Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Target putting EXPIRED baby food on sale to sell it?

Is this what Target is about? Are they purposely putting expired BABY food on sale with their eye catching red sale tags on the shelves to get it sold to reduce profit loss? I'm not one to jump to conclusions, but with what my family has encountered with our local Target here and the lack of action from corporate, I'm beginning to think this is the case.

We are a family of 7. My husband, myself and our 5 children. We are loyal Target customers, have been for years and we are very literally there every week, often times, more than once a week. We have dumped so much money into Target over the years from our less than stellar single income military paycheck. I hate to even really think about how much that could be. Being the loyal customers that we are, our recent experience has left a bad taste in our mouth in regards to Target as a whole, not just this store. I'd love to see them take action to make me feel like they actually care about their customers.

Here is a little rundown of what we have been dealing with recently at the Target in North Charleston, SC.

Over the past 3 or so weeks we have now talked to team members, team leaders and managers about expired baby food, milk and other various food items in the store, on FIVE different occasions.
The first time we encountered expired baby food and baby juice. My husband moved it together on the shelf and went to find a team member in that section of the store. He told her the food was expired and showed it to her. The expiration dates ranged from February - April 2010, We're in JUNE 2010. She acted as if she was gathering it up and we went about our business, checked out and left. We didn't think much more about it.

The second time we encountered expired food was less than a week after the first time. Again there was expired baby food, baby juice and we also saw expired milk. Some appeared to be the SAME baby food he had told the employee about previously. This time my husband found a "team leader" and showed her the expired baby food as well as telling a manager at the front of the store after we checked out about the expired food and expired milk. The manager said it would be taken care of right away.

The third encounter was the next week. This time we weren't there for baby food, but we decided to take a look and again, expired baby food and baby juice. We decided to walk through the food section to take a little mental note of expired food. We found various expired items. My husband went and spoke to a manager, told her about the various expired food items and the previous 2 times that the expired food wasn't taken care of. She assured us something would be done.

Our forth encounter was this past week. AGAIN, in the baby section the same EXPIRED baby food and baby juice on the shelves, but this time with red sale tags plastered all over! There was also expired milk and some various expired items like the week before and most appeared to be the exact same items with the same expiration dates we saw and reported to the manager previously. My husband found a team leader, told them about it, told them about how nothing has been done for weeks and he was again, ensured it would be taken care of.

When we arrived home he emailed Target and explained the situation. This is the response he received.

Subject: Your Recent Visit to Target®

Dear Tony L*****,

I'm sorry your recent trip to our North Charleston Target store didn't meet
your expectations.

We're always looking for ways to improve your shopping experience. Hearing
about your experience with our grocery area of the store is important to us.
I've documented your thoughts and comments, which will be shared with our
Store Operations team for further review. It's just one way we can keep
working to provide you with the experience you've come to expect at Target.

If you ever have concerns during your visit, please visit the Guest Service
Desk and ask to speak with the Guest Service Team Leader. They'll make every
attempt to resolve the issue during your visit.

We appreciate your feedback because it helps make Target even better.


Target Guest Relations
(800) 440-0680

What a wonderfully generic response.

This evening we went to grab a coffee at the Starbucks right near Target. I needed more packaging tape to package orders for my little online store, so my husband ran into Target. Of course, he made a detour to check out the baby section and the grocery section. What do you know? THE SAME EXPIRED BABY FOOD AND BABY JUICE that was there a few days ago, still sitting on the shelves! Shocking right? Not really. So my husband heads over to "Guest Services" and asks to please speak to the store manager. They spoke to the manager over the radio. The manager wanted to know why they were asked to be spoken to, the employee at guest services tells them. The manager says they wont come up to speak to him, but that they will send a team leader over to the baby food section. My husband stood in the baby food section for 30 minutes and not a single employee showed up. He left the store and purchased the packaging tape at Office Max.

I want to make it very clear. Every single time my husband spoke to each employee he was very polite and kind. Never once was he rude or did anything for them to ignore the information he was giving them. Even this evening, when the store manager couldn't be bothered to come speak with him, he was polite and kind.

So after all of this, we are left feeling like this must be a Target policy, to keep expired goods on the shelves until someone not paying attention buys it. If it's not Target's policy then why is this store being allowed to continue operating this way? We have tried doing the right thing. We don't want people accidently feeding their baby or child expired food or giving them expired milk or other food items. We've done everything we can, short of throwing it away, which would get us into trouble. If this is in fact an acceptable policy that Target has, why aren't they just telling us this? The employees all said it was unacceptable and would be taken care of, yet the food was left there to be sold. Which is it?

I wanted to add what the FDA says about formula and baby food.

Dating Formula & Baby Food
Federal regulations require a "use-by" date on the product label of infant formula and the varieties of baby food under FDA inspection. If consumed by that date, the formula or food must contain not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label. Formula must maintain an acceptable quality to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple. If stored too long, formula can separate and clog the nipple.

Dating of baby food is for quality as well as for nutrient retention. Just as you might not want to eat stale potato chips, you wouldn't want to feed your baby meat or other foods that have an off flavor or texture.

The "use-by" date is selected by the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the product on the basis of product analysis throughout its shelf life; tests; or other information. It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation and use printed on the label. Do not buy or use baby formula or baby food after its "use-by" date.

I'm very disappointed, Target.

My husband took a quick picture with his phone of one of the packages of expired Gerber baby juice (this is either the yogurt or the vegetable juice) this evening (June 29th 2010). This particular item technically has a "Better if used by date" Which I find interesting based on the FDA regulations.


Slee said...

people who might be interested- local news station.

also, i suspect i won't be shopping target any time soon. if i want expired foods, i'll shop the local food pantry.

Heidi said...

That is absolutely disgusting. I'm anal about checking food dates... and this would've pissed me off, too. It's one thing to sell "discounted" expired food to adults... but to kids who have absolutely no say in the matter? Pathetic.

alisonlerae said...

The Target I work at has a "freshness Friday". Every Friday a team of 5 or 6 team members goes through every single food item (in grocery and in the infants department) and throws the old stuff in the compactor. I can assure you this is not the company's practice. The Team Leader of those departments should be fired, because they're clearly not doing a large part of their job. It's unacceptable, but it could just be a mistake being made over and over again by a lazy guest services team member. When something is thrown away, it has to be defected out first so our inventory stays accurate. Instead of defecting it out, the guest services team member could have just thrown it in a "reshop" cart to be put away. Again, unacceptable, but just one or two lazy people could have made it a bigger problem.