retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reader Monte Stowell had a reaction to yesterday's video from Stew Leonard, Jr.:

Seeing and listening to Stew Leonard blew my socks off. Being from the NW, I have only heard about Stew Leonard and his stores. After watching the video you posted today, I think it should be watched and copied from many of the executives in all chain stores, big and small to communicate what their respective stores are doing to make shopping in their stores a positive shopping experience. Not everyone has the folksy touch of Stew Leonard, but the message from the top brass is that we care about you, our customer, and be truthful about what is going on in their stores. Thank you for posting Stew Leonard’s video. It should be shown in many college and university business classes as to what a difference great communication from the boss can do to enhance a companies image with the customer.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

Thought I’d give you a first-hand report from Oregon of Costco’s 8-9am opening reserved for those 60+.  Unfortunately, the line began near the entrance and wrapped around the entire store!  Lots more cars arriving, getting out of the car, looking at the line, and giving up and leaving again.

So I guess the lesson is arrive at 7 on Thursday and wait in line for an hour for the store to open.  (Don’t tell anyone.)

P.S.  They ran out of TP at 8:37 today.

Mrs. Content Guy is insisting that I go to our local Costco for the senior citizen hour tomorrow morning.  I am going, though grudgingly … though I have no intention of being there by 7 am.

I will report on my experience.

MNB reader Mike Springer had some thoughts:

With you being up in the North East I realize you probably don’t get down to Texas much (especially now).  If the country is talking about Texas grocers, HEB or Whole Foods seems to grab the majority of the spotlight; however, there is group that was purchased by Albertsons a few years ago that has a great 100+ year old culture by the name of United Supermarkets/Market Street (Lubbock, TX based).  They do a phenomenal job of taking care of their team members and the local communities where they serve.

I live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area where we have no shortage of retail grocery options…but few seem to stand out.  I only bring them up because they too have stepped up in this current crisis with increased pay to their “front line” employees, senior shopping days/hours, etc…  but seldom receive the publicity for it. 

Keep up the great work!

Thanks for reminding me … I know the company a bit and have been to their stores.  

Another MNB reader wrote:

Piggybacking on the flower donation story from Cathy Burns, Saturday we received a bouquet of flowers from our grandkids (well, from our daughter-in-law giving credit to the grandkids).  Along with the message were two hashtags:  #supportlocal #spreadthelove.  I thought that was a great way to support our small town local florist while brightening our day, so Monday, we sent a bouquet out adding the same hashtags.  My only experience is in small towns, and challenging times tend to bring out that community spirit.  So far we’ve had people putting shamrocks in their windows for families to drive around and kids can count, we’ve “chalked our walks” with people filling their sidewalks with cheery pictures and words of encouragement, and now we’re putting teddy bears in our windows so families can “go on a bear hunt” (driving or walking while complying with social distancing).   Again, my experience is small town America, but I hope some of that same spirit is alive and well in the bigger cities, too.  We can all use something to bring a smile to our faces these days. 

And finally, this much-appreciated note from MNB reader Chuck Lungstrom:

I want to thank you for three things today.  

First for your link to the Neil Diamond song.  

Neil Diamond is one of my favorite songsters since, well forever and hearing him sing live once again was simply awesome.

Secondly, concerning Coronavirus.

My wife is a cashier at the local Walmart.  Now Walmart has its share of negative stories, but there are also many good things that happen there.  While my wife is considered high risk, she absolutely refuses to miss work due to the Coronavirus stating that she has customers that seek her out and she doesn’t want to disappoint them.  Also, that people have to eat and deserve the opportunity to shop and purchase their food and someone there to help them. . . . so she works.

Thirdly, for your Wake Up Call: Random Acts of Kindness. 

While cashiering at the previous mentioned Walmart, a customer paid for his groceries and asked for $60 in change.  When handed his $60, he handed it back and told my wife to apply it to the customer’s bill that was behind him in line.  When the next customer (a father and teen age daughter) came up to her she told them about the previous customers generosity.  The teen age daughter immediately grabbed a $20 bill and said “I’ll be right back”. She went up to an elderly lady in another line and gave her the $20 to apply to her order.  Coming back to her father, she told him that the lady immediately began to cry saying that she really needed that help. 

There really are some good people out there that are more than willing to give a helping hand whenever possible.  Graciousness lives on.

It does.