Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sign out

A little war has broken out between Safeway and those signature gatherers who hang around store entrances trying to get customers to sign initiative petitions.

The latest confrontation occurred Thursday afternoon when, after getting seven customer complaints in one hour, the manager of the chain's Dublin store called in security on three gatherers trying to qualify a repeal of the "Amazon tax" for the November ballot.

Signature gatherers, who are paid anywhere from $1 to $5 per name, are used by all sides of the political spectrum to qualify initiatives.

Susan Houghton, director of public and government affairs for Safeway, said the gatherers can be overly aggressive, at times blocking entrances.

In the last year, Safeway has obtained six injunctions against the gatherers and threatened 30 lawsuits.

The signature gatherers, mostly independent contractors who work for about a dozen big firms, reacted to Safeway's statewide shoo-away with a demonstration at its corporate headquarters in Pleasanton.

"They may not like what we do or where we do it, but we still have a right to free speech," said gatherer Rick Fenton.

Read more:

Blogmaster's note: I used to go to the local Safeways several times a week. Now I go weeks without stepping into one of the local stores. Constantly being hassled for money or a signature outside the store, longer waits in checkout due to the deteriorating quality of Safeway employees, and constantly being asked for a donation while in the checkout line has gotten tiresome. I'm finding myself in Fresh and Easy, Trader Joe's, and the Manor Farmers Market more and more these days.

Posted by Steve Sinai


Anonymous said...

I have also reduced my visits to Linda Mar Safeway - the parking lot is a hassle to maneuver, people asking for change, young people hanging out there, skateboarders.... PLUS the incessant requests for donations from Safeway that I loathe. We have plenty of alternatives, such as those that Steve mentioned as well as Sun Valley Markets.

Anonymous said...

The request for donations EVERY TIME I shop at Safeway has led me to mostly shop at Fresh and Easy and Trader Joe's. I only shop in Safeway if I really need something only they carry. And their supposed price discounts are a lie. Their low prices are higher than other markets.

Anonymous said...

I think it's smart to spread your shopping dollars around. Helps keep our options open. Safeway is just one of several good choices but those constant appeals for donations are really annoying.

Anonymous said...

Love Fresh and Easy and the Manor Farmer's Market.

Anonymous said...

The donation hustle that really annoyed me was the one where the manager was in a cage and you were supposed to donate to get him out. The checkers all begged you to help them, then when anyone made a donation larger than a few cents there was all this shouting and noisemakers and so on. People didn't even know what they were donating to or if the charity actually used the money to support programs or what percentage they took off the top for administration. And you didn't get to claim it on your tax return. Instead, Safeway got all the credit for hustling you out of YOUR money. It's a scam that uses social pressure to take more money from you than they're already overcharging you for. I go there if I have to buy groceries, not to be pressured to participate in a fundraising racket.