Published on: November 3, 2008
Got a number of emails responding to the coverage here of Starbucks’ new loyalty card program.
For example, MNB
user Baronda Bradley wrote:I did some quick math … After purchasing the $25 loyalty card, at $4 per cup of coffee, you have to buy 63 (62.5) cups of coffee to break even in one year. If you order $5 cups instead, you only have to buy 50. Here's hoping that the program DOES give you time to spend another $275 to $277 minimum additional dollars' worth to prove your "loyalty"--too bad they didn't think your past loyalty was worth something already.MNB
user Ken Wagar wrote:Question? If I have to pay $25 for a Starbucks Gold Card to get “Top Shelf” Treatment, what kind of treatment do I get otherwise?
And another MNB
user wrote:I have no problem with a rewards program, although this offer is far from compelling. But when a retailer implies that one type of customer will receive better treatment than the rest I think they are beginning down the proverbial slippery slope. Gold card members will receive “top shelf” treatment, while the vast majority of customers who make up the bulk of their business will be treated with somewhat less than top shelf service. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Let me pose an argument here.
We accept that best customers will get better treatment from airlines. In fact, those of us who are “best customers” expect it.
So why is it acceptable in one venue and not another?
On the subject of Walgreen going to a centralized fulfillment strategy in some of its stores, which seems to mean that some folks would have to wait 24 hours to get a prescription filled, MNB
user Anne Maas wrote:Reading this immediately raised concern. I have been filling my prescriptions at Walgreen's for at least 20 years. When other companies have reduced their prescription costs I have remained loyal to Walgreen's. I consistently have positive experiences with them and I receive my prescriptions promptly. When I travel I know that I can locate a Walgreen's and have a prescription filled without hassle, if necessary.
I cannot imagine not being able to receive a prescription the same day that a doctor calls it in or I request a refill. If a doctor is calling it in, typically I need to get started on it immediately. If I'm refilling a prescription, I have a tendency to disregard the fact that I'm getting low and panic when I realize I just used the last of one and need my refill the same day. Of course I can train myself to plan ahead, but I know there will be times when it just won't happen.
If I am unable to obtain my prescriptions in the same day that they are ordered I will be forced to take my business where I am confident that they will be.
I do realize that the article states that one-third of all prescriptions will be filled at a central facility, so possibly mine will not be affected. I'd be curious to know what will determine which are filled at the store level vs. the central facility.MNB
user Gary Cohen wrote:Our local Bel Air (Raley’s) recently switched to a similar model…if you bring in or call in a prescription, they ask if you can pick it up the next day…and then the prescription is processed in some central location and shipped to the store. The problem I have with that is 2-fold: as a traveler, I usually need to take care of my prescriptions “today” as opposed to “tomorrow.”
Also – it seems that when they fill the prescriptions at the central location, for their convenience they only use one size prescription bottle. So sometimes 30 days worth of pills fills up 1” of the bottle and the rest is empty space; on other pills, 30 days worth fills 2 of their bottles. The local, in store pharmacist, however, often uses the actual manufacturer’s packaging of 30 days worth of pills, cutting down on a tremendous amount of waste.
I vote for the old fashioned way of filling prescriptions locally and today.MNB
user Mike Smith chimed in:I feel as you do about waiting 24 hours for a prescription to be filled. If I just left the doctor’s office and feel rotten, I will find someone who will fill the prescription in a reasonable amount of time. I am currently a Walgreens customer and not real happy with how long it takes now to get a prescription filled at my local pharmacy.
Seems to me that Walgreen ought to pay attention to these sorts of emails. Because what the company seems to be suggesting is a move backwards, not forward, that puts efficiency and operational needs ahead of customer priorities. Almost always a mistake.
Regarding drive thru Flu shots, one MNB
user wrote:Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a retailer conducting them? Don't they want to attract the people to actually set foot into the store and make additional purchases? I'd be hard pressed to think that the flu shots standing on their own are a huge profit center. Retailers want people in their stores. Stressing health and wellness themes like flu shots is one example of a tool to drive some traffic. Drive thru flu seems contradictory to me.
Unless the retailer’s goal is to establish a relationship with the shopper that is based on his or her convenience and needs, not the retailer’s.
Sure, some impulse purchases may be lost. But what is gained in terms of long-term credibility and loyalty?
I noted on Friday in “OffBeat” that the Christian Science Monitor
soon will cease publishing a print edition and will move to a pure online model, which seems like a pretty good reflection of the kinds of changes occurring throughout the culture these days – changes that all businesses need to understand and adapt to.MNB
user Louie Yan responded:Perhaps the daily paper on our doorstep will evolve into a custom piece that includes news categories that we select when we subscribe. You may want everything to do with retail and macroeconomics, I may want worldwide soccer and local business coverage. Still timely - I don't think a few hours will really make a difference in the news categories we follow, except for the world's markets, which we follow electronically anyway - and with the reassuring, tactile and olfactory satisfaction of newsprint.
Except that newsprint is only reassuring to people of a certain age. (I’m that age. I love newspapers.) Younger than that, and they have no allegiance to the form.
News will be customized, but it all is going to be electronic. And we’re going to do our own customization, every day.
user wrote:I couldn't agree with you more about the appeal of the daily newspaper. For as long as I could read, I've been reading newspapers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press, The New Tribune (Beaver Falls, PA), The Beaver County Times, The Dominion Post (Morgantown, WV) and The Atlanta Journal & Constitution. In college, my roommates could never understand how or why I would get up so early after a late night out (uh studying) to get the paper. My wife swears that I wake up at the sound of the paper hitting my driveway at 5AM. I continue to subscribe to the liberal AJC even though I'm a conservative.
It’s sad what an addict will do for his daily fix.
I’m with you. It just so happens that we have a 20th century addiction in a 21st century world.MNB
user Philip Herr wrote:My visceral reaction to the idea of shutting down the print version is violently negative. There is just no way to replace the reassurance of a newspaper in your hands. But then I thought a bit and had a more rational reason to reject the argument as well: If the NYT stops publishing a paper edition does that reduce it to the same level as the Huffington Post or The Drudge Report? What is to distinguish the "gravitas" from the "dreck"? My point is that anyone with a point of view can set up a website. But it takes a vast organization to carry off news-gathering and dissemination with accuracy and (some) objectivity. So if the paper goes, will the credibility?
Two responses here.
First, I am proof positive that anyone with a point of view can set up a website, I figure I earn whatever credibility I have … and live with the fact that some people find me more credible than others.
Second, you and I probably equate paper with credibility more than a young person would. After all, they trust Jon Stewart’s newscast as much as anyone else’s. (And who wouldn’t?)
Responding to my praise for San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, one MNB
user pointed out:I was a fan of that Singletary coaching move on Sunday too, until I learned today that he chose to "dropped trou" at halftime of a game to make a point about the way the 49ers were playing. Not effective at all, and poor judgment in my opinion. He should be disappointed that it got out to the media, because it's an embarrassment to him that he made the decision to do that.
He's been an assistant coach long enough to know that the pampered, whiny players of today aren't affected by these scare tactics (unless Commissioner Goodell is involved). They will still get paid their guaranteed money, and unless treated with kid gloves, no one will listen to a coach using those coaching techniques.
He was an all time great, and played when the money wasn't as big, and when players stayed with the same teams (more often than today's game). Unfortunately, he is already showing signs of being a major risk as a head coaching hire, and is no doubt auditioning for a job other than the 49ers next year (because it will be Mike Holmgren's job if he wants it).
It is tough being an anachronism, whether you’re in football or newspapers. That may be what Singletary is finding out.
And finally, regarding the late, lamented baseball season and World Series, MNB
user Carla Baughman wrote:Thank you for rooting for the Rays! As a Giants fan, I was able to see two former Giants (Pedro Feliz and Scott Eyre) win the WS and feel I can share in a bit of that post season joy (though watching the Phillies take down the Dodgers was almost more joyful).
The Rays are a great story and have nothing to hang their heads over. That said, they just don't play baseball the correct way... their pitchers don't hit.
Have to agree with you on that one. The designated hitter is a crime against the natural order of things.
I noted last week that my record during the baseball post season suggests that one never should take me to Vegas. I got more than a dozen emails saying that I’d be a perfect person to take to Vegas…because they would just bet against by instincts.
One guy even compared me to the William H. Macy character in “The Cooler.” (Which, by the way, is a great movie.)
Which seemed sort of tough.
Could have been worse, though.
He could have compared me to Alec Baldwin’s character.