Entries Tagged as '· Temporal'

Summer Solstice 2020

June 20 2020 21:43 GMT

Advertising in the COVID-19 era

It occured to me today that there’s absolutely nothing stopping a retailer from advertising a product at an extremely aggressive price in order to get patrons into their stores — and then simply having no reasonable supply to fill demand.

Most grocers has (at least temporarily) stopped issuing rain checks, and I’ve heard more than once something along the lines of — that’s a manufacturer’s sale price / coupon, we can’t do anything about extending the expiry.

One would hope that reputable retailers are more focused on continuing to promote long term relationships with their customers; however, it just seems all too convenient that the sale item is completely gone, and equivalent items are well stocked.

It saddens me that so many people living pay-check to pay-check, or those already unemployed cannot purchase the goods they depend on at the prices they’ve become accustomed to…

BJ’s Wholesale “Crisis”

Below is a letter I send to the executive staff of BJ’s Wholesale Pensacola location.

While I realize that during the COVID-19 panic stores are having a difficult time keeping items in stock — you’d think that a major retail (or “wholesale”) outlet would also realize this and not exacerbate the problem by sending out advertisements which do nothing by try to drive individuals into their locations and sell them whatever they might find (rather than what they went for).


BJ’s Wholesale
25 Research Dr
Westborough, MA 01582

ATTN:  Christopher J Baldwin, Executive Chairman

SUBJ:   Poor Customer Service

Sirs,

Yesterday evening I visited the Pensacola BJ’s Wholesale club location (for the first time). Like any “new” facility, it was clean, and appeared well maintained; however, like lipstick on a pig, there’s little that can be done to cover over a culture that lacks customer focus.

Let’s start at the beginning…

On 13 Oct 2020 I signed up for a membership, taking advantage of the offer for “coupons”, gift card, and two membership cards.

I received electronic information with my membership number, and started receiving email and postal offers.

Sometime later my secondary membership card arrived in the mail, and I gave it to my sister for who I’d ordered it.

When the facilities gas station opened, I applied for (and received) a Comenity Bank BJ’s Master Card and took advantage of a discount offer on fuel.

Last Sunday I received an email offer for “free” breakfast items… of course I still haven’t received my membership card _or_ my gift card.

When I arrived at the store around seven last evening there were none of these items in the offer to be found.

I went up to the membership store, and spoke with a fairly pleasant agent, but I simply wasn’t satisfied with my conversation, so at my request she called for the “MOD” – she had to call multiple times, and I waited for quit sometime before the “MOD” arrived.

From the instant he arrived it was clear from his lack of enthusiasm and body language that he wasn’t interested in hearing anything I had to say.  Even though I paused before saying anything he didn’t introduce himself, nor did he ask what seemed to be the problem. When I queried him about why offers for goods you had no stock of were sent out – he stated that these were manufacturer’s offers prepared several months in advance.  While I understand that many marketing campaigns are prepared potentially months in advance, they can be halted in a near instant.  Then he indicated that these items should be available at 9:30am (in limited quantities); and made the statement that “it’s a crisis, the beaches are closed”.  That statement, to me, indicated that he’d much rather be at the beach than working at BJ’s (since it had zero relevance to the conversation at hand).  At the end of my “conversation” I ask him how long I had to get a refund for my membership – to which he replied, he could refund my money right then.  Not the question I ask, and I underscored that to him.

Clearly your “MOD” had no interest in talking with me, and certainly wasn’t listening to me… he simply compounded to the utter waste of my time a trip to BJ’s had been.

I left the store as I’d come – purchasing _nothing_ except with a commitment to spend my money elsewhere.

BJ’s continues to send out advertisements for items which they do not have in stock, have clear knowledge that they cannot satisfy demand created by such advertisements, nor can they realistically satisfy the number of time-limited “coupons” they send out.  Since BJ’s is in fact still sending out emailings and postal mailings with “coupons” this may be a violation federal and state laws.

Irrespective of your intent, your actions say a great deal about the type of culture your company is built on; and it speaks to greed rather than to building a solid foundation of customer loyalty and trust.

You certainly haven’t engendered any trust from me – and honestly I’d rather drive an hour to a Costco than shop at a BJ’s (you realize the Pensacola store is the _only_ store within 300 miles of my home – a radius filled with a number of Costcos and Sams).

Sincerely,

New Year – Same Down Economy

Retailers started releasing fourth quarter earning reports yesterday.

There’s no surprise here — Target, the number two retailer in the US, announced on Christmas Eve that sales would not meet there expectations; and Master Card also indicated that spending (via credit card) was down.

Wal-Mart, of course, tipped everyone off that they expected a bad retail season when they started their “Black Friday” sales three weeks before Thanksgiving and most retailers followed suit with deep discounts through out the retail season.

While a bad retail season doesn’t by itself mean that the economy will continue to slump, there are certainly enough signs to that effect (personally I’m ignoring the US Department of Labor’s unemployment numbers… they simply don’t make sense, they don’t seem to reflect reality, and they are designed to be misleading).

I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, but the long the economy continues the slide downward the harder it will be to revive.  My instinct tells me that this downturn, like The Great Depression, will not be ended by planning and programs — but by aggression, greed, and exploitation.

Vernal Equinox 2020

March 20 2020 03:49 GMT

We Predicted a Coronavirus Pandemic. Here’s What Policymakers Could Have Seen Coming.

Here is the preamble to a post from Politico which talks about an excercise on preparation for a pandemic eerily similar to the COVID-19 outbreak which happened several months later.. See the complete post We Predicted a Coronavirus Pandemic. Here’s What Policymakers Could Have Seen Coming.


By SAMUEL BRANNEN and KATHLEEN HICKS, 3/07/2020 07:00 AM EST

The news of a highly contagious new virus jumping from China to the U.S. has caught many Americans by surprise. For us, the outbreak was more like déjà vu: Last October, we convened a group of experts to work through what would happen if a global pandemic suddenly hit the world’s population. The disease at the heart of our scenario was a novel and highly transmissible coronavirus.

For our fictional pandemic, we assembled about 20 experts in global health, the biosciences, national security, emergency response and economics at our Washington, D.C., headquarters. The session was designed to stress-test U.S. approaches to global health challenges that could affect national security. As specialists in national security strategic planning, we’ve advised U.S. Cabinet officials, members of Congress, CEOs and other leaders on how to plan for crises before they strike, using realistic but fictional scenarios like this one.

The experts we convened walked through just how Americans and the global community would fare—how the pandemic would stress resources, bureaucracies and international relations. We then had participants backcast to today, recommending changes to our current path that could help avoid or manage the risks of a pandemic.

What we found, overall, was that the world has changed in ways that make it far harder to contain disease—and some of the mistakes that fuel its spread have already happened in the current real-world outbreak. There is still time, though, to think more carefully about how to respond both to this outbreak and likely future ones.

We chose a new strain of coronavirus for our scenario because scientists agreed that this was a likely pathogen for a future epidemic; recent outbreaks such as SARS and MERS were also caused by the coronavirus family. The future we described was based on the research of deep subject matter experts who have studied recent epidemics, including our colleagues in the Center for Strategic and International Studies Global Health Security program and researchers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

The parallels between our exercise and today’s real outbreak aren’t exact. We assumed a research laboratory-created virus first released in Europe (by accident or intentionally—we left it deliberately unclear); the real-world SARS-CoV-2 virus likely originated in wild animals sold at a meat market and was first detected in Wuhan, China. But other aspects are extremely similar: In our scenario, the virus was highly transmissible and had a 3.125 percent lethality rate. So far, the true rate of the new virus is unknown, but according to the World Health Organization about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died.

So what happened, as our exercise unfolded—and what do Americans need to know about what might happen next?

Continue on Politico

Winter Solstice 2019

December 22 2019 04:19 GMT

Autumnal Equinox 2019

September 23 2019 07:50 GMT

Summer Solstice 2019

June 21 2019 15:54 GMT

It’s not a lack of things to say as much as a lack of time to say it…

On any day I have a multitude of thoughts, it’s just I don’t always have the time to express it to others.

It’s really hard to express how much I feel we all need to take time out of our lives to create a sense of community by sharing that which makes us who we are, our passions, our triumphs, and our fears.

I know, do as I say, not as I do.

In this time of division and hate, I feel it’s particularly important that we take time to reach our to others and listen, as well as speak. At our core, we’re all very much the same, and want the same things — I’ve learned that through my travels. No matter what the culture, all humans share a connection and a common core which unites us.

It’s sometime hard to listen to ideas which offend you, and sometimes the venue makes exchanging those types of ideas illegal. Respect each other, respect the letter of the law, and respect the spirit of building bridges, not walls.