Employees at the Newport Coast Pavilions store were back at work on
Monday, packing orders for delivery to customers who have had to do
their own shopping for the past five months.
The store resumed delivery service, which was a casualty of the
five-month grocery workers' strike set off by a contract dispute with
The Pavilions store in Newport Coast is one of 23 Safeway-owned
Southern California stores that resumed deliveries on Monday.
Safeway.com Chief Operating Officer Dave Lauffer was among company
executives who traveled to stores Monday to help with deliveries.
Safeway.com and Vons.com operate the online ordering and delivery
services for Pavilions and Vons stores.
"We just want to get out there with the customers that have been
offline for five months now," Lauffer said.
To woo back customers, the company is offering free delivery for
orders of $100 or more through April 11. Some customers received
flowers and chocolates on Monday to let them know they were
appreciated, Lauffer said.
Vons.com Assistant Manager Olga Carrillo and clerk Sarah Lester
said they were glad to be back. About three-quarters of their
co-workers came back to their jobs, but they're still getting used to
being together inside the store after picketing out front for so
long, they said.
"Everyone has to make adjustments," Lester said.
Preparing the delivery orders required a few technical adjustments
also, like finding all the items customers wanted, Vons.com employee
Jared Fast said.
"It was confusing a little bit because a lot of the stuff was out
of stock," he said.
While grocery delivery workers don't seem to have any hard
feelings toward their employers, customers might be bitter because of
the strike, Fast said.
"Honestly, I think the customers are going to shop online more
than they did before because they don't want to come back to the
stores," he said.
Vons.com department manager Laura Kinsey said that about half of
Monday's orders were from new customers, a good sign that the
delivery workers will be busy.
"I was worried I would have lost customers, and I didn't," she
Workers expected to make about 25 deliveries on Monday, which
showed customers were eager to have delivery service again, Lauffer
"We're almost 100% capacity today, which means they came rushing
back," he said.