retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB reader who wanted to respond to our stories about Amazon's automatic replenishment initiatives:

I am surprised nobody has commented on Amazon's replenishment buttons and how Amazon hopes to hide the actual cost of the product within the thin guise of convenience. I compared Amazon's price for liquid Tide HE 110 load with our local Safeway and Frys stores and both grocery stores were $5 - $10 cheaper without being on sale. (Prime membership included in equation.) Once coupons and local sales are factored in, the price gap widens even further. This doesn't even include Amazon's fluctuating price/time model but I'm not sure if it relevant in this case.

Unless there are limiting environmental factors such as lack of transportation or customer physical limitations, I don't see why people would want to use these buttons. The button seem to resemble the credit card methodology which has enslaved too many people with a  get your stuff now, worry about the cost later complacency. Convenience is nice but if people realize the full cost of the items, stopping by their preferred shopping place still wins out. I enjoy purchasing items from Amazon but I'm not falling for this trick. The other buttons may be a great deal, but I didn't check. At the end of the day, consumers must do their home work or they will be suckered into spending more of their hard earned cash than necessary.





And responding to yesterday's story about the new Stew Leonard's on Long Island, MNB reader Bryan Silbermann wrote:

Your story today on Stew Leonard’s featuring the upside down cow strongly evokes my response to the provocative living sculpture at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, MA.

Natalie Jeremijenko’s long-term installation called “Tree Logic” lines the path to the entrance.  And its logic is to get you to think differently about art as you enter the museum – basically, to upend your traditional way of thinking about the place you’re about to enter.  Which is exactly what Disney’s Imagineers told Stew about “gravity not mattering.”  Just as MASS MoCa teaches one not to consider trees as earthbound nor art as obvious, so too is Stew turning the shopping experience on its head. 

I also remember Stew Sr. touring a large group of PMA members around his original store in 1990 and proudly explaining the Engraving on the Rock, the focus on fresh, and the rationale for not trying to be everything to everybody.  Seems the culture is still alive and well (and standing conventional wisdom on its head).


Just FYI...you can see the installation that Bryan refers to here. Take a look ... it is very definition of an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: