retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I didn't get to any emails last week because of my personal circumstances, so let's see if I can catch up a bit…

On the subject of AMC Theaters installing comfortable easy chair-like seating in theaters where they need to do something to get people to come in the front door, one MNB reader wrote:

I live in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, MN.  The AMC theater near me in Coon Rapids, MN has had the comfortable Laz-E-Boy seats for a few years now. I was skeptical of the concept when I first heard about it.  The remodeling of the theater resulted in the seating capacity being cut in half.  However, I can tell you that it was well worth it!   I did not frequent the theater much before the remodel but now look forward to seeing movies in the theater so I can watch in comfort.  I have not gone to a theater without the comfy chairs since I experienced the chairs at AMC.  I drive by 3 other theaters to go the AMC with the reclining chairs.

I think we can count this as a "yes" vote.

And from another reader:

Just wanted to share that the AMC here in Tulsa added the reclining seats about a year ago.  Initially I had the same thought as you, that I would spend all that money & then fall asleep half-way through the movie.  But we decided to give it a try, despite that we had been regular “early bird” (aka cheap ticket) Cinemark customers for some time & had also purchased Cinemark’s re-usable cup/popcorn bucket to save on our movie snacks.

To our surprise, we did not fall asleep (the loud sound probably helped that) and were absolutely floored by the experience!  No more too-tall people right in front of us and my restless legs aren’t quite as restless!  We now much prefer to go to the AMC for movies, even though that means we no longer get the “early bird” cheap seats & don’t get to enjoy the same snack savings we had at the Cinemark.  It’s just that much better of a movie-going experience, that I am willing to pay more.  Now if they would just add a baby-sitting option, much like my local gym has...maybe we’d be able to get to the movies more often!

I think that's another "yes" vote.

And from another:

I wanted to add to your piece on the La-Z-Boy seats at AMC theaters, if I may.  In my home town of Rochester, NY, they have already converted one of their theaters.  I must say, the seats are as comfortable as anything I have ever had in my home.  They are fully reclinable, and yet they left enough room between rows that people can easily navigate in and out without bumping into anyone or anything.  Perhaps the best feature is that, using the AMC online ticket app, you can not only purchase your tickets in advance, you can actually reserve your seat.  It is a major improvement on the old model.

You are one hundred percent correct, however, that for some of us, reclining equals sleeping.  After dozing off countless times, much to the delight of my grandchildren who had to give me a nudge to stop my snoring, I have decided not to take advantage of that particular feature.  My fiancé chides me every time, that I am the only one in the theater sitting straight up in a recliner.  But I’ll say this, the seats are so wide and so plush, it’s the best darned sitting straight up experience you could ask for.

Another "yes."

One MNB reader wanted to comment on the subject of a Washington Post story about how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, charging that the e-tailer has made it "too easy for children to make purchases when using mobile apps without a parent's permission," and my commentary, which said, in part:

As a parent who occasionally got a surprise when I opened up the cable bill and found purchases that I had not made nor authorized, I'm completely sympathetic to the FTC position on this matter. It isn't just kids who need to be protected, it's their parents wallets … and it seems to me that Amazon maybe ought to be a little more vigilant in creating safeguards. If not, it ought to be forced to do so…

As a parent of 4, if your kids are making charges on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, or via SMS on their phones, then it’s the parent’s lack of oversight and sheer ignorance of what you’re handing over to your kids.  Typical response from parents who fail to parent, “It’s not my fault, somebody else should be responsible for my children!!!”.

I have 4 kids, all with cell phones, all have the Amazon App (because their free music streaming with Prime is great for them).  Every time there’s an order, I get an email from Amazon and txt message from my bank (research it, just about all banks have this feature).  My kids also know to ask.  When my kids were younger and were on our Roku and wanted to RENT a movie, they had to ask…..That’s called parenting!!!!!!

When you hand your kids an electronic device with a virtual credit card attached to it then you better have some damn discussion about the rules for using it and swift punishment for when they break those rules.

“Amazon maybe ought to be a little more vigilant in creating safeguards”?????!!!  How about Amazon should charge more to parents who are too lazy to do their damn jobs as parents!!!

Okay, those are all fair points.

We had a story recently about Krispy Kreme management thinking about branching into new food categories as a way of bolstering sales, which led on member of the MNB community to write:

I love donuts but can’t stomach one from Krispy Kreme.  The greasy, overly-sweet treat just makes me feel like I’m trying to hurt myself or at least dig an early grave.  With that said, a new one just opened about a mile from my house, and the first day the line wrapped the building from morning to night! You would have thought they were giving cash by the dozen…or at least in them.  They definitely have diehard fans out there.

My boyfriend and I went there this past weekend during breakfast, and though I didn’t get anything, it would have been nice if they had at least ONE healthier or savory option.  All quick service restaurants need to get on board with variety and healthier options. Even those who don’t eat healthy all the time would like the option to sometimes! I think it would be brilliant to add KK donut pieces/flavor to ice cream or throw a burger between two of them.  Gross to say the least, but that’s how America likes it.  Fat, sweet and deadly.

On another subject, from another reader:

Just wanted to throw in my two cents on the Amazon Prime spending: Until recently, I had only ever been a Prime member when I had a free month-long trial. But after I discovered the magic of Christmas shopping online last winter, and then when Amazon began launching this litany of new services and features over the last six months, that changed really fast.

I was thrilled to pay the now-higher price to have access to things like free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music and the Kindle First/Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

And it seems like every day they’re adding some new feature that is either exclusive to or better for Prime members. I love that Amazon treats its Prime members like members of a club, instead of just mines for data. Amazon goes out of its way to make things easy and streamlined. And yeah, that encourages me to spend more with them. The convenience of Amazon just kind of snowballs when you become a Prime member and you begin going out of your way to find ways to buy everything – from toilet paper to jewelry – from them.

We had a story last week about a Los Angeles Times report that Netflix has stopped shipping DVDs on Saturdays, "a move that could save the company 10% annually on shipping costs." The story noted that "last year the U.S. Postal Service considered ending Saturday mail delivery, leading to a report that said the change could make Netflix more profitable. Ultimately, the USPS backed off its plan to end Saturday deliveries, but Netflix has gone through with it."

I commented:

One of the things that always has distinguished Netflix is how new DVDs seem to show up even before you think they could have received the old one you mailed back. I suppose that this new policy could slow things down and affect customer happiness … but I'm guessing that Netflix probably looked at the numbers and saw that Saturday was a low-shipment day, just because of when people generally watch and return DVDs.

That said, it always is a little worrisome when companies reduce customer service to save money.

To be honest, I was clearly off my game when I wrote that comment. I should have written what MNB reader LuRene Dille wrote to me:

It would have been a better idea to find out how to deliver on Sunday’s…better/more service not less!!!

That's absolutely true.

It also is true what MNB reader Jim Swoboda wrote:

What’s a DVD?

Point taken.
KC's View: