Warner Robins Woman Says She Was Ridiculed For Using Food Stamps

6:38 AM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
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Monday Update: Kroger Transfers Manager

A Warner Robins woman wants an apology from a Kroger manager who she says disparaged her for using food stamps to pay for her groceries. 

Cindy Nerger spends 12 hours on dialysis every day. She's been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant for five years. She's the caregiver for the grandmother who raised her. 

Since Nerger can't work, the family relies on her husband's income, but he works only part-time so he can help her.

Late Tuesday night at the Kroger off Watson Boulevard, Nerger went grocery shopping.

When she got to the register there was a problem. 

"He told me I owed him 10 dollars and some change. I am not exactly sure what it was, but I told him, I said I am sorry sir, but there is nothing in my cart that is not covered by food stamps," said Nerger. 

She and the Kroger employees went back and forth about this for half an hour when a manager acknowledged was right about the purchase all along. 

"I was upset, so, I was like, you know, I told you that it was covered under food stamps, you know, so, there was no need for all of this, you know, and he said, "Well excuse me that I work for a living and don't rely on food stamps like you," Nerger said. 

The comment humiliated her, she said.

"I honestly was angry. I was angry at first, but it turned into tears because when I turned around and I saw the people there I was like, oh my goodness, and I just started crying," said Nerger. 

Having worked from the time she was 15 until her kidneys failed, Nerger never thought that she and her family would be on food stamps.

"I didn't want to have to go there, you know, nobody wants to have to ask somebody for for help, but it got to the point it was either ask for help or starve," said Nerger. 

Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins told 13WMAZ Friday that he could not verify exactly what was said between Nerger and the manager. But he also challenged her version of the story. He said the company is speaking with other employees who witnessed the exchange.

Later Friday they sent this statement:

"We deeply regret that a Kroger customer had an unpleasant shopping experience. Kroger is conducting an ongoing investigation, and look forward to resolving the customer's concern. We hope she will continue to shop at Kroger in the future."

Nerger said she was contacted by Kroger's corporate office about the incident. She says they offered her a $15 gift card for her to come back. 

"I told them, 'No thank you.'" 

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