About this Blog

The title of this blog, "I'm About to do My Thing," was inspired by Jill Scott's introduction to her poem "The Thickness" from her live album Experience: Jill Scott 826+. In this intro, she warns that the content to follow is "real" and proceeds to deliver a beautiful message about self-esteem in young black girls, what can influence and damage that self-esteem, and the entire village's responsibility--"it takes a village"--to elevate its children.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Not Our Intentions": Kroger's Response to My Letter

Well, I'm not surprised at Kroger's reply to my letter criticizing their use of stereotypes during Black History Month. As I expected, they wanted to assure me that they didn't mean to offend at all, but that's just it: without trying to, they were appealing to tried and true caricatures of black people. Hot sauce, chicken, and ribs are just the go-to marketing ploys, I presume. Indeed, I was informed that my concerns had been sent to the Advertising and Marketing Department.

The full letter appears below. Note that while the author of this letter repeatedly uses the first person ("I"), the author's name doesn't appear once in the letter. The letter isn't even signed. What if I did want "further assistance" from this person? Hmmm....

Dear Ms. B.,

Please allow me to thank you personally for contacting The Kroger Executive Office. We always appreciate comments and suggestions from our customers regarding the Kroger Co.

I apologize if you found the Black History month edition of the My Magazine to be offensive in anyway [sic]. It is not our intentions to use stereotypes or offend any of our customers. Our only intentions were to acknowledge Black History month and offer in store savings with coupons.

Again, I apologize for any concern this may have caused you. Please know your comments have [been] forwarded to our Advertising and Marketing Department for their review.

Thank you again for contacting us. Please let me know if I could be of further assistance.


Ref. #11730896

What are your thoughts on this letter, folks?


  1. This is very generic and an inadequate response for a customer's concern. You are right. What if you wanted to speak to someone or take it further....

  2. Why do I feel like you got sent a form letter? And a pretty dismissive one at that? Still, it's a response, and if it does get forwarded, here's hoping it goes to someone who's also concerned about this.

  3. I don't know what you wrote to them. but I would take this opportunity to be a part of the team. Write to them again in care of the advertising and marketing department, and send in the article that you wish that had published or that you would like to see published, with the visuals that you think are appropriate. Educating people is never ending. You Rock! (2 cents worth by Miss Jill) xoxo PS I have a new mac and don't remember all of my passwords so I am not really anonymous...

  4. I agree with Miss Jill (Anonymous). Take this opportunity to address their "not our intentions" statement and educate them. Direct your new comments, with a copy of both letters to the Advertising and Marketing team...and make some suggestions about how to better reach you without relying on tried and true stereotypes. You do rock. Hard core. Much love! :) - AMo

  5. I'm going to take the unpopular route and say that I wouldn't write them again. When I read both your letter and this one, my initial reaction was, "Well, thanks for nothing, assholes." You raise valid points in your letter, and you deserved a more personalized letter. Hell, you even bring up specific instances of stereotyping in your letter. How specific was their response? They managed to bring up the A&M department? Personally, I think your letter was shrugged off. (Especially since Kroger signed their response with a freaking reference number.)

    If I were you, I would be angry. (Well, I am pretty miffed just to see this interaction.) I'm curious...for the March issue, did they have advertisements for sales on beer and potatoes? I agree with you--I think it was just a little too convenient that the month they offered coupons for syrup, hot sauce, and hair relaxer coincided with Black History Month. It's fine to offer discounts on those products; there are certainly black and white consumers who appreciated those coupons. But it does subvert the company's apparent intention to celebrate "blackness" (whatever that means to Kroger).

    Bottom line: I wouldn't write another letter because it would feel like a waste of time. (If I were in your shoes.) If you do decide to write again (and maybe more specifically to the head of the A&M department), then you are a more patient person than I am. :)