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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Supermarket Rebuttal

Last Saturday I posted about supermarkets using methods not consumer-friendly, in my opinion, to manipulate people into buying more - especially impulse items.  The topic method was not opening cashier lines which forced people to stand for longer periods of time being enticed by all the frivolous items in the checkout lanes.

Today I went to a supermarket that I don't normally go to anymore.  I was there to pick up a prescription.  Since I needed only three things, I picked them up there instead of driving to the other store where they would have been cheaper.  I headed to the "10 items or less" checkout lane and saw that it was 6 deep with people with more than 10 items.  The only other lane open was also 6 deep with people who were buying enough stuff to last 2 years.

Just then an assistant manager came next to my line to set up a table to sell off valentine candy.  I could not resist.  I had to bring up my blog post.  Before I go any further I must tell you that he asked me not to use his name or the store name in this post.  I agreed.

After I told him what I had written and he removed the astonished look from his face, he respectfully disagreed with me.  I was told that the only reason that extra lanes were not open was lack of staff.  He stated that in order to keep prices low (?!) staff was kept at a minimum.  Even though staff was cross-trained there were many times that no one was available to open a lane.  I asked why management did not step in and he didn't answer me.  Hmmmmm! 

I was told that price competition among grocery chains was very strong and that many chains have been closing stores across the country because they could not compete.  Walmart, it seems, is the strongest competitor and is pushing other chains to the brink.  He vehemently blamed everything on Walmart and President Obama.  I don't talk politics with anyone so I left the second part of that alone. 

I said that it has been my experience that if price does not bring back a customer then outstanding customer service will.  He disagreed and said that it was all about the $$.  His corporate office runs the stores on bare bones.  The volume buying that Walmart does insures lower prices and smaller chains cannot compete with that type of buying.

So - - that is his rebuttal.  What do you think?  Is it a marketing tactic or a money issue or both?  Think about it.

Meanwhile .... keep it simple and make it real.



  1. The #1 reason I go to the grocery store I go to is their customer service. Their prices are a little higher, but the staff there makes "shopping a pleasure" :) Truly.
    So I think the manager you talked to needs a vacation.

  2. All stores are in business to make a profit, period. Of course they are going to try and get all the impulse buys they can. That is the whole reason for the dairy located at the far back of the store or the cheap value brands not out front and prominent.

    The cashiers are most probably short due to the cost of staffing. If there are only lines a few times a day, does it help the bottom line of profit to bring in a cashier? Does it keep people away? Probably not.

    But the bottom line is that they are doing what they are doing to make a profit for the owners/shareholders. Whatever it takes.
    Ana from US