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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Winco Foods: Hazardous to Your Children

Ironically enough, it was my son who convinced me to shop at WinCo in the first place. He knew I hated crowds and big parking lots but showed me that prices were lower than the Safeway I usually went to. Now, with hindsight, I think it's better to spend a little more and retain one's dignity and sense of what is right.

An open letter to Winco Foods CEO Steven L. Goddard...

Steven L. Goddard
CEO, Winco Foods LLC
650 N. Armstrong Pl.
Boise ID 83705-0456

Re: Incident #0079833

Dear Mr. Goddard:

I have been a Winco/Cub Foods customer for many years as I enjoyed the prices, selection and what I have apparently in error considered to be friendly, courteous staff despite the somewhat cumbersome nature of shopping at such a large facility. However, a troubling incident involving my son and a security employee and events afterward have disabused me of that perception.

It was with no small degree of astonishment yesterday that I received a letter from your security department. I say astonishment because I personally find it shocking that your employee, a person apparently much larger than my son, saw fit to assault him in order to retrieve $4.53 worth of candy and in the process caused injuries that necessitated transport to the emergency room and medical bills no doubt adding up to thousands of dollars.

While I do not condone my son's actions, he is legally still a child, while one assumes that your employee is an adult and presumably trained to defuse rather than escalate such situations. Perhaps it is Winco policy to consider any action justified, despite how completely irrational, illogical, overzealous and harmful that action might be to others. Your employees are perhaps not fully informed of all the Washington statues, particularly RCW 9A.36.011, which states in part:

Assault in the first degree.

(1)A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm:
(c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
(2) Assault in the first degree is a class A felony.

Problematic as it seems that your employees feel justified in sending a 130-pound boy to the emergency room, even more so is the obvious scurrying by store management and security personnel to disguise the nature of the event. Particularly galling is the fact that in the letter I received from your headquarters in Boise you demand not only payment for the candy, which my son neither consumed nor left the premises with, but also an additional charge of $150.

To quite literally add insult to injury, when I visited the store on 13 September to request a copy of the security report of the incident, the store manager rather mendaciously stated that no such report had been filed. Since your letter to me cites a number for a report obviously it does exist. I then asked to view whatever video had been captured of the event and was again told that no such video existed. Conversations with local police in the meantime have put the lie to that statement as well.

In summary, I would like a copy of the report that was filed and the contact information for your liability insurance carrier. As for the charge of $154.53, you are welcome to deduct that from the payment you make to me to cover my son's torn clothing, ambulance, emergency, hospital admission and ongoing treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. I have not ruled out the possibility of a civil remedy and until I am satisfied by your efforts to redress this situation I will not hesitate to use whatever means necessary to make others aware of the inherent danger and hazard that Winco poses to children. As I am fully conversant in Web 2.0 networking technologies, this will be a simple thing to accomplish.

Until yesterday I spent in any given month several hundred dollars at Winco. In the future I am happy to instead spend those dollars with retailers such as Safeway, Grocery Outlet, Fred Meyer, Gateway Produce and the like.

Very truly yours,


  1. Hello, I may be able to assist you on any matters you have with the company. I was an employee for WinCo for 10 years. The last 3 as an assistant store manager. I feel for your son. I hope he is able to make a full recovery from his injuries. I also hope he fully understands the behavior he chose to engage in was wrong, and that this particular choice was what gave birth to the opportunity for his injuries.
    I am fully aware of the culture in the loss prevention department at WinCo foods. Quite frankly it scares me. These people are gung-ho, under trained and more than willing to escalate a situation if they feel they have an advanatge. What happened to your son happens all too often with WinCo's loss prevention personal throughout the company. Again I feel for you and your son. Please email me if you want to discuss anything further.
    Please try to keep this as confidential as possible. Thanks

    1. Please anonymous,
      I am Hedwig. I tried to email you, but I fear 1 of 2 things, one you didn't recognize my email and marked it spam, not opening it just deleting it, or two your email no longer is in use. But if you could just take five minutes to hear me out my email: would be so very thankful!

    2. Winco Loss prevention does not escalate these incidents, but if they are assaulted they will take measure to stop the assault and use the least amount of force needed to detain the subject. They are not under trained as many have a background in-law enforcement and still go through regular training from the company through the year. They have the same right to detain anyone of any size as you do to detain anyone stealing from your own home. I'm sure video and a file exist but you need a subpoena to see it as this is the policy. My advise is pay the restitution and consider it a life lesson for tour son.

  2. Wow, these people sounds like real dooch bags. Hope they pay thru the nose!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. To my most recent anonymous commenter (the 2 year veteran of those Winco trenches):

    No, I'm not going to publish your post because you felt free to criticize me yet lacked the testicular fortitude to leave a name. However, I found it interesting that you portray yourself in such a saintly, sacrificial manner. Your GI Joe/cop fantasy was oozing out of every word. Imagine how difficult it must be for you to go to work every day, never knowing whether you would survive to go home to your wife (who no doubt has all damn day to parent your children). You know, if you want to be a cop, why not be a cop? You'd make a hell of a lot more than you do selflessly toiling and risking life and limb for Winco. Oh probably can't pass the physical.

    You know, I was a cab driver some years ago. One night I was robbed by someone who claimed to have a gun. I was not about to call him on it. I simply handed him the cash I'd been working for all night and chose not to risk injury by arguing with him about it. The fact that the Winco employee in question was felt justified in slamming to the ground a kid half his size for a lousy $4.53 worth of candy reflects extremely poor judgment as well as a propensity to overreact.

    Your omniscience in assuming anything regarding my parenting is quite astounding. You seem to have missed the bit where I said that I did not condone his actions.

    But thanks for reminding me of something I meant to do but haven't yet: fill out those forms from our insurance company asking how this assault occurred and who committed it. I'll have to get on that so they can pursue reimbursement.


  6. Well Sue Happy People!; Maybe it is because Winco is owned by it's employees? and they have a personal stake in Lot's and Lot's of Punks Robbing them everyday!! It is natural to get Callous when you have hundreds of welfare trash 17 yr olds stealing from you every month!

    1. Ben Miller you are a real a hole. Judge and jury now are we?? You know that good kids make mistakes? there is no human that runs before he walks. There is no comparison between the woman who started this blog and her boy- and the welfare trash you speak of. i feel fully sorry for you and yours. You must be a pleasure to live with. I expect that, considering your ignorant comments, that you do not understand that humans make mistakes and that is how we trial and error. Good kids screw up and then they learn. there is no reason for loss prevention to try to kill them in the meantime......i hope winco has to pay big until their employee owners get a clue and stop BREAKING the f***ing LAW! and assulting people! it is bullshit. those people are not cops and they are the only ones that are supposed to hurt folks and get away with it!!

  7. All your doing is complaining and notching about it, if you don't want other people's opinions than don't post about it for everyone to see, yes your son is an idiot and so are you...

  8. This is happening far to often at WINCO!

    I think the woman should file suit so that the rest of the people out there can decide for themselves weather or not WINCO deserves their business! I don' ever hear of WAL Mart, Safeway, Albertsons, QFC, Grocery Outlet or any other stores doing these kinds of things.
    Shame on them!
    I am considering weather I ever want to set foot in WINCO ever again!!!!!!!!!