retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reacting to yesterday's discussion of the increased pressures and hazards being dealt with by retail front line employees, one MNB reader wrote:

Kevin, there is a real attitude issue in the retail workforce today.  The overall feeling that “I” am essential has been pushed to the point where that is the only point being stated. 

The reality is, you are essential if you produce and add value to the company.  So, you will feel like you are disposable if you don’t produce.  Especially now with the demand for minimum wage going up.  You still must earn your stripes if you want to be appreciated. To those that don’t feel appreciated, work harder and smarter.  Then you might find yourself actually being “essential”.   I also have to wonder how the person in that LA Walmart “asked” people to social distance or wear a mask.  I seriously doubt they would be “coached” for politely asking “can you please wear a mask around me because I feel very uncomfortable."

If you have lived your entire career never feeling disposable no matter how hard you worked and how productive you were, then good for you.

Suggesting that people who are not appreciated just have to work harder and smarter to turn things around strikes me as naive. At best.  Maybe you've just spent too much time on the privileged side of the conversation.

Sure, some employees have attitude.  So do some managers.

And, by the way, one of the things managers are supposed to do, it seems to me, is actually manage their people, not just their departments.  That means getting the best out of them and getting past whatever attitudes they might have.  That's called leadership … and to my mind, there is a big difference between leaders and managers.

Regarding Whole Foods' decision to start charging $9.95 for deliveries, MNB reader Monte Stowell wrote:

Simple question about the $9.95 delivery fee at Whole Foods. They state that this fee will allow them to be competitive. With their prices, who are they referring to? Their prices are already higher than any other mainstream grocery retailer.

From another reader:

Just had my Kroger order delivered to rural Kentucky for $7. Pretty sure the groceries were cheaper too.

And from another:

The reason for the $9.95 is to enable WFM to keep the same everyday competitive prices.  Who are they comparing themselves to???  Quite frankly, the in-store prices are still high and the cost of doing business with them is through the roof.  I guess they don’t make enough from the buy and sell sides of their items.  Now they want to charge for deliveries.  With the increased quality offerings from traditional grocers, the high cost format  of WFM is going to come under further pressure.  Thought I do admit I am jaded, since I have always thought their prices were in outer space.

I am sensing a theme here.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

I was hoping you could help me understand something that just doesn't click for me.

Over a month ago (August 18th to be exact) you had reported that 70.1% of the US population had at least 1 dose (if not fully vaccinated) of the COVID vaccine. Here we are about 40 days later, and one would expect that would be the % fully vaccinated.  Instead today there are slightly less than 65% fully vaccinated. 

What happened to the other 5%? Are people just not taking the second shot, or is reporting running that far behind?

I find this intriguing that some one would start the process and not complete it. Is that common with this vaccine?

I'm not even sure where to go for this type of information, but thought it surprising and that you might have an avenue from where you are pulling your data.

Thank you for all of your great coverage, I look forward to reading your insights on the industry every weekday.

I don't have an answer for you. I don't have a lot of answers about why so many Americans are resistant to vaccines.   I'm just relaying CDC numbers.  But I'll try to chase this down.

Following up on the competition in Dallas and what will happen when H-E-B comes to town, one MNB reader wrote:

Regarding the Dallas Market and HEB.  It will take time but as Dandy Don Meredith used to sing to us every Monday Night “Turn out the lights-the party’s over”. WHY? HEB “out competed” Albertsons and Kroger in South Texas by understanding each stores customer.  These two chains are no longer is South Texas.  HEB then went over to Houston and amazingly in a short period of time “out competed Kroger and Wal-Mart” by understanding each stores customer.  Kroger and WMT are still in Houston BUT HEB has the leading market share.  To those who may say Kroger and WMT are “to big” to know and understand each of their stores customers, ok I’ll give them that lame excuse.  What they can’t justify, in my opinion, is operating a boring, lifeless, cookie cutter store.  Seems consumers in Houston agree.

Because HEB builds each store according to the areas demographics, the consumer has a desire to actually GO TO THE STORE!  To those who say going to store is dead-ok if you say so BUT HEB owns their own delivery service-FAVOR.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over."

And, reacting to my conversation with Webstop CEO Shawn Tuckett, one MNB reader wrote:

Kevin, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this video but it also infuriated me. It is so presumptuous to think that everyone over 60 (or even younger) owns a smart phone or gets online to shop. I know so many people who are at least 70 plus who have chosen not to use a smart phone or don’t like getting online to check out grocery sales.

Grocery stores have to be engaging – clean, well-stocked and have an overall appeal to shoppers. That’s the input I get from almost every age from 30 to 85. The second is that most shoppers like and appreciate the print flyers received in store as well as in their mailbox. Print is still a great way to communicate and entice grocery shoppers. Marketing people have to remember that one size does not fit all. Isn’t it better to remember that a solid mix of media is what will reach the maximum number of shoppers?

I agree with much of what you said, except about [print, which I think iS an endangered species.  And I think that retailers that went all-digital during Covid had the opportunity to make that stick … and missed their moment when they didn't.

So we'll agree to disagree.