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storewanderer

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  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    FTC commissioner says it’s time to enforce the Robinson-Patman Act

    In theory, yes, this should be enforced. Regional and wholesaler supplied independent grocers were hit very hard during the supply chain crisis and other than a handful of, should we say, overstocked independents who bought in large quantity to get a better deal -- many did not recover for months after larger chains. But I also am afraid the wholesalers of groceries would be dragged into this too. For instance I go to various independent or small chain retailers supplied by a CA C&S warehouse. That warehouse also supplies Target and some Kroger stores. It also supplies some 10-20 store smaller chains. Mysteriously, the Target and Kroger stores and some of the 10-20 store smaller chains were receiving product from C&S while the single store or two store independents hardly got anything. One of the smaller chains took matters into its own hands and started using different suppliers (they have a small warehouse).
  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    Did Target just move Black Friday up to October 7?

    Have you walked their stores? The Christmas area is not even set in the ones I've been to this week. Halloween is barely set in one. There are no gift sets in sight. No Christmas candy, decor. The goods are not in position. But October 7 isn't for a few weeks ... they have time.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    Did Target just move Black Friday up to October 7?

    Target is clearly desperate to get some sales, but customers are continuing to have budgets clipped due to ongoing price hikes. Target looks to be trying to get at people's wallets before the big winter heating bills start coming and before the next round of 25% price hikes at the grocery store. Target has terrible service, messy stores, and in stock levels in my area and it has been this way going on a year plus now. Walmart has been setting Christmas the past 10 days. Target has no Christmas set. If you plan to make people shop for the holidays in early October, the first thing is to get Christmas set.... Strikes me as Target desperate to get sales. I expect Target to continue to struggle as the economy continues to struggle. They are not changing anything to push more essential goods but trying to be a store that people can easily "cut" as they run out of money. If the economy turns around so will Target. Their exposure to larger cities and focus in recent years expanding in such cities where population is declining is also a problem. Their core San Francisco Stores for months closed at 6pm but very recently moved that to 8pm.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Did Walmart just guarantee it will be the easiest place to shop for Christmas?

    The return experience at Walmart has become terrible in-store. Inconsistent service desk hours, understaffed service desks, too many other services happening at the service desk, and a messy cluttered service desk area leave a terrible impression. Add to it that too many employees of the Walmart service desk behave as if the refund comes out of their own pocket and it makes for a miserable return experience. And I won't go into how certain Walmarts make up their own return policies denying certain items, denying no receipt returns even for low value, etc. which cause ongoing arguments between employees and customers all day that are no fun to witness. It appears the corporate office has identified a problem and rather than fix the long broken service desk, they are trying to route returns through other channels. We will see how it works.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Did Walmart just guarantee it will be the easiest place to shop for Christmas?

    How many people actually pay for that service? I think they see it as a selling point for a service with questionable demand this far. Or they've done an analysis of what is purchased via Walmart Plus, see it is mostly food which has a low, low return rate, and realize few will take them up on this.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Did Walmart just guarantee it will be the easiest place to shop for Christmas?

    Customers who initiate a return on the Walmart app will likely be given the option of a curbside return. I've had a few in store items I purchased lately that were lousy quality (cheap stuff, only a few dollars) and I went into the app to initiate the return and it gave various options. Ultimately it issued me a refund automatically and told me to dispose of the items myself. For a larger value return earlier this year I went through the app and ultimately selected the return to store option and was provided the barcode to go in and present to them with the item. For curbside they can make that an option and then the customer will know. But I'm also not sure how many customers initiate returns via their app....
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Did Walmart just guarantee it will be the easiest place to shop for Christmas?

    This is interesting. In my area I am seeing Walmart Customer Service Desks closed very early lately at some stores on random days, not every day. Like, closed at 3 PM. Or closed at 6 PM. So you cannot return anything and are told to come back. Shifting returns to curbside would extend return hours and make it easier to do returns. Pushing returns to curbside also makes it harder for people to take items off the shelf then walk up to customer service and request a refund.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    The Starbucks experience aims to be the same no matter where you get your coffee

    A couple of licensed casino locations in my area have had this in place for quite some time. More recently a licensed hospital location in my area also brought this online. For it to work seamlessly you must order and redeem rewards through the app. These licensed casino locations are a problem. A 12 oz Black Tea runs $4.95. 12 oz Mocha runs $7.15. They are the most inefficient operation I've ever seen. Customizations are often not programmed into the register and there is confusion over how to price customizations. Paying one of these casino Starbucks in my area with a credit card for their $5 drink means showing ID or waiting for "the food and beverage supervisor to approve it" if you decline to show ID since they cannot require it per the card networks, but the cashier will be fired if seen over the camera accepting a credit card without ID, and then the casino point of sale takes 30 seconds to process the card then prints out 4 different receipts and once they organize all of that they find the one you have to fill out the tip line for and sign. They refuse Apple Pay etc. despite having a terminal that processes it (due to their demand for ID for a $5 purchase) and even "the supervisor" is not allowed to push Apple Pay through. Starbucks corporate does not care about any of this, I have complained to them. After the painful payment process, you then wait 10 to 15 minutes in a very smoky area for the beverage due to too small of a prep area and outright inefficient staff. Safeway has also allowed for redeeming stars and earning stars through their locations for years now, but has not yet allowed Mobile Ordering. What Starbucks needs to do with these licensed locations is force all of them onto a single point of sale system. This way ordering, customizations, payment processing, and loyalty will be consistent across all locations. They also probably need to part ways with some licensees.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2022

    Shoplifters force Wegmans to pull the plug on its self-scanning app

    Albertsons tried this 20 years ago and it flopped. Kroger has tried this more recently with scan bag go and the experiment has been shut down after much fanfare and doing things like reducing some stores to 5 checkstands and 16 self checkouts with a forecast for 20% of transactions to be scanned with scan bag go. Walmart still has this feature for the Walmart Plus members and Sam's Club has it. I see MANY customers using the self scan feature at Sam's Club. Is it working for Sam's? I think it is. Why? First, the items are larger. There is no weighable produce. There are no bags. Second there is a known door check of everyone leaving and they do a random check of what is in your cart vs. what you scanned. So I think this technology may work with large items and the known door check. So why can't it work for grocers? The reality is too few people used it. Customers are not interested in this for a 50 item cart of groceries. It is a hassle and cumbersome. Weighable produce is a total nightmare. Theft of items with reusable bags turns into another problem, or any bagging taking place directly on the sales floor (Kroger would suggest you bag as you scan on the sales floor). Ironically at Ralphs Kroger in CA which is a region I never saw Scan Bag Go used, they have a rule you cannot put items in reusable bags on the sales floor and if you do, they will tell you to stop. Kroger would flag random transactions for audit and found error rates of missing items, double scanned items, etc. to be a serious problem. They could blacklist a specific loyalty card from using scan bag go if that card had documented fraud but all that person would need to do is just get a new card. I suspect Wegmans had the same issues but a bigger issue for them as they have more upper-end, high-value items.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2022

    Kroger simplifies its budget private labels

    Packaging reminds me of some Amazon private label food. I like the packaging. This is the lineage of the old FMV and Kroger Value product lines. These are the low quality lowest possible price items. The old black and white generics. I see very few of these items in the Kroger locations I visit. The super thin paper products and "frozen dairy dessert" are still there. The big can of irregular peaches with stones in the can, the shredded imitation cheese, and can of irregular olive pieces with pits are long gone at Ralphs, Smiths, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, and Frys ... I am surprised they are focusing on this low quality line at all. I don't think these items sell very well, and why should they ... the higher quality Kroger counterpart doesn't cost much more. I feel this line should be discontinued entirely and they just focus on the standard Kroger line to have quality that meets or exceeds national brand at a very competitive price point. Also hopefully Safeway won't have any issue with the name Smart Way.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2022

    Sephora learns an expensive lesson about customer data privacy in California

    $1.2 million doesn't sound like much of a fine to me.... This entire business of selling customer data won't go away and will just change in form to run around these new laws. But it is a nice gesture I suppose. I'd be curious how the credit card purchase data sold by the card issuers comes into play with this CA law. Or does the law only target retailers?
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Macy’s keeps going small and off-mall

    Close mall stores doing millions in sales a year and replace with these that are lucky to do $1 million a year in sales. Sounds like a great plan for a dying company in a dying industry. I think they should do the opposite and focus on getting customers back to the large stores. Many customers give up on stores that don't have what they want and a limited assortment small format store won't please many customers. Sears has tried various small format stores too.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Does Walgreens have the right response to defuse growing calls to boycott the chain?

    The employees are there to sell the items the store carries. This is stupid. An employee refusing to sell a box of condoms or refusing to fill a certain prescription type then passing it on to a manager to sell the condoms or fill the prescription changes anything how? The employee who refuses the sale is harmed how from selling the product? They don't personally profit; they're paid an hourly wage. The store will get the profit from the product no matter what. I also am curious these employees who have so much time on their hands to be doing a judgment call on what customers are buying. When I worked in retail I was so focused on speed and efficiency that passing items over the scanner, unless it was alcohol needing ID, I learned on the second day to quit judging customers on what they were buying. In the case of a pharmacy your job is to dispense the pills per the prescription and check for drug interactions. You have a lot of work to do and a lot of staff to supervise, there is no room to judge the customer. Walgreens is one of the only retailers who hasn't deployed self checkout. I'm sure the customer buying condoms would have used a self checkout had it been an option. With that said, as usual I disagree with the style of the reaction that is being pushed through social media and the usual "our way or the highway" and rabid activist type mentality and calling for boycotts and other destructive behavior. Also companies legally cannot comment on personnel related matters as a privacy issue. It is very possible this is being handled internally, but for privacy reasons, public comment on disciplinary actions taken against specific employees cannot happen.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2022

    Amazon says it has built a better smart shopping cart

    The cart shows you a running total as you go and you diligently check the total on your cart, as you go. With that said, I used the cart at a Fresh and noticed after that I charged myself twice for the same item. Refund was granted, but I will be more careful next time. I thought I was careful. The item that double charged had multiple bar codes on the package. I think the cart thought it was multiple items.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2022

    Amazon says it has built a better smart shopping cart

    Walmart Plus with a subscription fee allows this and Sam's Club does too.... Kroger previously had a scan-bag-go app you could download and do this too but they eliminated the app. Then they eliminated the whole scan-bag-go concept.
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