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Old 06-20-2009, 11:24 AM
1 posts, read 5,176 times
Reputation: 13


I sent HEB Corporate HQ a letter. Here it is. Let me know what y'all think.

Dear H-E-B staff: Since I live in San Antonio, I’m an H.E.B. customer. Years ago, I use to be a big fan. Now I stay away. I want to tell you why, because I know you miss me

I originally shopped at the Brookhollow H.E.B., then at the one at 281 and 1604, then at the old Albertson’s conversion store at Evans and 281. I loved that store. It was like my own neighborhood gold mine. The size and the ingress/egress traffic were easy to navigate. The variety of products and services was perfect. Every once in a while I had to go someplace else for a specific item, but that’s okay.

I knew that the new store at Evans and 281 would have traffic problems and would be bigger than I like. I went there yesterday, because I needed grape leaves, and the H.E.B. staff at 281 and 1604 told me that only the Evans store carries that item now.

So, I went. I had to walk around the store for a while before I located the groceries.

In the produce section I couldn’t find Jonagold, Braeburn, or Golden Delicious apples, but I settled for Jazz. Then I worked my way through the wine subdivision to get pasta, Hellman’s mayonnaise, and grape leaves.

The grocery section was packed with traffic. The pasta aisle was so crowded with shoppers and huge carts that I couldn’t get to the pasta. I got in line – it was like coupling up to a boxcar – and patiently waited for the train to move forward. I watched people as I waited. Everyone wore the same grim, clenched-jaw, “I’m trying to get through here just like you” expression.

Finally my side moved forward. I wanted to consider the pasta selection and choose a kind that suited my recipe. But the train wouldn’t stop. I ended up grabbing two small bags of elbow macaroni as I was swept past.

I rounded the corner to Salad Dressings, for the Hellman’s. This aisle was total gridlock. Some determined shoppers were going to find what they wanted and not be pressured into rushing away. I could see the Hellman’s but I couldn’t reach it. I finally left the aisle without it.

I searched for grape leaves. I picked up a phone to ask for help. A very busy person told me, “Aisle 13. If it’s not there, we’re having a reset and it’ll be in the store next week.” Click.

I looked around. There was a long aisle of laundry detergent, completely empty. Next was an acre of children’s party supplies, also empty. After that was an empty bookstore area, but the lighting seemed too dark for reading. Beyond that was TVs. As I started looking for the checkout stations I caught the whiff of rubber. A display of bicycles was making the whole place smell like Firestone.

This is not the grocery shopping experience for me. After almost 20 years of giving you my money, this is what I end up with? I’ll buy my groceries at places like Wal-mart, Costco, and Sun Harvest. With a side trip to Ali Baba’s on Wurzbach, for grape leaves.

Last edited by Bo; 06-20-2009 at 11:42 AM.. Reason: Removed unsupported font and size tags.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:46 AM
Bo Bo won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Tenth Edition (Apr-May 2014). 

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Location: Ohio
17,105 posts, read 36,553,850 times
Reputation: 14433
That Evans Rd. HEB Plus has the scale of the Vineyard HEB Plus and the styling of the Alon HEB. Neither of those stores seems well-designed to let cart traffic circulate at busy times.

If I lived near it, I'd do most of my grocery shopping at the Stone Oak Super Target. It has nice bright lighting and very linear aisles, without the offset splits and islands of non-grocery items that breakup the layouts at HEB.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:54 AM
905 posts, read 2,836,003 times
Reputation: 612
HEB needs to hear what we think of their new stores. I shop at the Alon store most of the time, but there are some things you have to shop elsewhere for. That irks me when I see rows of toys, towels, glassware, and other things that appear to be an attempt to capture the impulse shopper. They have a vitamin section that almost impossible to find what you are looking for, there is so much of it. The isles are big, which I like, but I don't like having to walk through miles of stuff you can find at any Walmart or Target to get to the groceries.

It's like you have to start on one side of the store and make the rounds in a specific direction. They have the milk/dairy/frozen on one side and the meat/cheese/seafood/vegies on the other side with the sundries, etc in the middle. If you start on the dairy side, your milk will be curdled and your ice cream melted by the time you hit the meat isle.

If I could change the Alon store, I'd move ALL the groceries to one side and all the rest to the other side. I sent HEB one of those customer service things, but never heard anything back.
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:25 PM
Location: San Antonio North
4,147 posts, read 7,743,155 times
Reputation: 1010
To be completely honest I'm not sure your letter will go very far for the reason you are complaining about. They have an abundant amount of people in their stores.

If you turned it into a letter with suggestion that might help. HEB is a corporation that test and uses focus groups to plan out their stores.
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:35 PM
363 posts, read 713,210 times
Reputation: 238
Talk about falling on deaf ears. It's like writing Microsoft to tell them you don't like the new Windows because of all the features. The things you don't like about that HEB are exactly what HEB wants, packed stores bringing in as much money as possible. To be perfectly honest, they won't bat an eye about losing your business for those reasons and you are completely justified taking your business elsewhere. There will always be someone to fill your fill your spot in line at that HEB. Sad but true...
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:04 PM
112 posts, read 540,296 times
Reputation: 95
I can sympathize with your frustration, although I, personally, am a huge fan of the HEB on Evans and 281. I'm an adventurous chef, so some of the items I look for are a bit difficult to locate. But all of the employees at the store go way out of their way to help me find things. It's also true that I resent having to walk clear across the store to get to the dairy section!

As for your letter, it's great to let the corporation know of your experience. However, I've found that by making positive suggestions, in light of your bad experiences, you may possibly get a more favorable response. Just psychology...
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:33 PM
Location: That's pretty obvious
1,035 posts, read 2,251,682 times
Reputation: 951
I'm not crazy about the Evans Road H-E-B at all, mainly because of their lighting. It's so dark in there and whatever lights they do have on give me a headache. It's also too big, the produce is still yucky as it was in the old store across 281 and the staff is a bit rude. Went to get sliced cheese and the guy washes the slicer, cuts my cheese, hands me the bag and there's an inch of water in the bottom of it!! When I complained, he didn't apologize or try to rectify the floating cheese debacle. Just grabs it out of my hand and stomps away.

Having said that...I enjoy the H-E-B at Blanco / 1604. Nearly always have a pleasant experience inside the store. Only problem are the customers whizzing around the parking lot, nearly plowing down my kids as we make the highly dangerous trip from door to car. But, I luv, luv, luv the reserved parking spots for parents with young kids!!

As for your letter...if it made you feel better, great. But, also doubt you'll succeed in moving any mountains at H-E-B headquarters. Still find it odd they are the ONLY grocer in SA, but am pleased about how much they contribute to the community. Makes me feel a little bit better about shopping there. Now Wal-Mart on the other hand....double yuck!
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:01 PM
Location: Stone Oak
487 posts, read 1,069,625 times
Reputation: 331
I could walk to the Evans Rd. HEB and go to the Walmart ALL the time instead.
I'm a very busy person. I find it insulting that HEB thinks I have nothing better to do with my time than spend hours searching their store looking for my groceries. And the smell of tires on my way to the check out was the last straw. Y'all enjoy yourself over there!
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:07 PM
1,440 posts, read 1,107,209 times
Reputation: 1263
My only complaint about the Evans store is the pathetically small (especially in relation to the size of the store) selection of beer.
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:15 PM
175 posts, read 286,061 times
Reputation: 97
HEB has a stranglehold on San Antonio's grocery market. Although generally I think they've done a great job bringing fresh, healthy foods to south Texas, I really question some of their business practices.

That said, while I think it's great to express our concerns and grievances with the companies that serve us, realistically, I don't think much can come out of it, especially when dealing with a near monopoly like HEB. Why should they change? They control nearly seventy percent of the grocery market in this city, so have little reason to change anything, including the layout and design of their stores.
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