HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Attention Giant shoppers: there will be no “free turkeys” this year because the 15-year program has come to an end.
Giant spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said the company saw a decline in people opting for the free turkey. Instead, Giant saw a rise in shoppers using Bonus Card points for gas discounts.
The program last year offered a free 20-pound turkey, turkey breast, or lasagna with 400 Bonus Card points after a shopper spent at least $400.
Shoppers outside the Giant Foods on Linglestown Road did not receive the program change well.
“We’re not happy about it,” Chris Cramer said.
“I don’t like that,” Melanie Miller said. “I have always enjoyed the free turkey.”
“There are a lot of people who count on that,” Linda Williams said. “They have to shop all fall anyway and they save their points and get a free turkey.”
Krepps said phase one of a new program would be released on Friday, but she did not specify details.
The free turkey tradition for some also doubled as an annual donation.
“We always donated [the free turkey] to somebody,” Williams said. “Our church runs a food program.”
“I think it’ll be a big impact this year on food banks because I’m sure they depend on that,” Jan McManara said. “I think they get a lot more donations then people realize from that program.”
Ken Ross with the Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg estimated the shelter received about 500 turkeys from individuals who participated in Giant’s program. He believes turkeys could be down this year due to Giant’s change. Currently, Giant brand frozen turkeys are $1.49 per pound. Ross said that would be a $15,000 loss this year.
Giant said the company understands that many customers donated their turkeys to local food banks and would make a comparable donation this year. Krepps said Giant donated $90,000 in cash and turkeys through its “Feeding Our Neighbors” program.
For shoppers, they liked being savvy and generous.
“I always liked being able to donate,” Williams said. “I feel like I’ve done something.”
Giant maintains it would continue to offer holiday value deals in lieu of its free turkey program, but the move still ruffled feathers from loyal shoppers.
“We do the redeem program for gas points throughout the year,” Miller said. “Come the holidays, it is to me, as a customer, an appreciation.”
“I think they should keep the program,” McManara said.
“I think they should go back to that,” Williams said.