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Old 07-13-2019, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Zyada View Post
I've seen an article in Consumer Reports about how grocery stores do this all the time for just this purpose.

But Costco is the rare store that doesn't seem to do this. I've been going to the same one for 15 years and I haven't seen them move categories of items more than an aisle since I've been going there.

Never halfway across the store, the way my Kroger just did for a good portion of its items just recently
I have been in the grocery business for 35 years and I have NEVER seen a store move products just so that customers have to wander around so that they buy more. I would appreciate a link to the Consumer Report article. I believe this to be a myth.
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:31 PM
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Actually, I saw a clickbait article that claimed that Costco makes a point of moving stuff around the store, not to make it hard to find but instead to force you to wander the store.
You mean this article?

Playing games with consumers to make them spend more is a time-honored tactic.

http://nationalgeographic.com/people...-supermarkets/
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:46 PM
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If I had a quarter for every time I told a customer "If we have it, it's in aisle XX" I'd be doing laundry free for the rest of my life. But it gets them in the aisle and usually to the register, where the impulse buy items are displayed.
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:58 PM
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I keep parsing the thread title as 'rectal stupidity'. Probably because I had another patient jam something so far up his behind that he perforated his colon again. Clean up, aisle 9!!

So, never mind.
What really worries me about this is the emphasized "again".

I recommend the Customers Suck forum to my fellow customer service types in this conversation.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:57 PM
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I can see that, but what about Velcro? Ever heard of it? Is there anybody on the continent who has never heard of it? Why yes, yes there is. The Sears employee I spoke to some years ago had no idea what it was. I even described what it looks like and sounds like when you pull it apart, and that it was used on practically every fucking thing from shoes to watchbands to wallets to jacket closures. Still had no clue. By the time the conversation was done, my wife was pulling me away because I was really losing it with this moron.
Now, if you get this result at a Velcro Store, you really know you're dealing with a moron.

And, for the benefit of others, yes, my wife explained to the 'droids what hardware cloth is, what is is used for, and that their website said their store had some in stock, which is what I mean when I said she wouldn't take no for an answer; they tired to tell her they didn't carry it. Not just one, but at least two of the workers. And, I'll admit, the name is not entirely self-explanatory, but neither is chicken wire, a product I would also expect someone working at a hardware store to know regardless of whether or not they had raised chickens or even been to a farm.
  #156  
Old 07-13-2019, 05:11 PM
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Slotting Fees are another reason for odd placement that may seem stupid to the consumer, but has a strategic marketing reason. Ever have a product display that wasn't there before in the middle or jutting out into an aisle? It's annoying but at least it's reminding you of the product and ideally will cause you to buy it. Or you see the majority of a shelf filled with a name brand product and a single row or two of your favorite? That's because of Slotting Fees which is where product manufacturers and distributors pay to have their product featured. Think the products on the ends of shelf aisles are there because they're popular? Nope, someone paid to have their product placed there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slotting_fee

Another thing that the product reps do is try to expand their product space when they restock the shelves, typically soda, candy and chips. I've seen the reps get caught by the store manager and have to take their extra product off the shelf/rack. Just because the space is empty doesn't mean it's available to stock your product.

In the case of the olive oil search, I'd place money that the product that was with the other oils was there because they paid to have it there in the hope that people would just buy that instead of searching for regular olive oil.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:19 PM
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I have been in the grocery business for 35 years and I have NEVER seen a store move products just so that customers have to wander around so that they buy more. I would appreciate a link to the Consumer Report article. I believe this to be a myth.
Are you saying you've never seen supermarkets move the placement of their products or have never been told that's the reason they're changing the product layout. I've had supermarket managers (with me as a consumer) tell me outright that it was to keep people shopping longer.

When I worked in flooring, the owner would constantly remind us that it cost money ($250 in marketing and advertising) to bring customer into the store and our job was to make sure they bought something, even if it was a $2 doormat. The per customer cost for a supermarket is much lower, but they (and any retail store or business) really don't want you to just walk in and walk out with a single product.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:25 PM
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A prime example of Slotting Fees not only in supermarkets, but other businesses as well.

Ever notice that the soda case in front of the cashier will suddenly change from Coke to Pepsi or vice versa? Yep! Someone paid more to have their products there. In the rare cases where the store has both brands, the one who paid the higher fee is likely to be at the cashier location(s) that's always open.

Same thing with soda fountains at local fast food places. They switched from Coke to Pepsi? Yep, they're probably not getting outright paid for it, but the syrup prices are cheaper than the previous brand.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:47 PM
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Are you saying you've never seen supermarkets move the placement of their products or have never been told that's the reason they're changing the product layout. I've had supermarket managers (with me as a consumer) tell me outright that it was to keep people shopping longer.

When I worked in flooring, the owner would constantly remind us that it cost money ($250 in marketing and advertising) to bring customer into the store and our job was to make sure they bought something, even if it was a $2 doormat. The per customer cost for a supermarket is much lower, but they (and any retail store or business) really don't want you to just walk in and walk out with a single product.
I am saying I think there are plenty of reasons to move product around in stores that have nothing to do with making the customer have to search for their items. Grocery stores are laid out to encourage everyone to spend time, to move through the aisles filling carts, to see impulse items easily, to encourage the purchase of profitable items. 10% of the items every year are new at the grocery store, so that means 10% of last year's items are gone. Tastes change. Items sell differently in season. You are not going to market charcoal, bug spray, and sunscreen the same way in January as July.

If you are coming into my store just to find Olive Oil, we want it to be easy for you to find it. Hopefully you buy some of the items at the entranceway or the endcaps. But if we have moved the oils to a new location it was not done in order to make you search. I stand by that from 35 years work experience with different grocery stores.
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:47 AM
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It seems we're talking about two sides of the same coin. The bottom line is having the customer spend more time in the store. I shopped at the same store for over 40 years and every so many years the bread aisle is switched from one side of the store to the other. End result, I search every aisle looking for the bread. That is until I realized that at least for this store, bread is always the first or second aisle on either the left or the right. And peanut butter and jelly is always next to the bread.

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Old 07-14-2019, 12:55 AM
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Just remembered. I think it was my Mom who told me about the bread aisle thing. Store managers generally don't like to make things hard for little old ladies.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:33 AM
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I've seen an article in Consumer Reports about how grocery stores do this all the time for just this purpose.

But Costco is the rare store that doesn't seem to do this. I've been going to the same one for 15 years and I haven't seen them move categories of items more than an aisle since I've been going there.

Never halfway across the store, the way my Kroger just did for a good portion of its items just recently
I haven't seen this done in Costco, nor Target (although they did just remodel our Target, so a couple of sections did get swapped around -- but otherwise, everything's been in the same place for at least a decade.)

My local grocery store, though, drives me fricking batty. It feels like they move stuff around every four or so months. One day, the lettuces, carrots, and celery are on the south wall of the grocery section; a few months later it's on the north wall. The specialty ethnic vegetables used to be on the east end of the south wall; now they're on the west end of the south wall, and some are in baskets in the middle of the store. It's always treasure hunt trying to figure out where they put the ginger this week.

And then there's the random shuffling around of parts of aisles. For the most part, the soda and juice aisles have remained where they've always been, but everything else seems to have moved around plus or minus up to 2 aisles. For a few months, the condiments were on the north side of aisle 7, about halfway down; then they moved to the south side of aisle 6, at the east end; and they've made other such trips in the meantime. Heck, even the prepackaged part of the meat section, the location of the chicken, beef, and pork will shuffle around at least once a year.

Drives me nuts.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:45 AM
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I haven't seen this done in Costco, nor Target (although they did just remodel our Target, so a couple of sections did get swapped around -- but otherwise, everything's been in the same place for at least a decade.)

My local grocery store, though, drives me fricking batty. It feels like they move stuff around every four or so months. One day, the lettuces, carrots, and celery are on the south wall of the grocery section; a few months later it's on the north wall. The specialty ethnic vegetables used to be on the east end of the south wall; now they're on the west end of the south wall, and some are in baskets in the middle of the store. It's always treasure hunt trying to figure out where they put the ginger this week.

And then there's the random shuffling around of parts of aisles. For the most part, the soda and juice aisles have remained where they've always been, but everything else seems to have moved around plus or minus up to 2 aisles. For a few months, the condiments were on the north side of aisle 7, about halfway down; then they moved to the south side of aisle 6, at the east end; and they've made other such trips in the meantime. Heck, even the prepackaged part of the meat section, the location of the chicken, beef, and pork will shuffle around at least once a year.

Drives me nuts.
It drives everyone nuts. Stores do not like unhappy customers. So don't believe the myth that stores move it all around just so you cannot find your items and have to hunt. It's silly.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:41 AM
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You mean this article?

Playing games with consumers to make them spend more is a time-honored tactic.

http://nationalgeographic.com/people...-supermarkets/
From the linked article

“Most of our regular items stay in the same spot. The things that move are seasonal — furniture, flowers and holiday decor”

Which sort of runs counter to the headline of the same article, but that’s common in our clickbait world.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:57 AM
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It drives everyone nuts. Stores do not like unhappy customers. So don't believe the myth that stores move it all around just so you cannot find your items and have to hunt. It's silly.
I can’t find any rhyme or reason why they do it, but this particular grocery moves stuff constantly.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:59 AM
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It drives everyone nuts. Stores do not like unhappy customers. So don't believe the myth that stores move it all around just so you cannot find your items and have to hunt. It's silly.
I can’t find any rhyme or reason why they do it, but this particular grocery moves stuff constantly. Trust me, visit this store three times in a year, and you’ll find the ginger in three different location.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:45 AM
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I can’t find any rhyme or reason why they do it, but this particular grocery moves stuff constantly.
I posted about this store about two and a half years ago. The locations of all the items have since changed. The green peppers are back on the left wall, and the lettuce on the right wall (actually, not quite; most of the lettuce moved back to the right wall, but the iceberg lettuce stayed on the left wall. Before, they were all in the same section.) The bread has moved back to being against the fridges. But the peanuts have moved to yet another aisle since then. Much of the time, they didn't even bother changing the aisle signage. You can go in the store right now and see some items have been moved around based on just looking at the aisle signs.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:54 AM
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I can’t find any rhyme or reason why they do it, but this particular grocery moves stuff constantly. Trust me, visit this store three times in a year, and you’ll find the ginger in three different location.
Ahhh, the ginger. I've been rolling my eyes at this thread, thinking "Oh, just walk around til you find it, or ask someone."

But finding dried/crystllized ginger will get me so frustrated. I need it for motion sickness (I get that walking, turning a corner, even typing the term), but no store knows where to put it.

I just imagine a store manager: "Do I put it with the dried fruit? It sort of looks like dried pineapple, but isn't ginger a root? Like turnips... I'll put it with the produce! Oh, it can be used to put in cookies, Baking Aisle! No, then M&Ms would go there, too. Wait, we're Trader Joe's, we'll hang it from a divider between the trail mix and the mixed nuts!"
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:08 PM
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Ahhh, the ginger. I've been rolling my eyes at this thread, thinking "Oh, just walk around til you find it, or ask someone."

But finding dried/crystllized ginger will get me so frustrated. I need it for motion sickness (I get that walking, turning a corner, even typing the term), but no store knows where to put it.

I just imagine a store manager: "Do I put it with the dried fruit? It sort of looks like dried pineapple, but isn't ginger a root? Like turnips... I'll put it with the produce! Oh, it can be used to put in cookies, Baking Aisle! No, then M&Ms would go there, too. Wait, we're Trader Joe's, we'll hang it from a divider between the trail mix and the mixed nuts!"
Find a store that has a bulk food section for the ginger.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:14 PM
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Would this be the proper place to complain about running into a store and buying 2 to 4 items and ending up with a receipt that is 18 to 24 inches long? Because there are two drug store chains in my area that do this.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:16 PM
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The marketing strategy for wholesale clubs is different from regular stores. They're based on high volume traffic and sales. They don't want people browsing and lingering (which they tend to do anyway). That extra 10-20 minutes spent in the store for an extra $100 in sales, could mean lost or delay of $1000's of dollars from a frequent bulk buyer. Go to Costco between 9-5 and you'll see more people with flatbeds of stuff than shopping carts. In the evenings and weekends, the opposite is tru.

Also, unlike supermarkets and regular stores where the profit margin can vary per item (though groceries are almost always very low margin), warehouse clubs have a set max markup (15% for Costco) for all their items.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:22 PM
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Would this be the proper place to complain about running into a store and buying 2 to 4 items and ending up with a receipt that is 18 to 24 inches long? Because there are two drug store chains in my area that do this.
+1 to this!

Why do I need a coupon for a product similar to what I already bought? Of course back to targeted marketing, but I find it funny that get coupons for beauty products. Ummm...I'm a guy and the only thing related to beauty products I buy every few years is clear and black nail polish. Great for sealing and blacking out things.

Ummm...yeah, that sounds like a good reason and I'll stick with that story!

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Old 07-14-2019, 02:34 PM
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It drives everyone nuts. Stores do not like unhappy customers. So don't believe the myth that stores move it all around just so you cannot find your items and have to hunt. It's silly.
I work at a store. I have even worked in the area that does the shuffling. Yes, they DO deliberately reshuffle the store so you will spend more time in it looking for stuff. Yes, they know it annoys you, but it generates sufficiently more revenue that the trade-off between more money and annoyance comes down on the side of "make more money".
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:01 PM
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I work at a store. I have even worked in the area that does the shuffling. Yes, they DO deliberately reshuffle the store so you will spend more time in it looking for stuff. Yes, they know it annoys you, but it generates sufficiently more revenue that the trade-off between more money and annoyance comes down on the side of "make more money".
I also work in a store and we do not reshuffle here or at any other grocery store I have worked at in order to make it hard for a customer to find a product. We move things for the season, to bring in new products, to adjust to changes in the retail preferences of customers, to draw attention to new products etc. In other words, the store is adapting to changes in the retail world and consumer preference in order to increase profitability. We want the layout to be the best for the current retail food environment. We do not intentionally want you not to be able to find the bread crumbs.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:21 PM
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What can I say? Different stores do things differently.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:35 PM
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Ahhh, the ginger. I've been rolling my eyes at this thread, thinking "Oh, just walk around til you find it, or ask someone."
Sure, that's what I end up doing, but, crap, I go to this store about 3-4 times a week, so I get used to products and where they are placed, and it just throws my rhythm off when they keep moving things. Seasonal stuff I understand, but like why the fuck is the bread sometimes in the last aisle, sometimes in the next-to-last, and then sometimes in the floor section by the deli? And why are all the condiments in aisle 8 for six months, then aisle 7, then aisle 7 on the other side? This has been driving me nuts for years because I literally am at this store about 150-200 times a year. And it's pretty much just this particularly store that does it to this degree. Others may have minor shifts of product once in awhile, but this one entire sections get swapped out for who knows what reason.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:39 PM
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As I stated above, two sides of the same coin, and both sides are heads. Unless you run an independent supermarket or store, layouts are planned and dictated from above and based on extensive market research.

The head's side of the coin (and the National Geographic cited above (as well as other articles) supports what Bioptop states and customer experience and feedback supports Broomstick states. The end result is the same, the customer's perceptions and buying patterns are being manipulated and taken advantage of.

As for customer satisfaction, it plays a smaller part in marketing decisions than profits. I talked about a prime example somewhere on this forum before. When I worked at OfficeMax, regular cashiers were told that market research showed that if you asked a customer three times if they wanted a store credit card they were more likely to accept. One cashier did that and got more sign-ups than anyone else. He also got more complaints about his pushiness more that anyone else.

If customer satisfaction and shopping convenience was the prime metric for how stores did things, they'd put the bacon, eggs, hash browns and English muffins all next to each other and they wouldn't put the candy and soda (which kids see and nag about) next to the checkouts.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:53 PM
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Sure, that's what I end up doing, but, crap, I go to this store about 3-4 times a week, so I get used to products and where they are placed, and it just throws my rhythm off when they keep moving things. Seasonal stuff I understand, but like why the fuck is the bread sometimes in the last aisle, sometimes in the next-to-last, and then sometimes in the floor section by the deli? And why are all the condiments in aisle 8 for six months, then aisle 7, then aisle 7 on the other side? This has been driving me nuts for years because I literally am at this store about 150-200 times a year. And it's pretty much just this particularly store that does it to this degree. Others may have minor shifts of product once in awhile, but this one entire sections get swapped out for who knows what reason.
It's probably the store is trying to boost it's impulse sales and the demographics point to frequently moving things around does that. As I stated above about 7-11 stores, there's no one strategy that works for all stores in all locations. However, there are certain things that are standard for all virtually all supermarkets, produce near the entrance, eggs and milk at the rear and bread in the first or second aisle regardless if you start from the left or the right of the store.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-14-2019 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:58 PM
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As for customer satisfaction, it plays a smaller part in marketing decisions than profits. I talked about a prime example somewhere on this forum before. When I worked at OfficeMax, regular cashiers were told that market research showed that if you asked a customer three times if they wanted a store credit card they were more likely to accept. One cashier did that and got more sign-ups than anyone else. He also got more complaints about his pushiness more that anyone else.
Would be interesting to also find out just how many of his customers vs. those of more polite cashiers simply downed their items and left the store empty-handed because of behavior this offensive and obnoxious, or how many might have completed one purchase but never returned to that store because they didn't want to deal with this again, or both.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:24 PM
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As I stated above, two sides of the same coin, and both sides are heads. Unless you run an independent supermarket or store, layouts are planned and dictated from above and based on extensive market research.

The head's side of the coin (and the National Geographic cited above (as well as other articles) supports what Bioptop states and customer experience and feedback supports Broomstick states. The end result is the same, the customer's perceptions and buying patterns are being manipulated and taken advantage of.

As for customer satisfaction, it plays a smaller part in marketing decisions than profits. I talked about a prime example somewhere on this forum before. When I worked at OfficeMax, regular cashiers were told that market research showed that if you asked a customer three times if they wanted a store credit card they were more likely to accept. One cashier did that and got more sign-ups than anyone else. He also got more complaints about his pushiness more that anyone else.

If customer satisfaction and shopping convenience was the prime metric for how stores did things, they'd put the bacon, eggs, hash browns and English muffins all next to each other and they wouldn't put the candy and soda (which kids see and nag about) next to the checkouts.
You cannot put eggs, bacon, hash browns and English muffins next to each other. Perishables are in refrigerators and thus must be close to the back area where the perishables are kept. Frozen items must be a short distance from the back freezer. The idea is that stocking of perishable and frozen items must be swift so the items stay in proper temperatures as much as possible. Meat is a separate department run by different players. Bread will usually be near the Bakery. Impulse items like candy and cold drinks are going to be by the area people are most likely to have the impulse to buy them: at checkout. It's not just kids that decide they need a Pepsi and a Snickers. You want to hear people complain? Try taking away their register candy and sodas.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:33 AM
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This week, one of my co-workers shouted out a question to me from the next register over: "Do we take half dollars?" Well, yes, of course we do, they ARE legal tender here... and I thought my customer was going to hurt herself laughing so hard but trying to do it quietly. Yes, we also take dollar coins and two dollar bills.
Good.
But this is a valid query, as many placed DO NOT take those denominations.
Indeed, people have gotten arrested for trying to pass off 2-dollar bills as currency.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:05 AM
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Good.
But this is a valid query, as many placed DO NOT take those denominations.
Indeed, people have gotten arrested for trying to pass off 2-dollar bills as currency.
Cite? If they are genuine U. S. currency, then no one has gotten arrested for trying to spend a $2 bill. People have had the police called, but the officer usually laughs along at the clerk's ignorance.

Last edited by cochrane; 07-15-2019 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:26 AM
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Cite? If they are genuine U. S. currency, then no one has gotten arrested for trying to spend a $2 bill. People have had the police called, but the officer usually laughs along at the clerk's ignorance.
Sometimes the police are ignorant too.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:58 AM
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We've also had issues with very very old bills (so far the oldest I've seen was one from 1932) and the earlier, large half dollars.

Since I work in the cash office they call me over for currency verification if I'm on duty. I've found some funny money - hundreds, mostly, but once a fake ten - and lots of foreign currency. I've had to explain that things like watermarks weren't in bills prior to 1980 but they're still real money. The 1932 one I couldn't be sure was real - it certainly predated a lot of current anti-counterfeit stuff, and it was sooooo crisp and new-feeling... The detector pen said it was OK but those aren't 100% reliable and can give false negatives if the counterfeiters know how they work. I finally said I couldn't prove it wasn't legit. They took the first 1932 hundred but when someone else showed up later with three Benjamins from 1932 all crisp and new-feeling the manager said they could take it to the bank across the street and exchange it for something more modern. Not sure if that was kosher or not, but it wasn't my call on that one.
  #185  
Old 07-15-2019, 07:48 AM
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As far as I can tell from the original story, the store and the cops had specific (albeit erroneous) concerns about those $2 bills, not $2 bills in general:

Quote:
But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order.
[...]
Finally, Secret Service agent Leigh Turner arrived, examined the bills and said they were legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 07-15-2019 at 07:48 AM.
  #186  
Old 07-15-2019, 08:17 AM
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I have another one from my online shop. Twice in the last month this has happened. Customer who placed an order emails me two or three days later complaining that they never got an order confirmation and wondering what's up with that. I take a look before I email them back to tell them:

Hi, yes we got your order and it was shipped on $day. Our system send a text message order confirmation and shipping update to the phone number you entered, since you didn't enter an email address. But if that phone number was a landline, you won't get the text messages.

I never hear back from them after that. I suspect (and actually hope) they're kind of embarrassed.
  #187  
Old 07-15-2019, 08:17 AM
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Speaking of police, someone once went to the police because we wouldn't take his American Express card. I wish I could have heard that conversation!
  #188  
Old 07-15-2019, 10:24 AM
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As far as I can tell from the original story, the store and the cops had specific (albeit erroneous) concerns about those $2 bills, not $2 bills in general:
I can see why they would be cautious. They had reasonable grounds to be suspicious that the bills were counterfeit. That didn't call for the customer to be arrested and taken to jail. I realize this happened in 2005, but if it had happened to me, I would have considered suing for false arrest.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:59 PM
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Our local supermarket has a wonderful free click and collect service, I do wonder at the profitability of this, we order and pay online, a staff member wanders the aisles putting together our order and we collect it from the front desk at the chosen time. It gives little chance to get us to buy more than we intended though the minimum spend does mean we don't do it for a loaf of bread and litre of milk. It seems contrary to basic marketing principles but it works great for us, we are saving a lot of money.
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  #190  
Old 07-15-2019, 05:53 PM
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I also work in a store and we do not reshuffle here or at any other grocery store I have worked at in order to make it hard for a customer to find a product. We move things for the season, to bring in new products, to adjust to changes in the retail preferences of customers, to draw attention to new products etc. In other words, the store is adapting to changes in the retail world and consumer preference in order to increase profitability. We want the layout to be the best for the current retail food environment. We do not intentionally want you not to be able to find the bread crumbs.
I'm curious - do you work at the store level or the corporate level?
  #191  
Old 07-15-2019, 06:54 PM
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Re: Home Depot employees. Since they rarely have any idea what the item I am asking for is, the suggestion they would actually know where it is is preposterous.

E.g., Teflon plumbing tape in the plumbing department. "Where is it?" Blank look. "Never mind, I'll find it myself."
On the other hand, I once had to do the buying for everything needed plumbing-wise to hook up my shed house to the sewer and plumb in water and two sinks, a toilet and a shower--and I got the plumbing wizard at Home Despot who literally, I shit you not, laid out every single piece required in order on the floor so I could take a picture of it to text to my contractor to make sure it was all correct. Dude had it spot on and I had everything needed for the project in ONE trip. That guy was amazing.

On the third hand, when you're checking the website to make sure a store has something, quite often there will be stock listed but it's not in the store at all because it's on a truck that's in transit (website gets updated that the store has the items if they've been ordered but not yet delivered) or possibly in a trailer that's been dropped out in the yard but not yet unpacked and stocked. This can be suuuuuuuuuper frustrating!
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:31 PM
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Our local supermarket has a wonderful free click and collect service, I do wonder at the profitability of this, we order and pay online, a staff member wanders the aisles putting together our order and we collect it from the front desk at the chosen time. It gives little chance to get us to buy more than we intended though the minimum spend does mean we don't do it for a loaf of bread and litre of milk. It seems contrary to basic marketing principles but it works great for us, we are saving a lot of money.
Several factors to this:

Foremost is of course to build customer loyalty before Amazon brings Prime Pantry to your area.

They get at least $75 in guaranteed sales, versus the $5 they would get if you walked into the store and just bought bread and milk. IIRC, when Safeway first started their free delivery, it was at $49 min and it's now $80. In time in will be $100 and keep rising as more people get used to and dependent on it.

Many (most?) non-sale items are priced higher than instore. And because of slotting fees, the products that are available online are either sponsored by the manufacturer or distributor either directly or though discounts. I just checked Safeway and see another little trick. Bananas are .89/lb instore, but .36 each online. It's a sure bet that the person picking the banana for you isn't going to give you the biggest and heaviest.

Which leads to produce and meats. You lose the ability of preference. The person doing the picking likely won't pick the worse (that would be a turn off to use of the service), but they won't spend the time you would instore making a decision. I wouldn't be surprised if now or in the future, there's a stock of produce that the produce person culled while putting them on display. Still perfectly good, but less likely to be chosen.

The store may not make as much profit off delivery as they would instore, but by the nickel and dime tactics I've listed above, they're minimizing the difference.
  #193  
Old 07-16-2019, 06:06 AM
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Many (most?) non-sale items are priced higher than instore. And because of slotting fees, the products that are available online are either sponsored by the manufacturer or distributor either directly or though discounts. I just checked Safeway and see another little trick. Bananas are .89/lb instore, but .36 each online. It's a sure bet that the person picking the banana for you isn't going to give you the biggest and heaviest.

Which leads to produce and meats. You lose the ability of preference. The person doing the picking likely won't pick the worse (that would be a turn off to use of the service), but they won't spend the time you would instore making a decision. I wouldn't be surprised if now or in the future, there's a stock of produce that the produce person culled while putting them on display. Still perfectly good, but less likely to be chosen.
The above might be true for a store employee doing the picking, but for a third party doing the picking not so much. The folks doing the picking/home delivery for my store are functioning as independent contractors (like Uber and Lyft drivers) and very much have an interest in keeping their clients happy. Happy customers are more likely to tip, and some tip heavily.

Also, the shoppers doing this work, being people who have turned shopping into an actual job, sometimes a full time time, are going to shop MUCH more quickly and efficiently than you or I would. I've seen these folks filling two or three orders simultaneously, including some very specific requests, and doing it quickly.

Less than perfect produce, by the way, is usually utilized in cut portions - any bruised/bad portions are cut away and the prepped containers of fruit or sliced vegetables are where those go. Or they wind up in the various salads in the deli. If it's fit for human consumption the store is going to try to find a way to make it sellable.
  #194  
Old 07-16-2019, 11:07 AM
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On the third hand, when you're checking the website to make sure a store has something, quite often there will be stock listed but it's not in the store at all because it's on a truck that's in transit (website gets updated that the store has the items if they've been ordered but not yet delivered) or possibly in a trailer that's been dropped out in the yard but not yet unpacked and stocked. This can be suuuuuuuuuper frustrating!

I don't know if this happens at Home Depot (which has more large expensive items than Michaels, where I worked) but at Michaels, it drove the entire IT group insane because corporate would not allow the store employees to check the corporate deliveries at all. So inventory says you have x number of items because it was supposed to be in your delivery, but that box ended up at the wrong store? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Guess your inventory is off.
  #195  
Old 07-16-2019, 11:58 AM
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Sometimes people will insist I made a mistake ringing up their items. Hey, I'm only human and it happens. But after you empty the bags and check every item and the prices with the receipt, and count the number of items and see it matches the number of items on the receipt, don't keep insisting "the girl made a mistake" and hang around complaining until we have to call the police to get you to leave the store.
  #196  
Old 07-16-2019, 12:22 PM
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Sometimes people will insist I made a mistake ringing up their items. Hey, I'm only human and it happens. But after you empty the bags and check every item and the prices with the receipt, and count the number of items and see it matches the number of items on the receipt, don't keep insisting "the girl made a mistake" and hang around complaining until we have to call the police to get you to leave the store.
When I was at Safeway SOP in this scenario was full refund->re-ring entire order at another register->during that, first till is counted up. 99 times out of 100, the checker was exactly right. That 100th time, they undercharged the customer. In 12 years, not once did I ever see it go the customer's way.
  #197  
Old 07-17-2019, 12:21 AM
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I don't know if this happens at Home Depot (which has more large expensive items than Michaels, where I worked) but at Michaels, it drove the entire IT group insane because corporate would not allow the store employees to check the corporate deliveries at all. So inventory says you have x number of items because it was supposed to be in your delivery, but that box ended up at the wrong store? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Guess your inventory is off.
I've ordered things for pickup at Target that showed in-stock online and when I went to the store (after getting a confirmation email), it wasn't there because it wasn't on the shelf. What likely happened was someone picked up the last one and hadn't checked out yet, so inventory still showed it was there.

When I worked it OfficeMax it was so incredibly bad. The system would show negative inventory! When I asked how that was possible, I was told that if the computer showed zero in stock, but the item (because of poor inventory management) was rung up, it would go negative. We also had the issue with items in transit because the system didn't distinguish what was on the shelf and what was in transit.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a UPS online and went to pick it up a couple of days later. The guy at OfficeMax couldn't find it and asked me why I was there to pick it up...I told him..."Because I got the pickup confirmation." (I tried my best to be polite since I used to work at that store). He was ready to give up and looked one more time. Turns out it was transferred from another store and wasn't where it was supposed to be.
  #198  
Old 07-17-2019, 12:31 AM
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The above might be true for a store employee doing the picking, but for a third party doing the picking not so much. The folks doing the picking/home delivery for my store are functioning as independent contractors (like Uber and Lyft drivers) and very much have an interest in keeping their clients happy. Happy customers are more likely to tip, and some tip heavily.

Also, the shoppers doing this work, being people who have turned shopping into an actual job, sometimes a full time time, are going to shop MUCH more quickly and efficiently than you or I would. I've seen these folks filling two or three orders simultaneously, including some very specific requests, and doing it quickly.

Less than perfect produce, by the way, is usually utilized in cut portions - any bruised/bad portions are cut away and the prepped containers of fruit or sliced vegetables are where those go. Or they wind up in the various salads in the deli. If it's fit for human consumption the store is going to try to find a way to make it sellable.
Interesting about using independent contractors. Makes sense since AFAIK, most of the employees in chain supermarkets are union. I hadn't thought about tipping for delivery (haven't done it yet, but I got some coupons). There goes my $10 off delivery!

Yes, I'm well aware of what happens to less than perfect fruit in supermarket. This is also the reason why I've heard to never order a fruit or vegetable platter at a hotel. Though of course most of the "ugly fruit" is still perfectly fine and the less then perfect veggies go into stocks, soups or stews.

Edit: My local supermarkets offer bags of overripe bananas at a big discount marked "Banana Bread?". I've never seen that at Safeway.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-17-2019 at 12:33 AM.
  #199  
Old 07-17-2019, 12:49 AM
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Veering off topic, but my Dad loved persimmons, especially Japanese persimmons (the ones that look like orange tomatoes). Since they were so seasonal, the supermarkets would just have a few cases of them. At first my Dad buy them and wait until they're almost overripe before eating them, but soon realized that letting them get really overripe made them even sweeter (overly sweet for me). He worked out a deal with the produce guy at the local market and agreed to buy all the leftover persimmons that would otherwise be tossed at a discount. He tried to make the same deal at Safeway, but was told they couldn't do that, they'd have to be tossed per policy.

My Dad would toss the bargain persimmons in the freezer and eat one or two every night until they were gone. He's peel away the skin and put in in bowl and eat it like sherbert.
  #200  
Old 07-17-2019, 03:44 AM
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When I worked it OfficeMax it was so incredibly bad. The system would show negative inventory! When I asked how that was possible, I was told that if the computer showed zero in stock, but the item (because of poor inventory management) was rung up, it would go negative.
We get that where I work, but when it happens we send a human to investigate and correct the inventory numbers. The inventory folks start their shift by printing out a report of any such instances so they can take care of those errors.
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