Welcome to the first installment of the Save More Money series on M&P. You will receive insider access on tips and tricks that allow you to save money anywhere and everywhere you go. We have no doubt about your interest in retail and grocery giants such as Walmart, but we are excited to also feature some lesser known businesses beginning with the one below.
Featured merchant : H-E-B. grocery stores
A coworker of mine recently revealed a little trick that can get you some free goodies at one of biggest grocery chains in Texas. Specifically, she told me about the H.E.B Freshness Guarantee that says if an expired perishable item is found on their shelves, you get the item for free. No other purchases have to made. At first it sounded too good to be true...so I decided to make some inquiries.
I combed through a bunch of websites that mentioned this so-called guarantee and none of them actually had it posted. Instead, they would only theorize about it or talk about a friend who read it once like it was some sort of legend. I decided to get it straight from the horse’s mouth once and for all and shot H.E.B. an email. I asked if they could give me any information because I had been a loyal customer for years and was unaware of this guarantee I kept hearing about.
from: Customer,Relations <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to: "XXXXXXXX@gmail.com" <XXXXXXXX@gmail.com>
date: Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 3:38 PM
subject: Response from HEB Customer Relations
Dear Mr. XXXXXXX:
Hello and thank you for contacting us at our H-E-B Web Site. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your feedback with us.
Thank you for sharing your concerns about out of date products on the shelves. We have a strong commitment and responsibility to ensure H-E-B sells only the freshest product. We have reinstated the Freshness Guarantee which states the following: “We guarantee the freshness of all products in our store. If you find a product, during your normal shopping trip, with a sell date earlier than today, we will gladly exchange it for a free FRESH replacement item (not redeemable for cash). Limit one free item on any like UPC. On bulk items normally sold by the pound you will receive one pound free.”
H-E-B is proud to serve you as our Customer and we will look forward to all future opportunities we may have to serve you. We genuinely value your comments and your business. As we strive to deliver superior Customer Service, we encourage you to continue letting us know how we can serve you better.
Senior Customer Relations Specialist
They are serious about freshness and customer service
In a nutshell, they advised me that if you find any one perishable item that is expired you can get one like item with the same UPC for free. You can do this for as many one perishable items you can find and leave with a basket full of food that did not cost you a penny.
The meat of the potatoes
Although H-E-B is known for their vast selections (particularly its produce department) and wonderful service, one can perceivably acquire food freebies at a store that has fallen on lackadaisical management standards. It is an actual corporate policy so management will be aware of it even if the cashier is not. It is very possible for people who are successful to become the bane of the management’s existence, so do not expect much help when you come through the doors. It is also important to note that if even one person manages to get thousands of dollars worth of free food a year, the store will have to make the loss up by raising prices on everyone else or cutting employee hours. It might be prudent to use this policy for only a few freebies per shopping trip.
The H-E-B near my home is very diligent and I have not been able to find any expired items during the few times that I have made a point to check. I have found expired items at other H-E-B stores though. If one were to travel around, you could possibly find one or two stores that do not make removing expired items a priority.
Disclaimer: We at M&P are not chumps who actively discourage anyone from getting free food and will gladly bow down to any person who is able to get bags of free crap using this policy.