Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How your neighborhood ShopRite can be a big pain in the neck

On Monday, I had the gall to return one of the two boxes of Moroccan Clementines I bought on sale at ShopRite in Paramus, above, but the store responded with a Catch-22.

Editor's note: The shopping experience and return policies at ShopRite and Costco Wholesale couldn't be more different. Today, I discuss trying to return fruit without a receipt to the Paramus ShopRite, and the generous cash rebates at my Hackensack warehouse store.


I returned a box of discolored and misshapen clementines to ShopRite in Paramus, but because I didn't have a receipt I received a store credit, not a refund.

On Monday, the customer service employee scanned my PricePlus store card and confirmed that, on Feb. 27, I had purchased two 5-pound boxes of Roxy Clementines from Morocco on sale for $3.99 each.

But I was told that without a receipt, I could only receive a store credit of $3.99 on a slip of paper.

Not only that, but if I couldn't find an item for the exact amount of the credit, I wouldn't get any change.

I looked and looked and finally found 1.5-quart packages of Friendly's Ice Cream on sale for $1.99 each or two for $3.98.

Would you believe the cashier actually had to call over a supervisor to approve giving me back the penny? 

I returned these sorry looking clementines to ShopRite in Paramus, 224 Route 4 east, below.
The Paramus ShopRite is on the way home from my gym and closer to me than the ShopRite on South River Street in Hackensack.

Costco's cash rebates

As an executive member of Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, I don't need a receipt to return an item.

In addition, shopping with the True Earnings credit card from Costco and American Express returns cash rebates at the warehouse store, as well as at restaurants (2% back), gas stations (3% to 4% back) and other businesses (1% back).

I have two True Earnings cards, one personal and one business.

Last month, I received American Express rebate checks totaling about $330 -- three times the annual cost of the Costco executive membership ($110).

I also will be receiving a rebate check from Costco equal to 2% of what I spent in the past year.

Now, Costco Wholesale has announced that it is ending its exclusive relationship with American
Express and, beginning in April 2016, will be partnering with Citigroup and Visa.

It remains to be seen whether the Visa credit card will offer cash rewards of up to 4% outside Costco, as the American Express card does. 

Another American Express card, Blue Cash Everyday, returns a 3% cash rebate on groceries at ShopRite and other supermarkets, but not on food purchased at warehouse stores.

On Monday afternoon, I picked up a prescription at the Costco Wholesale pharmacy in Hackensack, and did some food shopping -- organic bananas (3 pounds for $1.99); fresh wild Atlantic cod fillets ($7.99 a pound), Anjou Pears and Kashi Bars. But the cashier didn't have enough money to cover the $171 in change from my rebate check, and I had to wait about 10 minutes for a supervisor to deliver $200 to her. A woman behind me also had a big rebate check, and was told to get in another check-out line.

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