The idea that thousands of customers had purchased cans of Castleberry's Food Co.'s
chili and hot dog sauce that might carry the botulism toxin alarmed Sandy Glatter
so much that she
wanted to alert them all personally.Ms. Glatter, Giant Eagle's senior director of quality assurance, figured the grocer would at least have contact information for shoppers who had Advantage Cards.She
team, "Let's call them.How hard can it be?"
About two months ago, Giant Eagle
enabled its computers to block sales of recalled items, said Ms. Glatter
sent the alert on Castleberry's
more than nine hours before the Food and Drug Administration's notice came.
...When Ms. Glatter told the secretary about her failed proposal to call customers to warn them about the can recall, he asked if the grocer could have sent out e-mails.She
didn't think that would be effective, in part because the company doesn't request e-mail addresses and because people might think they were being spammed.
But it did spark the idea of setting up an automated system, like the one that will alert stores, that would call Advantage Card users when something they bought was recalled.Ms. Glatter
estimated 90 percent of the company's shoppers have the loyalty cards."We could actually reach a lot of people," she
The staff is investigating the potential for such a system and, so far, it looks workable.She
knows there may be some who worry the grocer might abuse its power to call them at home, but she
thinks they could be convinced by the fact that the goal is to keep them safe.