WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- 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 a 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 said she and Kroger employees argued for a half hour when a manager acknowledged she was correct about the purchase.
Nerger was upset. She told the manager the argument was unnecessary because she was correct all along.
"And he said, 'Well excuse me that I work for a living and don't rely on food stamps like you.''
The comment humiliated her, she said.
"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.'"
Monday morning, Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins issued the following statement to 13WMAZ: "We deeply regret that a Kroger customer had an unpleasant shopping experience. After an internal investigation, we have decided to transfer the co-manager to another location. We wish the customer well and hope she will consider making Kroger her destination to shop in the future."
Nerger says all she really wants is an apology from the manager she says mocked her. Kroger has since transferred the manager to a different store.
Told about the manager's transfer, Nerger said it wasn't "good enough," and suggested he "should have been demoted to cashier so he can learn who is really on food stamps."
She also thinks the manager needs to be "properly trained on customerservice."