I was standing waiting to use the self checkout facility and the seventy something guy behind me struck up a conversation about how hit and miss the process of swiping your own items was. I agreed and said that it was sometimes hard to get all the items through without some kind of staff intervention but it was still worth it when you only have a handful of items.
The gentleman then revealed that he would normally stand there and look frail and helpless in order to illicit help from the designated self checkout assistant. He followed this revelation with a crafty wink and a wry smile.
I then watched in awe as he suddenly transformed himself into a doe eyed helpless retired gentleman quickly transforming his demeanour he caught the eye of said female assistant who then promptly processed each and every one of his items herself thus leaving him with little to do but smile meekly and say thank-you as the entire process was completed by a willing third party.
We both left the store at the same time and the helpless stoop straightened into a more healthy upright stride as he exited the store. A small example of one of the rare advantages of over playing ones age and fragility for personal benefit?
This morning we had an on-line supermarket shop order delivered. Interestingly it would seem that those of us that do now shop on-line are not as brand-loyal as those who visit their supermarket of choice in person.
Brand switching for supermarkets has risen from 19% to 27% in line with the increased use of supermarket on-line delivery services. This puts supermarkets in the same rate of user switching (‘churn’ as the marketing types like to call it) as car and home insurance and some marketing analysts think that as supermarket loyalty is removed from the need for proximity the potential for brand switching could increase a further 20% if the difference between in store experience and on-line service differs greatly for any one supermarket store.
Remote shopping will continue to increase the rate at which shoppers switch brands.
A short totter to the supermarket (it’s freezing out) to get supplies and show off my new waddle-come-zombie walking style meant a slow enough wander around the aisles to be inflicted with pot full of cheesey Xmas music.Though for some reason an overlong version of Duran Duran’s ‘The Reflex’ (surely one of Simon Le Bon’s most impenetrable lyric attempts).
I was reading earlier that eight previous Xmas chart hits have re-entered the UK charts which probably shows the convenience of digital downloads paired with just how few records you need to sell in order to obtain a chart position these days. The ‘new kid’ on the block in terms of Xmas specific chart entries is Andy Williams version of ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ which has been highlighted by its use in a TV advert for M&S. Ah, Xmas and marketing. Almost synonymous now.
The news that two UK supermarkets have admitted to price fixing of milk and some associated dairy products is of no great surprise. That they will be fined less by by the Office Of Fair Trading for their admission is moderately surprising and that a further two supermarkets are yet to admit to any wrongdoing dependent on how they are treated after any possible admission is perhaps typical of the lack of real teeth that many regulatory bodies have in such matters.
Free market practices are sometimes not in the overall interest of the consumer. In this case the dairies may have been complicit in turning a blind eye to what the big supermarkets were doing in the name of getting a fair price for the producers but at the end of the day supermarkets in the UK now wield so much power that they will always try to bend the rules in their favour and know that being found out will earn them a light slap on the wrist and another round of public scrutiny which they no doubt feel they can easily cope with.
Many will argue that supermarkets should work unrestrained by government legislation but I don’t subscribe to that rose tinted view of unregulated markets giving us what we want. We all know the maxim ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Restrictions and legislation are necessary , used akin to a sharp jerk of Barbara Woodhouse’ choke chain on an ill behaved dog together with the application of a muzzle to protect the animal from harming too many others.
Until the next time.
Often I’ve commented on what comes out of the local supermarket in store radio whether musically or just the naff comments of the supermarket radio DJ. Joy of joys but that genuine naffness is now available live via the Internet. So for all the cringe-worthy in store inane muzak complete with the store specific advertising you can hear it all live here. You too can recreate that ‘hell in the aisles’ feeling in the comfort of your own home. Do you know any other cheesy on-line radio stations?
Another quick dash for stash and today the supermarket chain radio was on but playing nothing recognisable to my eyes. The ‘DJ’ then decided to quiz those of us who tune part of our hearing into these things on what song would be coming up by reading out part of the lyrics in a very stilted but somehow accusational way:
“Who’s gonna pay attention,
To your dreams?
And who’s gonna plug their ears,
When you scream? “
I was by the Kit Kats at the time.
I can’t really hear that song (Drive by The Cars) without seeing the film played at Live Aid in 1985 that accompanied it.Feeling tearful by the Kit Kats is not a great feeling.
Ninja Shopper And Thoughts Of Children
I mercifully sped through the checkout, disposable bags whipped from my pockets like some shopping ninja. As I got to the perimeter of the store car park the youngsters were emerging from the nearby primary school. One young blonde haired boy had raced ahead of his mother carrying his bag and with his coat worn only in the sense that he had the hood drawn over his head with the garment hanging behind him like some super hero cape. He was making speeding car sounds complete with enthusiastic screeching as he careered down the incline and slammed into a bollard in a way that would have given a much older buy a great deal of sensitive pain. He half acknowledged my nearby presence before pretending that I wasn’t there and talking excitedly to himself in a away I presume he intended to be over heard and said “great brakes”.