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Monday, August 11, 2008

Cheese: The Totally Other Food Group. Apparently. Maybe From Space!

posted by on August 11 at 16:20 PM

I was grocery shopping at the Ballard Fred Meyer with a dear friend. (I don’t grocery shop personally; I just swoop down upon the screaming villagers.) And this friend? Well let’s get all in the open: she uses coupons. Coupons! By the fistful. She does it without blushing or regret, and I say God fucking bless her. The strength to use coupons is a courage I shall never possess.

Now, let us not quibble over facts: Cheese is a dairy product. Unless I have been grossly misinformed, it is pretty much THE dairy product. If we were playing Pictionary and the phrase was “dairy”, I’d draw a big triangular fucking piece of cheese (with some nice Swiss holes in it) and you’d scream “DAIRY!” and we’d win. That cheese is a dairy product and nothing else is the single universal governing principle upon which the entire universe revolves. Wee bitty children understand this. All else is madness.

But just you try telling that to Fred Meyer.

So my good friend had a coupon for, you guessed it, one dairy product. Simple! “Redeemable for one dairy purchase, retail value of $3” it said, and so she produced it to the checkout woman along with a perfectly reasonable package of cheese. Medium Cheddar, in lovely unwrapped slices, retail value $3.99. And the check-er-outer lady looked at it a while and said (without the slightest trace of irony),

“I don’t think cheese is a dairy product.”

Oh. Um. Well. Yes. Um. WHAT?

“No, they don’t consider cheese a dairy product.”

They? WHO precisely is this “they” that don’t “consider cheese a dairy product”!?

“Fred Meyer Corporation.”

Oh. Of course. Fred Meyer Corporation. Indeed. Who else?

You’re fucking joking, yes?


And so my friend paid $3.99 for her cheese, and saved the coupon for another day and a real dairy product. Like light bulbs, or deodorant.

Cheese is not dairy! Fred Meyer has spoken!


RSS icon Comments


I love you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 11, 2008 4:31 PM

a rare moment when talking to the manager might be appropriate...and so on...until you get to the brain child of the organization...and they admit...yes, cheese is indeed a dairy three buck.

Posted by uhmmm | August 11, 2008 4:34 PM

You should have used your iphone to show them that their main corporate office mentions cheese on the dairy page:

Posted by stinkbug | August 11, 2008 4:37 PM

So what DO they consider it?

Posted by levide | August 11, 2008 4:37 PM

Yeah, that kind of thing happens to me from time to time. Though, if you want to see some people who have elevated these sorts of interactions to an art, you should move to the UK. Turns out Monty Python is only comedy to the rest of the world; in Wales, it's a fucking documentary.

Posted by Judah | August 11, 2008 4:40 PM

Cheese, being from outer space (specifically Earth's moon) is mineral.

Posted by damnqueerfuck | August 11, 2008 4:41 PM

Cheese comes from the Office of the Vice President of the United States of America, which is its own non-reviewable branch of the Government.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | August 11, 2008 4:42 PM

Also, your friend should have paid for the cheese with a $2 bill, a susan b anthony, and a sacagawea.

Posted by stinkbug | August 11, 2008 4:43 PM

Fred Meyer seems to be a great place to collect amusing anecdotes. On a recent trip to FM to purchase some food for a work party, our checker told us about a woman who had recently gone through her line with a huge amount of deli platters, etc. When the checker asked her if she was hosting a party, the woman replied that she owned a small construction company and recently discovered that ALL of their employees had been stealing from the company. So, to address the situation, she threw a big party with all the trimmin's for the employees, at the end of which they announced their findings about the widespread theft, fired everyone and had U.S. Marshalls who were sequestered elsewhere come in and escort everyone out of the building. I have to say, I like this woman's style.

Posted by maudeq | August 11, 2008 4:53 PM

We call those "Fred Meyer Moments".

Posted by Fnarf | August 11, 2008 4:56 PM

Yes, yes. But does your friend pronounce it q-pon or the correct way, as in the French verb to cut, couper? Coo-pon. I want to stab people who say q-pon with scissors. Ick.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | August 11, 2008 5:03 PM

I think this may the evil of Kroeger at work. Have you ever noticed how the people that work at Fred Meyer are eternally unhappy? Kroeger must be a serious bastard of an employer to motivate employees to use such bull shit passive aggressive tactics with customers.

Or, alternatively, that checker is seriously low on the IQ scale.

Posted by Westside forever | August 11, 2008 5:03 PM

I don't know how many times I've tried to use the coupons at Fred Meyer only to be told it's the wrong frozen turkey or cereal (e.g. Post Wheaties Bite-Size Mini Crunchies with Extra Chocolate in the 8.5 oz size is not the same as Post Wheaties Bite-Size Mini Crunchies with Choco Bombs in the 9.5 oz size. Even if the packages look the same.

Remember, ketchup is a vegetable.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 11, 2008 5:06 PM

Grits ain't groceries? And Mona Lisa was a man?

Posted by pox | August 11, 2008 5:07 PM

Fuck off, Poe! Adrian is mine!


Posted by Soupytwist | August 11, 2008 5:17 PM

My first grade teacher tried to convince me that Ice Cream isn't a dairy product. Ice CREAM!

And my wife tries to convince me that our kids would be better off in the public schools in Arizona.

Posted by Mike of Renton | August 11, 2008 5:21 PM

Fnarf@10: My recent "FMM": Witnessing a large, bearded fellow in sweatpants and skintight t-shirt, biding his time near the Information/Lotto/Tobacco desk (Note: Not actually in the que, just hanging around NEXT to it), intensely engaged in a noisy and indiscreet fingernail-clipping session.

Posted by laterite | August 11, 2008 5:23 PM

Quick! Someone tell the vegans!

Posted by Jane Eisenkopf | August 11, 2008 5:25 PM

Sounds like the check-er-outer lady is just an idiot and tried to blame her mistake on "Fred Meyer Corporation" so she sounds less like an idiot.

Posted by N | August 11, 2008 5:29 PM


Posted by Ben Popken | August 11, 2008 5:32 PM

What's really important here is that we're all pronouncing the store's name correctly. It's Fred [space] Meyer (like Oscar Mayer, or Baskin Robbins, or other good things that are often pronounced correctly), with no emphasis on either word. FREDmeyer, with an emphasis on Fred and Meyer spoken as the second half of one word, is unacceptable. We also won't be accepting the dreaded "Fred Meyer's".

Also, stop adding as possessive "s" to Spud Fish and Chips.

Posted by Dougsf | August 11, 2008 5:55 PM

@17: typical. I've been followed around the store by obvious (and inept) transvestites, stuck behind Expired Coupon Lady, had clerks walk away in the middle of ringing me up, never to return, witnessed screaming rage when the dairy coupon is denied for a widescreen TV set, been asked about UFOs, watched old people piss themselves, middle-aged ladies drop shoplifted items out of their pants leg, and on and on and on. Every day, it's something.

Posted by Fnarf | August 11, 2008 6:03 PM

I've given Fred Meyer several more chances than it deserves not to offend and vex me with their chain reaction idiocy. I loathe that place and go to all sorts of lengths to avoid shopping there. I wish it would be destroyed in a fire.

Posted by elenchos | August 11, 2008 6:19 PM

Not all FM employees are bitter and unhappy--what about the super nice older Indian-American gentleman at the Ballard store?

I like to call it "the Fred," btw, and I will not be dissuaded from doing so.

Posted by leek | August 11, 2008 7:21 PM

It's possible that the coupon meant dairy product as in a product from the dairy department and the cheese she chose came from the deli department.

@13 Having worked as a grocery store cashier, I can tell you that the scanner knows the difference, even if you don't.

Posted by patrick | August 11, 2008 8:31 PM

I think this is a crock of horse hockey. Fred Meyer coupons are very specific about the products they're good for. And I've never seen a manufacturer's coupon for "any dairy product." Scan the coupon for us to see.

Posted by smells like a fish tale | August 11, 2008 9:19 PM

C'mon, have you ever actually TRIED Kroger brand "cheese"? There's probably not enough real dairy in it to made an LI do more than itch a little bit.

And Ican assure you, if Rose were still alive, something like this would NEVER have happened.

Posted by COMTE | August 11, 2008 9:32 PM


Ice cream. Children's ice cream.

Posted by Jack Ripper | August 11, 2008 9:49 PM

The Ballard Fred Meyer always reminds me of the Almost Live! Ballard Driving Academy sketch.

I can't tell you how many times I've either been stuck in between two giant carts pushed by clueless middle aged women or flat-out pinned to a freezer case by them. I never leave there without muttering "I'm never coming back!" Ah, but it's my closest WaMu.

It's all about the Ballard Safeway. That guy Roger is the shit.

Posted by CM | August 11, 2008 11:20 PM

Urban faggish snobery at its best!! You take your ass off Capitol Hill and you think you are entitled to CHEESE??? Get back on your spaceship and tell Bowie to go fuck himself.

Posted by Mother of Christ........ | August 12, 2008 2:47 AM

I think that's the best comment I've ever read. It's got everything.

Also, @21 that is something I hate so very much. I bartend and I can't stand it when people ask for "Stolis" or "Captains". "Stolis and tonic" "Captains and Coke". Neither one of those end in an s.

Posted by PdxRitchie | August 12, 2008 4:02 AM

Bingo #25.
The scanner told the checker it was a DELI department item, not a DAIRY department item. The same thing would have happened if it had been sliced ham as opposed to a chunk of pot roast. Deli vs. Meat department, meat coupon won't work for deli meats.
Also you can get caught with this one when you buy organic yogurt and try to use a dairy coupon. Get to know a decent checker and he or she will over ride the machine. Works for me all the time.

Posted by Gindy | August 12, 2008 6:15 AM

I never got Fred Meyer, it is not a bad store nor a very good one. And WHY are the employees at QFC a little bit happier? Both stores are owned by the same corporation and WHY THE FUCK DO I HAVE TO HAVE A QFC ADVANTAGE CARD AND A FM REWARDS CARD?!?!?!? Cann't they combine the two for fuck's sake?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 12, 2008 7:46 AM


Yes, cheese is a dairy product.

But it is not sold in the dairy section of a supermarket. Block cheese is sold in the deli section, pre-sliced pre-packaged in a "cold case" section with varying names, with pre-made pudding and orange juice.

Posted by teqjack | August 12, 2008 8:47 AM

I go to Fred Meyer about twice a year, and that's twice too often...

Posted by NaFun | August 12, 2008 9:52 AM

A few assorted follow-ups:

@21, be glad you don't live in Chicago. Jewel is the local big grocery chain, but the locals refer to it as da Jool's.

@24, that cashier's name is Vinod. He kicks ass, get in his line whenever possible.

@26, the coupon is real. It's not a manufacturer coupon, it came with our "Fred Meyer Rewards" (oh, the irony) in the mail. My wife is headed to the Ballard FM to buy a nice fancy piece of cheese, and she'll insist on the discount.

@28, HA!

Posted by Joe M | August 12, 2008 10:05 AM

Sounds a bit like the time that a friend tried to buy beer at a FM. His only picture ID was an expired driver's licence. He was about 35 at the time but looked at least 40 (balding, craggy and sagging posture). The clerk not only refused to sell him beer, but refused to sell any to the rest of us on the grounds that we might give it to him.

Finally he called the manager and all was resolved, but it was a very surreal experience.

Posted by Breklor | August 12, 2008 10:26 AM

The Kroger chain in Denver (King Soopers) is head and shoulders above the local competition (Safeway and Albertson's). They're quite liberal with coupon acceptance, especially if the checker recognizes you as a regular. That's one of the best reasons to visit the same store time after time.

Posted by Zac | August 12, 2008 10:30 AM

In a small defense of Freddie's, I did have a good coupon experience last weekend at the Ballard FM. I had picked up the wrong size for the "Buy Two, save $.70", and that size happened to be exactly double of the offered size. The checker at FM coded in the savings for me rather than making me go back and exchange for two of the smaller size to get the discount. So, that was unexpected and nice.

Posted by Shelley | August 12, 2008 11:05 AM



Posted by "Bat" Guano | August 12, 2008 11:21 AM

Also, @21 that is something I hate so very much. I bartend

Arrgh! You do not "bartend" You TEND BAR. You don't say "I cardrive" or "I cheeseslice," do you?

Posted by bigger language Nazi than you | August 12, 2008 3:34 PM

That's deviated prevert to you and your preversions.

Posted by Jack Ripper | August 13, 2008 1:11 AM

Actual comment made in a meeting while an old acquaintance worked for Kraft:

"So ... How can we put more plastics in our cheese products?"

So, if it was Kraft, Fred Meyer really isn't that far offl.

Posted by dairy fairy | August 13, 2008 4:10 PM

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