Is an Elk Grove Grocer Engaged in Deceptive Advertising?

January 9, 2016 | Sooner or later it had to happen, and the Island Pacific grocery store in Elk Grove has Jumped the Shark , so ...



January 9, 2016 |

Sooner or later it had to happen, and the Island Pacific grocery store in Elk Grove has Jumped the Shark, so to speak. The Filipino-themed grocery store has lowered itself to the lowest common denominator and has taken the route of its main competitor, Seafood City.

As a regular recipient of their weekly email highlighting their specials of the week, we were lured in for their egg special - $4 for two dozen mediums. In today's market, this is an exceptional price.

After finding the egg display, there were no medium eggs on display, so we asked Vangie the cashier for clarification. Vangie insisted that the weekly specials start and end on Thursday! 

Huh?

In all those years of grocery shopping, we never heard of a grocery store with a flyer that offered specials for one day without saying so. Either Vangie was lying or just didn't care.

Being persistent, we insisted on talking to a store manager or supervisor on duty. Again Vangie seemed to be lying and feigned ignorance. We then took it to another cashier who passed the buck to some guy sitting in the cafe having breakfast. This guy then directed us to Julius, who said he was the grocery manager.

Visiting the egg display, Julius, who was at least honest, said they ran out. Fine, it happens, so we asked for a rain check. Julius gave us a tilted-head look indicating he had no idea what a rain check was. 

We then asked Julius if he could offer a similar item and after telling him their business practices constitute deceptive advertising and are illegal, he finally agreed to offer a substitute item.

From the Federal Trade Commissions website "According to the FTC's Retail Food Store Rule, grocers must offer rainchecks or product substitutes of comparable value when they run out of advertised items. They also can comply by ordering quantities of the item sufficient to meet reasonably anticipated demand or by disclosing in ads that items are available only in limited quantities or only at some stores."

Clearly, the management at Island Pacific needs to be made aware of their seemingly illegal practices, train their employees and comply with the law.  

After gathering some other items before leaving - which is, after all, the point of offering loss leaders like the $2 eggs - we headed to the cashier. Vangie, the cashier who was our initial contact person, seemed to be put-off. Not only was she put-off, but she was just plain rude. 

Yes, Island Pacific is indeed becoming just another Seafood City.




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