Coinstar At Safeway: Get It Right Please

Traffic's Blur// like Safeway Supermarkets. The newer ones are nicely laid out and have good, high quality and often healthy foods, which at this point in my life I have to adopt and change my lifestyle to.

Safeway also has a good customer loyalty program where you can get discounts on certain items after you wave your card through the scanner at checkout.

Today however, I am writing about my negative experience redeeming my Coinstar vouchers after pouring more than $120 of loose change into the Coinstar kiosk. The green kiosks have a coin counting machine that takes your coins and turns them into a cash voucher, gift card or to option them out to a charity.

I decided on the cash voucher. Ran several bags and a bottle of coins through the machine and got three cash vouchers. The vouchers are redeemable for cash at the check-out counter. So here it what happened.

I first went to the express checkout line. The clerk was just about ready to redeem my first voucher until I showed him the 2nd and 3rd ones. Upon showing him those he told me to wait in the regular check-out line.

So I did. Waited patiently in the check-out line for my turn to redeem the vouchers. When I got to the head of the line, the clerk at the check-out stand told me to go to the customer service desk.

So I did just that. Went to the customer service desk and when I presented my vouchers, I was told by the customer service clerk that I had to wait in the check-out line. I was flustered upon hearing this.

I told the clerk that I did not want to be treated like a ping-pong ball. The last check-out line clerk told me to go to the customer service desk and when I got there customer service told me to go to the check-out line? What’s up with that?

Needless to say I vented a bit at the customer service clerk who called out another clerk, who in the end apologized for the mix up and gave me the cash that the vouchers said I was entitled to. I went away feeling better after that clerk apologized and I thanked her and said “have a nice day”.

What this Safeway Store (at 1234 South Beretania St.) needs to do is post a sign or something at the Coinstar Kiosk instructing customers where to go in their store for the redemption of vouchers and gift cards. They should instruct their clerks on who is responsible to take the redemption. It would cause less frustration among all.

Photo: Night shot of the Beretania Safeway. Text and photos by Melvin Ah Ching.


Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.