Grocery cards dropped
Scolari’s grocery stores have discontinued their customer “club” cards.
Signs announcing the change have appeared in stores and on the chain’s website, but no explanation was given for it. Corporate officials could not be reached for comment.
The corporation has 10 stores in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Gardnerville, Fernley, Yerington and Tonopah. It also operates Sak’n Save stores. A Sak’n Save in Carson City closed last year.
It acquired Warehouse Markets in 1982 and changed the name to Scolari’s Warehouse Markets in 1987.
On Yelp.com this month a reader posted a message about the discontinuation of the Scolari’s card and also said the chain’s “Friendship Fund” has ended along with the card.
“This was a long standing program where basically they donated 1 percent of total receipts to the nonprofit of your choice, using the spending data from the club card,” the reader wrote. “I’m shocked they stopped this. I knew some people who would shop there solely for this reason. Plus it got them good coverage out of local organizations encouraging supporters to shop there. This will be yet another blow to local organizations as while I doubt they were getting much funding from this source as few people shop Scolari’s, every little bit helps.”
A message posted on the Scolari’s website reads, “Scolari’s Food & Drug Company will be reviewing our Friendship Fund program starting May 15, 2011. As of that date the Friendship Fund activity will be suspended and shopping dollars will not be allocated to your organization. All dollars accrued prior to May 15, 2011, will be paid to your organization. This change will include Sak’n Save, and we will not accept receipts received after May 15, 2011. At this time, we feel it is necessary to reevaluate the structure of the Friendship Fund as it currently operates.”
Another reader at Yelp posted a message reading, “That’s funny, I had a club card and didn’t even know about the Friendship Fund.”
At least one chain operating in Reno, Raley’s, has never had a card program and at times advertised its lack of one.
Grocery cards are a controversial subject among consumer advocates. Companies call them discount cards, though many studies have shown stores without cards have lower prices. Attorneys general in a number of states have ongoing probes of grocery cards over issues of privacy and misleading claims of discounts.
An organization called CASPIAN—Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering— has operated since 1999 to oppose grocery cards. Its website is wwww.nocards.org. A group affiliated with CASPIAN that opposes spychips or RFID— radio frequency identification—monitoring chips used by merchants has a website at www.spychips.com.