Ultra-cheap discounter Dollar Tree has turned off the in-store music in all of its stores, citing cost issues. On the company’s Facebook page, shoppers keep complaining that the company is being too cheap (many don’t seem to know about licensing fees for music), but Dollar Tree’s official response is that it freed up expenses to keep prices low.
Now that Walmart has finally triumphed over Chicago, it’s setting its sites on the remaining urban markets that have so far resisted the retailer. The Washington Post says an unnamed source has told them that Walmart is in final negotiations with a plot of land “on New York Avenue NE near the intersection of Bladensburg Road.” The area currently houses an auto parts shop and a strip club, among other businesses.
Like a big city pimp waiting to pick you up off the ground when times get tough, Walmart was able to establish its first stores in Chicago through guile, perseverance, and a few meaningless reassurances. Smaller stores! $0.50 pay raise! Union-built! These are the meager concessions that led Chicago to sell-out their local retailers.
Mail in rebates are a sneaky way to make things look cheaper than they actually are at the point of sale, since many consumers never actually get any cash back. Now New Jersey’s state Assembly is considering legislation that would require retailers to charge shoppers the after-rebate price on goods, instead of forcing them to mail in or submit online requests. If the retailer still wants to take advantage of the rebate, that’s no problem; he’ll just have to mail it in himself.
If security guards start carrying guns at department stores, I’m going to stop referring to them as rent-a-cops. Not because they’ve suddenly jumped up on my respect-o-meter, but because they might open fire. At a mall in Virginia last Sunday, a J.C. Penney security guard pursued a shoplifter into the mall parking lot and fired a gun into the air. The shoplifter was arrested, and the police confiscated the guard’s gun. The store won’t say whether it was owned by the guard or issued by management.
It’s not often that a retail store becomes an icon even before it opens for business, but Apple managed to pull off this weird architectural/cultural feat with its glass box Apple store in NYC in 2006–it’s the 5th most photographed landmark in the city and 28th worldwide according to a new study of Flickr images. The man who designed it, 70-year-old Peter Bohlin, has been awarded the 2010 gold medal from the American Institute of Architects for his entire body of work, and he doesn’t like computers and had never designed a retail environment before the Apple store.
Reader Patricia is angry and somewhat baffled by Target’s insistence that Target and Target.com are not the same company and its not a Target store’s problem if the website is messed up and tells you to drive 25 miles to buy something that isn’t in stock.
Thinking about the controversy over asking for ID during credit card purchases, and the competing values of privacy and safety, Daniel had an interesting idea–though it isn’t a new idea. What if credit cards were photo IDs, and had our pictures on them? Logistical nightmare, or handy fraud-prevention tool?
Ideally, companies choose to lessen their environmental impact because it makes financial sense, not because it makes them feel good–which is a good thing, since companies don’t have feelings. Today, FastCompany published a slideshow that looks at 12 ways the mega-retailer is trying out various green initiatives. Some of them are more about selling the concept of green to consumers, which is dumb, but the ones that deal with shipping, energy consumption, and market creation are pretty impressive.
In the comments to our most recent receipt check story, I noticed a reader argued that as long as the store wasn’t willing to reimburse him for his time, he wasn’t willing to give it to them. It makes sense; nothing in the marketplace is free, right? Why shouldn’t consumers be compensated for bag searches and receipt checks?
Another reader, Adam, suggested a similar idea in his email to us this morning. In fact, he thinks maybe the exiting-the-store moment could be a chance to make a little extra cash.
I’m going to grab a bunch and
resell adopt them out for extra money in 2010. Thanks to Kevin, who snapped the pic and who adds, “I know Hollywood Video isn’t probably doing that hot with the advent of Netflix, but I’m not sure if this is the way to go.”
A dispute over pricing has led Costco to stop selling a number of Coca-Cola brands, which means all Coke varieties as well as Sprite, Squirt, Dasani water, and Full Throttle energy drinks, reports the Associated Press.
Last week, Daynah wrote about how she was forced to stop writing anything down during a recent shopping trip to the cosmetics store Ulta. At the time, Daynah grudgingly gave in because she really wanted to make a purchase (she tests products for consumers). But once she left the store, she took the fight back to Ulta.
In a world where smartphones can shoot video, snap photos, record audio, scan barcodes, and let you make price comparisons via text message, it’s almost funny to run into a paranoid manager like the one at an Ulta makeup store in Seattle. Well, funny except for that petty tyrant part where she tells you that you’ll have to take your old-school pen and papers out to the car and come back empty handed before she’ll sell you any makeup.
One problem I’ve always had when shopping for jacked-up prices is I can’t find enough crazy to go along with it. Same thing for the crazy: I know where to go to get cart-loads of that, but I can’t find the 2400% markup! What I need, clearly, is for Radio Shack to open up specialty kiosks inside Target stores, so then— oh hey! It’s the Bullseye Mobile Solution!
If you hate buying a new PC that’s riddled with bloatware, you may want to pay a Microsoft Store a visit on your next computer shopping trip. They plan on selling PCs free of any third-party trial applications, reports OhGizmo.
If you like Best Buy, come to New York City! In November the company will open its first 24-hour store, in the remodeled carcass of the Circuit City that formerly anchored Union Square. In fact, it’s probably best we call it the Circuit City Best Buy to avoid confusion. According to Best Buy’s PR department, the store will also feature “the largest Best Buy Musical Instruments Department in the United States.”