Kroger fired me on Sep 7 for this site. It will remain up. Here's some pics of how bad it was when I sent this out. (More details in Pickup.) Our Facebook is here for anyone sharing experiences. You can send a message there or email us. I keep anything from employees confidential by default. I'll only share it in ways that protect your jobs. If you're a believer, please pray with us.
(I wrote here what I felt was the best response to what Kroger is still doing. The boycott is over. The project itself closed on Jan. 25, 2022.)
I worked at Kroger for 14 years in many departments with high marks. Kroger was a company that charged a bit more for great service and quality. Customers loved us. Many employees worked hard with great pride in their company. Now, many stores look totally different: many workers don't care, the shelves are very empty, cart lobbies often empty, lines are long, customers bag their own groceries, Pickup orders might be delayed an entire day, and then maybe no calls for deliveries. They claimed it was all just the market but their competitors looked well-stocked.
Kroger's biggest problem is its management, plain and simple. They cut staff constantly while increasing work, esp side jobs. For years on end, customers were trying to buy more groceries while Kroger, via staff cuts, refused to sell them. Those consistent, preventable losses could've been years of profitable sales to happy customers. Despite billions in profit during COVID, Kroger cut staff again with recent focus defrauding Pickup customers. Both Kroger's corporate office and our store manager (Sharon Mister) keep ordering us to either stay silent or lie about what's going on. Already tired of folks suffering, I wasn't about to help them add to it.
She refused my transfer. They kept forcing me to do management jobs
(like handling angry customers), do deliveries in the heat (106-108
index) for 6.5-8 hrs at a time, and finally ordered us to lie to and
keep hundreds of people in the dark. We were setup to fail daily.
Then, I'd be required to do evil to hundreds of people a week.
Instead, I put up this site, made a Facebook page, sent both to many
customers they abused, and then they fired me. They don't want
customers knowing the truth about why their shopping experiences are
On that note, here's what's really going on at Kroger. I think you all deserve to have information to make informed decisions plus chance to avoid fraud and abuse. :)
Two things come to mind when I was a supervisor:
- The first was when we were cut to one cashier with nobody at customer service at prime time (1p-3pm). Our store manager worked customer service. Auditors came in telling us we'd need three registers open to meet performance, we'd fail if we didn't open two more, and having one body wasn't an excuse. We "failed" every audit like that. The results of these audits and mystery shops literally just said we didn't do our jobs. No mention of inadequate staffing.
- Later, the company that couldn't afford one minute of cashier time spent (we were told) "hundreds of millions" deploying QueVision: an AI system that would tell us how many lanes to open now... and in the future! It used highly-expensive, infrared cameras (white things above checklanes), tracking software, monitors with three balls w/ numbers in them, and guessing software. It was either painfully slow or totally wrong. We pulled stockers from stocking shelves regularly to stand at registers doing nothing until they just impatiently walked off. When they visited, we were ordered to not tell those deploying it that it didn't work so they wouldn't cause us problems. We also had to obey it even when it angered customers. They even bought Windows phones for managers that buzzed any time we disobeyed it. Corporate Office had a screen tracking all of them for the Mid-South so they could chew us out for non-compliance. Some of that was discontinued after years of bad results. I think main system is still on but idk current rules on "1+1" compliance.
No room. Main thing I'll note here is that there was too much load left in the cooler in our location to receive incoming load properly. We'd have pallets sitting out. For many reasons, the ice cream especially unfreezes and refreezes. Then, they cut the refrigerated storage and overordered during some holidays where our turkeys, etc were in non-frozen storage (Dairy and Produce). We protested on food safety grounds just in case it was dangerous. It's an on and off problem with most consistent being frozen pallets sitting out long periods.
After cutting staff, the corporate office mandated we improve what's on the shelf by scanning what's empty, generating a report, and they'll look at it. Our store has over 30,000 items. Workers would stock less to scan more with scans only counting against them. When they just scanned less, Kroger allocated corporate staff to scan stores. One scan had over a thousand lows and holes. We argued it made sense to increase labor since each item times the number on the shelf probably equaled a small fortune per day. They cut staff half a dozen more times. Then, mandated for a while that Produce stop stocking shelves to scan its department every hour. That's 10-15 minutes per hour of scanning, not stocking. Losses mounted. "Wall to wall" scans at our store currently take a lot longer than that.
We have devices that wrap around high risk products. That's especially GM but included seafood boxes, too. Being cheap, Kroger didn't order enough to protect the list of items. We'd put a device on 1-3 items in a whole section of them, thieves just grab those without devices, and we still got threatened for not protecting the 1-3. Later, they cut security costs by putting dime-sized, white stickers on items like detergent. We still had to subtract from stocking time to wrap or stick large numbers of items. If you're wondering, stickers didn't stop thieves but empty shelves stopped sales.
Culture: Meat-Grinder for Humanity
The biggest problem was the toxic culture. The corporate people and managers would constantly cut people down. They'd do it face to face privately, in front of coworkers, and shouting across the sales floor. There might be three to four of them. If corporate visits, a whole crowd of people involved. We had to be ready to defend ourselves at any time. They treated the vendors just as poorly, too. The combo of staff cuts with bullying culture had workers harassing vendors and vice versa. They just created a really, bad environment.
Under constant stress, workers and vendors often snapped on each
other. Sometimes, in rage, they'd scream into empty coolers, destroy
cases of product, or even smash company equipment. Workers joked on
and off for years that someone was going to shoot the place up. They
placed bets on who would do it. In reality, most people just burned
out and quit. Those remaining worked hard but had no hope of it
improving. Quite a few were hard drinkers.
All this came to more stores, including OB. It was right before Mr. Hill (store manager) left [due to all that]. The CEO (Rodney McMullen) and multiple Presidents (now Victor Smith) personally visited our store with the President there often. Instead of reversing cuts, workers were told for years that stores that don't meet their performance requirements will just be closed as bad for business. Kroger has been closing stores all over the country citing a tough market where they didn't perform well. They've also been cutting staff all over the country. The true cause might vary store to store even though workers suspect mis-management I've just described. I can assure readers they've been doing this in the Mid-South for almost ten years with no reversing of the trend. Store managers, co-managers, leads, and workers have been coming and quiting in droves for years. A previous manager told me he'd hire 35-40 workers in a month at OB Kroger but lose them about as fast due to working conditions (esp management). I have no current data past hiring table at the door that isn't necessary in competitors with higher retention (esp Publix and Costco).
That's the actual situation. Kroger has a high management/corporate-to-worker ratio, constant staff cuts of production workers, no ability to stock/checkout/pick/deliver at required performance on most days, and that problem worsens with a growing number of side jobs that they enforce with equal or greater priority. After years of complaints, I just stopped shopping at Kroger a few years ago. Aldi, Costco, and Piggly Wiggly are well-stocked in comparison. There's trade-offs to make. I don't know which do Pickup or at what quality. I'm just writing this so our customers know the truth. They deserve to be able to make decisions based on honest information.
1. Shop elsewhere if you can.
Let them know why on the way out. That's because they've done this for
years straight. Maybe enough lost sales will cause them to act like they
2. Put highly dissatisfied on every trip that has these issues. Mention them as the reason for highly dissatisfied. Their bonuses are partly due to customer satisfaction. This might incentivize them to fix their issues.
3. Some call the corporate office with complaints asking for a discount, or credit. They usually get about $15. If you do it, please be firm and persistent, but not abusive given the call center people have nothing to do with it. Also, the credits themselves have been unreliable with some customers missing their orders and credit for previous late orders. So, watch out for that.
4. Maybe do charge-backs if you're not too worried about future orders.
5. Take action via Better Business Bureau, state agencies, or courts.
All I can offer for now. Other than praying for you all as I already do.
(Obligatory disclaimer: The facts and opinions on Truth About Kroger are those of many Kroger employees, ex-employees, customers, and ex-customers. The Kroger company itself is not involved in any of this. They made that clear when they fired the person who published it. This site is totally independent of Kroger.)
(Read a short version of the Gospel with proof it's true, quickly learn to share it, or pray with us.)