Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Complaint prompts
policy change

Question: My sister and her family were visiting Waikiki Beach from Japan recently. They love the Waikiki Beach area so much that her family goes there two, three times a year for shopping. My sister and I went to Food Pantry and tried to pay with a traveler's check. The cashier asked for a picture ID, the first time this ever happened to my world-traveling sister. My sister did not have her passport with her, so the cashier asked her to write the hotel name and room number on the traveler's check. She said it was their policy. I told the cashier how dangerous this policy was to reveal the room number to strangers. The cashier said riding the elevators in the hotels is more dangerous. I paid the cashier with my credit card, and we rushed out of that store. My sister not only left Hawaii one week earlier than their plan, she says she is no longer coming back to Waikiki. This one incident made her feel no longer safe in Waikiki after more than 30 years of trips to Waikiki. Why do they need this information?

Answer: We hope your sister reconsiders and returns again.

"We absolutely do not want our customers to feel uncomfortable or in jeopardy," said Andy Kawano, executive vice president of Food Pantry Ltd.

Kawano looked carefully into your complaint and said that as a result, the company "will no longer ask for hotel room numbers to properly accept a (traveler's check) as payment for merchandise."

He e-mailed us a copy of a memo to staff explaining the company's new procedure for accepting traveler's checks.

Kawano explained that the Food Pantry store on Kuhio Avenue accepts many traveler's checks as payment from customers who are visitors.

Because many go to the beach or sightseeing, it is not uncommon for them to not carry valid identification during the day, he said.

He confirmed that cashiers did ask visitors for a name, hotel and room number if the counter signature on a traveler's check did not match the main signature and if they did not have a valid ID. He surmised this is what happened in your sister's case.

"I was informed that these store-level procedures have been in place for many years to accommodate visitors who shop in our store," Kawano said.

But because of your sister's experience, hotels and room numbers no longer will be requested, and "we will monitor the store to ensure that we have executed this clarification," he said.

Q: Are there any organizations that will pick up cans, bottles, etc., for recycling?

A: The National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii will pick up recyclable cans, bottles and plastic containers, but only if they are labeled "HI-5."

Call 596-7575 or go to the Web site www.kidneyhi.org and click on "kidney clothes" for information.

The containers are picked up in the same way donated clothes and household items are picked up by the organization.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
E-mail to kokualine@starbulletin.com

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