We Found Teeth Marks In Our Ice Cream, Kroger Hardly Seems To Care

Bryan and his wife were about to sink their teeth into some ice cream when they opened up a container and say saw someone had already beat them to the punch. They noticed teeth marks in the product, then told a Kroger manager, whose response was alarmingly lax.

He writes:

My wife recently visited our local Kroger store for the usual purchases she makes and happened upon some single serving 6oz Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream, in assorted flavors on sale for 88 cents each. Thinking she got a nice deal and that they were an appropriate serving size, she purchased six of them to put away in the freezer. The mood struck that evening to try one, and when she opened a cookies and cream container not only did it contain the ice cream but it also contained a nice set of teeth marks that belonged to neither of us.

My wife first called the number on the container to report the issue, and the person on the other end said to keep the container in question stored and someone would be in touch. One week later the local store called (during our work hours, of course, no one home) and left a message and the manager in question of course was gone by the time we were able to call. Today (11/2/10) we received a call from the Kroger corporate center and K, the lady representing Kroger, though nice and fairly informative, asked us to do the legwork to resolve this issue, namely going to the local store and having them look at their camera system to see if they can see who did it.

At this point, we need to clarify some things. We are reasonable people like most folks and not a walking litigious timebomb.

Here’s where we’re upset:

1) The seeming lack of concern on Kroger’s part for a product with a top that can be removed quite easily and the product tampered with without no one being the wiser, be it teeth marks or whatever.

2) The slow response to the situation.

3) Them asking us, US, to do their job for them. Obviously it’s their ploy that “if its a big enough concern, they’ll do the legwork, not us.”

and

4) No one, and I mean no one has uttered the words “I’m sorry” “What can we do to rectify the situation” or “We’ll fix the problem.”

We don’t care about our 88 cents; that’s not the issue here. Its about food products and their safety, or lack thereof.

If you’ve ever bought tampered food and made a complaint, how did the response you received compare to the way Bryan says Kroger reacted?

Comments

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  1. obits3 says:

    Maybe it was the vinyl gnome…

  2. NORMLgirl says:

    I recently bought some single serve ice cream at Walmart. It was Weight Watchers brand. I did not like the fact that there was no safety seal on either package. But I didn’t notice until I got home. And, I ate it anyway.

  3. ConsumerPop says:

    No photo?

  4. minjche says:

    A friend and I went to a Kroger in Augusta, GA last week and a similar thing happened to him.

    He bought a standard Kit-kat bar, and when he opened the package, there was a clear set of bite marks in the candy.

    It looked like someone picked up the closed package, bit down enough to leave an impression, and then put the candy back on the shelf.

    • Ben says:

      Maybe they just wanted to check if it was made out of real gold.

      • lordargent says:

        Happened to me with a bag of marshmallows. Tiny little teeth marks and a small hole in the bag, eww.

    • craptastico says:

      some Mom probably pulled the candy bar out of her kid’s mouth and put it back on the shelf without thinking.

    • Selunesmom says:

      Little kids will do that at the checkout lanes. If I (while cashiering) notice it, I point it out to the parents, and most of the time, they’ll pay for it. If they don’t I pull the damaged product.

      Unfortunately, that system doesn’t work if the candy isn’t at the checkout when it happens.

    • angelmvm says:

      This is a standard toddler move. They grab something off the shelf and bite down. Mom notices, snatches the item back.. wipes off the drool and puts it back on the shelf.

      notthatIhaveeverdonethat.

  5. razdigital says:

    have they been offer a replacement container of ice cream which they are allowed to inspect before they take home? If so,problem solved for the most part. Some customers can be thoughtless or childish, if you notice any sort of temperance with your product bring it to attention and it will be removed from the shelves.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    This is a value added service. In the old days, kings used to have their own food tasters, now we use continuous monitoring but mechanically add the bite marks to show that we still care.

  7. Macgyver says:

    Why are they even buying it without a seal around it?

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      That’s part of the problem, here. Kroger brand ice cream (at least, at my Kroger) doesn’t have a seal around the outside.

      • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

        Almost no ice cream in buckets, of ANY brand, has a seal.

        • Aennan says:

          The Häagen-Dazs, Mayfield, and Breyer’s I have bought in the past year have all had seals. They have all had seals around the outer lid and another plastic seal over the actual ice cream.

          • Kibit says:

            I was just thinking about Haagen Dazs. Their individual servings have a seal on the inside and possibly on the outside and they have a mini spoon attached to the underside of the lid.

        • mbz32190 says:

          Blue Bunny is in a plastic container and has a seal around it similar to those on jugs of milk. Some other brands I buy (usually whatever is on sale) usually have plastic over the ice cream under the lid.

        • Pax says:

          Ben and Jerries has a plastic seal around the top of their pints and half-pints. Can’t open the package without damaging the seal … so if the seal is intact, noone has opened it.

    • RWD_V8 says:

      Did you not read the part where it was ONLY EIGHTY-EIGHT CENTS? Why would they NOT buy it?

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Yeah, let’s blame them.

    • spindle789 says:

      because the seal would get cold in the freezer.

  8. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I have had to return a couple of items to different stores because they were open/missing seals/etc. At Albertson’s the customer service clerks are always courteous, apologetic, and quickly resolve the issue. The one time I had to return a lipstick that had clearly been used to a Target I was given such grief because the product I purchased did not match the receipt (the clerk had to key in the code and must have keyed in the wrong color), that I will never buy cosmetics from them again.

    I think the OP might have experienced different results if he had actually gone to the store, but that’s no excuse for Kroger’s bad customer service.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      This is why whenever I buy milk and orange juice, I unscrew the cap and test the little plastic ring you pull to open the carton.

    • veritybrown says:

      What bad customer service??? If the OP had taken the ice cream back to the store, and the store had made a fuss over replacing it, that would be bad customer service. Apparently the OP can’t be bothered to take the ice cream back to the store. Instead the OP wants to create a product-recall level incident over what was almost certainly a one-off instance of obnoxious stupidity on the part of another customer.

      Although the OP *claims* not to be litigious, the company has no way of knowing that he’s not sue-happy. Given the disproportional fuss he’s making over this incident (beginning with contacting the manufacturer instead of the store), the company would almost *have* to assume that he’s a lawsuit-in-the-making. I’m not surprised that they haven’t apologized, since doing so would put them at greater risk of being found liable (since they “admitted” blame).

  9. catskyfire says:

    What is it you want them to do?

    • katstermonster says:

      Did you read the article? Let’s look at the OP’s four points at the end and see if we can understand:

      “1) The seeming lack of concern on Kroger’s part for a product with a top that can be removed quite easily and the product tampered with without no one being the wiser, be it teeth marks or whatever.”

      –Kroger could easily say something like, “You know, I’ll pass this concern along to the packaging department so they can look into ways to package the material so that it’s not so easily opener.” And then they could….do that.

      “2) The slow response to the situation.”

      –This one’s easy: take less than a week to call the OP back.

      “3) Them asking us, US, to do their job for them. Obviously it’s their ploy that ‘if its a big enough concern, they’ll do the legwork, not us.'”

      –Er, not ask the OP to do the legwork? Send out some coupons for free ice cream ASAP rather than asking the OP to go to the store? It’s pretty much standard practice for stuff like this.

      “and

      4) No one, and I mean no one has uttered the words “I’m sorry” “What can we do to rectify the situation” or “We’ll fix the problem.””

      –Kroger could say something like “I’m sorry” “What can we do to rectify the situation” or “We’ll fix the problem.”

      • mandarynn says:

        Thank you for taking the time to point this out to a commenter who clearly has no comprehension skills :)

      • minjche says:

        “Er, not ask the OP to do the legwork? Send out some coupons for free ice cream ASAP rather than asking the OP to go to the store?”

        In order to use those coupons, they’d have to … you know … go to the store.

        The OP has the choice to wait for coupons in the mail (which doesn’t fit their desire for a quick turn-around) and then go to the store or they can go to the store and be handed a replacement product and/or coupons on the spot.

  10. BuddhaLite says:

    1) If it was 88 cents it was most likely one of those 6-8oz containers. I’m pretty sure even the national brands don’t put seals on the containers until you get to the half gallon(ish) size.

    2) If you’re not willing to complain directly to the store in person they’re not likely to take you very seriously.

    3) Just eat it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      88 cents for a 6 oz container? What kind of crazy world do you live in that ice cream is so cheap? The container was single-serve, so more like 3.5 oz.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Oh wait, nevermind. Apparently Kroger is the land where 6 oz. containers of ice cream are that cheap. I stand flabbergasted.

        You know, I don’t know if I trust ice cream that’s 88 cents for 6 oz…

    • chalkboard17 says:

      Sounds like someone who just wanted to complain. If I paid 88 cents for ice cream and found bite marks I’d just throw it away and not buy it again.

      These people had this on their minds all week and were looking all over for some apology, then get so frustrated they complain on a website.

      Get a life OP!

  11. AllanG54 says:

    I’m not clear on whether the container was opened and someone bit into it, or they bit through the container which in that case this is a non-issue. It’s like people who try on clothes without showering and are all sweaty and then you try them on. It happens. Anyway, Kroger was willing to check their tapes and they did call back. Tough that the OP’s working hours are the same as the store manager’s.

  12. AEN says:

    Take it back to the store. Get refund. Problem solved. Always worked for me.

  13. Alvis says:

    Anyone who tried to eat ice cream with their teeth probably got what they deserved.

  14. AstroWorn2010 says:

    Sometimes people tamper with things at a store, what do you want them to do sound an alarm, interrupt TV broadcasts with breaking news??

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Yeah, that’s kind of where I’m at with this. A pint of bad ice cream isn’t going to get their offices up in a frenzy to investigate and get back to the customer ASAP.

  15. minjche says:

    Since it’s not common for a grocery store to offer in-home return service, I think the OP needs to get off their butts and take the product back to the store.

    • AstroWorn2010 says:

      I am in 100% agreement. In the time and effort that they put in to the massive bitching they have done they could of had their 88 cents back.

      • minjche says:

        I like how the title of this article includes “Kroger Hardly Seems to Care” when the OP can’t be bothered to return the item to the store in person.

        And it’s not like grocery store customer service folks are bad. I’ve always had great experiences with them, and it seems like some other commenters are in the same boat.

  16. John says:

    Wow. just take it back. I have NEVER had an issue returning anything to a grocery store. Ever, Kroger, included. Sounds like a normal situation. I don’t understand their issue.

    • Blackadar says:

      +1

      Don’t know why the OP needs all the drama. Either toss is or go back to the store and return it.

      • veritybrown says:

        Drama is a good description of this. Why is the OP trying to create a product-recall level incident over what is almost certainly a one-off case of obnoxious behavior by another customer?

  17. angelmvm says:

    The only really frightening product tampering I’m aware of has been purchased, brought home, poisoned and returned to shelves.

    That wouldn’t work so much with ice cream. It would melt.

    Unless you have a true fear of cyanide in your ice cream.. or cooties.. take it back and get a refund/replacement. Is this really worthy of a camera review?

  18. misterfweem says:

    It was Chunk!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXLrUWVs_ts

    (Watch at about 1:15)

  19. hills says:

    I think the Kroger response is appropriate – they have called the OP twice, and asked the OP to come to the store to try and resolve – I get being upset that Kroger didn’t apologize, but I think you got a better response from Kroger than most stores would have given in this situation. Either go to the store or quit complaining about Kroger’s response…

    • veritybrown says:

      Is it surprising that Kroger hasn’t apologized, considering the OP’s behavior? If you think a customer is lawsuit-happy, the very LAST thing you want to do is apologize, since that would be tantamount to admitting blame. And the company has every reason to think that the OP is looking for a way to sue them. First off, he contacted the *manufacturer* instead of the store. This suggests that he’s trying to blame the manufacturing process for the incident (which would definitely be the basis for a lawsuit). And he seems resistant to the simple and obvious solution of returning the damaged item to the store for replacement or refund.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      I’m also wondering what kind of resolution the OP is expecting over the phone. You get a problem with a product, you take it back and show it to them and go from there.

  20. discounteggroll says:

    sinking your teeth into ice cream? You’re doing it wrong

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      This and Alvis’ comments.

      For me, biting anything colder than room temperature feels like chewing on razor-wire D:

  21. Jim Fletcher says:

    What the OP doesn’t know: the tamperer bit into the top of one, but settled for merely licking the tops of the other five.

  22. Jesse says:

    They might want to try to take the item back and say they didn’t like it.

    I remember when I worked for a Kroger owned grocery chain, Kroger’s private label stuff had a “try us” guarantee that said they would replace a Kroger product with its branded equivalent if you aren’t satisfied.

    It looks to still be in place: http://recipes.kroger.com/faqs/browse.aspx?ctlg=FAQs&ctg=CustomerService (1st Question).

    However, it might not work since they are already on Kroger and the store’s radar for the original complaint.

  23. Karnivore says:

    OP went through ALL for that trouble over $0.88 ice cream??? Guess common sense will remain in short supply indefinitely.

  24. ca_little says:

    That’s why I just eat in the store.

  25. Emerald4me says:

    The same thing happened to me, but it was not a Kroger/Ralph’s. I took home the ice cream and helpful teenage son was unloading groceries until he saw said ice cream and said “Can I have some?” He goes to open it and said “Mom, some has taken a couple of spoonfuls out of it.” I called the manager. She apologized and took my name. Next time I went in, I was given free ice cream, any brand I wanted. Now I lift lids and check. I have been asked what I am doing and I tell my story.

  26. RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

    I hope the OP realizes that if she wants to crusade to get the entire product package design changed for her one isolated incident, the cost of the ice cream next time she goes will be $1.88.

  27. veritybrown says:

    I don’t understand why the OP didn’t immediately take the package back to the store where he bought it. If there had been foreign material in the ice cream, or if the teeth marks had been underneath a safety seal, it would make sense to contact the manufacturer. But in this case, the “biting” probably happened long after the product was out of the manufacturer’s control, so contacting them was pointless.

    I don’t think Kroger has done anything wrong in dealing with this situation. The OP initially contacted the *wrong* person to resolve the problem; he should not be surprised that it took some time for his complaint to get shuffled to the right person. This was not an urgent “product recall” type issue; it was a “some idiot pulled a stunt” issue. The local store’s manager attempted to contact the OP. The fact that corporate headquarters got involved actually suggests that they *are* taking the matter seriously, but the corporate person was correct in pointing the OP back to the local store (where they should have gone to begin with!).

    The suggestion that the store look through their security tapes to find the culprit actually seems like Kroger is going above and beyond what’s necessary in order to resolve this. Unless there’s been a rash of ice cream bitings, chances are this was a one-off food “tampering” (and I use the term loosely, because there seems to have been no intent to cause harm to a consumer) by some stupid person. The obvious solution is for the customer to return the damaged item to the store. The store gives a refund (and absorbs the loss). The end.

  28. steveliv says:

    Kroger has a no questions asked refund/exchange policy for their store brand products. The OP should have simply brought the containers back to the store, stepped up to the service desk explained the issue and either asked for their money back or an exchange. No muss, no fuss.

    Question is, would that be too much legwork for the OP?

    I’ve had good customer service experiences at Kroger. They replaced a Red Baron Pizza which was crushed by a less than attentive grocery bagger. They refunded a purchase of kroger bleu cheese lite salad dressing (gross). And then, they paid for my car to be repaired (over $800) when a cart was blown into it by the wind. They’ve earned my patronage.

  29. Sparty999 says:

    88 cents… let it go. just let it go.

  30. theduckay says:

    “We are reasonable people like most folks”

    No, not really. Most reasonable people would get off their ass and take the ice cream back to the store and get it sorted out that way. Or just throw it out and go about their day since its just 88 cents anyhow. Who would honestly believe that this isn’t just a freak isolated incident? Or do they think there’s some serial ice-cream biter running around the grocery store putting teeth marks in products that must be stopped for the safety of mankind? Get over it.

  31. javert says:

    Are there photos of this?

  32. mister_deez says:

    I’m with kroger on this one, I don’t understand why this is even a front page story. I have had similar issues in the past and kroger has resolved them with no questions asked. The difference being that I actually made the effort to go to the actual store or call the actual store. You don’t even have to do this the next day, just bring it up next time you go there, and bring your receipt.

  33. junip says:

    I’ve bought food that wasn’t tampered, but had expired well before the sell by date. It was a Fage greek yogurt container, one of the big ones, and it had some weird brown stuff in it. I called the customer service number on the package and was immediately greeted by a very friendly person. I described the brown stuff and she said not to eat it (hehe), to throw it away, and asked for my address so they could send me SIX replacement containers by UPS. She also asked for the batch code on the container to see where it was made and what store I bought it from.

    I was really pleasantly surprised by how nice and accomodating they were, although it was very very strange to get a delivery of yogurt by UPS, and of course, by the time they made it to my door half the containers had exploded in the box. But I still ended up with 3x the amount of yogurt I started with.

    I’d highly suggest Fage switch to manufacturer coupons for free containers to replace yogurt in the future though. :p

    • haggis for the soul says:

      I’m surprised they actually sent you yogurt instead of coupons, but I like that they’ve got good customer service. Fage yogurt is awesome.

  34. haggis for the soul says:

    I took a bottle of cough medicine back to Walgreens because the bottle had been opened. The plastic cap seal on the bottle itself was broken, but someone had put it back inside the box and taped it on the bottom so carefully that we hadn’t noticed it when we bought it.

    I took it to Walgreens and asked for a manager so I could show her what happened and do an exchange. She seemed very surprised that I didn’t want to take medicine that had been tampered with, which I found kind of odd for a manager of a drug store. She did agree that I could exchange it, but when I went to the shelf, I found that every single one of the other packages of the type I was using had been opened as well. I took all the packages to a different store employee since the manager had scampered away. That employee was shocked to see that medicine had been tampered with and took them to the back, sending the manager back out to give me a refund since no exchange was available.

    So, check your packages carefully and don’t expect anybody to care much if something is wrong.

  35. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    If you have a problem with a product at the store, get your butt in the car and take it back. Get a refund. Easy as pie. Were they expecting the feds to come in on it or something?

  36. stevenpdx says:

    Pre-chewed for your convenience.

  37. pittstonjoma says:

    They should really just give you a refund (without any trouble). Have you gone to the store and asked to speak to a manager?

  38. magadorspartacus says:

    One time a friend found something that looked like a tooth in her food at a Mexican restaurant. The waiters just laughed at her when she brought it to their attention. I’m not sure why she did not get a manager involved. Ick!