Published on: December 9, 2009
Yesterday, MNB took note of a Tampa Tribune
report that Delhaize-owned Sweetbay Supermarkets has opened a new store there that is “a virtual showcase of eco-friendly energy-saving projects not usually seen in grocery stores. There are motion sensors that turn on lights when customers walk nearby. And rather than open-air shelves, huge areas of the store have refrigerators with glass doors ... There are hyperefficient air conditioners, on-demand water heaters, restrooms that use reclaimed water for flushing and even preferred parking close to the door for hybrid cars.”
As a result, the Tribune
wrote, “Publix officials are thinking along similar lines to save energy, and a slew of projects will start appearing in their stores soon, if not already.”
My comment: All of these companies have learned the lesson that these kinds of projects are both good for the environment and good for the bottom line. The Tribune notes that “the changes will save the company money. An average Sweetbay supermarket can rack up an electric bill of $26,000 a month, officials say, using as much power as about 50 average homes. New technology in the Tarpon Springs store will cut that bill by 20 percent to 30 percent and reduce water use by 40 percent.” Green is good.
MNB user Bob Paulson disagreed:Enough already with the 'green' thinking. Too often, too many times group think has taken over a subject, only to see time actually correct that same group thinking in another direction. Global warming? Really? Show me the hard and fast data. Two years ago everyone was on the organic band wagon.
A few months of bad economic news, a few thousand points off the Dow, and a few million people out of work later and organic is a dim memory when people look for today's value instead of tomorrows security. Organic was good, when it was good for your own well being and state of mind that said you needed something more healthy. Now we are faced with certainly different circumstances economically and organic is a back burner item at best. Global warming and green thinking is good when put into proper context. The American people, as a whole are not fully convinced that there is any-let me repeat-any global warming. There is no real, hard data to support claims that we need to make wholesale changes in our lifestyles so that we can 'reduce our carbon footprint'. America can not and will not carry the water for the rest of the world, in effect,effort to reduce our
CO2 emissions so that Third world countries can continue to produce theirs.
Kyoto agreements and Copenhagen meetings aside, Americans ways of life are being actively challenged, and threatened, by misinformed, over educated, under performing politicians who think 'they know best'. I for one am sick to death of the attitude that we must swallow whole the ideas put forth by green activists and politicians who cow tow to the Ecological doom sayers. We are not warming, if anything, we are in a cooling period, that soon will change. The Earth changes and we must change with it, but Global Warming? Green is Good? Come on. Talk about retail, customer service, even the blue blood wine and gin you favor, but leave the Green crap out. You have no idea on what is right for the global warming ruse, and neither does our President. Leave the left wing politics out of your commentary.
You should know better.
For the record, the approach that I espoused isn’t just being implemented by companies such as Delhaize and Publix, but also by such notorious socialist organizations as...Walmart.
Oh, wait a minute. Walmart isn’t a socialist organization. If anything, it is a highly conservative company.
But here is what Walmart knows: If it can save a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter or a dollar on energy costs by being a green company, that is money that it can plough back into new stores, heightened marketing efforts, and lower prices that will make it tougher for other companies to compete with it.
That’s a lesson being learned by a lot of companies, at least in part because they recognize that being green also is giving Walmart an economic and competitive advantage.
If you don’t think that is a story with relevance to retail, I cannot help you. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to hear
. That’s what we specialize in here on MNB. You want pablum, go visit some of the other sites that specialize in being gently reassuring and non-confrontational.
Now, you are right about one thing. I believe that man is having an impact on global warming. Not being a scientist, I can only listen to the arguments on both sides - which I do - and try to make a common sense judgment. For me, arguing that spewing crap into the atmosphere has no impact is akin to the so-called scientists who used to argue that smoking wouldn’t affect your lungs. It makes no sense.
BTW..you are wrong on one other thing - and there can be no debate about the facts on this. While I may drink what you refer to as “blue blood wine,” I don’t drink gin and never have.
We continue to get very interesting emails about the Aldi shopping experience. One MNB user wrote:When I first read the Aldi story ... and giving credit to Aldi for the actions of the cashier, I thought - Ba-Hum-bug. No way Aldi corporate allows cashiers the ability to right off free product.
I have very little confidence in the goodness of larger corporations (and governments, but that's off topic).
However, I have TREMENDOUS confidence in the goodness of individuals.
Therefore, I would be willing to bet that the cashier acted as she did because she is a good person and either 1. Paid for the bill out of her own pocket, or 2. Let her cash register be short that amount and took the grief associated with it being that short. Knowing that she did the good and respectable thing.
Nah ... I'm not a pessimist overall. I'm optimistic on the good of PEOPLE!
For the record, I have heard enough stories and talked to enough people over the past few days to convince me that this was not an anomaly. Aldi is creating a customer-focused culture within a company that most people assume is about cheap an cheaper groceries and negligible service.
MNB user Bob Vereen wrote:As a committed Aldi shopper for all our basics, I have been impressed with the attitude of checkout cashiers at the two stores in our area. They comment with virtually every customer going through the checkout lane, quite unlike the impersonal attitude in most other stores - Kroger, Target, etc. Walmart cashiers seem somewhat better than those in Target and Kroger, but still not as involved as at Aldi.
Did you get that? The best cashiers, according to this customer, are at Aldi and Walmart.
Are you getting the message here?
Another MNB user wrote:Living in the backyard of one retailing giant, we have fewer shopping options. Being a devoted shopper for 15 yrs, I've been blessed to not have what I considered the need to shop at Aldi. The perception I had of Aldi was one that the last few articles has quickly changed my opinion of and convinced me to quickly spend my money there. I am impressed with what I'm hearing and am eager to begin to invest in this company's positive message. I hope others pay attention and this brings Aldi other first-time shoppers.
This, by the way, is what good word of mouth does for you. It creates customers.
As opposed to bad word of mouth, which can drive them away. Michael Sansolo wrote yesterday of a New Jersey retailer that was downright hostile to a group of visiting Italian retailers, which he thought sent a terrible message not just to retailers (who spent more than a hundred bucks in the store) but to customers who may have been aware of the hostility.
That’s what MNB user Andrew Casey seemed to be thinking:Another, quite practical reason for being nice to groups is so you don't get negative press in widely read publications like MNB. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people just don't get that it is just plain easier to be nice to people than rude or indifferent.
Another MNB user wrote:Great piece! Very telling about the true culture of an organization. Also important, I think, is the stark contrast between the expected experience at these two retailers and the reality. I think that any company should strive to exceed expectations to be successful and while failing to meet expectations can hurt, flat out crushing expectations as in this example can be even more damaging. I wonder how many of your readers went to the archives to research the company in question…I did before even moving on to the next story!
Yesterday I was taken to task by an MNB reader who objected to a joke I made the day before. The story was about how thousands of cans of Slim Fast were being recalled because of a bacteria that causes vomiting and diarrhea, and I joked that for people using Slim fast, such symptoms could be seen as value-added.
To which one MNB user responded:Your supposed sensitivity disregards the suffering caused by the consumption of these products that may cause diarrhea and vomiting. Your comments may also cause suffering to those who may be using those products in an attempt to deal with obesity or other issues.
I hope you will make an apology to the entire MNB community and carefully consider the personal impact your remarks in future.
To be honest, I didn’t apologize...mostly because most of the email I got was from people who found the joke to be genuinely funny, and in part because MNB is designed to be a place of serious levity and the occasional inappropriate/politically incorrect remark.
Well, one MNB user wasn’t buying:I feel people did not respond because fat jokes are one of the last safe harbors from criticism. We are afraid to come forward and get mocked again for being sensitive about it.
Just like the examples of the store employees being examples of the store, your jokes are a reflection of your character. Your lack of apology today based on a lack of response from the people you hurt is irresponsible.
I feel bad that you think so.
To be honest, I never thought of it as a fat joke. I thought of it as a bodily functions joke. And I love a good bodily functions joke. (Campfire scene in “Blazing Saddles,” maybe the funniest scene ever in the movies. My standards may not be high, but they are consistent.)
BTW...I make no claims for my strength of character. That is for other people to judge.