business news in context, analysis with attitude

More reaction to our suggestion the other day that in addition to offering distractions to the children of shoppers in the form of computer games and mock ups of race cars attached to shopping carts, supermarkets ought to develop food-oriented attractions that build sales and credibility for the store’s image.

One MNB user wrote:

“What a brilliant idea, Kevin. How much do you think it would be worth in PR, customer loyalty and extra spending from parents if supermarkets offered, say, 30-60 minute food and cookery lessons for kids while the shopping was done in peace? Alternatively, how much would parents be prepared to pay for such lessons so that they could shop and then have a coffee (or taste what the kids had cooked) afterwards?”

We’re blushing…but it was a good idea, wasn’t it?

MNB user Renee Rubin thought so:

“The story you ran on Tuesday about keeping kids occupied in the stores raised some interesting points. I actually enjoy shopping with my two very active sons (ages 4 and 6). One of my favorite places to take them is H.E.B.'s Central Market. They don't have the carts that resemble race cars -- but what they do have is a huge variety of fruits and vegetables that my kids would never see at a standard grocery store.

“Each visit brings different questions from my kids about how the unusual vegetables or fruit would taste or what we think they look like (one orange looked like a hand -- I believe it was called a Buddha Orange). I love to spark their interest by asking them how many different types of potatoes or chili they see -- or which is the biggest purple vegetable they can find. They enjoy playing along and I can't help to think that maybe I'll turn them into "Foodies" as Central Market has coined the phrase for food lovers.

“I think their favorite part of the journey there is taste-testing the multiple types of fresh hand-made tortillas. At least one type always ends up in my cart.

“As a pure marketer at heart, I also ask my kids which display they like the best, too. My oldest son is very quick to notice poorly merchandised shelves wherever we go and loves the big wide aisles and neatly stacked shelves at one of the SuperTarget stores that we frequent multiple times a week.

“The playful shopping carts are nice, but I prefer a more educational and family fun experience.

“Just thought I'd offer a different view from a working mom.”

A different view…but one that validates everything we were saying.

And, a response from a member of the MNB community to our comment that while Wal-Mart may think of itself as America’s store, the Dallas Cowboys used to be “America’s team,” and they’ve collapsed over the past few seasons…

“I've still managed to never enter a Wal-Mart. But keep in mind that it would probably benefit no one if they ended up crashing and burning like the Cowboys. Once they're that tightly woven into the economy, we pretty much need them to stay successful.


We had a piece yesterday about Wegmans starting up a new private label organic line, which prompted one MNB user to question not the company’s organic strategy, but its geographic reach:

“While Wegmans continues to make tremendous strides pushing Private Label items throughout its store, it will be interesting to see if it can play outside its Upstate captive market. Certainly the Safeway/Genuardi's formula offers a cautionary omen.”

Cautionary, yes. But our experience with Wegmans is that it seems to pay attention to the details and not assume anything about its customers and strategies. We think they’ll be fine.

MNB user Eric Peabody agrees:

“Every time I see a feature on Wegmans I hear the chorus of an old 50s song, "..that's when I fell for the leader of the pack". I occasionally shop the store in Lawrenceville, NJ when visiting family there. I am always impressed with the quality, variety and presentation of their perishable and specialty departments.

“Wegmans organic is one more sign that they aren't sitting on their laurels. By the way their parking lot is always full. Even though it backs to a Wal-Mart Supercenter!”

And finally, we had an email from an MNB user about our story yesterday noting that is opening a “Sexual Healing” store on its site, offering “a private and safe retail experience where consumers can freely explore their sexuality and are empowered to make their own choices to enhance their sexual well-being.”

“This is going to be REALLY BIG for them. Don't have to be the Amazing Kreskin to figure that one out! Now that I think about it, I'm amazed that it's taken this long to steal this segment opportunity out of the smoked glass and plain brown wrapper universe it's lurked in.”

Good point.

We also had several emails from MNB users who responded to our comment that, if this worked out for, we would shortly be launching More than a few of you wrote in to say that you were going to register that domain name and sell it back to us for a big profit.

We would respond with two little words:

Too late.

Have a good weekend.
KC's View: