Should stores give credit/refunds for bad produce?

Certain kinds of fresh, raw plant foods can be bad without it being obvious until you cut into it. Examples would be citrus, melons, pomegranate, hard squash… and, as I’ve just been reminded and it prompted this thread: nuts.

I wanted to save money so instead of spending big for shelled pecans I went to a local store and bought more than two pounds of pecans in the shell. I had to buy tat much because it was already bagged up and marked.

So I’m sitting here cracking the pecans and what I’m discovering is that 3 out of 4 nuts are dissicated, leathery, and essentially inedible for anyone who isn’t starving. The fourth nut is still not high quality, but it’s “acceptable”.

I paid about $8 for this bag of nuts. I’ve lost all interest in continuing to shell them, considering the terrible quality.

But the only way anyone would know that the nuts were so bad would be to sit and crack a dozen of them.

So… in cases like this is it pays your money, takes your chances, or is it the vendor’s responsibility to sample enough product to be confident that it’s worth selling - and if it’s not, should the vendor reimburse or give credit?

The produce manager would probably appreciate knowing that the nuts are bad. Somebody isn’t rotating the stock or his supplier is selling him bad nuts. Either way, if you have the receipt, I think you should get your money back, or a store credit.

I’ve never worked with perishables, so I don’t know how they check for freshness. I don’t know if they take samples or if they rely on a date. Seems like it’d be more efficient to rely on the date.

Every grocery I’ve asked has refunded me under similar circumstances.

I am virtually certain that if you take back the remaining nuts to the store where you purchaced them (a reciept is not really necc. but if you have it, bring it along) the store manager will either offer you a refund, a store credit or a new bag of nuts, (and quite possibly a replacement bag AND a refund, which has happened to me in the past) with NO questions asked.

Grocery stores bend over backwards to refund/replace any food items that are questionable; I dont know if it is to avoid a lawsuit related to food poisoning, or simply trying to keep the customer happy, or maybe because so much food is wasted anyway that they are immune to worring about a bit more of it being given away, but for whatever reason, they WILL make it right…

PS—Of course when you go to return them, a good attitude on your part is going to go a long way.

Good Luck, Matthew

A few weeks ago, I opened a pack of pork chops that had 2 or 3 days until the sell by date, only to find that they smelled rancid, and on further inspection were greenish in some spots. My wife took them back to the store, and they happily exchanged them. Bring what you have left, plus a few of the opened ones that were bad to show them, and they should give you a refund.

Hey, what timing! I’m a produce manager for a decent sized grocery chain store - allow me to chime in with my 2¢.

Refund? Never, ever an issue in a good operation. Might be in a smaller individual store with much tighter cash flow. Heck, I want to know if something is bad that either I personally missed or one of my people missed. I can’t get my hands into everything in a day (though I try) and things like nuts are a bit of a wild card. No way to gauge freshness visually. Side note - most bulk nuts ar shipped in 25 - 50 lb. bags, so I’d definitely want to know if I got billed for [basically] an expensive bag of crap - we can submit a load short/quality issue credit request if the dollar amount is high enough.

Anyway - to answer the OP: I would be very surprised if anyone even batted an eye at your refund request (they shouldn’t - you didn’t get the quality product you paid for, IMO), and may even be glad to know there is an issue (as was mentioned above).

Of course, this quote is spot-on in any such dealings:

If you are treated like a jerk by the store, you certainly deserve to respond in kind, or just never return, but a pleasant attitude on the front side goes a long way, at least in my neck of the woods. I’m happy to help, and in your case would authorize a refund and also give you a free bag of shelled product. Why? Good customer service, first and foremost. Beyond that, we throw out hundreds of dollars a day in “shrink” (unsaleable perishable product) that is built into the cost structure of the products we sell. Why would I not make a customer happy for a mere eight bucks?

Here’s hoping your return goes smoothly.

It wasn’t as represented when you opened the product, so yes they do need to give you a refund.

I’ve worked in produce before and if you just bought it you would have gotten a refund or replacement. Had you kept them for a month, then you’re allowing them to go bad, so it’s not that you should expect a refund after that amount of time.

The one nut that I hate buying is a chestnut. You had better get them the first couple weeks or you can expect they are dried out or moldy.

Well, I bought them yesterday, so that’s not an issue.

Some nuts are built to last: I bought raw macadamias in the shell TWO YEARS ago. They were a bitch to open. I threw them in a glass canister and didn’t touch them all this time. Since I’m in a nutty mood, and I had just read online about a macadamia nut cracker, I remembered them and got them out to try some cracking techniques.

Well, the nuts inside are PERFECT. Creamy, firm, sweet and delicious. Better than they were when I first bought them, actually, I think the time allowed them to dry and season or something.

Of course, they are still a bitch to open. Which is why macs are so damn expensive. I was reading online it takes 300 pounds of pressure to crack them.

KRAMER: I want restitution.

JOE: Restitution? You want restitution? Why should I give you restitution?

KRAMER: Because it’s no good.

JOE: When you put that fruit out, that’s where it ends for me.

KRAMER: It’s still your fruit, you gotta stand behind your fruit.

JOE: I stand behind my fruit.


JOE: Hey, you got a bad peach? That’s an act of God. He makes the peaches. I don’t make the peaches, I sell the peaches. You have a problem? You talk to him.

KRAMER: You know this whole place is going vrrrrrrrrrrrrt, downhill. I could have come in here last week with a bad plum but I let it go.

JOE: Well let me put a solution for you: do your business elsewhere, I don’t want your business.

KRAMER: Oh now you don’t want my business.

JOE: No, I don’t want your business and from this moment you’re banned from the store, you’re banned!

KRAMER: But what am I gonna do for fruit?

Same here. My mother recently brought back 2-3 potatoes that were rotten at the bottom of the bag, and the produce manager insisted she take a whole 5 pound bag as replacement. And still apologized profusely.

Stores want to know about bad produce, so they can keep their customers happy. And they complain to the wholesaler about it, and much less politely than customers complain to them.

Of course. Any business worth its salt should stand by the products they sell.

While the store is obviously not at fault for the condition of the produce, giving a customer the shaft would be deadly for them. It is, and should be, part of the cost of doing business.

I’m pretty sure this was lurking int he recesses of my mind when I wrote the OP. :smiley: Amazing how pop culture seeps into our brains.

Oh good! [slight hijack] How do you get rid of fruit flies? I’ve never seen them in the produce section at my store, but it’s hard to believe they never have any, so I figure they must be doing something.

Sounds like you got the harvest of 2008, not 2009.

Now I want some pecans, I hope you’re happy.

Want some of the homemade pecan Danish I’m making? Lots of butter involved.

You are a terrible, terrible person to tempt me like that.

You know you want it… flaky, crisp, buttery, stuffed with pecans sweetened just enough but not too much…mmmmm…

You’re probably going to describe the cinnamon next. Dear Og, but I love cinnamon-pecan pastries.

Well, that’s a given, of course. Brown sugar, cinnamon, a smidge of nutmeg, butter, and pecans. IN an egg and butter yeast dough with butter folded and rolled in.

Looks like the OP has an answer by consensus, so I’ll take a stab at the dreaded fruit fly issue. I’m not a huge wiki fan, but the wikiHow here has more than one needs to know about trapping these pests. The article is sort of comical in a way (catch-and-release is one listed. Hah!) The singular most important point, mentioned at the very top of the article, involves sanitation. I’d be willing to bet most all stores get these flies from time to time, particularly in the summer when stone fruits (peaches, plums, etc.) are heavily featured. Once out of refrigeration, stone fruit is a fly magnet. They break down very rapidly and need to be handled constantly. All we can do is cull the section repeatedly, and try not to overload the displays. The current display standard is one-high in “eggshell” trays, then refill as needed. This seems to help keep the little pests at bay. Keeping things clean helps a lot. If they’re an issue at home, a few of those wiki ideas seem to make sense to me. They’re attracted to certain cues from spoiling fruit, and can be collected by using one of the traps listed. Sounds like your store does a decent job with sanitation - good for them (and you).