by Adam Zack — July 9, 2018I used to know some grocery stores that wouldn’t let two members of the same family work in the same store. I found it kind of odd, since it was a family owned business. The parents were involved with the operations and they had kids who help run the stores. They were successful and really instilled the “family first” philosophy into the business. They worked well together, often vacationed together and were very happy. It was a dynamic that really worked, and a lot had to do with the family bond of watching each other’s back and deep trust. Which is why I found it peculiar that they didn’t see that the same family ties that made them a great team could also be applied to their employees. A great meat department manager may have a relative that possesses the same work ethic. The apple never falls too far from the tree, right? But instead they assumed (incorrectly) that family members would get unfair treatment. Surely the family member would get more favorable schedules, lower standards and lax enforcement of company rules. They might even collude to steal! Instead of seeing how family involvement among the rank and file could make their company stronger, they saw it ...read more
by Adam Zack — July 3, 2018I get a little sad now every time I hear a Tom Petty song. And it happens a lot, since one of the Pandora stations playing on our store music is Tom Petty radio. I’ve seen Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers more than a dozen times since 1983. We were supposed to see him a month before he died, but the concert was postponed a week due to laryngitis and we couldn’t fly back up. I am a serious fan, but my great friend Mark Lindsey is a Petty scholar. Each new album was “another book in the Bible” delivered live by “God.” We are still both in mourning. My favorite Tom Petty song of all time is The Waiting. The plaintive lyrics and the slow build up from whistful thoughts to rocking conclusion is rock and roll magic. The waiting IS the hardest part of almost everything. Waiting in line. Waiting during the time your lover is away. Waiting for summer to come and waiting for Christmas are all tough. But so much of waiting is a choice. We wait to start a new promotion while we spend weeks and months discussing it. We wait to fire mediocre help in our stores because maybe they’ll get better or maybe the time isn’t right. We wait to introduce new initiatives because we are not organized and efficient enough to get them ...read more
by Adam Zack — June 27, 2018Retail powers the U.S. economy. 29 million people work in the retail business, which represents roughly 20% of the 140 million jobs in America. Retail generates nearly $2.6 trillion in sales.With that much effect on the economy, why is the turnover rate in retail, especially grocery, so high? According to Daily Pay Retention Rates (Dailypay.com) the turnover rate in the grocery industry is 100%. That’s right here with fast-food. Ouch. In fact, according to USA Today, based on eployee reviews some of the worst places to work for in the country are grocery stores. (USA Today Worst Places to Work). Why is that? Poor communication, low wages, poor benefits, boredom and the idea that retail is not a job for educated workers contribute. It’s just not sexy. You work holidays and weekends, early mornings and late nights. Doesn’t sound like much fun on paper. But I think the number one reason that turnover is high is that some of those companies just don’t...read more
by Adam Zack — June 20, 2018Remember when you could get a triple scoop of ice cream at the Thrifty for 15 cents?Those cylinder shaped scoops of your favorite flavors stacked three high that inevitably dripped all down your hand. Or when you didn’t have to lock your doors at night and every 4th of July there was a block party and all the dads drank beer, shot off fireworks while the kids ran around with sparklers. How great it was when you didn’t have to worry about cholesterol or gluten or allergies. There was no bottled water; you drank from the garden hose. You just ate what you were served by mom and it was all good. Remember when gas was $1 and T-bone steaks were 2 inches thick and the smell of the charcoal grill was the best thing in the world? Ahhh, the good old days. If you’re in your 50’s or older your sense of nostalgia seems to become heightened every year. Now it’s bad news here, problems there, more worries than during the time when “things were simple”. If you’re a millennial now you’re probably thinking: “What the hell is this old man prattling on about anyway?” Nostalgia is really just a recollection of good memories. We reminisce and feel good about t...read more
by Adam Zack — June 13, 2018Apparently my mom wasn’t the only one who told her kids “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” If my brothers and I had listened, there probably would have been very long periods of silence. Very long.Bob LaBonne, President of LaBonne’s Markets in Connecticut, pointed out that his mom used to tell him the same thing, and that sarcasm is most often related to humor, but when it’s not humorous to both parties, it’s just not that funny anymore. He commented that his mom also told them: “It doesn’t matter what I said or what I meant, it’s what they heard and how they felt”. And there is no time in history when that saying is more true than today. It seems like every day we have to deal with someone who was offended by some comment or action that just a couple years ago would have been considered totally benign. In fact, the offended party would have been scorned, ostracized or even mocked for just being thin skinned. It’s a new day, but it’s a better day. I don’t think that we are more sensitive than ever or the sarcasm is harsher, we are just more aware. And that’s a good thing, because to be aware we are listening and observ...read more
by Adam Zack — June 6, 2018
noun: sarcasm; plural noun: sarcasms
the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.