A&P Mails You Back Keys You Drunkenly Left In Cab A Month Ago

Shopper club cards might be part of an Orwellian masterplan to scrutinize your purchasing habits, but they also have another, less well-known use. Zach says that after an evening of drunken frolicking around New York, he lost his keys. A month later, this showed up in his mailbox.

Someone had found the keys and dropped them off with A&P, who tracked down Zach using his shopper club card data and mailed them to him. He was very grateful, writing, “I thought it was a very nice gesture on their part.”

Turns out this is pretty standard practice, most club cards have a notice on them that says “if found, please return to” (the supermarket they’re from). Nice to know that it works.

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  1. jshier says:

    Wouldn’t he have replaced most, if not all, of those keys within a month of losing them?

    • jaroth says:

      I’m sure he did, doesn’t dismiss the good service.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      Sure, but if I lost keys, even if I had replaced them, I’d want the set I lost back, if only to know those keys are no longer floating around in someone else’s hands.

    • textilesdiva says:

      The ones that could easily be replaced and are critical, sure. I have some keys I use once or twice a year. In that instance, I’ll wait for my keys to be mailed back to me, and if I need the key before then…well, I’ll just cross that bridge when I get to it.

      I lost my keys during Frontier Days this summer, and USAA provides members a keychain engraved with their member number, and uses this to mail the keys to a current address. I

    • dg says:

      Not to downplay the niceity of the gesture, but that’s what I was thinking. Day late, dollar short…

  2. namcam says:

    happened to me once. left my keys on the roof of my car. someone found them and tracked me down by my club card from my local supermarket. got them back in a day!

  3. Hoss says:

    A&P? Do they still have green stamps?

  4. osiris73 says:

    Obviously the important thing here is that he got back his A&P card. Who knows what havoc would have been wreaked had someone else been able to take advantage of the super special deals you can only get with your Advantage card. *phew!*

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      And he can finally decode the message he got! It reads:

      “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine…On sale all this month for $2.99! Sincerely, Little Orphan Annie-Pannie.

  5. qbubbles says:

    Hmm… makes me wonder where my keys would end up, since I have keycards from when I lived in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Richmond and Fairfax. I now live in Centreville. Lol.

    • ravana says:

      Just update your address on all of them to 1600 Penn Av, 20500. I am sure secret service will expedite delivery to you no matter where you live :P

  6. tedyc03 says:

    I don’t know that I’d describe the cards as an “Orwellian masterplan to scrutinize your purchasing habits”. Sure, the store has an interest in knowing what you purchase, what you purchase with other things, and what other people in your demographic purchases; ultimately though it benefits both the store and the consumer. The store benefits because it can stock the items that are most likely to be purchased; the customer benefits because they have access to the things they most often wish to buy.

    It’s also good when stores can use the purchasing information for good, like returning keys and notifying about recalls.

    • dg says:

      I would – because the cards aren’t anonymous. They require all kinds of personal information before they’re issued. Then all your purchasing decisions can come back to haunt you in all manner of situations.

      Lawyers have used them in divorce cases.

      Stores have used them against their “loyal customers” to claim the customer was a drunk.

      Store employees have used them to determine when people shop, then feed that information to their friends who go and rob the homes.

      The information can be used by kidnappers looking to grab someone.

      And worst of all? The discounts they provide aren’t really discounts. There’s tons of proof that the prices GO UP before the cards are made available, then when the cards are available, discounts to cardholders are offered, but the discounted price is what it was before they raised it prior to issuing the cards! People who value their privacy get screwed….

      Google for CASPIAN for more information…

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    This is why I keep a minimum of two fobs on each ring of keys I own, especially if they are the type that seperate in the middle. When I worked at a Supermarket, we would usually take a day or two a month to sort through keys returned to us/handed to us by customers/the mailman, and either call the card owner or mail them to them.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I think that having the store card on your keyring also makes you more likely to leave your keys in the store :)

      • Hoss says:

        Ah, I think you’d be back inside as soon as you got to the car

        • jessjj347 says:

          You’d be surprised how many people leave their keys. Also, not everyone uses cars.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          You’d think that. But we also had a large collection of canes. I mean, how do you leave your cane at the store? My own theory was that we had a faith healer who would walk through the store healing people/removing pain, and they wouldn’t need their canes anymore. My other theory was that as they walked past the Emeril display, his BAM! would heal them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6csPWzurwHo

          • justagigilo85 says:

            We had a lot of forgotten canes at my place. The geezers were pretty good about getting them back.

            Our cart guy found one and asked me if someone asked me about a cane.

            I said, “Yeah, the guy with the limp.”

    • osiris73 says:

      Since you also had their address, did you make copies of their home and car keys before you sent them back? You know, for future use. ;)

  8. jessjj347 says:

    People have left keys with me before, and I’ve tried to figure out their identity based on those cards. I never thought of giving it to one of those stores though…

  9. discounteggroll says:

    what happens if there are multiple cards on the keyring? Do a couple keys go to Stop & Shop, a few more to A&P, and the remaining to Shoprite?

    • textilesdiva says:

      In the instance I posted above (lost keys during Frontier days; had USAA fob), I just hoped for the best. Namely, that someone along the decision-making chain, most likely a USPS worker, would think “Which of these is most likely to have the most useful information?” and decide the destination based on that.

      I know most of my frequent shopper cards still have my parents address, since that’s what I gave as a college kid, being relatively transient and all. But kroger has my home address – I know this b/c of all the awesome coupons they send me >.

    • RandomHookup says:

      The worst that happens is they are stuck in the giant maze that is the USPS and they will bounce back from location to location, assuring no one can use them to steal your stuff.

  10. wenhaver says:

    My brother in law stayed with us for a few months a while ago, and was using one of our cars. After he left, we couldn’t find the spare keys that he had been using. Considering both he and my husband both have ADD, and we have two small kids (who were, at the time, 1 and 2 – perfect key snatching ages), I assumed they were lost in the house somewhere. Fast forward a couple months, and we got a package in the mail from my in-laws. Apparently, BIL had attached the car keys to his keyring that had a Kroger card attached to it. Someone found the keys, and dropped them in the mail. They went from WI to Texas, forwarded two addresses, and ended up with my husband’s parents, who then returned them to us. We then had to mail BIL’s portion of keys back to him. All in all, I was blown away that after all that my spare keys made it back to me. Kind of makes me wish that HEB (my only choice in grocery stores) offered loyalty cards.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      I’d stick with HEB and skip the loyalty-card crap. I miss living near regular HEB stores. Central Market is nice but I’m too cheap to buy all my grocery-type stuff there and Tom Thumb’s prices aren’t that great WITH the loyalty card.

    • gman863 says:

      Get the Kroger loyalty card anyway and put it on your keychain, even if you (like I) mainly shop at H-E-B.

      You get the free key return service and, in the event you ever have to get something at Kroger, at least you’ll get the discount that lowers Kroger’s price from outrageous to only a little higher than H-E-B.

  11. zeeba says:

    Borders did this for me too, but I had to pick them up at the store. Still it was totally worth is especially since I was about to get the keyless entry system replaced in my car. Now all my family members have keys with a reward program tags on them.

  12. RandomHookup says:

    I’m guessing the folks at 123 Fake St. end up with a lot of random sets of keys.

  13. osiris73 says:

    I wish that where I lived there were grocery stores that offered loyalty cards. We only have Hy-Vee and Walmart as options. Oh and Super Target but they’re very proud of their merchandise.

    • RandomHookup says:

      If you want more loyalty cards, you have lots to chose from…I have 12 on one key ring (ice cream, chocolate store, auto parts, sporting goods, office supply, drug stores). I only keep the more valuable ones — like the ice cream store that gives me a free sundae on my birthday. I expect more and more places to use some version of these (rather than the cards you keep in your wallet) before we fully transition to smart phone applications of some sort.

      • osiris73 says:

        However, I guess we do have a LOT of places that have punch cards for buy 10 get one free etc. My wallet is a good inch thicker with all of them in there.

  14. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I lost my wallet in a taxi several years ago. The diver saw my Blockbuster rental card in it and called then. Blockbuster called me and gave me the driver’s number. He drove the wallet out to me the next day. It was great :)

  15. DerangedHermit says:

    For the first time in decades, A&P did something useful.

  16. TVGenius says:

    Then there’s my mother, who always gives fake addresses and phone numbers…

  17. psm321 says:

    A&P still exists? I thought they went out of business years ago

    • jeff_the_snake says:

      they’re owned by royal ahold as well as giant stop and shop and a few others. I think they might be the largest grocer in the world

      • Max5695 says:

        A&P is it’s own independent company. A&P sold four stores to Royal Ahold. However, Royal Ahold is a totally different company. A&P is the 34th largest retailer in the U.S. At one time A&P was the dominant food retailer in the nation. That is not the case anymore.

      • Max5695 says:

        A&P is its own independent company. A&P sold four stores to Royal Ahold. However, Royal Ahold is a totally different company. A&P is the 34th largest retailer in the U.S. At one time A&P was the dominant food retailer in the nation. That is not the case anymore.

  18. psm321 says:

    Which store would the post office mail it to if you have multiple tags with “postage guaranteed” on your keychain?

  19. DanRydell says:

    One of my cards actually said you should drop the keys in a mailbox. I always wondered how that was going to work out. I guess maybe the grocery stores have an arrangement with the post office? I wonder if it happens often enough that mailmen actually know what to do when they see a set of keys in a mailbox.

    • sprocket79 says:

      The post office will get them to you. Although you will have to pay for postage. Someone stole my mom’s wallet when were on vacation in Washington DC once. He stole the cash and credit cards and either he or some good samaritan dumped the rest of the wallet in a mailbox. We got it delivered to us about a week later and had to pay something like $5 for postage.

  20. harmony758 says:

    Awesome! Gold star for A&P!

  21. annet says:

    I did this a few times when I worked retail. If we couldn’t figure out who a pair of keys belonged to we’d try the most reliable looking club card. I think the most reliable one was a casino player’s card – they couldn’t give us the guy’s name but they called him for us and let him know where his keys were.

  22. mistersmith says:

    This is why I always clearly mark my home address and my vehicle’s license plate number on my keyrings…so if I lose them, someone knows where I live and park my car and can wait for me there.

  23. Eilonwynn says:

    War Amps in Canada does this as well – no donation or club membership needed.

  24. Patriot says:

    I read in the newspaper several years ago of someone who lost their keys in New Zealand. I think the keys and their associated keychain club card were placed in a mailbox and subsequently made their way back to the grocery store in the US who then determined the owner and mailed it to them.

  25. Sky75 says:

    A similar thing happened to me once – I lost my keys while out drinking, and after an hour of scouring the area in the hot Texas summer sun whilst hungover, I went home, despairing of ever being able to move my car again. Later that day I got a call from Gold’s Gym – some awesome person had found my keys and dropped them off there since I had the key card on my key chain. I was so relieved, I wish i could have thanked that person. Ever since then if I ever find lost keys or a cell phone I always try to reunite it with it’s rightful owner.

  26. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Wow, didn’t even know A&P was still around. They closed in my city in the 70′s.

    • gman863 says:

      No shit. A&P has tanked everywhere I’ve lived: Indianapolis during the ’70s; the Gulf Coast (AL/FL) around 1990.

      It appears most of their remaining stores are in New Jersey. It’s possible the horror of having to shop at A&P may have made Snookie the woman she is today.

  27. clickable says:

    Happened to us a few years ago. My mother lost her keys, with loyalty cards, somewhere along a road trip from NY to Canada. Months later, she gets a note from Shoprite to come and identify herself and get them back. Within the hour, the keys – with a fairly expensive key chain, even (Coach, I gave it to her for Chanuka) – and all loyalty cards, were jangling again in her hands, intact. Neat!

  28. stacyr says:

    It happened to me with my Dillon’s card. Unfortunately, I had dropped mine into a snowdrift, so it wasn’t until the snow melted that I got my keys back, but I was surprised.

  29. Michael Bauser says:

    I tried turning in some keys (which my mother found in the street) like this at a CVS drug store, but the CVS employees were clueless.They said they couldn’t look up a customer who hadn’t used the card at that location. I think my mother ended up turning the keys in at a police station.

  30. energynotsaved says:

    I moved out when we divorced. I changed the address on my membership card, but not the phone number. I get the coupons for the ex, the bimbo & her kids. So glad they are all good about using the card!!!