From the Forum – Shoplifting at the Soviet Safeway in Dupont


Shoplifting at the Soviet Safeway in Dupont:

“I went to Safeway to find a neighborhood friend completely flabbergasted. Apparently she watched a Safeway employee talk to several men outside who generally hang out. The employee went back inside and basically turned an eye as his “friends” made off with hands full of items.

My friend witnessed this and was completely outraged that so many employees did absolutely nothing, and that one of the Safeway employees knew and possibly aided in this ransack.

My friend talked to several employees who basically said that they can’t do anything- they aren’t security and past attempts to have security were apparently balked by customers. So now they just let this happen on a seemingly regular basis.

I’m left to think that we are the ones who are paying in increased prices for this kind of theft. If the entire staff is complacent is it stupid to call the cops to investigate?”

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42 Comment

  • My first thought is to contact Safeway corporate about this, if you can provide time, date, details, etc.

  • Store employees never try to stop shop lifting at grocery stores. That’s for security and/or police. The correct thing to do in this situation for store employees is to call the police.

    I worked at a grocery store years ago, and we were told never to confront thieves and especially not to try to chase and tackle them.

    There is the safety of employees, the liability concerns and of course the possibility that someone isn’t actually stealing.

    If you think the employees aren’t taking theft strong enough, talk to the store manager. I’d be quite surprised if the manager took theft lightly, as shop lifting hurts profitability of his or her store.

    • I saw a 7-11 employee foil a shoplifting attempt by some teen in a very matronly manner.
      “What’s in this pocket?” Kid pulls out candy. “And what’s in this pocket?” Kid pulls out more candy. “What else?” “That’s it”.
      Took the candy and kicked him out. Wasn’t even security.

  • Oh Dupont. We complained when Safeway checked our receipts when leaving the store and now we complain when we see people shoplifting.

    I’d say do what you want as far as contacting some sort of authority goes. But, maybe the best advice is to know that you already pay increased prices because of shoplifting at all grocery stores.

    • +1. The cost of shoplifting is already built into the price we all pay at the grocery store. Which is not to say we shouldn’t try to reduce or eliminate shoplifting, but prices at any one store are not going up or down in real time based on the amount of shoplifting at that location.

      OP should contact store management, and if there’s no joy there then maybe follow up with Safeway corporate. I would be shocked if the cops get involved except by request of the store’s management.

    • Exactly! My first thought was, “Weren’t people appalled when this Safeway was checking receipts?”. But, of course, let’s ignore that and go right to “I can’t believe people are shoplifting and the employees won’t do anything about it!” Because complaining is fun.

      • Were that many people really complaining about receipts being checked??
        I suspect that the people complaining about receipts being checked are not the same people complaining about shoplifting.

  • I get the liability of the employees safety, but this was total collusion between an employee and these crooks. They obviously keep doing their “grocery runs” here because there is never a repercussion. I did contact corporate and already got a response. I also don’t like the idea that these criminals basically set up shop here- deal their drugs, “shop”, etc. I know I’m of the majority that is forced to go to this Safeway because of no car and location, but it’s never a positive experience.

  • This is wrong! This is not just an issue with the thiefs, it is an issue with a Safeway employee helping it happen. The employee should be fired and needs to help the police identify thiefs! I would call Safeway corporate. The fact that steeling is incorporated into the pricing does not mean we should accept this behavor. That means you are just as guilty as the person doing the steeling.

  • When you have a union that sticks up for you, you don’t have have to care about the company you work for.

    • exactly! This is why Safeway has always been terrible in my opinion. No matter where I seem to move in the DMV I always get stuck right by a Safeway and I despise them. I will go out of my way to shop elsewhere. The stores always seem dirty and the employees are usually so unfriendly. This doesn’t surprise me at all to read this story.

    • Right at the un-unionized CVS in the area, we can clearly see the care and devotion to the company that all staff members provide. /sarcasm

      Clearly it’s the union’s fault. No union contract in the world protects employees who commit an illegal act or acts in collusion.

      • But they do protect dead beat employees.

        • You mad, bro?
          I’m enjoying the hell out of the protection my dad’s union gave us – good pay, college scholarship for his kids, job security, overtime pay, generous PTO. It was a great job for raising an educated family.

          • Car companies making cars no one can afford due to high union costs, the government having to bail those companies out, the city they are in going bankrupt, good times. Thanks unions!

          • All that grandness and education yet “You mad, bro?” flows so easily from your lips.

  • I know where Im getting my steaks for the BBQ this weeked

  • The new Safeway in SW had (may still have but I don’t live down there anymore) a similar problem. After it opened, the neighborhood kids/adults were robbing the place blind. It didn’t help that the interior design of the store put the door so far away from the cashiers and right next to the prepared foods displays.

    To fight it, Safeway stationed a couple of people at the door to check reciepts which I thought was completely reasonable considering the theft was rampant. You could stand there and watch a group of kids run in and grab a bagful of sandwichs and run out, or watch middle age adult, one after another walk in, fill their cloth bag with food and walk right out the door. I literally watched a ~mid 40’s woman try to walk out of the store with half a baked ham under her shirt, then invoked the race card when the store employee at the door (who was also black hilariously enough) asked to see her reciept.

    But as soon as they tried to combat it by checking reciepts, people got all indignant. It was a lose/lose for the store either way.

  • Soviet Safeway is neck and neck with the Rosslyn dungeon Safeway for worst in DC.

  • There was a story about this on NPR recently. Employees are working on behalf of drug dealers to aid in the theft of detergent but other items as well like baby formula. Apparently detergent…specifically TIde…is a hot commodity and is sold on-line at big discounts. Weird.

  • brookland_rez

    And this is why competition to union run Safeway and Giant is desperately needed in this city.

    • brookland_rez

      To clarify, competition at the lower end of the grocery scale. Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, etc. don’t compete directly at the lower end with Giant and Safeway.

      • Yes, clearly if grocery store workers make less money and less than a living wage, they will be more dedicated to the company that employs them. Then service will be much better.

        • brookland_rez

          Clearly if grocery store workers aren’t protected behind a veil of union protection, they will fear for their job when thinking about stealing. This will prompt them to be friendlier and work harder and in general care about their job. And prices will be lower for those of us that don’t steal.

          Seriously, Safeway and Giant are the worst stores. Prices are not that cheap, service sucks, stores are dirty and outdated. The only reason they stay open is because a lot of people don’t have any alternatives. Competition brings about better stores, and Safeway and Giant have no direct competition. Protecting lazy/corrupt workers doesn’t equal a better grocery store.

          • Actually, this is just an assumption. It’s completely unbacked by facts. If you look at comparable union vs nonunion shops –Walmart vs Costco – Costco has a much lower rate of employee theft. The president of the company states as much in a recent NY Times article.

            Also, Walmart – clearly anti-union, placed last in customer satisfaction–including friendliness, cleanliness in stores–over the past 6 years. The employees are terrified of losing their jobs yet do not provide a good customer experience at all. This has been covered in a number of recent stories in Bloomberg and the other business press.

            The old trope about unions protecting lazy/corrupt workers is a tired stereotype. If Giant is so terrible, why is the store in Columbia Heights so packed with the Target grocery store less than a block away? Shouldn’t your competition theory work there?

          • Furthermore, a union contract doesn’t protect you from outright theft or illegal collusion. That’s immediate grounds for dismissal.

            Additionally, I bet we see Kroger’s union spread to Harris Teeter.

          • “If Giant is so terrible, why is the store in Columbia Heights so packed with the Target grocery store less than a block away?”
            Because they have stuff that the Target doesn’t have?
            Target is pretty adequate for my grocery-shopping purposes, but I don’t really cook.

        • brookland_rez

          And if you’re referring to the LRAA, I personally could not live on the wage set forth in the act. But I decided a long time ago that I wanted to go to college and get a decent job. Working low end jobs as a teen motivated me to find something better.

          The market dictates what the wage is for a particular profession. If someone doesn’t like the wage, they should get training and find a better job. If they can’t, then that’s life. Might sound harsh, but that’s the way a market-based economy works. There are inequalities in a market based economy. That’s the nature of the beast.

          Unions artificially protect uncompetitive workers. Union protection does not motivate a worker to improve. It does the opposite. Fear of losing your job is a better motivator IMO.

          • Is there any facts anywhere to back up your opinion?

            Actually, unions are largely considered to be a part of the market. Collective bargaining power of workers offset the purchasing power of the employer. It creates a market with more than 1 person in power. Many would currently say that the huge rise in economic inequality between the rich and the poor is partially because the market is currently skewed to heavily in favor of employers.

            Your gut feelings about what motivates people are interesting but they are not backed up by facts.

          • I don’t understand how you don’t see labor as part of a “market economy.” Individuals are taking their labor and banding together to negotiate for a better price for it. If a business is willing to give that to them, then that sets the market clearing price. How is this any different from business collectively purchasing goods or services to get a better price per unit? Or farms aggregating their production to get a better price for their crops? Or OPEC nations controlling production to ensure prices? Are those also not “market prices”?

            Why do you believe that it’s only the business owners who are allowed to negotiate and set prices? How is that equitable?

            All of those actors are part of a market economy.

  • When did the Dupont Safeway become the *Soviet Safeway?* In all the years I lived in Adams Morgan, it was my understanding the Safeway there was called Soviet Safeway.

    • The REAL Soviet Safeway was on K St NW around 21st. The one in Adams Morgan is either the Salsa Safeway or Sandinista Safeway.

      These newbies just don’t know their Safeway monikers!

      • Yeah, I never heard anyone call the one on Columbia Rd the soviet safeway.

        • I used to live on the same block as the Adams Morgan Safeway and originally knew it as the Soviet Safeway, before I heard that that nickname was more generally associated with the one on 17th Street.
          I never heard the Adams Morgan Safeway referred to as the Not-So-Safeway. Maybe that was an early/mid-1990s name?
          I do remember a friend who lived near Eastern Market circa 2001 referring to her nearest Safeway as the Unsafeway.

    • In my 13 years in DC, this has always been the Soviet Safeway. The north Georgetown location was the Social Safeway, the Adams Morgan one the Not-So-Safe-way and then the Secret Safeway at 19th and S (RIP). Cute huh?

    • It’s been Soviet Safeway since before I moved here in 1991.

      The one on 21st & L was actually a Townhouse (like the Secret Safeway on 20th & S). People here in Dupont and West End called it the Two-Bit Safeway.

      I’ve always heard the Safeway up in AM called “Mamasita Safeway” or “Sandinista Safeway.”

  • In Soviet Union, Safeway shoplifts you!

  • brookland_rez

    Those are fair points. Costco is non-union and its employees are satisfied and do a good job for the most part. And I do agree all the Walmarts I’ve been in have bad service and long lines and poor quality products for the most part.

    I guess I’m just anti Safeway and Giant. There are so many examples of how they suck. And their prices are not that cheap. They’re getting better at least, building new stores. But look at how long they went with old tired stores. I think they’re only building new stores because they are being forced to compete with Harris Teeter.

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