Managers from Fry’s Grocery have said that stores are no longer sanitizing shopping carts for their customers.
Although there is no official statement about the protocol change from Kroger, the company that owns Fry’s Food Stores, store managers have said that they have not been providing the cleaning service for a month.
Tiffany, who didn’t give her last name, is the general manager of the Fry’s located at Tatum Blvd. and Bell Road in north Phoenix and said that they are following corporate’s lead with the safety protocols.
“It came down [from corporate] that we do not need to [sanitize] anymore,” Tiffany said.
The Fry’s in downtown Phoenix, located at 100 E Jefferson St., declined to comment on the terminated protocol.
Members of the community, however, are upset that they were not clearly notified of the change for cleaning shopping carts after use.
“That’s not acceptable. I guess I won’t shop here anymore,” said, Lisa Neidich, a store regular, who said she was in disbelief over the change and that she “loves Kroger.” Upon her arrival, she said there were no wipes in the disposal for her to cleanse her cart for herself.
The CDC recommends that stores like grocery stores to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces as well as carts and baskets.
On Fry’s Food Stores website, they have posted other tips on how to social distance and remain safe while in grocery stores. And while there is no information on how shopping carts on sanitized on the webpage, the site states that there are in-store sanitation protocols in place and that employees are “working hard to keep our stores clean, open and stocked.”
Other grocery stores in the Valley are still sanitizing carts after shoppers use them. Albertson’s, for example, has a sanitization concierge position that sanitizes all the carts at the front door. Albertson’s, like Fry’s, also has people frequently clean throughout the store regularly.
In addition, Sprouts is separating their dirty and clean carts on opposite sides of the entrance with labels, so customers know where to put their cart after use and when they arrive. Employees of Sprouts then clean and disinfect the dirty carts when available.
Other Fry’s groceries in the Valley area are communicating with their store’s customers about sanitation and cleaning protocols on the inside of the store.
Steven Williams, the manager for Fry’s at 40 Street and Thunderbird, said wipes are still available for customers to wipe down themselves and that carts get sanitized every couple of weeks.
Williams also said that the store has tried to reach out to corporate to bring back the previous sanitation protocols, but corporate is yet to do anything about it. If customers come to ask questions about the cleaning procedures, he said the store tries to tell their customers about the change.
Some Fry’s customers, on the other hand, believe it’s a health risk to not notify the community of the sanitation changes.
“It shouldn’t be our responsibility when they are the ones who are providing the carts and sanitation,” said, Lei-Lani Valencia, a 19-year-old customer.
Other customers believe that it is the customer’s own responsibility to clean their own carts, as they did for previous years before the spread of COVID-19.
“People can sanitize their own carts and be more thorough on washing their hands and being clean and taking care of themselves … who’s to say they were cleaning it correctly?” said Shannon Sullivan, another Fry’s customer.
Kroger, Fry’s parent company, representatives declined to comment on the decision.
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