Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fresh and Bumpy?

That's the headline of an article talking about the branding effort by Fresh and Easy. Interesting that the observations are not a lot different than mine. Fresh and Easy is not having an easy time of it with the launch of the stores. I've been back to the one closest to me on several occasions and I find that I have the run of the place. Fewer and fewer shoppers each time I've gone. The shelves are stocked, I think this time because of low sales, not high demand.

To be fair the article talks about the "look" of the stores. I don't agree with them on that. The concrete floors do not represent shoddy or low budget. The concrete floors tell me that they are paying attention to higher end stores like Bristol Farms and Central Market. The authors would do well to drive down to a Bristol Farms in their area and take a look around. It's not the floor I'm worried about. I do agree the packaging is a bit utilitarian. I can live with that, if the muddy brown and lime green is how they want to be remembered so be it. It's different for certain. Not so bad.

What keyed me in that they are in the same place as me is the comment on meats and produce. Packaging everything is a mistake. I recently bought 6 tomatoes 2 of which rotted within a day of purchase. Not something I enjoy seeing happen, those tomatoes would not have been purchased by me, if they had been loose in a bin. It seems F&E has figured out how to control shrink, they pass it on to me! The steaks I purchased were flavorless. If they want to charge $8 a pound for a steak, it better have some flavor. I won't be purchasing any more beef from them.

It would be nice to know if F&E is paying attention to all the feedback. However, one will never know as their iron curtain of a website does not provide a response to emails ever. Their blog is quite the same. Comments get left, asking questions that range from store locations to available jobs or products and the author does not respond there either. The article uses the word arrogance to describe their attitude. Me - I'd call it foolish. Foolish enough to believe they have nothing to learn.