retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I love emails like this one, from MNB user Karyn Chenoweth:

I had to share another Customer Service story that absolutely floored me.

Long story short, we had purchased a special order dog door from Home Depot which didn’t end up being the product we expected. We called our local HD store, who apologized and discovered that the door manufacturer had changed specifications without alerting HD or changing their product literature. I called the Home Depot 800 number to suggest that they work with their supplier to avoid other customers having the same problem. I figured it would end there.

Instead, we got a call just a day later from the store manager with further information. Following my call, the complaint had been forwarded to the store and the special orders group. They had reached out to the door supplier and got a full explanation as to why the changes had occurred. They jointly offered to produce a door that met the old specifications and offered to deliver it to our house since we’d been inconvenienced.

I was shocked at that level of responsiveness and fast action and just had to share with you as an example of OUTSTANDING customer service and problem resolution. Great job, Home Depot. That is a true loyalty program!


We had a story yesterday about Tesco increasing the products on which it provides carbon footprint labeling, and I expressed a little skepticism about how many shoppers actually understand what a carbon footprint is. Which led one MNB user to write:

The Tesco story about Carbon Footprints is yet another example of retailers letting the competition get ahead of them on issues important to their customers.

If any of your readers don’t know what a Carbon Footprint is, have them ask a 12-yr old and I bet they could explain it.

Now I would also bet more than half of your readers are Republican leaning, religious and conservative, and most of them probably agree with Limbaugh that all environmentalists are wackos. Being from Kansas I get it, we’re still debating whether or not to teach evolution in school.

Forget the science on global warming for a minute. Like it or not, today’s youth are being taught about environmental issues and those retailers insightful enough to capitalize on that sensitivity are smart even profitable to do so. It’s the right thing to do whether you believe in the science behind it or not. I for one would rather be politically correct all the way to the bank.

Rush said yesterday on his radio program that Republicans have a choice: they can listen (something that moderates seem to be suggesting) or they can teach (which would be his choice).

The same choice, it seems to me, is there for retailers to make.

Some might call it political correctness. But I think you learn more by listening.

Regarding the NuVal nutritional labeling system, about which I continue to express skepticism, one MNB user wrote:

NuVal and Guiding Stars are but two of approximately 40 health rating systems. The industry has successfully taken a good concept and has made it meaningless. How many consumers will take the time to learn each stores “health code”?

Good point.

We had a piece yesterday about how Disney is using its licensed characters to sell healthier food, and how the Washington Post noted that “there still are those who argue that using these kinds of methods to sell anything to kids is wrong…that, in the words of one critic, ‘the best thing we could do is to stop marketing any food to them and let parents make choices about what their children eat without being undermined by advertising’.”

I responded:

The simple fact is that kids are exposed to marketing and advertising images all the time, and one of the things that parents ought to do is teach their children how to differentiate among them. I think there is a pretty good argument for being careful about how and what you market to little kids, but suggesting that companies not be allowed to market healthy products to kids seems silly and counter-productive, and the result of fuzzy thinking by people who aren’t dealing with reality.

MNB user Suzanne Crettol wrote:

I often wonder how we got to a place where parents are a mere presence in the home instead of the force that drives the home. Every parent who read the Washington Post article should feel insulted that they are portrayed as weak beings that succumb to their children’s need for all that is advertised - the article should have been pointed the finger at the parents instead of advertisers. When I was a child I could sing virtually every jingle down the cereal isle at the grocery store with my Mom saying no the entire time and though my son does not know the jingles (thank you on-demand for no commercials) he too hears no down the cereal isle because I parent.

MNB user Sriram Daita wrote:

I am amazed that consumers blame companies for obesity problem. How about consumers take the blame for buying the product in the first place? No one is forcing them to buy the product. Consumers have a choice and if parents let companies influence their kids then they are not parenting very well. It is time that as a nation we do some introspection and take personnel responsibility on the actions. Be it politicians, wall street honchos, kids everyone is OK with pointing finger at society for the problems. But do not we make up the society?

And, we got a great email responding to yesterday’s story about a new study saying that light consumption of red wine can actually extend one’s lifespan:

As Ben Franklin said: “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.”

Can I get an “amen”?

KC's View: