When the Best Intentions Backfire
Most of us are members of one supermarket loyalty scheme or another. The perks vary but our loyalty cards generally afford us a few rewards and the occasional discount. The supermarkets in Britain face stiff competition and so have chosen to employ a variety of tactics to ensure that they hold on their regular customers.
Perhaps the best example of the growing trend for rewards was Waitrose’s decision to offer their loyalty card holders a free coffee every time they visit a Waitrose store. This was certainly a good idea which is more than can be said for Sainsbury’s latest idea!
The loyalty cards provide a goldmine of useful data for the supermarkets. This enables them to analyse the shopping habits of anyone with a card. They are then able to tailor their marketing efforts to the individual tastes of each client. For instance, those who regularly buy cat food will receive the occasional discount voucher for moggie treats or similar. All of which makes a recent gaff by Sainsbury even more surprising.
Surprising Free Gifts
The supermarket giant decided to reward its loyalty card holders with some free Green and Black’s chocolate and very nice too! But the chocolate was sent out through the post rather than available for collection in store. The dog owners amongst you will already have spotted the fatal flaw in this plan!
Shortly after the chocolate bars were sent out, the supermarket was inundated with complaints from dog owners whose pooches had intercepted the parcels when they dropped through their letter boxes. With their impressive sense of smell, the dogs could sniff out the presence of a treat in an instant. Which would have been fine if chocolate wasn’t poisonous to dogs.
Several dogs were taken poorly and had to be rushed to their vets. Fairly small quantities of chocolate can induce theobromine poisoning and this can be fatal. The offending parcels contained three bars of dark chocolate! To make matters worse, the luxury chocolate from Green and Black’s is very high in cocoa and it is the cocoa which contains the theobromine. Dogs process theobromine very slowly which is why they so easily fall ill.
Sainsbury’s has apologised profusely for the disaster and is considering offering compensation to pet owners whose pooches have fallen ill as result of eating the chocolate. A spokeswoman for the company has explained that Sainsbury’s are aware that chocolate can poison dogs and had put measures in place to ensure that dog owners did not receive the promotional gifts. They are now investigating what went wrong.
But not all dog owners purchase their pets’ food at the supermarket so how could Sainsbury’s ever be sure whether or not a customer had a dog? Hopefully lessons will be learned and this type of incident will not happen again.