Corante

TOTAL EXPERIENCE explores designing for experience: its theory, its practice, and how designing for experiences affects us socially and in our personal lives.

CO-AUTHORS

  • Bob Jacobson
  • Paula Thornton
  • BOB JACOBSON is fascinated by the experience of experience. A planner and technologist, Bob has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning & Design from UCLA. He's been a policy researcher, technology CEO, science writer, and consultant. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied cellular telephony's impacts on transborder communities in the Nordic Arctic Circle. Bob edited Information Design (MIT Press 2000) and is now writing a book on the theory and practice of creating edifying, transformative experiences.
    ( Archive | Contact Bob )
    CORANTE PAULA THORNTON says, "Understanding human behavior (economics), optimizing interactions (design) and facilitating conversations (markets), are the means to achieve strategic differentiation. This is the focus of our discipline. It is not a 'nice to have'‚ and is not, like documentation once was, an afterthought. It is the means by which to start a strategic discussion and the means by which to drive a tactical initiative. All design should be evidence-based."
    ( Archive | Contact Paula ) >
    EXPERIENCE DESIGN:
    THE METAVERSE....

    CALENDAR OF EXPERIENCE DESIGN EVENTS
    (Courtesy of Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia SpA, Torino)

    Experience Design Websites
    Core 77 Website & Forum
    Business Week|Innovate
    InfoD: Understsanding by Design
    The Wayfinding Place
    Wayfinding Focus
    Design Addict
    L-ARCH (Landscape Architecture Mailing List)
    DUX 2007 Conference
    NetDiver.Net
    DesignBoom
    Digital Thread
    Archinect
    Enmeshed, Digital Arts & New Media
    Ludology (Game Playing Theory)
    Captology, Persuasive Computing
    Space and Culture
    Raskin Center for Humane Interfaces
    timet (acoustical design)
    Steve Portigal, Ethnographer
    Jane McGonigal's Avant Game
    Ted Wells' living : simple
    PingMag (Japan)

    Experience Design Blogs
    Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
    Experience Designer Network (Brian Alger)
    SmartSpace: Annotated Environments (Scott Smith)
    Don Norman
    Doors of Perception (John Thackara)
    Karl Long's Experience Curve
    Work•Play•Experience (Adam Lawrence)
    The David Report (David Carlson)
    Design & Emotion (Marco van Hout)
    Museum 2.0 (Nina Simon)
    B J Fogg
    Lorenzo Brusci (acoustics)
    Cool Town Studios
    FutureLab
    Steve Portigal
    Debbie Millman
    MIT Culture Convergence Consortium
    Luke Wroblewski, Functioning Form|Interface Design
    Adam Richardson
    Putting People First (Paul Vanderbeeken/Experientia
    Laws of Simplicity (John Maeda)
    Challis Hodge's UX Blog
    Anne Galloways's Purse Lips Square Jaw
    Bruno Giussani's Lunch over IP
    Jane McGonigal's Avant-Game The Future of Work

    Experience Design Podcasts
    Ted Wells' living : simple Podcast
    Design Matters Podcast, Debbie Millman
    Icon-o-Cast Podcast, Lunar Design

    Experience Design Firms and ED-Oriented Manufacturers
    Barry Howard Limited
    Hilary Cottam
    LRA Worldwide, Inc.
    BRC Imagination Arts
    Stone Mantel
    Experientia s.r.l
    Nokia
    Herman Miller
    Steelcase
    IDEO
    Cooper Interactive Design
    Gensler
    Doblin Group
    Fitch
    Fit Associates
    Jump
    Strategic Horizons LLC (Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore)
    Cheskin Fresh Perspectives

    Education and Advocacy
    Centre for Design Research, Northumbria University (UK)
    Center for Design Research, Stanford University
    International Institute of Information Design (IIID)
    Design Management Institute
    AIGA DUX
    Interaction Institute IVREA
    Design Research Institute (UK)
    UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Design Research
    History of Consciousness, UCSC
    Design News Magazine
    Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD)
    Design Museum London
    Center for Sustainable Design
    Horizon Zero, Digital Arts+Culture in Canada
    Design Council UK
    First Monday

    Total Experience on Technorati
    Technorati Profile

    Get Camino!
    In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

    Total Experience

    « “Traditionalist Planning Education Challenges Modern Design In Europe,” on Planetizen | Main | Waiting for NEXT Generation TVs »

    June 12, 2006

    Avenu makes for a really BAD customer experience at Albertsons Market

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    Posted by Bob Jacobson

    We finally moved into our new place, Cherie, Savanna, Sammy Jo (our dog), and me, in the heart of Santa Monica. It's just up the hill from the local Albertsons supermarket. I descended to buy a bottle of wine and some popcorn -- we really know how to party! -- and had one of the worst customer experiences in my life.

    The checkout lines were characteristically long, as they have been ever since Albertsons bought out the wonderful Lucky Markets and chopped their staffs by at least a third and probably a half. That's not the problem. Long lines, even at 8 PM on a weeknight, were to be expected.

    Imageforavenu BWhat wasn't to be expected was being hammered while a captive in line by something called “Avenu,” a continuous, loud, insulting program of banalities blasted at us from flat-screen TVs and powerful speakers at every cashier's station. It was horrible. I can't remember a single advertisement among the two score or more forced upon us by Albertson's experientially lame but craven management, but I do remember wanting out of there. Avenu is apparently the creation of the Jewel-Osco retail conglomerate. Now both Jewel-Osco and Albertsons are both about to be assimilated into a corporate retail Borg, Supervalu (which resembles nothing so much as a sentient supply chain. It's not your corner grocer.

    Unfortunately, the punishment for Supervalu's captive audiences won't end with the merger. In fact, it's going to be extended to a whole lot more shoppers across North America. Supervalu, the entity acquiring Albertsons and Jewel-Osco, relies on Avenu as a regular part of its armory of tools intended to bludgeon shoppers' senses into submission. What Supervalu gains by heaping visual and aural abuse upon shoppers waiting in line, removing any opportunity for meaningful human chit-chat -- the sole redeeming quality of waiting in line -- is beyond me.

    WfGiven these provocations, our family's shopping at Vons or Whole Foods Market. Say what you will about the Safeway chain (which owns Vons) or the Birkenstock billionaires who charge through the roof for WF's organic fare, they know how to create shopping environments that create a more pleasurable experience, at its best (as at WF) quite enjoyable. Even the warehouses like Costco and its smaller counterpart, Smart & Final, do just fine: they have no pretentions, but neither do they dump virtual garbage on the consumer merely to create another trivial revenue stream, all for the sake of promotions in the marketing department.

    Good bye, Albertsons, we'll hardly miss ye. Supervalu, from our point of view, you're dead on arrival.

    Comments (39) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Commentary | ED Projects of Note | The Practice of Experience Design


    COMMENTS

    1. Andrew on June 13, 2006 9:02 AM writes...

    That's a worsening of the longstanding practice in grocery stores to play constant music and ads over speakers. Sounds utterly awful.

    Permalink to Comment

    2. Paula Thornton on June 13, 2006 10:21 PM writes...

    While I haven't gotten to visit one recently, another stellar design concept (from the 'heart' of great experiences -- Seattle) is Larry's Markets. Even as a local chain, they have designs for doing things different. The 'depth' of their differentiators are not even capitalized in their own words: http://www.larrysmarkets.com/about/

    This was the place that the Produce Guy was there to 'sell' purple potatoes by slicing them open for us as we passed. Every 'department' was it's own store, with a sense of 'ownership' for success that eminated from each department manager.

    More than ten years ago they had a singularly-focused role where an individual had responsiblity to 'integrate' health foods with other inventory (rather than in a separate section as most mainstream stores do). They were a true composite of both offerings.

    Permalink to Comment

    3. Fred on June 15, 2006 1:51 PM writes...

    "Supervalu, the entity acquiring Albertsons and Jewel-Osco, relies on Avenu as a regular part of its armory of tools intended to bludgeon shoppers' senses into submission."

    How do you know?

    Saw Avenu in action at a Jewel-Osco store in the Chicago area last Fall. Yes, it's obnoxious. But I've never heard of it here, just miles from SuperValu headquarters, so I thought I'd have a look for myself.

    First, I tried searching for "Avenu" on the SuperValu web site, and found nothing. Not one word. Then I visited a couple of SuperValu properties, one a Cub Foods and one a for-real SuperValu store that has been there like forever, and neither of them has Avenu. The Cub, however, does have the Jewel-Osco Pay By Touch system installed.

    That doesn't look like relying on to me. That looks to me like SuperValu is cherry-picking from their newly-acquired Jewel-Osco arsenal of marketing ploys. It certainly doesn't express or imply wholesale adoption of Avenu, as you claim.

    So tell us, Bob, how do you know?

    BTW, the next time I'm at the mall, I'm going to have a t-shirt made that says "NO, I DO NOT HAVE A REWARDS CARD!" You should think about getting one, too. Maybe we can start a movement ... (8-)

    Permalink to Comment

    4. Bob Jacobson on June 16, 2006 12:41 PM writes...

    Fred, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if Supervalu rips out the Avenu machines when it assumes operating control of Jewel-Osco and Albertson's. Want to place a wager?

    If you study Supervalu's m.o., you'll see that its marketing strategy relies heavily on customer-generated information. Yes, I may have jumped the gun, putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with Supervalu = Avenu. Maybe it'll come up 5.

    For another take on Avenu from another disgruntled customer (but also someone who has a major grudge against Jewel-Osco, see:

    http://serenadeingreen.blogspot.com/2006/01/avenu-is-watching-you-jewel-osco.html

    Thanks for holding my feet to the fire. -- Bob

    Permalink to Comment

    5. Fred on June 16, 2006 6:39 PM writes...

    "If you study Supervalu's m.o., you'll see that its marketing strategy relies heavily on customer-generated information. "

    That's what Pay By Touch gives them, too. Difference is that Pay By Touch is unobtrusive, so that for those of us who want nothing to do with such things, it's easy to ignore.

    But why anybody would give a retail chain their biometric data is beyond me. Next thing we know, the right index fingerprint of all the Pay By Touch users will be for sale on eBay. Still, those so inclined might find it preferable to carrying around a zillion rewards cards.

    As for Avenu, based on SuperValu's choice of Pay By Touch and not Avenu for Cub Foods, my prediction is that they will not be expanding its use. Whether or not they will pull it out of exisating markets remains to be seen, but we can hope for the best.

    Permalink to Comment

    6. rougy on June 18, 2006 8:14 PM writes...

    Have to give my two cents.

    Albertson's was bought out in my town a while ago, same name, different owners.

    Sure as hell, they slashed the checkers and installed these "self-service" deals that hardly ever worked - so a checker had to stand there and help everyone anyway.

    Plus their asinine "preferred customer" cards.

    I flat stopped going there unless I know they have something I need that I can't find somewhere else.

    There are some of these "bottom line" management types who just haven't a clue.

    I went from spending ~$50 a week there to spending ~$5 a month.

    And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    Permalink to Comment

    7. Organic George on July 1, 2006 2:47 PM writes...

    It seems everyone has to try using broadcast media with "captured" customers.

    They tried it in the US Post Office, taxis, metro rail, and several other "situations."

    It fails to increase revenue and drives employees insane. It you think your 5 minutes was bad, try 8 hours of that crap.

    Some where someone has a study that says this bludgeoning works. You just know that the baseline on that study was flawed.

    Permalink to Comment

    8. Grateful on July 7, 2006 12:24 PM writes...

    Hey, thanks Bob, I was looking to get in touch with Avenu and you made it easier with your complaint w/links- thanks for helping them gain visibility.

    Permalink to Comment

    9. steve on July 8, 2006 10:05 AM writes...

    Unless you plan on growing your own food, making your own clothes or dying anytime soon, get over it.

    It's much worse than what you experienced. Blue eyes from IBM is using technology in stores to track your body, eye etc. etc. movements to send you instant info based on said movements

    BlueEyes uses sensing technology to identify a user's actions and to extract key information. This information is then analyzed to determine the user's physical, emotional, or informational state, which in turn can be used to help make the user more productive by performing expected actions or by providing expected information.

    Permalink to Comment

    10. Paul Day on July 13, 2006 5:12 AM writes...

    It took the TVs in Star Market to push me into shopping elsewhere. The whole concept is end-of-civility sad for me.

    I put together a street theater event in the Cambridge Star Market where 20 people showed up specifically to stand around watching the TVs. Star Market management infiltrated the email list I used to set up it and rented cops to make sure that we didn't, as one of the cops put it, "disrupt the flow of business" and, for once, properly staffed the registers. Apparently, management believed that wild hordes of rampaging hippies planned to show up and turn their store into a Seattle WTO event. If they'd bothered to actually read the emails they would have seen that I specifically asked folks to avoid that.

    I bring it up because...

    1) Most of the shoppers hadn't noticed the TVs
    2) Most of the shoppers saw nothing odd about stopping and watching them
    3) Management wasted money by making assumptions refuted by the facts that sat there on paper

    Permalink to Comment

    11. disconnect on July 18, 2006 9:59 AM writes...

    Avenue, Avenu, or whatever...you have to think disconnect.

    Ralphs markets has these speakers just below hip level at the beginning of the rollers/belt at the checkstand....along with the TV facing the line....you simply reach down like uve dropped something and disconnect one of the slide connectors to the speaker.....voila....no more audio.....I havent figured out the TV deal tho....

    Albertsons.....doncha just love the automated check outs......uggghhh!

    Permalink to Comment

    12. Emily on August 3, 2006 11:28 AM writes...

    Ick. I just got back from overseas, and it was great to be in a small city in Europe where there really wasn't much advertising at all. All the grocery stores were corner stores, small, managable, and no self-checkouts. Hooray!

    Permalink to Comment

    13. dg on August 12, 2006 6:35 AM writes...

    I have enjoyed shopping in Sebastopol store for the past 14 years. I am reluctanltly switching to another company's market because of the talking televisions placed around the store. This ineffective intrusion into the shopping experience is irritating to the point of forcing me to leave the premises. My wife will not even go to this store anymore.

    DG

    Permalink to Comment

    14. CB on September 10, 2006 7:43 PM writes...

    Our local Albertson's here in So Cal was acquired by SuperValu. After Pavilions (upscale Vons) stopped taking Double Coupons, I thought I'd give Albertson's a try. They are about the same in price, however, the Customer Service is outstanding. I see the same employees they had a few months ago (prior to the sale), and they are friendly, and always helpful (not fake helpful, as Vons/Safeway had a thing going where an employee could not walk by a customer without making eye contact asking "are you finding everything okay???")

    I agree, the new tv's are annoying (the produce TV is the worst, right above the banana display!) - However, the employees are genuinely nice. I have a 1 year old, who "shops" with me, and they always ask if she would like a banana, bagel chips, etc. while I shop, free of charge. Also, at busy times ALL CHECKSTANDS seem to be open. However, at other times if there are more than 2 people in a line, they will open another register.

    I found this site searching for Avenu stuff (what's it all about? - since a kiosk appeared in my store 2 weeks ago) --- I think store's service varies, even if they are in the same region (I'm in So Cal too, but a suburb --- we actually moved FROM the Westside since it was too crowded!!!)

    Permalink to Comment

    15. gotcha on September 17, 2006 7:48 AM writes...

    I really don't hink that a guy who lives in Santa Monica, and has wine with his popcorn wold be a very reliable resource of shopping information.

    Grow up and learn to take life as it comes.

    Permalink to Comment

    16. Bob Jacobson on September 18, 2006 1:24 AM writes...

    Sorry, I'm missing the significance of living in Santa Monica, drinking wine, and eating popcorn from the standpoint of design theory and critique.

    Does "grow up and learn to take life as it comes" translate into "grow submissive: learn to bend over and take a good square kick in the keester, and love it"?

    The people I see in line around me appear to be in physical pain as they try to avoid staring at lame videos and shouted advertising pitches. Grow up and realize that human beings deserve dignity, even in a place of commerce. -- Bob

    Permalink to Comment

    17. Dave on September 28, 2006 10:40 AM writes...

    The Avenu program itself and the advertising of Avenu on TVs are two different things. Would you hate Toyota if there was a Toyota ad on the TV? Avenu is just a program to get personalized savings on items you've purchased in the past, essentially another level of discounts on top of the general member savings.

    Permalink to Comment

    18. KD Bajaj on October 18, 2006 12:03 PM writes...

    As an Albertson's employee of two years, which by the way is great for getting through school, I think I should put in my two cents.

    Avenu is garbage, as are the commercials and screens. This is accepted by the customers, the employees, and management.

    The problem arises from the upper management of the company, which hasn't changed. Different departments are in charge of decoration, sales, remodeling, updates, etc. One department may say a specific store should be completely remodeled and another one, at the same time, say that same store should be shut down. The two will not communicate until there is a financial issue, so many a time, a store will be halfway updated and then stopped.

    Well, this all relates to Avenu in that it is controlled by a new department that will not communicate with the people that handle the CSI (those surveys you get for a free loaf of bread) and therefore have chosen to continue their promotions.

    As far as the AVENU cards, there's nothing that says you have to fill out your information -- and something you all should know: use your area code and the phone number (XXX) 123-4567, or (XXX) 222-2222, if you feel your privacy is being invaded.

    I wish we could go back to better days, but with this new union contract, its not gonna happen. We get paid less now and have fewer people, so of course there's more on our shoulders. Everyone, have some sympathy and don't cause problems for us. Thanks.

    Permalink to Comment

    19. Dan on October 20, 2006 9:57 PM writes...

    Bob

    I am curious, what brand of wine did you drink and what brand of popcorn did you eat to watch whatever TV or movie you selected? Bob, listen what gotcha said, its not being "submissive," it's being empowered: you dictate brand purchase and you make companies spend billions to get you to like them.

    Your pretentious responses are not the majority. Readup and learn this is going to be everywhere and yes, Whole Foods will have it as well. This is a serious incremental revenue stream for companies finding ways to make more money to hire more people to service snobs such as yourself. Taxis, subways, airports, gas stations -- it is the fastest growing media thanks to the digital era.

    Ironically, you built a website to bitch about technology and to me you seem to be someone who probably shunned the advancement of the Internet when it first started. And I am guessing the ad on this site must be infuriating to you, how DARE someone advertise to me on your web page.

    90% of all adults between the ages of 18 and 49 walk through a grocery store at least once a month. That is valuable real estate to the advertising community desperate to get even you, Bob, to buy their wine and popcorn.

    Permalink to Comment

    20. Bob Jacobson on October 21, 2006 11:28 AM writes...

    Dear Dan,

    I like Toasted Head chardonnay and eat Orville Redenbacher's popcorn. It's so much fun to pop in a pan and it never disappoints. (It's sold by ConAgra: I have no illusions about Orville handsorting kernels or anything like that.)

    I prefer to rely on firsthand observation, not secondhand statistics. I may not be among your alleged majority, Dan, but when I look at at the people checking out at the local Albertsons -- definitely not a snobby bunch, more like the working poor -- everyone is exerting himself or herself to ignore the Avenu displays, twisting and turning this way and that, engaging in louder conversation to cover the pitches, etc. That's what I see.

    You have an odd idea of "empowerment," Dan. It boils down to being able to provide marketing data to companies selling you stuff, hoping they'll sell you something you like. So that you can contribute to their revenue streams. Occupying, as you put it, the real estate of others desperate at advertise to you.

    I seriously doubt Whole Foods or other savvy grocery chains will replicate Albertsons' experience. I wager that Avenu cost more to produce and implement than the revenues it brings in, putting aside the negative impression it creates among customers. (Albertson was sold, as I mentioned, because its profitability has been abysmal. Did Avenu play a part?)

    Total Experience is about experience design, Dan, not technology. Technology can be used well or poorly. When it's used well, I say so. In this case, it's being used poorly.

    BTW, I was in at the inception of the Internet and have been online my entire adult life. I've even been a successful ecommerce consultant. The ads on Corante.com are something that we, the bloggers here, agreed to when we signed up. In my opinion, they complement the blogs because they're relevant. Further, you can choose to read them or not.

    And that to me is a really GOOD experience.

    Permalink to Comment

    21. Dan on October 22, 2006 7:37 PM writes...

    Bob

    Thanks for making my point with the opening line in your response. Well done Orville and Toasted Head your dollars paid off.

    And keep watching for installations to start at Whole Foods, Gelsons, and Wild Oats. Its coming soon.

    Again your perceptions of in store experience are completely different than the majority, and when I say majority I mean a clear majority of over 80%.

    Bob, you write a blog blasting an experience claiming it as fact based on your limited perception, then submitting it to the world as such. Having been at the inception of the internet did you not know you could look up facts to see if your claims are truthful and then provide those sources to back it up? Or did you do that and realize there was nothing to back it up.

    Albertson's isn't closing stores because they do bad business, its because Wal-Mart decided to get into the grocery game which is not good for any competitor. And guess who happens to have the largest in-store digital network in the world?

    Permalink to Comment

    22. Bob Jacobson on October 22, 2006 9:49 PM writes...

    Dear Dan,

    I'm going to trip you out, and then I'm going to let this go, because I'm afraid it's getting as tedious as being blasted at from six inches by one of those 90 Db speakers on an Avenu display.

    I didn't buy Toasted Head or Orville Redenbacher popcorn because of advertising dollars. I bought them because, from word of mouth reports, they were good products. I keep buying them because the reports are right.

    As a former creative director, I'm all too familiar with the canard, "Thank goodness that half of our advertising dollars were well spent. We just don't know which half." It's true. No one knows very much despite all the data being accumulated. The theories about applying this data are problematic at best.

    I don't depend on the Internet for facts, you're right. I'm not as trusting as you. I prefer empirical evidence and confirmation. I wrote what I experienced and saw around me. If you care to differ, so be it. Go see for yourself.

    Lastly, Wal-Mart's not doing all that grandly of late, either. Digital's not always the answer, Dan. Sometimes seeing things through the customer's eyes is more important. The End. -- Bob

    Permalink to Comment

    23. Eric Joiner on March 17, 2007 12:18 PM writes...

    I hate self-checkouts. I can never get them to work correctly. Wal*Mart uses them and if I can't get to a line with an actual semi-humanoid running the register, I'll leave.

    It's turning into Hotel California. "You can check-out any time you like..but you can never leave!"

    Permalink to Comment

    24. Dave on June 6, 2007 1:11 PM writes...

    I must be the only one who likes the TVs at Jewel-Osco. When they were first installed, I spent nearly a half hour flipping through cable TV at home trying to find the channel that the Produce Section was tuned into. I guess it's a little silly, but I've grown very attached...

    Permalink to Comment

    25. Jaime on June 19, 2007 1:22 PM writes...

    I'm sorry, Bob, I don't agree with you. I shop at Albertsons all the time, I also shop at Stater Bros. and Costco. Of the three, I find it much easier to find things at Albertons and honestly, the tv advertisements everywhere don't bother me at all. I'm too busy SHOPPING for my necessary items to pay attention to pointless ads. It can only bother you for as much attention as you give it.

    Also, it really isn't anything new, since credit card companies and major retail companies have been doing this for some time now (Walmart, Costco, Sears, JC Penney, just to name a few), hotels, and even your bank does it too... Everyone does profile tracking, it's simply marketing strategy, the simple laws of supply and demand.

    Permalink to Comment

    26. Steve Mann on November 7, 2007 9:52 AM writes...

    Brutal customer experience. It still astounds me that companies don't get why they need CE teams.

    Permalink to Comment

    27. Rick Horowitz on June 25, 2008 4:04 PM writes...

    It always blows my mind to see people say things like, "Yeah, these commercials yelling in people's ears all the time will continue to grow in volume and number of locations BECAUSE THEY WORK!" (Even more unbelievable are those who say, "People like/love 'em.")

    Yes, we love them so much that I and most of my friends won't even watch TV anymore unless it's been "tivo'd" so that we can SKIP the commercials. (Hint, hint: "SKIP" here means, "We don't watch or listen to them because we actually DON'T like/love 'em -- and since we SKIP them, they DON'T work!")

    If I walked into a store and heard ads running, running back out the door is exactly what I'd be doing. I pulled up to a gas station a few weeks ago that had ads running. I closed the little door over the tank, got back in the car, drove across the street and gassed up there.

    But, then, I'm not a mindless twit. YMMV.

    Permalink to Comment

    28. Kaitlyn on July 10, 2008 4:34 PM writes...

    That's really too bad. Where I live, there is no Albertson's, but I've been in one or two on vacation trips. They seemed like your average grocery store to me, nothing special, but nothing terrible either.

    Permalink to Comment

    29. Raymond Whiteside on July 13, 2008 1:34 PM writes...

    These flat screen TV sets are popping up in several large stores as of late, I never see anyone even giving them a second look, the info that they are blasting out to us in nothing that anyone cares to listen to or look at. Most people find them very annoying, so it will be interesting to see if this type of advertising will stay and get better, or fade out.

    Respectfully,
    Raymond Whiteside

    Permalink to Comment

    30. Cheryl Beckham on July 13, 2008 4:08 PM writes...

    Companies are shouting to their employees/sales associates, and pounding in to their heads "Customer Service, Customer Service, Customer Service," and some businesses are doing a great job, like making sure a customer always hears a human voice, which is a God send, if you ask me.

    Shopping for almost anything these days has been made available through the Internet, with a good amount of companies offering free shipping. What with the price of gas, parking issues, traffic, and bad customer service, the on-line way to shop is the only way to go for me now a days.

    Permalink to Comment

    31. Nikki on July 19, 2008 6:16 PM writes...

    I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. When I have to stand in line a very long time, it is nice to have a diversion such as a tv screen to watch, even if it is only commercials.

    Permalink to Comment

    32. Jeremy on July 19, 2008 7:35 PM writes...

    I've only been in one Albertson's in my life, when I was on vacation in Orlando. It struck me as a store that had limited selections, was a disappointment.

    Permalink to Comment

    33. Julie on July 19, 2008 7:40 PM writes...

    When I was on a vacation in a state I don't usually go to I asked a local person for directions to where they shop for groceries. They told me Albertson's and gave me directions to it. The store was smaller and dirtier than I would have expected for the area I was in. I was not impressed at all and probably would not make that "my" store if I lived there if there were any other options.

    Permalink to Comment

    34. Dave on November 13, 2008 1:42 PM writes...

    This post seems familiar to me. I live on the East Coast and often travel for business to California. Many of my friends have told me to visit an Albertsons, which we do not have out here. I enjoyed the experience and store lay out, but sure found it hard to find anyone who could help me. It was not so much that they were rude when I found someone, but rather that they were impossible to find. Almost reminds me of Home Depot. Just my 2 cents...

    Permalink to Comment

    35. donna on December 4, 2008 1:47 PM writes...

    Albertsons is ass. Their CEO makes too much money, their employees don't make enough, and their prices are too damned high. What they do with all that money is beyond me.

    I rarely shop there anymore, and it used to be my favorite store. They seriously need some new top management that makes way less money and pays their employees more...

    Oh, and the TVs! Good God, yank those things. I HATE THEM!!!!!!


    [REPLY FROM BOB: I heard it on the grapevine -- from a local Safeway employee -- that Albertson's days are numbered, at least here in Tucson. Propaganda? A wet dreams? We shall see.]

    Permalink to Comment

    36. Danny L. McDaniel on December 21, 2009 9:42 AM writes...

    It's a grocery store, not spring break. I like the one my mother drug me to when I was a kid that had 5 aisles and one checkout. No computer computerized checkout, just an old mechanical machine that went "ka-ching."

    Why people think they have to have an "experience" at the grocery store is beyond me.

    By the way, I used to home deliver in the neighborhood for that same store. That's service and an experience; "online shopping" from the late 1950's and early 1960's!

    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana

    Permalink to Comment

    37. joe on July 4, 2010 10:16 PM writes...

    I have stayed out of these stores ever since they started mounting--prominently, I might add--anti-shoplifting video screens directly in front of and above the entry doors as you walk in. How insulting and stupid! Thumbs down to Albertsons.

    (Ever notice how ugly their lighting is and how ugly the entire store is? If I want ugly I'll go to a warehouse store, i.e. FoodMaxx, etc. Oops, FoodMaxx is part of the Lucky group.)

    Now they have increased their stupidity with TVs selling you stuff in the checkout line. This is like the TV screens blaring commercials at you while you pump your gas.

    How dumb are these companies? And how sheep-like are all the customers who continue to shop at Albertsons while being insulted by the second. If everyone walked out, the screens would be down in 24 hours.

    Thumbs up for Whole Foods and Raley's/Bel Air/Nob Hill supermarkets. Raley's has a huge organic section and awesome customer service.

    NO on Safeway. I go in occasionally but do not consider them very customer friendly.

    Permalink to Comment

    38. Brenda on August 23, 2010 2:56 PM writes...

    Instead of whining and moaning, ignore the TV and plug yourself into an audio headset.

    Occasionally complaining to the manager works, as it did at the Mt. Auburn Star in Cambridge re the obnoxious and loud music: it got softer in both senses.

    BTW I can never decide whether to call the chain Star or Shaw's or both. More annoying is their tendency to keep moving stuff around so you can't avoid seeing what you don't want while looking for what you do want.

    Permalink to Comment

    39. champions league 2013 on May 4, 2013 2:59 PM writes...

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