retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday’s “Kate’s Take” looked at websites that are targeting men who have taken over many of their families’ cooking duties, and it led MNB user Gary Harris to write:

As someone who migrated from the Home Improvement industry to the Food industry a couple decades ago, I know there are opportunities to reach out to us. First off, I must thank Wegmans for taking on the task of teaching its customers (through us, its employees) about how to cook great tasting healthy meals. That initiative coincided with my wife reentering the full time workforce years ago, and our agreeing that dinner would become my responsibility. I haven’t looked back. The acquisition of new skills and the successful creation of a culinary experience for family and friends is reason enough, but there is a tremendous opportunity in the tools. I’m a guy. Guys like tools. Saws, drills, electric, cordless, gas powered, we love shopping for and getting the ‘right tool for the right job.’ Cooking is just another venue for that. We all know about the grills and grill tools, but what about cooking utensils, pots and pans, and chef quality knives? We like our computers to be the fastest, our golf clubs to take 5 strokes off our game, and our knives to cut steaks paper thin if need be. My wife has to drag me out of the Complements section at Wegmans when we go shopping, but my braising pan, slow cooker, and 25th anniversary Henckels knife set are among my most prized kitchen tools. And I’m always looking for the next and newest…

Responding to my piece the other day about improved customer service, one MNb user wrote:

I recently visited a Sunset Foods store in Chicago and saw the same “Invasion of the Body Snatchers. “There were at least 3 C/S reps in every aisle just waiting to help you. Wished we had something like this in Cincinnati….

MNB user Bob Vereen wrote:

The credit for improved service at Home Depot goes to its CEO, Frank Blake, who took over a few years ago from Bob Nardelli.  One of his first moves was to bring back qualified, trained full-time people (alas, the original modus operandi) and institute more and better training for existing personnel.   He also increased store personnel.

Nardelli had cut full-timers, relied on part-timers and reduced personnel numbers.   Service got so bad that Bernie Marcus, one of the founders, publicly said he no longer was visiting the stores.

Blake was smart enough to realize what should get top priority and adequate budget dollars.

And MNB user Jim DeLuca wrote:

Yesterday I got 4 duplicate email pitches from   I assumed it was a classic mistake and just deleted them.  Today, when I opened my email, I had 1 new one from them apologizing for the error, "someone clearly having a bad day"; it was cute, and had a pic of a smiling boy wearing a white shirt and loose tie hitting his forehead with his hand...OOPS.  The apology included a  offer of an additional 10% off any new order; on top of the 25% discount they they were touting yesterday.  Plus, this added discount could be used for any new order, not just for the product they were promoting yesterday.

Immediate apology + humor + extra discount= pretty darn good service.


And, regarding the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship, MNB user Chris Esposito (any relation to Phil?) wrote:

Watching the series, it was a classic example of team work and striving towards a common goal, a lesson for all of us to learn in business as well.  However, the violence and rioting in Vancouver afterwards was a disgrace.  From what I read, the same thing happened in 1994 when the NY Rangers defeated the Canucks in Game 7.  There were stores since game 6 a few days earlier of how they expected this could happen.  Thus, to me, its unbelievable that you’d be potentially anticipating this level of violence and yet not be prepared well enough to stop it?  Poor planning by the city of Vancouver.

Which is all the more shocking because Vancouver is one of the world’s great cities, with some of the nicest people.
KC's View: