Thursday, September 10, 2009

How I See It ...

It's Safeway. I shop there all the time. It's convenient located, but really, it's not that convenient. So I have a few suggestions for them.

1. Don't address me by my name when I am in line at the checkout counter. As your customer, I have entrusted you with a bunch of personally identifiable information, which you get from my Safeway card or my debit card or credit card. Most companies have a policy governing their behavior regarding personal information, and assuring me that they are behaving correctly, or at least in a manner I can choose not to agree to. Typically, you (Safeway) don't actually know me, and neither do any of the other people in the store. So, please don't tell them my name.

2. Please try to discourage panhandlers outside your store at midnight. I give a lot of money to charities and to panhandlers, but really don't want to deal with them outside your dark store at midnight when I am typically getting the shopping done. As an alternative, maybe you could turn some more lights on in the parking lot. As your customer, I don't always feel safe on the way to my car (and it's not necessarily the fault of the panhandlers).

3. Closing all your registers at 11:00 PM for five minutes isn't really good for business. It pisses your customers off (I know because I am in line with them). It may be really convenient for you, but it's not for me, and ... after all ... I am your customer.

4. Having one cashier with 60 people in line at 7:00 PM on a Friday night isn't all that good for business either, in case you happen to be one of those Safeway managers who happened to be watching that night, when we, the customers, were wondering how it is that you actually still have jobs.

5. Stocking the shelves with stuff that people buy is another good idea. I don't know how many times I have gone shopping with a list of ordinary goods and found that some critical element (hamburger ... for example), was completely unavailable. Or found myself having to go to another store to get about half the stuff I have on my list. It must be really convenient for you to stock all the goods at the end of the day ... at once, but for me, it would be great if the stuff were on the shelf when I got there.

6. Although it must seem pretty fulfilling to have the user interface for credit cards ask your customers to donate money for the MDA, or PDA's for kids, or breast cancer associations, I personally find it a bit irritating. As your customer, I am usually in a hurry, already find your poorly designed and badly working credit/debit machine to be incredibly slow and cumbersome, and I wonder if you have any respect at all for my time, and the time of all the other people around me. I am really just trying to get the groceries and go. I don't want to be troubled with charitable giving decisions while I am shopping, I'll do that at home with my family and my tax advisor. Making every customer say no to a "do you want to donate" question is a an incredible waste of time for every person in line at every register, literally thousands of button pushes every day, hours wasted standing in line (talk about a drain on the economy). I tolerate this so you can feel good about yourselves; I don't think so. Please try to be slightly more considerate of my time by making that decision an option at the pay screen. You know, "credit", "debit", or "donate", or better yet, go back to little cards that a customer can select and buy.

So ... here's a business idea for you leaders at Safeway, if you want to keep good customers like me. Make it easy and cheap for me to buy my groceries and be on my way, and I'll be in twice a week. Make it too hard ... and I probably won't.