• Big day now moves to Tuesdays for senior discounts
By Naomi Klouda
There may be some confusion in the switch from Thursday’s senior discounts at Safeway to Tuesdays, but the unusual tradition to help serve the retirement community will continue on in Homer.
The program of offering 10 percent off groceries for anyone 60 or older dates back more than 20 years in Homer. Store Manager Bob Malone said when he arrived in 1994, the discount was offered then. Most of the former Eagle stores that held the tradition continued under Safeway ownership, Malone said.
“It was originally set up for Tuesdays. Then, years later, some employees wanted to try a different day, and that’s when we switched to Thursday. We’ve more recently come to the conclusion we would like to go back to Tuesdays,” Malone said. “Other stores that are former Eagles do this, but there aren’t very many of them. It is a carry over from the older days in the retail business.”
No matter what day of the week it lands on, store traffic on senior discount day is heavy. Employee scheduling and adequately stocked shelves must be strategized around the day.
Though appreciative that Safeway offers the discount, local senior Cynthia Cox said one of the problems could be with sale items that come out in the Wednesday issue of the Homer Tribune. Will the sale items still be available six days later?
Malone said the store employees will do their best to make sure the shelves are stocked. This was the first week for the date change to go into effect.
“If they come in on Thursday, we’ll still give the discount. We’ll be low-key.
This is a big change for a lot of the folks,” Malone said.
Safeway turns into a social setting on senior discount days. The Homer Senior Citizen van pulls up with passengers ready to do their shopping. Homesteaders drive in from out of town. There’s a lot of visiting in the aisles.
“It’s a social time when people enjoy visiting each other in the store. There’s a lot of organizing around it for their days. Even our staff and employees get to know seniors and there’s a lot of sadness when one of them passes away,” Malone said.
“We talk to them all the time. It’s quite a diverse population of seniors who have done a lot of interesting things living here. It’s nice to be able to chat with them.”
Safeway Inc., is a Fortune 500 company and ranked as North America’s second largest supermarket chain after Kroger Co. with1,725 stores located throughout the western and central United States and western Canada. The company is headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif. Supermarket News ranked Safeway No. 4 in the 2011 “Top 75 North American Food Retailers” based on 2010 fiscal year estimated sales of $41 billion.
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