Bad Experience at WalMart...

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 2:25pm
CVRTBB's picture
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I had a bad experience at WalMart today... I'm still upset about it and not sure that I handled it correctly.

I bought about $50 worth of grocery's and after the girl had bagged them all and they were in the cart and while I was writing a check she pulls a SNICKERS BAR out that is 9/10's gone out and starts eating it!! I about freaked! I was literally shaking and just calmly said, you know I'm not trying to be mean or nasty or anything but what you are doing could have serious ramifications for a person with a peanut allergy. She kind of gave me a blank look and I told her that I had a peanut allergic son that could die from touching the food that she had just bagged with hands covered in peanut protein. Thinking back I SHOULD have asked for my money back and left the cart sitting there. The reason I didn't is because my vehicle is broken down and I had dh's work car and no other way to get back before tomorrow night to do the grocery shopping all over again (it was almost time for church). Which would have meant that my four kids would have been without breakfast, lunch or dinner tomorrow.

So, I went ahead and brought the grocery's home and warned my 2 pa children not to touch anything and told them it was covered in peanut residue. I called the WM manager and told him what happened and he offered to replace everything, but there again I didn't have the time to go back [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] He did ask for the employee ID number but I did not give it to him. I don't feel like she did it to be malicious, just didn't know any better. I'd hate to see her lose her job, but then I'd also hate to see my son lose his life!

He did have a 2 big hive reaction on his face, and I'm pretty worried [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] I guess I should have just left it all there.

Boy do I feel like a BAD Mommy right now!

Thanks for "listening"
Valerie

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 2:59pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I don't know if this idea would work, but could you call the store and speak to the manager again and start by explaining that your son now has hives, due to possible cross contamination from the clerk handling all the grocercies in between the eating of her peanut chocolate bar. Who knows when another cross contamination hive outbreak or worse could arise from the groceries.
My idea includes perhaps if you give the manager a listing (from your receipt) and request that a stock person come by your residence with item by item replacements to remove the cross contaminated packages from your home.
Even if the manager says it's not possible, it still might really send the message home that what happened is not o.k..
Just an idea since having the car troubles makes it difficult for you to pack everything up and take it back yourself.

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 3:52pm
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Joined: 03/14/2002 - 09:00

One word: OUTRAGEOUS!
I like Syd's Mom's idea, but can't see the ol' Wally-Worlds around here being willing to do delivery. Perhaps if they won't, you could ask for them to at least have it ready and maybe Hubby could pick it up on his way home from work? And give them her ID. A little education won't hurt her. I wouldn't think if you are being nice about it that they would fire her for it. Unless it has happened before. And her being fired wouldn't be a bad thing in that case.
Hindsight's 20-20 and I am sure things look a lot clearer now. But you did what you had to do at the time and there is no reason to feel bad about that. I am suffering from the 'broke-down car blues' myself and not sure I could have done any differently within those time constraints.
I hope your son's reaction will remain mild and you have an 'event-free' night.
------------------
Little Man's Momma
a*k*a Kendra

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 10:22pm
CVRTBB's picture
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Joined: 11/23/2001 - 09:00

Syd's Mom and Kendra,
That was an excellent idea, the problem though is that everything I bought last night has already been opened or used! In a house with 6 people groceries don't last long! They ate the cereal at breakfast and I used a lot of it to make the kids' lunches and I also took a bag of it (cups, napkins, cookies, juice) to the church (where the kids go to school) last night as I do the after school care program for about 30-40 kids every day from 3pm-6pm. I provide the snack so that it keeps my children safe. There were way to many nutty buddies, etc... being brought for after school snacks and I figured if I provided the snack it would make those three hours a lot safer and much less stress on my part. For supper I've had beans soaking all night in the crock pot ready to start 15 bean soup so that supper will be ready when we walk in the door with 4 starving children [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] (Hooray for Crock Pots!)
The manager that I talked to did say that they have a "no eating" policy in place that the girl had violated. He said that he would strongly reiterate it in their meeting on Tuesday so that it (hopefully) will not happen again. I may just call again this morning and speak with the "Head" Manager and again tell him how deadly this little snack can be for someone with life threatening allergies. Hopefully this will get my point across!
BTW, Timmy's eyes are slightly puffy this morning but the hives are gone. Hopefully this will be the end of the reaction.
Thanks for your help!
Valerie

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 10:52pm
margaret's picture
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Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Doesn't that just gross you out! I had a pharmacy technician eating a snickers while ringing in my order. The other night at the grocery, the whole crew (checkers and baggers) were sharing a box of wheat thins. Maybe it's just me, but I think it is disgusting even without PA. Why would you want to handle groceries, including uncooked meats and poultry (potentially dripping), all that dirty cash and then be eating without properly cleaning your hands - ewww!
I think next time it happens, I will be bold enough to say something or to write a letter to the management.
And...What makes people think it is appropriate to wait on others with food in their mouths?
[This message has been edited by margaret (edited January 06, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 11:34pm
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Joined: 02/14/2002 - 09:00

What a frustrating experience! I hope your son is feeling better soon. I probably would have asked for another clerk to ring everything through once the candy bar came out. I'm wondering now just how many stockers are washing their hands after meal breaks. How long does food protein stay on a surface?
Having worked retail I do feel empathy for the clerk though. She probably hadn't had a break and had been on her feet for hours. (Walmart isn't unionized, so who knows what kind of breaks the workers get.) Good for you for taking this to a management level and not taking it out on her. Hopefully the whole store can have some allergy awareness and hygiene precautions.

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2003 - 11:41pm
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Joined: 06/12/2002 - 09:00

I am sorry that your son had a reaction from the contaminated packaging. I do agree with the previous poster though. As a teen I worked in a restaurant where we sometimes did not get breaks. I shudder now to think of all the times I ate Reeses cups while in between doing a zillion things! I certainly would never do something like that now, however like someone else said hindsight really is 20/20. Peanut allergies did not cross my mind a hundred times a day like it does now. I am sure the checker was just overworked and starving. So many people fail to realize the ramifications of cross-contamination.
Jaime

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 3:34am
cathlina's picture
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Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

I have never seen a pharmacy employee eating or drinking while they work. I would suspect that there is a state health regulation about this.
When I go to Wal-Mart, I have seen several of the cashiers lick their fingers to help open the plastic bags. How unsanitary plus the allergy possibilities! Who knows maybe there is a state health regulation on this as well as eating while checking out food.
How disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 3:52am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

OK.
How do I say this tactfully?
Here goes: People eat everywhere. At home, in cars, on public transportation, in the mall, at work. I work in a hospital, my hubby works at a firestation. We rarely get a chance to eat. I worked in food service for 12 years and ate bites here and there off a small plate I tucked behind the coffee machine. We all had our secret place. LOL. Just for example: Christmastime for my hubby and I is a jackpot. At both our places of work we are innudated with food. Technically, I believe hospital workers are only allowed to eat in mandated eating areas. How well do you think that works, considering you are lucky to get a break in an 18 hour shift? I personally don't approve of eating in the unit and refrain from it because of the potential of contracting some pretty horrific infections. I stay pretty healthy despite working with some of the sickest folk on the planet. PS. I don't even wear my work clothes inside my home and shower as soon as I hit the door. My kids know kissing or hugging mommy is off limits until she's been "de-conned". Eating food in public areas is the reality we live in. I don't think we will be able to change where, when, and how people snack unless of course, they are snacking on a controlled substance like crack or pot. And of course, there are public limitations to where one can imbibe alcohol as well. But, in order to survive in this world and develop a healthy perspective on managing PA and other food allergies, we need to be realistic. Sometimes I think we tend to focus our attention on these types of issues too much as an attempt to make people understand the worry and burden we deal with ourselves. Sort of trying to find others to validate our feeling and fears. And there is nothing wrong with that. We just need do realize that sometimes, in an attempt to find this, we can allienate those who can help and offer much needed empathy.
With respect, MommaBear

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 4:41am
ACBaay's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2002 - 09:00

It is quite upsetting to see somebody eating a Snickers and then touching your food. I'm sure one can only imagine, and wouldn't want to imagine, what people transfer onto the product while stocking and/or checking them out at the register. I had read elsewhere, not even to do with allergens, that after groceries were bought and taken home, they should then be wiped or cleaned off, before being put away. I believe they were found to have bacteria, germs, and other things that we don't want in our homes on their surfaces from storerooms and other contact.
Just an idea.
Andrea

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 4:54am
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Like rat feces and cockroach eggs.
Just FYI. that's all. Shall I go on? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Good Point ACBaay! I usually DO wipe off things before putting them away. Seems like a waste of my life, but I have issues with germs since taking on my current carreer. Unavoidable casualty.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 5:03am
ACBaay's picture
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Now I'm reeeealy grossed out!!!
Andrea

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 6:03am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Another scary thing about Valerie's original post is that I (or any of us) could have been the next customer, not having seen the Snickers incident, and allowed my PA son to help me unload the so-called "safe" groceries!
PA's have definitely made me a much more suspicious and untrusting person. But, on the bright side, I am also smarter and more outspoken. But I really worry about turning my family into hermits, we never eat out, we are terrified of sending my PA son to school in a couple of years, and it seems that EVERYTHING and everyone is suspect! One of the only things that keeps my head up (besides everyday I spend with my son) is the hope of a treatment, vaccine, cure, anything, to make our lives a little bit easier!
Take care,
Lisa

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 7:25am
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Joined: 08/27/2002 - 09:00

I did have my pa dd help me unload our cart at WalMart last summer. She had a major reaction at the store. We we got to the hospital, I realized everything was contaminated, in my car. WalMart came and got everything from me and when we left the hosptial we stopped at WalMart and they brought my rebought stuff out. WalMart was to call and talk to me later but that never happened. They could have been better, but they could have been worse.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 8:41am
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Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

Connielynn,
What do you attribute the reaction to at Wal-Mart?
What city and state was this in?

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 9:09am
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Joined: 08/27/2002 - 09:00

McCook Ne. The reason? WalMart was giving out samples and some stupid person threw their trash in our cart. The residue was on our groceries and stuff. Dd never touched the trash.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 10:49am
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I had a similar experience at KidsRUs, a big clothing chain here. I was going to surprise my dd with a raincoat. We had seen it together, so I went back when I was alone to buy it. The cashier was eating a cookie while she was ringing up the customers. DD is also allergic to milk and egg, I have no idea what kind of cookie it was. If it didn`t have peanuts, I`m sure it must have had milk or egg. Anyhow, I left, returned another day, same cashier, eating again. I left, came back a third time, and the raincoat was gone---someone had bought it and they didn`t have any more in her size. So I called the store manager. I was really annoyed. I have very little time to go shopping without dd because I work full time. Anyhow, I called the store manager and said I didn`t want the cashier (I gave her name) to be fired, but I would like the raincoat. I explained about dd`s food allergies, and contamination. Anyhow here is his response: He completely agreed and said "That is what breaks are for." He ended up ordering the rain coat for me. I have been in many times since. The cashier still works there and I haven`t seen her eating on the job. I think that it is hard when you are caught by surprise. I`m sure Valerie didn`t head for Walmart and say to herself "What will I do if the bagger is eating peanuts?" But I also think we have to look out for our kids, and it sounds cold but it is not my problem if the cashier or bagger gets fired. The law says these people get a break every four hours, right? And besides the issue of allergies, it is unsanitary in general.
I also had a pharmacist eat while counting pills (how gross). She was eating a bagel. But, come on, that is so unsanitary also! I refused to pick up the rx, called the manager, and asked them to make me a new rx when this pharmacist was off.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 11:19am
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Please don't think me changing the topic or being contradictory, but I have some experiences to share, and share I do. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I worked in some pretty nice restaurants. I've also seen the salad man mix tuna salad with his bare hands. I've seen a baby mouse pulled out of the bbq beef. I've found bread in the bin with rodent knawings on it. I've seen mice scurry across the back banquet room in the early morning hours during setup. And boy, roaches move fast!! Chef's generally touch everything they prepare, and I've never observed one using "sterile technique. I've had the boss order me to get a few rounds of beer for the kitchen help during the rush hour when the kitchen was way past 110 degrees and they were sweating profusely at the grill. I also went on many a cigarette run in the lobby when the smokes for the grill men ran out. Gloves are no cure. Not when they touch everything in the kitchen with them on. Most people touch the food they prepare. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Worst thing I saw: The prep cook scoop Roquefort dressing from the master container to the serving dish with his bare hands. 0oooooooops. I said too much again??
This in mind, I don't get to excited when I see people eating on the job. I don't think the intention of causing a reaction ever entered their minds. Nor would it ever cross their minds unless someone very dear to them was food allergic. I wouldn't jepordize their jobs and the welfare of their family (and children) because of it. For every person you see eating on the job, there are probably 100 other people who were food contaminated in some way that you came across outside of your home that same day. Especially if you frequent the malls. There must be at least 20 snack food establishments in every mall I have been in. People eating everywhere, and probably not washing their hands either. Trying on clothes, touching objects and door handles.
Respectfully, Mommabear.
Just some thoughts.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 1:25pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

MommaBear --
I worked as a baker at a summer camp, and could share a few stories of my own. On the rare occasions DH and I eat out, I just push all those thoughts ***far*** from my mind...
That said, I do think that there are some jobs that have a responsibility to their customers that would preclude eating on the job.
My personal favorite (not!) was watching the behind-the-counter pharmacist snacking from a large jar of Planter's, as we waited to have a prescription filled. That one took my breath away -- as did his *completely* blank look when I mentioned my concern. Blank enough that you'd truly wonder if he had what it took to even *count* the pills.
I have taken to asking checkout clerks if they've had anything with peanuts during their shift, if I'm purchasing something for DS. Bought him a toothbrush one evening (a spin-brush, with an opening on the package), and asked the question of the older lady working that lane.
"No, no peanuts."
I explained the reason behind my question as she was swiping the toothbrush. She then added, "Well, I did just have a Reese's cup -- but that doesn't have peanuts in it."
Sigh. Toothbrush went in the go-back pile.
I can't say that I *enjoy* asking, but I've probably saved us a reaction on at least two occasions!
-Sue

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 1:44pm
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Part of my point was that this is a health hazard even for people without allergies. When the pharmacist`s hand goes straight from her mouth to the pills I am being given, germs are spread a lot more easily than if she ate an hour ago. In fact, I am sure viruses would not still be on her hand from having eaten an hour ago. This is very unsanitary and spreads illnesses!

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 2:45pm
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

(gulp) here goes....just my opinion.....
I've worked in restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, and schools. I agree that people who are working with the public should NOT be eating anything on the job, especially those that are handling food or medicine (as in the case of the pharmacist). It really is just rude. However, reality has to come into play here. Not every working environment is one where people even get their breaks. I've had jobs where we went without if it was busy, and if we wanted to eat, we had to do it on the job. (very discreetly though) I'm the sort of person that if I have low blood sugar, I'd pass out. You wouldn't have a cashier, I'd be lying on the floor. It really is up to the company to make sure their staff have breaks. There is no way that any of us would have knowingly eaten something that would've put a customer in danger. Ever. If I was in the situation at Wal-mart, a smile and a "look, I have two seriously pa kids at home, and by eating that and touching my groceries, you just contaminated them. They need to be all replaced, and I'll wait here while you do it." I'd get to know the staff at my local grocery store. Tell them about your child's PA. I'd bet that if they got to know you, they may think about it more when they're at work. The staff at my local grocery store even tell me when samples contain nuts, before I ask. Asking the employee if they've recently eaten an item containing peanuts is a good idea too because, the reality is that peanuts are out there. People are free to eat them, no matter who is allergic.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2003 - 9:30pm
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Joined: 05/23/2001 - 09:00

Having worked in a supermarket chain throughout highschool and part of college, I am appalled at what I have read. We weren't even allowed to chew gum at the registers never mind eat or drink. (Heck, I wouldn't scratch my nose or move hair off my face with my hands...at least not without washing first!) If we were really swamped, the store manager, the front-end (check-out) supervisors, and anyone who knew how to operate a cash register would cover breaks. By law, every 2 hours they are entitled to a 15 minute break. If they work 6 hours or more, the 2-15 minute breaks can be a 30 minute instead. And you'd think these cashiers would have some common sense about their own health. I mean, money is one of the dirtiest things you can put your hands on and they are handling it constantly. You should see your hands after working just a few short hours with money. It's digusting.
As far as the kitchen sanitation is concerned, all the posts are 100% correct. DH is a chef. He has worked in kitchens before of restaurants he will not eat in. Thankfully, he is a perfectionist and a neat-freak. You could eat off the floor in his kitchen.
Of course, this doesn't help your problem. I have to agree that I believe that eating at the registers is a violation of health codes. If you looked this up...and it is probably on-line or easily accessible through calling the health department...I would call Wal-mart and tell them about the violation and insist they put this policy into effect or you will be calling the health department.
Just my 2 cents.
Andrea

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/2004 - 1:05pm
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Sue
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Just raising as it's good information for the newbies
Sue

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