purchases. After all when I have the time I shop for the best price, but often that is not convenient, so why waste the time.

    Thats it. Oh, Mike your posts spawn some wicked as comments. I think I’m still getting emails on the Cream of Wheat post, LOL.

  49. Dave Metcalf says:

    Our local options are: the local, jerk-water Acme, the big Shop Rite and the big Acme. They all ask if you have your store card, which I never do (I won’t be suckered into the keychain card) and they usually will enter the “store card” to give you the discount. If they don’t, I just have to ask. I get the discount regardless.

  50. mik1264 says:

    Nice article. And huge discussion.

    I am the chief software architect at photocenter.ru digital photoservice network in Moscow

    Believe me, we need to track customers. We understand that we are doing right or wrong according to resulting statistics.

    We spend very much time on developing our client card program. We don’t require any sign-up procedure and cards remains anonymous. It still collects discounts in 1% steps from 3% to 25% so it works as a game as well as great saving too.

    I think that no store need your real name nor address for their tracking history. You know, CRM query “Who order more junk food James or Lary” is not very helpfull for business. In my understanding it is needed only by “everybody do it” dumbness or for additional income for selling or sharing that information with business partners.

    Saying your phone number at the cash register is not very good option too. It reveals your phone to a stranger (staff). So we decided to implement SMSing the store with order number as “forget my card” solution. The procedure of receiving SMS and assigining the client number to the order is completely inside the server systems, so the number is never revealed.

    Anyway the best solution is to use some proximity chip at every store you visit as your client card. In Japan it is possible with Felica enabled phone (with proximity chip).
    I think it’s the best technology ever, because everybody scream when they have over 10 loyalty cards.

    P.S. If universal cards would not satisfy the loyalty program protogonists at different stores: It would be nice for loyalty cards standards to emerge like in digital camera flash cards (i.e. MemoryStick->MemoryStick Duo->M2) so cards will consume much less space in our wallets.

    P.P.S. Nice thing about Felica phones is that they display the store list with discount numbers right on the phone screen.

  51. Aaron Post says:

    My apologizes if someone already mentioned this, but didn’t someone put a site together around 1999 – 2001 timeframe that allowed for people to send their “club cards” to a location where they would then get someone elses card in return? I tried looking for it but could not find it. Great idea really, I like to save money but I rather not do it at the expense of my personal shopping habits, so if I could on a monthly basis get a new card from another location in the country, I could not only get a discount but I could also screw with the marketing information.

  52. Nick says:

    Ralphs has this rather amusing rewards program called the “Wine Club” The accumulated wine credits will pay off in a free bottle. Trouble is, if you are piggybacking on your parents card, the store clerks might think your parents are total lushes.

  53. Paul says:

    Well its good to hear you like Safeway so much, i would like to point out how much money you people wouldve saved by using one of their Club Card’s. Now i dont go there all to often but I do have a card, having a card does not affiliate me with them whatsoever, all it does is let me save money, and really isnt that what we all try to do?

  54. bill says:

    Its more than just a discount its getting close to what Russia used to be. If Safeway wants to know how much toilet paper I’m using why don’t they just come over and wipe my ass?? Seems The good old USA is becoming more like the countries wev’e been trying to protect the world from.

  55. Lisa says:

    I don’t want anybody to think that I’m a Safeway lover or anything, because I’m definately NOT. I am an employee, and a Safeway hater. But, you don’t have to give them any personal info when filling out the card info. You can simply put Safeway shopper. Many people use this as their name, and we employees actually like it this way because then we don’t have to bother trying to figure out how to pronouce your last name.

  56. Jayniye says:

    There is actually is a very good reason for having a Safeway card, despite whether you like the store or not. If you connect it with your United mileage plus number, you rack up miles for every dollar you spend at Safeway.

  57. Bethany says:

    lol… I am the “cute checker chick” and I often thrust club cards upon people.

  58. wcmerle says:

    I don’t have ANY store club cards, gbut King George II, Rove, Cheney, Rummyfeld, & CondoSLEEZA do! :):)

  59. Harvey says:

    If you don’t want to use your Safeway card at the register, just enter 800-SAFEWAY (that’s 800-723-3929) at the screen where it asks for your phone number. You’ll get the discount, and Safeway won’t know who you are. As for those items where you buy 7 and the 8th is free, the 8th person to use this will get it free.

  60. partha says:

    If you pay with a credit card, they have your name and account and tie in everything you buy, everytime

  61. Harvey says:

    If you find 800-SAFEWAY too hard to remember, you can just use 800-000-0000 instead, it’s also much quicker to enter.

  62. Kim says:

    Another employee here, have to agree with comment posted earlier, you don’t have to use your name, or number. I hate thanking you by name, so please, use Safeway Shopper as your name just remember to pay with cash ALL the time. Silly to fight the card then hand me a check with your name, address, phone number and in many cases your drivers license printed right there on the front. Just think all that information you don’t want the store to have, right there for the taking.

  63. ryan says:

    oh my. safeway using my information to try to sell more groceries, the horror!

  64. Mike Bee says:

    1) I have over a hundred Safeway Cards! I get one every time I shop and then toss it.
    2) Safety !! Any freak can position themselves to see your phone number being punched in. Google it and they have your address. Safeway doesn’t care about you or your CHILDREN !!

  65. Harvey says:

    Safeway doesn’t tell you this on any of their literature, forms, or web sites related to the Club Card, but you have the option to call the customer service line at 800-SAFEWAY and ask that your name not appear on the receipt. When you do this, not only does the name from the card not appear, but the name from a credit or ATM card that normally appears at the bottom of the receipt is suppressed also. You can enter 800-SAFEWAY (note: thats 800-SAFEWAY (723-3929), not “1-800-SAFEWAY”) as a phone number at the checkout, and your name will be withheld. Other numbers you can enter and the names that appear are:

    800-000-0000     KAL-EL OF KRYPTON
    333-333-3333     I'M BATMAN
    444-444-4444     IMPEACH BUSH

    and for something really devilish, use 666-666-6666.

  66. Harvey says:

    Here’s a couple more phone numbers to use:

    123-456-7890     ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?
    911-111-1111     OSAMA BIN LADEN

    enjoy.

  67. Harvey says:

    Well, it seems that Safeway has decided that they do not want people using fake names or numbers, so all of the numbers that I have posted above are gone, and any name or number that “looks” fake won’t last long. Still, you can use

    212-222-2222

    (a real N.Y.C. number!) and it will appear as “Valued Customer” and your name from your credit card won’t appear on the receipt. If they kill that one use my phone

    415-959-1122

    I realize it’s harder to remember, but they can’t take it away from me.

  68. Mike D. says:

    No way, really? I just used the Impeach Bush one like a week ago! Must keep the receipt…

  69. Harvey says:

    It was just about a week ago Monday (8/21) that they killed them. I spent the next week trying to restore them but they seem to be on to it; one rep said they had a whole dept. just to root out fake names & numbers!

    Sometime Tues. the 212-222-2222 number (which I had set up on Fri.) died so I called them back this morning to revive it; hope it lasts longer this time. Incredibly, my own home phone#, which prints my name on the receipt and I haven’t posted here, was also dead last night! (I hadn’t used it in several weeks)

  70. Vanessa says:

    I really could not give a rat’s behind if the store wants to track what I buy…after all they are only groceries! I sent my kids to visit their grandparents with my mileage points and I was pretty happy not to have to foot the bill! I also earn 10% discounts through out the year on my groceries and with three boys to feed it is so worth having the card. If you are a single guy then it probably isn’t a big deal so skip the card if it bother’s you that much or use the person’s behind you…I am sure they would be happy to earn more points while letting you get a discount.

  71. Harvey says:

    I restored the number 212-222-2222 just before the Labor Day weekend and it’s been back up for over a week now. Remember that if you use this # your name from your credit card won’t show on the receipt. 415-959-1122
    should still be as good as ever.

  72. Merle says:

    I have SEVERAL Safeway “Club DCards, bu NONE in my name. I don’t go thoiere often, but ya never know . . . .

    OTOH King George II, Karl Rove, and company DO belong! :):):)

    I wonder whatthey do with the TV/movie type telephone numbers and the 5500 Penn. Ave, Wash D.C address? :):):)

  73. Adam Roberts says:

    Not sure if anyone will see this, as it’s been awhile since a post but:

    Does anyone have any idea how the club card infrastructure works? i.e., do the grocery chains maintain these themselves…do they hire out 3rd party labor to do the databasing? I’d be curious to know what companies out there handle all this data – it’s skeptical to think that the grocery stores themselves would take the burden of tracking all that info.

  74. Harvey says:

    Here’s a copy (assuming the <img> tag works like the preview) of my Club Card barcode which you can print out and use if you like:

    Like the phone number 212-222-2222 (which has still worked all these months!) printing of your name from your credit card on the receipt wil be supressed.

  75. ANNANS says:

    I went to Safeway today and the clerk said, “Thank you Ms. Roberts” My last name isn’t Roberts so I looked at the receipt and it was a co-worker’s name (not a common one). The name was in the middle of the receipt between two dotted lines. Any idea if this is because she started a card with my phone number or if it could somehow be related to my credit card?? I am going to call my credit card company to verify there are no fraudulent charges, but the whole thing rubbed me the wrong way. Not sure why she would open an account with my phone number.

  76. Ron Choy says:

    I got hassled because I’d left my red card in my car. My phone number was “invalid,” said the clerk. Obviously, I couldn’t buy club card specials. I told them we couldn’t do business that way, and walked out.
    I’ve decided to avoid Safeway and Albertson’s which also uses/demands cards. A pox on both their houses! – Ron

  77. Cool Dude says:

    They dont even care about your personal information. Do you think they are looking at your data and then marketing the whole store to your buying habits? This is just a way for them to analyze buying trends.

  78. cheap says:

    One cashier noticed i was a cheap bastard when i asked if the cupcakes were 1 buck or 1.69.she then threw me a card.bleh , whatever..

  79. Fox says:

    Seem like alot of paranoia! Yes it is a hassle. Just tell them you forgot you card at home.

  80. Pleased: says:

    For ME it’s the only “reward program” that I’m signed up for {or ever WILL be again}. An interesting note {yes my old phone # that I signed up with is no longer valid ~ I can’t even UPDATE it because I don’t remember my card # as that was lost YEARS ago; I tried to update it; but it’s for the best actually; as I have some reservations about giving out my phone #}. But the “interesting” thing that I DO like ~ & that I wish the OTHER “reward” programs would emulate; is that when you pay by MasterCard/Visa/AmEx etc. it prints your NAME {but not cc. #} on your receipt; thereby giving a “cross-check” on the identity of the bearer of the card. Saves being asked for Id

  81. Paul says:

    I love the loyalty program in that all I do is type in my phone number at the time I am making my purchase. I prefer this to supplying them a card so I don’t have to carry it around.

    The best part is if you spend more than $50 (not inluding liquor and certain dairy items) you receive a $.10 discount on your next gas fill up. You get $.03 off every day. Last night I bought my groceries, spending more than $50 and then filled up my gas tank at $3.36 per gallon ($3.46 less $.10). the Chevron up the block was selling gas at $3.57, so I beat their price by $.21 per gallon, for a total of $3.36 (16 gallon fill-up).

  82. SlavewayChicChecker says:

    I’ve been working at a Slaveway, mostly as a checker, for 10yrs, and I can tell you for certain that we don’t care where else you shop. Sometimes we do care that you save money, hence the endless offers of club cards, because at the end of the day we’re all just people trying to make a living. Also, we don’t always, or ever, notice who shops at our stores every day because on average we check out 200 people in a normal 8hr day. Wow, I feel so good getting that off my cute chest…

  83. ccc says:

    As a checker, I am always amazed at how excited people get when they see the discounts on the reciept. If you looked at the orig. price for a pound of Apples, no one would purchase them, so you think you are getting a great savings. Safeway makes a great amount of money every day on those people that refuse to use a club card and pay full price for high price items like meat, fruit, and bear.
    I dont care who’s phone # you use, unless you are spending more that $50. your the one who bennifts the savings, and no you do not have to put a 1 in front of your phone #. Be sure to type in your phone # and not yell it out for the hole store to hear,especialy the sex offender standing behind you.
    Most customers pay with a credit card so I will thank the name at the bottom of the recipt. If you use a # that is not yours and an other name comes up, I have to thank you BY NAME. It would really make my day if every one came in with 333-333-333 IM BATMAN!!!!!!!!!!

  84. Harvey says:

    The name from your credit/debit card will NOT be printed if you use a Club Card for which you have called up cust. service and asked that your name be suppressed. The Club Card name will appear as “Valued Customer”. You can try it out by entering the phone nos.

    212-222-2222

    or

    415-959-1122

    (they still work!)

  85. Wayne says:

    The sad part is that cashier can lose her job for doing that. I’m very glad you were pleased that you didn’t have to conform to receive your savings, but the information received from the card helps the company to manage their business in a manner where they can offer these savings in the first place.

    The reason I say she can lose her job is: by giving a person (like you) a discount that he or she is not entitled to (card members only savings) is considered stealing. It is no different than if they were to take off $5.00; $10.00; $20.00 or more off your bill for no reason, or decide not to charge you for your case of iced tea, it is stealing.

    When Cashiers do this sort of thing, they not only make it possible for them to lose their jobs but they also make it difficult for other (rule following) workers to do their jobs. After all if a customer got away with it the last time that same customer will feel like it should not be a problem the next time around and anyone telling them otherwise must just be an asshole.

    The card helps the store track sales in their areas, and the tendencies of its clients. This helps to insure that they order the right products in the right quantities, so when you walk into you neighborhood supermarket you’ll have a much better chance of finding what you came in for. It also shows the store what products will entice you to visit more often if they were to put it on sale.

    I don’t see a problem with that.

  86. Mike D. says:

    Wayne: How so? She didn’t just give me the discount. She activated a Safeway Club Card and gave it to me.

  87. Wayne says:

    By not filling out the information on the application, you were not entitled to the card or the discounts. It is stated on the application that some of the information is required.

  88. Jon says:

    When they handed me an application with a card, they said I could fill it out at home and bring it next time. Of course the application went in the trash. But somebody at Safeway must have entered their own info for my card, because when I check out they always call me Mr. Quan of Phan, or some really Asian sounding name. I don’t even look a little bit Asian, so I get some really confused looks from the cashiers while they are saying it. Of course I never correct them. It’s a weird program they have, but if you are going to shop their much, you need the card, otherwise you will pay way too much.

  89. just_me says:

    I’m a cashier and if you want the savings but don’t want to give out personal info, fill in the application as “Joe Blow”…I’ve seen several of those!

  90. Mike says:

    As an IT professional I initially resisted, not liking the privacy invasion, and knowing how easy it is for electronic information to get “mis-directed.” Then it dawned on me that when I pay with my credit card, the same information on my purchasing habits is already “out there.”

    Eventually I not only stopped resisiting, but became a big fan. Because:

    1) I don’t have to clip any Safeway coupons

    2) I’ve signed up through the card for extra air miles w/Alaska Airlines — Every 2 bucks is spend gives me an extra mile above and beyond what I earn from paying with an Alaska Airlines Visa card.

    3) I’ve also signed up through the card for the local school districts eScript program, where Safeway donates a percentage of anything I buy to the school. The percentage is very small, but it actually adds up to a pretty decent sum over a year (disclosure of conflict of interest — my wife is a school teacher).

    4) I don’t even carry the card. Which is great — I’d just lose it. All I have to do is enter my phone number into their computer.

    5) They thank me by name. I know it’s corny and old fashioned, but it’s nice to feel personally appreciated.

    Assimulation is not only useless, but can be a good thing…..

  91. Eliza says:

    Actually, and this is important, they cannot actually require the level of personal information they request on the application. Seriously. By law, you do not have to fill it out.

  92. Wayne says:

    What laws are you referring to Eliza?

    The Club card is an “option” not a requirement for shopping at Safeway, although if you do not have one you will not receive the “Club Card” prices.

    Here is an application below; as you can see some information is required to become a member.

    http://shop.safeway.com/corporate/safeway/app.pdf

  93. Hank says:

    I always just use the number 206-867 5309 (yes the song) and get by the whole thing.

  94. Amanda says:

    I actually saw a court case on Court TV (then) and they had a murder case where they tracked murderer-related purchases (in this case, roses) and that information was used as evidence to link the murdered to the crime!

    Off but true!

  95. Lola says:

    Are you all stupid. You don’t need to carry a card. You only have to know your own phone number. Can you handle that. Why are you putting it on fake numbers and using the cashiers numbers for that great discount. You are missing out on the Gas Discount and giving that to someone else. That adds up to even better savings. You can use my number for your next discount on groceries. I wouldn’t mind the extra savings on my gasoline bill.

  96. Priscilla Bradeen says:

    Today I shopped at Safeway Store #1587, Ref: 0903071 Auth:0212713. When I entered my telephone number for the sale items and the discounted gasoline at the pump, the cashier said the number did not go through and asked me for my phone number (303-426-0692). After completion of my transaction he said, Thank you, Mrs. Lane. I told him that he must have put the wrong phone number in and he referred me to your web site. Not to complain, but he did not take off my cents off coupons from my bill.

  97. Bob says:

    I could write an entire book on what I don’t like about Safeway, but since the topic is about their Club Card, I’ll focus on that. Aside from all of the stuff which has been posted already, I want to comment only on their gas discount. It’s a joke, and I can’t believe the number of people who fall for this gimmick! At least where I live, Safeway offers a 10 cent per gallon discount if you make a purchase of $100 or more in groceries at any one given time. First, take into consideration that you probably spent 35% more on your groceries than you would have had you shopped elsewhere for the same items. I’m no math wiz, but for every $100 you spend at Safeway, you over-paid by roughly $35. If your vehicle has a 16 gallon tank as an example, and you filled it up, that means you saved a whopping $1.60 on your gas purchase, putting you in the hole to the tune of about $33.40. And that’s a “good deal?”

  98. vons worker says:

    as a vons worker, the way i see it is, you would rather be stubborn and give the corporation extra money instead of just agreeing to let me scan a card and hand it to you. you see, i know the card is annoying but its part of my job and i’m already giving you the option to get around filling out the form by just putting it in your bag. i really don’t care if you throw it away in the parking lot. everyone wins because you get through the line fast and get the normal prices without filling out the form and i win because i don’t get fired for scanning cards without giving them out, and not getting yelled at for having a long line by the supervisor who is trying to get his most generous 300 dollar a year corporate bonus but will lose it if the secret shopper sees those lines going down the aisles. and the next customer gets out of the store faster too.

  99. Bob M. says:

    “They don’t even care about your personal information. Do you think they are looking at your data and then marketing the whole store to your buying habits? This is just a way for them to analyze buying trends.”

    Well…I’ve got a news flash for ya: That’s ONE of the reasons that there are BAR CODES on everything, so the Club Card isn’t even necessary for that purpose!

    Go into any Safeway store and tell the manager that you’re doing a research project for a college paper, and ask, for example, how many packages of a particular brand toilet paper or canned tuna, etc. were sold, say, between 1 – 3pm or 4 – 5am (if it’s a 24/hr store, and they can pull that information up for you on their computer in a matter of seconds!

    As a professional writer (I write for a living) I could easily write a 10 – 15 page report on what I know about the inner-workings of Safeway, and I would probably give it the title of: “Forbidden Truths About Safeway!”

    And by the way…Safeway wasn’t the originator of the club card – the idea came from somewhere in the UK!

    And truth be known…Safeway sells your information to list brokers as well as other companies, and they make MILLIONS of $$ per year doing this!

  100. DISTRO says:

    Of course you are kidding. The clerk, in all reality, couldn’t care less if you shop there, have a card, or have a nice day. Just like your job, where ever your work, you have certain requirements to fulfill. An good company clerk won’t give you a card, they’ll let you eat the loss of savings. If you have money to spare, yehaa. If it’s your real name — who cares about that either? They aren’t sending you a Christmas card or inviting you to dinner. Safeway does not sell their infomation. The loyalty card has been here — in the form of a membership card for well over thirty years —

  101. Bob says:

    “…they’ll let you eat the loss of savings.”

    There are no “real” savings at Safeway to speak of, but more of a “savings compared to their typical high prices.”

    “Safeway does not sell their information.”

    I’m not sure who brainwashed you into believing that, but MANY years ago I applied for a card and used a very bizarre & obscure name…one that I copied from an old “Red Skelton” show back in the 1950s as a joke!

    Well…it’s been probably 25+ years and believe it or not, I still get mail occasionally addressed to the name that I listed as a joke on the Safeway card application, so please don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that they don’t sell or share names!:-)

    I have an acquaintance who is a District Manager, (though I will not provide his name or the district which he manages out of respect for him and his position)and away from corporate structure, he’ll tell you flat-out that the ONLY REASON he’s remained at Safeway is for the “compensation package” which he receives and nothing more. Even HE and his wife shop for groceries elsewhere! So what does that say!?

  102. morzakk52 says:

    There is a special club, however, that I have refused entrance to dozens of times for entirely different reasons: The Safeway Club.You see, I

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