Bad Retail Experience Part II: Kroger

Kroger, oh Kroger. You put me in a bad position. You are the most convenient store for me to shop, but you are really starting to slip. I can forgive that your highest-price-in-town canned cat food forces me to send my dollars to your competitors, but I have very little patience for less than competent employees.

I went to Kroger today to buy a chicken for roasting tomorrow. Knowing that Kroger’s stocking is hit-or-miss, I first went to make sure they had a chicken (even though we are the top chicken producing state in the nation).

The only chickens they had in the cooler were these fancy-pants organic things, with a price in the $10+ range. It was easy to find them– they were flanked by about 3 feet of empty space on either side, where reasonably priced chickens once sat, I presume.

I asked the two managers who were talking nearby if the only whole chickens they had were the $10 ones, and she went and checked. She said they had more in the back, and said she would have an employee get them.

I continued my shopping, getting all of the food for the weekend, and head back to grab a chicken, about 10 minutes later. I once again find $10 chickens, and 6 feet of empty shelf. Now, though, there is a guy who is setting out ground beef.

I ask where the chickens are. He points to a box, where I am expected to fish out a chicken. Why, after the manager specifically asked him to put out chickens, would he instead put out ground beef? Why should a customer, who was patient enough to wait for them to restock, have to sort through a box to find a chicken?

And, the most irksome part– the part that sent me to Kroger’s competitor Piggly Wiggly to buy a chicken– is that the chicken they wanted to sell me was 15% salt water. That’s not chicken, that’s chicken product. They are so salty that I can’t even eat them. And I don’t pay $25/gallon for chicken broth, which is what 15% salt water chicken product works out to at $3/lb.

Piggly Wiggly had a nice chicken, around $6, and only 3% solution. Cheaper on cat food, too.

That is all.

Bad Retail Experience Part I: Home Depot

Hey Home Depot,

I just got back from your store.

I have a project that, according to my math, works out to about $250. I was planning on buying all of my supplies today. Instead, I bought nothing. The reasons are two-fold, and here they are:

1. Lack of Employee Knowledge. I had to ask five– F I V E– Home Depot employees where I should go to find SKU 755578, Master Flow Water Based Mastic Half Gallon Tub. The first guy didn’t seem to understand the word “mastic,” and sent me to the very far corner of the store, where I found buckets of roofing compounds. No mastic in sight.

The two ladies over there both told me it was in plumbing. That didn’t seem to make sense, so I asked another guy on the long walk back to plumbing. He was confident– Aisle 7, left side, near the end, eye level. Nope, no mastic in sight.

I headed to customer service. The nice lady was able to look up the product, and walked me right over to it. For the record, it was not by roofing, not in plumbing, and not at eye level Aisle 7 on the left near the end. It was eye level, on the right, at the other end, and in different packaging than is shown on the website.

15 minutes to find mastic. 3 tubs in my cart.

2. Poor Stocking Procedures. My project requires a respirator. The first guy I asked knew exactly where respirators were. I looked up the respirator I wanted to buy online– SKU 674580. It is specifically listed as a Demolition respirator, safe for use around insulation. Looking at the display, I find the spot where the respirator I want is supposed to be sitting. There is one respirator in the box, and it is the wrong one.

At this point, I go back to customer service, and ask for her to locate one of these masks. I learned my 15 minute, across-the-store-and-back lesson with the Mastic. She says they have 19, and we head over to where I just was. Sure enough, there are none on the shelf. I located a box of these respirators by the hand-written SKU. The lady gets a ladder, and gets down a box.

The respirators are listed as Lead Paint respirators, not Demolition and Renovation respirators as on the website and the shelf sticker. Nowhere on the packaging does it say it is safe to use with insulation. Either they are listing this respirator incorrectly on their website, or the SKU was hand-written on the incorrect box. Any way you look at it, I will NOT trust a respirator for insulation use that does not specifically say it is safe for insulation use on the packaging.

At this point, I had spent nearly 30 minutes in Home Depot. I had successfully acquired ONE of the ten or so items that I needed to purchase for my project. The item I was not able to acquire is essential to start my project.

I left my cart at customer service. I won’t trust a respirator based on the hand-written SKU by the same Home Depot employees that sent me on a wild goose chase to find a product that they should have located the first time I asked.

Home Depot got ZERO dollars from me today, and it looks like Lowes will be getting my money for this project.

That is all.

Green Is Universal, MSNBC Is Hypocritical

“It’s ‘Green is Universal’ week here at MSNBC,” said Tamron Hall while sitting in front of a bank of flat screen monitors, placed on desks where I have never seen anyone sit.

Yes, this is the same “Green is Universal” that I have been talking about 2007. I posted about it here and here.

Math check!

3 monitors, let’s say 100 watts each. That means each of them uses 0.1 kilowatt-hours for every hour they are powered, and the three of them it combine to 0.3 kilowatt-hours for every hour of use.

My first post on the subject was Tuesday, November 6, 2007. That is 1,628 days from today. Each day has 24 hours, so about 39,072 hours.

0.3 kilowatt-hours multiplied by 39,072 hours equals 11,721 kilowatt-hours wasted. WASTED!

But that’s not fair, is it? Surely they don’t have them powered on all the time. OK, fine, let’s say they use them 8 hours a day. That means MSNBC has wasted 3,907 kilowatt-hours. WASTED!

According to the US Energy Information Administration:

In 2010, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 11,496 kWh, an average of 958 kilowatthours (kWh) per month. Tennessee had the highest annual consumption at 16,716 kWh and Maine the lowest at 6,252 kWh.

It appears as though MSNBC has wasted somewhere between about 4 months of electricity for the highest of home users, and up to almost two years of electricity for the lowest home users, all AFTER they declared that Green is Universal.

So please allow me to translate “Green is Universal” from MSNBC-speak into normal person terms:

Green Is Universal, MSNBC Is Hypocritical

That is all.