Tarheeltalker

What do you think of Food Lion?

Food Lion is the primary place for grocery shopping in our community. Almost every time I go there, I  maintain that I am not going back. To backtrack a bit, we have three Food Lion stores locally and one is not too bad, one is terrible and one is sort of in the middle. Of course, the most convenient one is the worst of the three. Admittedly, in a town our size, none of the three is that far nor are my other options, Wal-Mart (aka the evil place) and Farm Fresh.

So, my wife wonders, why do I continue to torture myself by returning to my worst option? Believe me, I wish that I knew. Other than  force of habit and proximity, there is no discernible reason.

I suppose I should at the least attempt to justify my somewhat negative feelings toward Food Lion before I mail back my MVP card, ironically one of my smaller peeves. I have come to believe that customer service is either a misnomer at Food Lion or that they just do not care. There are often too few checkout lines open and those that are  often do not have  someone available to bag one’s  groceries.  Cashiers routinely come very close to completely  ignoring the customer or they  carry on a running conversation with  someone nearby, often a non-customer.

I suppose that a case could be made that the things are irritating to me reflect the fact that my  first job was in a grocery store and if my memory serves me correctly we were held to a higher standard. But my wife is also irritated from time to time though not as regularly as I seem to be.

I have wondered if the behavior at Food Lion reflects the fact that they feel they are either the only available choice or the default choice, in a  sense, for most shoppers. Perhaps that is why that purchased the locations of a former grocery store here in town to prevent their being occupied by a competitor. Ironically, one of these sites has finally been sold and the other is on the market. This action came after along period of vacancy for these buildings.

And to help in my decision, one of other shopping options gives us old folks a small discount  at certain times. Seems that it is time to move on.

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September 13, 2011 Posted by | economy, Shopping | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pat Yourself on the Back

Yes indeed. If you are a resident of the great state of North Carolina or someone who shops within its boundaries, you owe yourself  a word of congratulations. You see, you are  helping to solve the budget crisis in which the state  has found itself. Kinda makes you a hero and I bet you didn’ t even realize it. But it’s true. How are you doing this? Just by acting  naturally as Buck Owens sang a number of  years ago.

On September 1, a number of new laws took effect. One of these was  a 1% increase in the sales tax. Just snuck that rascal in there with very little fanfare. Who will notice,right? But this magic bullet will, according to estimates raise some $800 million for  the  ole state treasury. And we are making it happen. Going  to the grocery store, to those “evil” fast food establishments, buying whatever it is one must buy at Wal-Mart.

As always in the world of government, things are not quit what they seem. Gov. Perdue and  the legislature could not get tax reform done so this temporary tax increase was their answer. Yep, it will expire in 2011. But what about that temporary tax increase from 2001 that is still there. Don’ t worry. it must be in your mind. Oh and for  smokers and drinkers, the so called sin tax went up a swell. It will cost more to light up an drink up. Cigarettes increased 45 cents/pack  with other tobacco products going up about 13%. Alcoholic beverages  have varying increases  based on the type of beverage.

The governor stated that the increase would help keep teachers and other workers on the job. That is a good thing, right? What is  a few pennies here and there? Answer, about $150-$200 annually. Pay up and enjoy doing your part to keep those Raleigh wheels turning.

Remember, it’s just a temporary tax. If you believe that, I believe I have some attractively priced swamp land to sell you. Going fast!

September 3, 2009 Posted by | economy, Shopping | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putting Your Mouth Where Your Money Is

Mea culpa to my favorite high school teacher, Betty Barker, for my grammatical inconsistency in the title of this post. It just seemed so apropos given my topic. Normally the above phrase would read something like put your money where your mouth is. But not  for Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey who has apparently put his mouth where his money isn’t. Seems that Mackey has issues with Obamacare and  had the audacity to publish an op-ed to that effect in the Wall Street Journal. (Now, before we proceed, let me mention these tidbits. Whole Foods,  a Fortune 500 company, has a very good health care plan for its own employees. For those 89% of their work force who work more than 30 hrs/wk,  all of their health care premiums are paid.) Further he opined that many health problems are self-inflicted and could be  alleviated by  a better diet, etc. That  would tie in very well with his own company’s  organic  food  products, would it not?

Seems that Mackey has   alienated  a bit of his liberal base with many customers taking to the web to voice their displeasure. One comment  in particular  stood out to me. Christine Taylor, a New Jersey customer  of Whole Foods said her shopping days there were over. She told ABC News this. “I think a  CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs  reflect at least the majority of his clients.” Now I could say something like, if you eat like a  liberal your should talk like a liberal . That might be  a bit out of line  since all people  who eat healthy are not liberals. Anyway, does Ms Taylor have a valid point? What if the CEO has views that do not dovetail with his/her clientile?  Should they just keep silent? Good question.

Some consultants say it is better if the  CEO keeps a lower profile because his comments  often become   a two -edged sword with pros and cons. The question from a business perspective would then be which edge, the  good or bad, will have more impact. Consultant Robert Passikoff is founder of Brand Keys, Inc., a New York based consulting firm. He advises clients to not  speak out on polarizing issues such as health care. And in Mackey’s case, it could have a greater effect than say the  CEO of Kellogg’s who hasa  larger and  broader based clientele. So says Lynn Upshaw of  Upshaw Brand Consulting in Kentfield ,CA She says that Mackey’s  customers tend to be more of the activist type who are already going out of their way to buy  a more expensive product.

I wanted to compare this situation with that of outspoken celebrities and their  politics and how it can affect them, but that

John Mackey, outspoken CEO (courtesy esquire.com)

John Mackey, outspoken CEO (courtesy esquire.com)

may be another day. There is just so much material there.

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Shopping | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Should You Shop At Home?

For accuracy purposes we will assume home is the the town or city in which one lives, not shopping at ones domicile. Just wanted to be clear on that. All things being equal, I would prefer to shop at home. You know, support local merchants, your friends and neighbors. Money spent at home is circulated in  such a way as to benefit the local community more than say money spent in a neighboring  community. There is the obvious benefit  of sales tax collections, of course. But also there is the reality that money spent at home circulates at home and is re spent, etc.

So, having said all those good things, why should one not do all of their consumer spending where they live?  Availability or lack of it would be the obvious factor. If there is a product that you cannot find at home, you must find other alternatives. For example, I have t wear a certain type of shoe at work which cannot be obtained locally or maybe I should add cannot be obtained without difficulty.

This , I suppose, brings me close to the reason behind the post. it often appears to me as if  local merchants really don’t care about your business. Not all of them, but a  fairly significant number. Poor customer service that is reflected in how one is treated in the place of business, how the employees act(more involved with each other than the customer), perhaps  even treating some customers better than others. From time to time, due to a slight , perceived or real, I will tell my wife that I have paid my last visit to such and such a store or that my feathers have been ruffled. That has become almost a catch phrase. She will say from time to time that eventually there will be no where else for me to patronize. To some degree, that is ok , since I really  do not enjoy shopping very much.But,  alas, one must venture out in public from time to time. For that reason, I am quite thankful for The Marina Restaurant and The Sandwich Shop to name  a couple. There are some others  but they will do for now.

Customer service, dead or terminally ill and can Obamacare fix it? I wish I knew. And yes, this very day, I had a place that”ruffled my feathers” so now I feel much better, thank you.

July 29, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Shopping | , , | 3 Comments

Wal Mart

I have walmartis and i dont want to get over it . My daughter -in-law has given me permission to call it the evil place so i can avoid using the name. Why you might ask do i feel this way ? Let me see- tooo biiigg (especially ) supercenters, too easy to overspend, the demise of the smaller locally owned store , did i say too big, i certainly meant to . After walking a mile to get in the store , i get to walk another mile or two or three aimlessly looking for i dont know what . Anybody have a wal mart alternative- please ? Do i still go there, afraid so, but only when my darling wife requires me to do so.

July 1, 2008 Posted by | Shopping | 1 Comment