This particular SAFEWAY is located in San Francisco’s Financial District (145 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111) and is the closest supermarket for many of the local residents, including one apartment complex consisting of around 1500 homes.
Their customer service is shabby to say the least, with employees mostly having no clue where products are located. I asked one such individual where I might find the pretzels and he offered to go check. Ten minutes later, when he hadn’t returned, I found him serving customers at the checkout. I said, “what about my pretzels?” to which he dozily replied, “oh yeah, dunno.”
Street bums are regularly seen in the aisles, stinking up the place, fingering the food, and sometimes even eating items on the spot before fleeing the scene, leaving a stench of decomposing human flesh in their wake.
But stinky bums are probably the least of our hygiene worries, when we consider the condition of the ‘fresh’ produce. It is on a daily basis that we encounter moldy tomatoes, moldy figs, and many other moldy fruits on the shelves at Safeway (see photos). It is particularly surprising, as much of Safeway’s produce is not organic, which begs the question, how long has this produce been sitting on the shelves in order to reach the moldy stage…? Fed up with this appalling situation, I asked, on two occasions, to speak to the store manager and was told both times that he was on a ‘late lunch.’ The first time was at 5pm and the second time at 7pm!
I think the final straw came when I asked where I might find the tikka masala sauce. The employee looked at me, as if I’d just inquired as to where they keep their bottled water from Mars, before telling me that I could perhaps find this in a really large Safeway, but definitely not here. Perhaps, having lived in the UK and East Coast USA, I expect to see basic Indian sauces in mainstream supermarkets. Or perhaps they were fermenting a batch out back so it would match the fruit. Either way, I could not help losing the will to live when, in all his wide-eyed ugliness, the employee frowned his deformed brow and said, “I’ve never eaten that before, is it good?”
If you want to take action against your local Safeway, your best move is to call the San Francisco Department of Health at 415-252-3800 or 3805. This is the direct number for food provider complaints, and they will instantly dispatch an inspector to the scene.