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Friday, June 08, 2007

Woolworths, Safeway, Liquor and Fuel - but not food

Miss Eagle has sent the following email to Liz in Victorian Regional Office of Safeway (the name used by Woolworths in Victoria). It is self-explanatory. If you, dear Reader, agree with Miss E, please feel free to write to Woolworths in your state. If you are writing in Victoria, please send to

This afternoon, I was in the Safeway store at Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully (not the Mountain Gate store). I was stunned to see an advertisement stating, that if customers purchased $60 of goods from Safeway Liquor, they would receive a 20c a litre discount on fuel.

I am amazed at the ethics of such a campaign. I have been told by Kerry in the Area 5 office that this was part of a national campaign organised by the Marketing Division of Woolworths.
The campaign has certainly not been well thought through. It sends very mixed messages to the community:

  1. Alcohol is more valuable than food because it attracts a larger discount on fuel at the bowser.
  2. $60 worth of alcohol far outweighs in value at the bowser any amount large or small spent on food.
  3. The campaign links alcohol to driving in an encouraging way - in more or less the same way that large car parks at suburban hotels encourage a drink and drive mentality.
  4. Woolworths, whose income is derived - in the main - from families, encourages a significant slice of the family budget to be devoted to alcohol.
  5. The campaign seeks to encourage a significant amount of spending on alcohol which is the root cause of violence and road deaths in our society and ties the name of Woolworths/Safeway to it.

I would ask you to immediately withdraw this marketing campaign from all Woolworths and Safeway stores and to refrain from any similar type of marketing in the future.
I also wish to complain about the way complaints are handled within Woolworths and Safeway.
I am told that the Woolworths system means that someone in the local regional office will email someone in Sydney but that the system does not allow for me to be cc'd. So I have no way of knowing the accuracy of material forwarded to the responsible person regarding my complaint. I have rung the corporate office in Sydney who referred me back to the local regional office. Sydney refused to give me the name of the person with responsibility for the campaign. I then asked for the title, the phone number and the email of the person responsible for the marketing campaign. This too was refused. There is clearly no way for the customer to be in direct contact with the person with corporate responsibility. I am told that the matter will take two business days and I am familiar with the time limit that Woolworths sets itself to respond.
I fear that the manner in which Woolworths deals with complaints means that the complaint will not be acted upon in a positive manner leading to the withdrawal of the campaign and that Woolworths will go on its merry way regardless.
Yours sincerely,

[Name supplied]
[address supplied]
Email: [supplied]
Phone: [supplied]
Blogs: Oz Tucker at
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We'll wait to see what - if anything - happens.