Thursday, July 05, 2007

Grab Can, Lift Arm, Stack Can, Turn Around

In this area, there are basically two options for grocery shopping (three if you count Winn-Dixie, but nobody counts Winn-Dixie anymore, as they are dying a slow and painful death). We've got Publix and Albertson's.

The local Albertson's has a "fresh" fish counter in the back that tends to make the entire store smell like something rotting, the always rotating employees and managers are generally in bad moods, and they keep rearranging the aisles so no one can find anything.

By comparison, the local Publix is a veritable Disneyland. It's clean, the employees this week are the same ones from last month, and they always seem to be in good moods. The only area where Albertson's trumps Publix (locally, anyway) is fresh sushi, which I will go to Albertson's for when the sushi jones kicks in.

I'm pretty sure what makes Publix the better store is that Publix is employee owned. These people have a stake and therefore, they care.

It might also be the music. I think they just switched their music, or the manager's away for the holiday and the employees are having fun. Used to be all you'd hear were 70s classics from the likes of Carly Simon, Billy Joel and Gladys Knight. On a recent trip I heard Big Audio Dynamite and U2. Then yesterday it was Billy Idol and Joe Jackson. If I say, "Supermarket music," your top-of-mind song isn't going to be "Look Sharp."

And damnit if I didn't find myself, like a sucker, enjoying it. I have become the targeted demo supermarket shopper.

Previously in Supermarket Marketing:
Don't Wander From Your Brat as He Dances in the Cart

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  • I cannot abide an Albertsons. Their employees have a good reason to be in bad moods since the chain regularly has tried to eliminate their jobs via auto checkout, the Shop 'n' Scan thing and other big, shiny ideas. In Dallas, I have to say Central Market employees are almost downright cheery. Even on a Christmas Eve morning when everyone's in a rush, they're helpful, efficient and fun.

    I bring this up because grocery stores never seem to think that their staff makes a difference -- that it's just a cost to be minimzed -- but good employees are something a shopper really does notice.

    By Blogger Irene Done, at July 5, 2007 at 8:30 PM  

  • That is really what it comes down to, Irene. Slow service, unfriendly service - make for a bad customer experience.

    Notice I didn't mention price. I've no doubt that I might save a few pennies in the long run at Albertson's. Matters not. I'll pay those pennies to shop at a store that actually makes it look like they care.

    In the end, Alberton's feels gloomy, and it's a direct result of the employees' lack of morale.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at July 5, 2007 at 10:59 PM  

  • YEah -- Publix has standards. That's why they left my neighborhood, to be replaced by Mercado something or other.

    By Blogger chuck_rampart, at July 7, 2007 at 2:19 PM  

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