Tag Archives: Shopping

Thanksgiving Hypocrite Conservatives

28 Nov

I remember growing up looking forward to Thanksgiving. I would get to see family I had not seen in a long time. Stories were shared, fun times were had and live long memories were made. Family was the most important thing.

Today, all Thanksgiving is to most people is a day to eat more than normal (or maybe not) and to go buy material wares in a guise of “saving” money. For the shopping to happen and the “savings” to be available a store has to be open. And for a store to be open, employees will have to sacrifice a day designed to celebrate family away from theirs.

Every single person who claims to be a conservative should boycott stores whom are open on Thanksgiving. The stores need to be only filled with people who think less of family and others. That is not supposed to be conservatives. We spout all the time about “family-values” and their continued deterioration of them in this country, and the world. Yet when conservatives have a chance to make a real difference they put those convictions of “family-values” aside so easily for the all mighty dollar.

Some will try to make the counter argument of, “But not everyone wants Thanksgiving off. Some people want to work and make extra money!” And to those people I would say thank you for proving my point. The fact people are so focused on making more money, to buy and have more stuff, is the exact problem with our society, country and world I am speaking about.

So for everyone of you conservatives who goes shopping today for those “bargains” just remember they come at a price. Nothing in this world is free. The price being paid is the continued erosion of real family-values, which was one cornerstone which made this country so great.

Oh the Huge Manatee: Target Catches Unnecessary Grief for Color Label

5 Apr

Ah the PC police are at it again. Seems someone on planet earth was yet again offended by what another person did. Shocking isn’t it? Apparently Target, the step above Walmart retailer, had a plus sized dress for sale with the color description of “Manatee Grey”.

While on the surface this could appear to be a cheap shot at fat/overweight women and it seems someone got their feelings hurt by his knee-jerk reaction. The offendee? Susan Clemens (aka Twitter user @suZen). She found the discrepancy between the color label of the plus size version of the dress and the “regular” size version, which uses the color label “Dark Heather Grey”.

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Match Game: Target Set to Match Amazon Pricing Year Round

8 Jan

Brick and mortar retailers are facing increased pressure from their online counterparts. More and more consumers are “showrooming”, the process of going to a physical store, touching and testing a product, then using their smartphones and some apps to find the lowest price available to purchase the product. Many times the lowest price is at on-line retailer. Not only have the brick and mortar stores lost sales, but they have to still pay all the expenses which go along with having a physical location.

Target has apparently had enough of this situation and is aiming directly at one of the on-line “big boys” in battle: Amazon. According to Target’s CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, “We know that our guests often compare prices online.” While going directly at on-line retailers, like Amazon, Target is also going after other brick and mortar companies as well by matching their on-line prices. Target will be matching prices from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Toysrus.com and Walmart.com.

The rules for the price match work when “a customer buys a qualifying item at Target and then finds an identical item for less in the following week’s Target circular or within seven days … Target will match the price.” Of course there are other specific rules a customer must follow, and this is where Target will be able to squeeze out of some of the price matches.

According to Target’s rules the “price guarantee states that the price-matched item must be the identical item, brand name, size, weight, color, quantity — and even model number.” The last part is where Target gets the out. There are times when an identical item is made but a retailer may have a different model number than another. This will leave Target a out by telling a customer the product they purchased is not the “exact” same as the one they found on-line.

The frustrated customer can then either try to return the item to Target, which is notorious for being very picky on returns and will store customer information with a third party for possible denial of returns in the future. Or the customer can keep the product, choose to not shop or greatly reduce their shopping at Target and use them as a showroom.

Of course Target could be very customer friendly and match the prices of products which are clearly the same but have the technical, purposefully changed model number. This would be very good customer service, which is another reason customers didn’t buy from a brick and mortar store. From the Market Watch article:

Among shoppers who say they engage in showrooming, 40% say that they actually never intended to shop online, but did so after experiencing poor customer service and support in stores, according to a recent survey by the Kellogg School of Management. Of the 1,900 shoppers surveyed, 59% say they received poor or average service in stores where they recently shopped.

So while matching prices is a big step, if a retailer, on-line or not, doesn’t treat its customers well, they will go elsewhere. Some additional food for thought and the retail business gets even more competitive in the coming year.

 

Source –
Target vows to match Amazon’s prices – Market Watch

Tabled Discussion: Could New Table PC from Lenovo Bring Families Back Together?

7 Jan

The mantra from many marketers is the world is more connected now than ever before. In theory, sure people can now find out what is going on around the world and communicate with those people more than ever before. The idea of being isolated from current events, no matter how trivial is something one has to work to do instead of it being the default action in life.

However this “connected” world we live in now comes at a cost. People are not near as engaged with each other on a personal level than previously. Could technology actually help in bringing people back together in real life? Lenovo thinks it just might have an answer.

The company is set to release the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC. Lenovo is calling it the “interpersonal computer”, a twist on the personal computer label many people are familiar with. The idea of the device harkens back to when a Microsoft Surface device was previewed as a big table and not the recent tablet. The idea and concept was intriguing at the time, and still is to an extent today.

Think of this Table PC as an massive upgrade to the old coffee table. Now instead of boardgames being taken down, setup, played and put away (a somewhat time consuming and arguably annoying process), they can be installed and run on the table. According to the AP article [1], the Table PC is said to be “big enough to fit four people around it, and the screen can respond to ten fingers touching it at the same time.”  Monopoly anyone? No. How about Pictionary instead? The possibilities are pretty much endless.

And with the ability to upgrade the software, even more functionality is possible. So what is limited to ten fingers today could be 20 by the end of the year, or sooner. Now think of using a device like this in an educational setting. The idea of dissecting animals just got an upgrade. Multiple students could be a one table and take turns doing the process multiple times in varying ways. How about looking at the stars but up-close and personal as a group? Again, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Having some realistic idea of what one could do with device at home and else where currently should temper the grand ideas of its potential use. As most people do with any first generation device. Another possibility is it being a “second screen” to a media program being viewed on a TV.

The cost of the Table PC isn’t as “cheap” as a tablet. This summer when Lenovo says the table will go on sale, the retail cost will be $1699. If successful (which is anyones guess what defines success for a device like this) it is not out of the range of possibility for furniture manufacturers (big-box to mom-and-pop) to beign creating table shells which fit devices such as this. I’m generally not a first generation device purchaser but if I had an extra $1700 lying around, I could see giving this device a try.

Some specs on the device [2]:

  • Up to 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor
  • Up to Windows 8 Pro
  • 27″ backlit full HD (1920×1080) multi-touch display; 16:9 widescreen
  • Up to 2 hours battery life
  • Up to 1TB HDD
  • Up to 8GB DDR3

 

See it “in action” here:

 

References –

  1. Lenovo to release giant 27-inch ‘coffee table PC’ – AP
  2. IdeaCentre Horizon Product Page – Lenovo

Old Navy + Griswolds = Brilliantly Funny Christmas Commercial

27 Nov

I’m not the biggest Chevy Chase fan anymore but this is a funny Christmas commercial. Well played Old Navy. Well Played.

Somber Aftermath: 2012 Black Friday Wrap-Up

24 Nov

It’s time to wrap up the series on Black Friday. The 2012 Black Friday event is now a thing of the past. For all the build-up and hype the “official” kickoff to the holiday shopping season is over. What happens now is the number crunching of what impact was felt not only over all in the economy but just how much difference, positive or negative, it made to be open on Thanksgiving.

Some reports so far seem to indicate the early openings may not have resulted in more sales overall. Instead it spread out sales which would have been made at the previously set openings of midnight. From a report on KHOU in Houston, Texas: [1]

“I was expecting it to be more crowded,” Simon said. “Parking was really easy to find. I’ve been looking at my friends’ Facebook statuses and everyone’s been saying it’s pretty empty.”

This can be a bad thing for retailers. The time and effort to get people into the stores early on Thanksgiving night did not translate into the same people continuing to shop through the rest of the morning on Black Friday. There was extra incentive for customers to keep going when they were already exhausted and got what they wanted.  Then factor in the stores to pay for staff to be there and running on Thursday night. Couple those factors in with tired and unhappy employees who were torn away from their families all in the name of profit and  the logical end result a loss for the extra hours being open. At best, financially it is a break even proposal most retailers, no matter how they and their associations will try to spin it.

And there was always the good news of happy shoppers treating each other with joy and happiness. Well maybe not. Reports of gang fights [2], Shootings [3] and Customers pepper spraying authorities [4] were among those from happy customers out and about on Thursday and Friday. Even Victoria’s Secret shoppers were acting like they had ants in their pants. [5] Turns out it they were just eager to get a leg up on each other on a deal for yoga pants. Yes, yoga pants.

One bright note to the whole Thanksgiving Day shopping weekend, is the event known as Small Business Saturday. This one is actually one to get out and support. It encourages customers to spend their time and money with local small businesses on Saturday, November 24. Doing so not only helps “neighbors” who’s lively hood is their own small company, it also helps the local economy and local jobs. If the saying is all politics is local, then all economies are local too and helping them out is American as turkey on Thanksgiving. [6]

References –

  1. Friday shoppers benefit after stores open early on Thursday – KHOU 11
  2. Fight at Woodland Mall – Fox 17
  3. Two People Shot in Fight Over Wal Mart Parking Space – WCTV
  4. Disturbance leads to scare at Westroads Mall – KETV 7
  5. Rush at Victoria’s Secret Pink at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan. – KSHB 41
  6. Small Business Saturday – SBA.gov

Proof of Purchase: Some Stores Require Scanning ID for Returns or Exchanges

21 Nov

Be careful this coming Black Friday and holiday shopping season, if returning something retailers are asking to scan ID’s such as drivers licenses.

According to a report by the CBS San Francisco affiliate, certain retailers are requiring customers to hand over their ID’s to be scanned for returns or exchanges. The ID scanning is required no matter if the customer has a receipt proving they legitimately purchased an item.

One shopper, Leslie, was required to give her ID when making a return at The Children’s Place, even though she expressed her discomfort and concern to the sales associate. The response given by the associate? It was corporate policy.

The Children’s Place is not alone. In fact they are part of a growing trend in the retail industry. With margins shrinking due to retailers trying to keep the lowest possible price on products and services, the battle to keep profits up is intensifying. One way to combat profit loss is to reduce returns or exchanges of purchased items.

This is where The Retail Equation (TRE) enters the picture. They have software called Verify which, “uses statistical modeling and analytics to detect fraudulent and abusive behavior when returns are processed at retailers’ return counter.” In other words, when a customer hands over their ID to be scanned, the information is recorded by The Retail Equation and stored in their supposedly secure database. This database is then referenced each time a customers ID is scanned and a new return recorded.

How does this affect customers? According to The Retail Equation they are “contracted by retailers to gather their transaction information, store it securely, and analyze the data to develop and follow return policies for those retailers.” Essentially TRE becomes big brother tracking everyone’s return habits and patterns. On the surface the idea might be a good one. But their FAQ page leaves many questions too vague to be fully trusted.

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