I remember early in our relationship days, Ledcat and I went grocery shopping together at the Waterfront Giant Eagle near my home. This was probably 8-10 months in to our relationship (now going on 162 months, thank you.) It wasn’t a joint shop for a shared event, it was two independent shops using one cart.
It was an eye-opening glimpse into the future elder Ms. Dunhoff-Kerr’s habits. She circles the lot for the closest possible slot. She uses a list with dutiful checkmarks and notations. She skips aisles that aren’t relevant to said list. She uses her lack of height to her advantage to get to the front of a queue at the deli case. She puts each produce item in its own bag and hates knots being made in said bags. She does not, I repeat, NOT use the self-scan.
I park far away. I roam the store. I avoid the deli crowd and just eat peanut butter sandwiches. I do not bag my produce very much and I <3 self-scan as a former retail worker who is sure I know the best way to bag any item.
That day, I remember none of her grocery store faux paws (see what I did there?) and just the feeling of contentment. I began looking forward to a time when we would be shopping for *our* shared home. When I feel like throttling her with a tote bag after yet another ‘discussion’ about the right way to put meat in the buggy, I go back to the happy memory in my mind and just let her do it her way (until she turns her back.)
Fortunately, we did agree one one major issue – we both preferred Giant Eagle. Lots of reasons that you may or may not agree with, but the point is – we do agree.
I started in on the “let’s combine our cards” soon after we established a joint household. Somehow, it just never happened. Eventually, I lost both my card and my key ring version so I let her scan 99% of the time and get the gas points. As my anxiety about being in crowds grew over the years, she assumed more and more of the shopping duties.
Earlier this fall, I began using the Giant Eagle curbside express service to manage the majority of our grocery shopping. It saves time and gets the job done. Ledcat was pleased although the little old country woman in her has some skepticism about paying someone else to grocery shop. Even though I use the ultimate list, right?
Tonight, I placed my sixth order, taking advantage of the short-term discounted delivery fees (currently $5.95 for next day orders + a tip OF COURSE) which I suspect may be in place permanently. That’s when Ledcat realized I had racked up $1.20 in fuelperks since September, perks I cannot redeem because I LOST MY CARD.
We are also a one car household now. I still have the Cat Car but it needs some investment to be road ready. One card to fill one tank seems appropriate.
Suddenly, her interest in joint domestic partnership assets is piqued and she’s all about making my Advantage card merger dreams come true. We went to the front desk at the Waterfront store one evening and the staff person told us she did not have to power to bestow this union upon us. We had to call the 800 number.
We left, crushed. I was reading all sorts of universe sending us a message about our love into the situation, while Ledcat was still craving my points. She does not hide those things well.
Tonight, we made it official. We called the customer service line on speakerphone, provided our information and our cards were merged by Ashley. It isn’t a true merger so much as a connection of accounts. But my points are Ledcat’s points and that’s all she cares about. Ashley sent me a replacement card, too.
Now, here’s my inevitable gripe moment. Why on earth can you merge account information over the phone without any way to confirm your identity but you can’t merge at the store in person where an ID can be produced and reviewed? It seems ripe for identity theft. I mean, you’ve heard all those warnings about not letting people in line use your Advantage card discounts, right? (I always let them use mine, but Laura shoots daggers at them with her lawyer eyes and keeps her card firmly clutched in her hand.)
I asked Ashley and several other Giant Eagle customer service reps, but no one has an answer. Rather, they had a lot of different answers. It is a flaw, Giant Eagle. Someone could easily fake an identity to merge their card with anyone that they want and then scoop up their points (and profile information.) If the cards aren’t password protected, then changes to the card should require some form of ID or something.
Now, I do think it is useful to know that you can connect your card with someone else’s – if you do the shopping for your mum or great-aunt, that’s helpful.
So here we are. I’m waiting for our 10 AM delivery from Camp Horne. Ledcat is plotting how to use up all of the gas in the tank by Thursday morning when we have to drive to Mercer County so she can max that $1.20 discount. I’ll spend that discount at the Starbucks on the way, but what she doesn’t see transaction wise keeps her happy.
And that keeps me happy.
For those keeping score at home, I’m still a fan of Curbside Express delivery but there are some cracks in the program. The inability to use even the internal e-coupons offered by Giant Eagle is a problem. It just feels like a scam because we have the technology, right. My store was shifted from Southside to Camp Horne without any notification and when I asked about it, no one could really tell me either why it changed or why I wasn’t notified. Southside was great; Camp Horne is a little lackluster. No one calls me to chat. They don’t tell me about the items I requested that not available, leaving it to the delivery person to do that (unfair bad news delivery shifting.) And they don’t pack the bags as well as Southside.
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