Posts Tagged ‘comment

07
Nov
19

shopping update

The race to provide fresh food at your door is on..In our area  Aldi,  a global company have partnered with Instacart for shopping and delivery. So  all I have to compare Aldi to is my previous orders with PeaPod, from Stop and Shop.While both services do essentially the same thing, there are a few differences. But first let’s get this said, these are my own observations,  they may differ if you live in a different location, the platforms have have additional features or upgrades added since the last time I  used them and pricing may also differ by location. Or I could be incorrect.

Now just a few notations : (and these may also apply for none fresh food shopping services)

Ease of ordering

Lets face it we have probably started shopping on line years ago with Amazon, Ebay etc. So expectations are that the interface is clean and descriptions are accurate. Things that throw a wrench into the system is the vendor not having accurate and up to date info on items , here they may fall short , not having what you prefer, out of stock items that are never back in stock, or not offering substitutions. Instacart ordering does supply a substitution permission and the ability to select a substitution product. Instacart also connects feedback by text so you have instantaneous feed back when  the order is being shopped and the option to have the shopper call you before they check out . Your order items and cost will then vary from your original order.

Payment system:

If it doesn’t have a clear and concise payment checkout, itemized, and the ability to use either debit or credit, gift cards, and promotions , and possibly PayPal or another system then I’ts lacking. adding a tip is also favorable for a complete cashless checkout.

Customer Service

This should be a non issue if everything goes as planned, but in today’s world most online transactions beg for feedback on the shopping experience and tie in’s with social media sites.

Platforms of use

You could be considered old school if you use a desktop machine for shopping , some people may have only accesses to services  by smartphone, not to mention some companies don’t even support websites (per say) and only have an app for operation. (some apps may merely be an icon to a ULR address). Even so, the navigation and set up is usually different  for desktop browsers vs.mobile versions and could be different even if it’s a smartphone or tablet ! The point is it may be easier to use an app vs. a desktop.

Now the real world:

Transition from a brick and mortar to include e commerce doesn’t translate well at this time.on some points. For instance, getting a certain cut of meat, poultry etc. Do they offer items like Cornish hens, duck , turkey,  beef neck bones, liver, T bone steaks, lamb chops or shoulder chops,  etc. like you would find at the physical store. Meat and produce of course have short shelve life if it’s fresh, not frozen so changes are expected. But it’s a sacrifice made for the sake of not being at the store itself.  Futurist  would point out that virtually shopping could cure this.

Price consciousness:

If you yourself have been transitioning shopping from brick and mortar to online service, it’s easy to spot the price differences, I both have seen prices more than or less than what is considered fair. Some on line free shipping may hide the shipping in increased prices or quantity minimums to offset the free shipping..  Of course most vendors have a minimum order amount to prevent small costly orders

Difference delivery processes.

If a store offers in store pickup or drive up in addition to normal shipping, and either same day or next day shipping,  this further splits the decision on what you can get. To be accurate you can use filters  for searching by delivery type  , or wait, till your done filling your cart and go through your shopping cart to find out what you can’t get or have to pay a premium for. depending on the shipping method and certain trigger price  point for free shipping. Add to that, special offers and add-ons for subscribed members. !! WHEW  !

Aldi transaction 

  • Season’s Choice Frozen Brussels Sprouts

    $1.25 · 12 oz

    1x

    $1.25

    Replacement for 1x 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, Package (Limit 6)

  • Tri-Color Grapes (Limit 6)

    $6.59 · 3 lb

    1x

    $0.00

    Reason: out_of_stock

  • Boneless Half Pork Butt Roast

    $2.29 · ~ 4.85 lb

    4.85 lb

    $0.00

    Reason: out_of_stock

 

Found

Stonemill Sea Salt Grinder

$2.55 · 3.15 oz

1x

$2.55

Broccoli, Package (Limit 6)

$1.89 · 1 lb

1x

$1.89

Cauliflower (Limit 6)

$2.85 · each

1x

$2.85

Black Angus Choice Top Round Steak

$5.99 · ~ 0.98 lb

1.1 lb

$6.59

 

Black Angus Choice Beef Country Style Ribs

$4.89 · ~ 1.4 lb

2.18 lb

$10.66

Kirkwood Fresh Young Chicken

$0.95 · ~ 6.22 lb

6.34 lb

$6.02

Kirkwood Fresh Chicken Leg Quarters

$0.89 · ~ 5 lb

5.45 lb

$4.85

Priano Prosciutto Italiano

$4.39 · 3 oz

1x

$4.39

Bone-In Center Cut Pork Chops

$2.99 · ~ 1.6 lb

1.6 lb

$4.78

 

Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour

$2.09 · 5 lb

1x

$2.09

Boulder Reclosable Sandwich Bags

$2.55 · 100 ct

1x

$2.55

Willow Facial Tissue

$1.25 · 160 ct

4x

$5.00

Countryside Creamery Pure Irish Butter Salted

$2.75 · 8 oz

1x

$2.75

Clancy’s Honey Wheat Pretzels

$4.39 · 24 oz

1x

$4.39

here the itemized from aldi

Without getting long winded, as long as there is one or two competing services, I may utilize either, until the penetration of either Jump bike or other transportation service to our area becomes available (in how many years?)  for those quick rides  to the store vs. Uber or Lyft.

recent order from Target:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31
Oct
19

In the news

From AARP Bulletin September 2009, Volume 60 #7

19
Oct
17

conflicts of interest

How the perception of laziness conflicts  leisure lifestyle.

Many years ago those who predicted that computers, automation and other advancements would free us from labor and offer us more leisure time, in my opinion were right. This was way back with the proliferation of computers, internet and even those who saw that email was a game changer. The electronic cottage was envisioned.

(I would look up statistics on how the post office evolved to cope with the loss of letter size mail, with the introduction of email, ebilling, and epayment systems, perhaps shifting to be competitive with package delivery.)

The conflict though, is for some to accept the fact that fewer people will be doing  physical work and possibly less travel to procure goods and more travel for pleasure, for example and more free thinking and  embrace it rather than disrupting it. As a side note, doesn’t your cable/ internet provider promote that you now have all the entertainment choices available in high definition wide-screen with digital surround audio seen  from your favorite recliner instead of going to the local theater ?

In technical terms, the less wear and tear you put on a machine the longer it lasts.  Could the same be said about people? It won’t be a fair comparison as the human body has some regenerative  properties but overall some have the lack of foresight to use tools available to them to lessen the physical load. Others in society will welcome the less labor output as they don’t have the same physical resources of others.

On an individual level, if goods and services can be delivered at the same price as one physically going to another location and back using your own resources, you’d already saved resources. Going to a store, or other point of purchase, consumes energy and labor. Could this be shifted to another use? Thinking, creativity, relaxation, social time? Would you use  your total labor output it terms of work hours more efficiently, or reduce the number of work hours you require to get the job done?

If a physically active lifestyle is ingrained in someones mentality, then it may be harder to accept the ideals of others who promote a leisure, less physical labor life and use available saving tools to achieve it. The total physical  labor of a system is decreasing and if the total amount of people able  to work at physically demanding employment decreases at the same rate then the system  would equalize no shift is required.

As far as those who promote a healthy robust activity filled lifestyle the  leisure lifestyle may appear as an ill of society. Years ago seniors were encouraged to “get off your rocker”as a reference to sitting in a rocking chair. Now with a laptop, internet and AI assistants more can be done in less travel and labor output and as I agree physical stagnation could be a problem, it’s not always an evil thing to sit back and relax once and awhile and let the machine do the work.

Truly, laziness is not a factor if one figures better ways to use his/her  labor to achieve a goal rather than avoiding or procrastinating the goal.

 

 

 

18
Sep
17

why some brick and mortar stores fail compared to online shopping

 

 

While  many brick and mortar retailers will pull their hair out to woo shoppers to them, they fail when it comes to competing with internet sales. The “shopping experience” becomes an effort to study the consumer, set up sales floors to force the shopper to either search for what they want or engage sale persons (if available) to find what they need by the “did you find everything your looking for today” query ? Even casual browsing in some establishments put sale persons on guard giving the consumer a move it along feeling as stores defend loss prevention, prevalent in some areas. The shopping experience can’t compare to the  mindset Amazons of the online business models the consumer may be used to. (Note: while brick and mortars may study the patterns of shoppers in their establishments, the same can be said online though it can be more tansparently done and effective to the consumer such as storing recent purchases and recommending other items for purchase.)

Not just the physical retail landscape has changed, but realize that  so has the consumer. Where as the malls and shopping centers were a place of gathering for people some may not view shopping as a productive or worthwhile social activity. Perhaps in the past shopping was a place to go as a change of scenery or quest to find items and a pastime, the mindset of some has, reinforced by the drive to automate the process, that other activities of their life are  more productive than the time, effort and energy to travel,select and move goods to their household and/or business.  The fact that some items shipped free, at that same price as obtained at the brick and mortar is a powerful incentive to have someone deliver goods to your household for free. As the supply chain becomes more automated after pushing the “submit” button, and now measured by metric of human touch, it seems that shipping and handling cost can be minimized and even reduced.

In some department stores, (who this shopper has not been in often, perhaps because of the highly organized online shopping  and payment system business models) , it’s a hodge podge of signage, posters and unclear price markings that makes the shopping experience fatiguing. Clothing especially is, to me, somewhat  ill organized as I am not exactly fashion conscious either  . The layout of such department stores can also make the consumer wander to find his or her area pertaining to the items needed, even locating the checkout area can be  an  exercise as most of the signage indicates sales discounts, clearance items, branding  or flashy artwork (not to mention use of video monitors). Then when locating the checkout area, it’s poorly marked to indicate queue lines to the checkout desk. (Are there self service checkouts available?)

Keep in mind not all stores are like this, some are clearly more organized, marked, arranged and more inviting to the consumer, especially those who have done a fair amount of shopping online and expect possibly the same organization in a brick and mortar  store.

While people don’t expect every brick and mortar to be like an Ikea ,for example, where the uncluttered and organized stock doesn’t change as often as the styles of clothing , in Ikea the mapping of the stores are more pronounced in the signage giving the consumer a more comfortable approach to shopping.

Another important factor that will bridge the online shopping experience to the brick and mortar is the syncing of data, that is when an item online is located, in the store the consumer can travel to, that item has a location marked and corresponds to the exact physical  location within the brick and mortar, (aisle 39 bay 3 as an example) and the consumer is assured that the item(s) is in stock and the store is properly signed so the consumer can easily find the location. This of course assumes that this type of consumer has all ready made their shopping decision and most likely will want to see the actual product before purchasing versus just continuing the purchase online,  also  they want the product immediately, this will draw the consumer to a brick and mortar purchase.  Some brick and mortar store personnel,  when queried about an item found online, dismiss it, as it’s products don’t mirror the online structure, or it’s sold out or unavailable. The consumer has now made an needless journey to the store.

To some, a well laid out brick and mortar store will make a sale while those unorganized stores may have the consumer reaching for their smart mobile device, filling their online shopping cart and purchasing the item in cyberspace.

Now the best retail experience that may not be so effected by technology may be the corner store or bodega where the person behind the counter is a friendly face, a confidant, a sage, a problem solver and an advisor. Though those operators must exhibit the dedication that comes from  balancing a magnitude of stock and eking a profit to stay in business.

 

 

 

 

 

21
Oct
13

Good morning

Proving one’s presence or the proof of identity security questions.

It’s needless to say that who you say you are becomes more necessary in the digital world. One of the more annoying aspects of proving identity is the “security or secret questions” often employed to prove one’s identity.

It seems to have started out as a simple question asked by the website, business etc. that only the user of of that identity, so to speak, could answer. Now that leaves some persons, including myself in a dilemma.

One one side of the coin, I could care less about revealing some aspect of myself online. Once you reach a certain point about being guarded about your identity, and you see the multitude of other personas online who may not be as guarded about being revealing, you simply respond to the questions possibly to be friendly in nature.

The other view, shared by some security advisors , would be not to reveal any information whatsoever to confirm your identity with the thought of doing so would allow identity theft or identity cloning or some sort of pandering. Now the response to the questions selected would be to misinform or scramble the answer.

Now evolved, the simply security question has become multiple questions to the point of selecting from a list the questions themselves at an attempt to strengthen the safeguard of ones proof of presence.

Now in a situation like this , I’m baffled, not even by the deciding if I choose to answer the question , but by their list of choices of questions to select!
Is It really a part of ones identity to know for instance, who your oldest nephew is or where you met your spouse, where you were born or the most liked car you drove?
Strain my brain why don’t you !

Now the dilemma of even revealing an important item of my life is jumbled by the fact that the listed choice of questions seems to indicate what I should know about myself. Even though I don’t expect to have the answers to all the questions proposed for selection to answer, their listing irks me. So the alternative is the pick any question and answer it with a string of random characters. That would really piss anyone trying to collect important tidbits of your life. But would it label you as a disrupter ?

More coffee please.

09
Jun
12

portion control in NYC, for our own good?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/nyregion/bloomberg-plans-a-ban-on-large-sugared-drinks.html?ref=dining
also
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/dining/debating-the-proposed-new-york-city-regulation-on-drink-size.html

02
Oct
11

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Published: September 24, 2011

readers comments

The original Article by Mark Bittman New York Times

 

Is it only me that finds an interesting parallel to this article, and  the 100 plus comments? We ARE concerned for the health and welfare of our fellow human beings and often like doctors, we get  preached as to what a healthy life style choices should be, how to practice them, and wonder WHY!, WHY?  doesn’t everyone else simply follow along? It’s often too easy to image that  people from all walks of life should have no problem doing what is best for them.  we often hear “what I do and preach is the way to go” . Trying to steer the public into a behavior that betters one facet of their lives is the message heard from many sources.  The argument whether one choice is better than another is going to be argued incessantly. After making choices about food , should we move on to health care, personal finances, lets say how saving for retirement is also easy as pie to do and all the reasons we should avoid credit cards and payday loan services?  Some of the respondents comments highlighted that the options of persons are  limited and it’s the life style they are  in that conditions their choices.

So do I cringe when a family member brings home a highly processed food or snack? Or perhaps a lottery ticket and a pack of smokes instead of the head of broccoli?   Possibly, but at the time I respect their choice and maybe gently nudge them to consider alternatives. I won’t dare appear self righteous as we all can’t be straight as an arrow, healthy as an ox or bring home 6 figures.

The general overview is that the people are constantly bombarded  by a variety of sources, selling, manipulating them in directions that some see as ridiculous.

Bittman makes his point, and I see his point of view, through food, and glad that others recognize that it’s only one factor that’s maddeningly slow to change.

Life styles don’t change overnight.




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