ShineOn » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:29 am wrote:
In these parts, the unionized Fred Meyer stores are beating the shit out of all the other grocery stores.
Makes me wonder how Safeway and Albertsons (and Haggens) continue to stay in business.
Safeway and Albertsons are both union stores. I don't know what a Haggens store is.
Albertsons didn't stay in business, in 2006 they went through bankruptcy. In most of California many of the Albertsons stores had been Luckys stores until they went through bankruptcy years before and Albertsons bought them out and changed their name.
In 2006 Save Mart bought most of the California Albertsons, and changed the name of most of them in the bay area back to Luckys, and changed the ones in the central Valley to Save Mart.
Safeway for cuts prime beef, and the others cut select. Their pricing reflects that. They have a secure clientele, and they always have. They have been in business for a long time, and over that time their company culture has developed a long view. They pay close attention to minimize their fixed costs, but always build for the long term, realizing that a dollar saved in the short run may not be the best decision when the long view is factored in. They're innovative, they have a campus in Pleasanton CA where they invests a lot in market research, and where they train managers to do their best. They treat their managers well, and they experience very little turnover.
Albertsons were dirt baggers. They treated their managers poorly, paying them up and down the line through profit share and little else. If a manager or assistant manager is lucky they get posted to a profitable newer store and they do well enough. But many of their stores were beat up on the insides even if they had recently been remodeled to look nice on the outside. With them it was always do it on the cheap because the maintenance costs come right out of the managers wages. It was the store manager who approve or disapprove maintenance work, the poor assistant managers were locked into going for the ride.
For example I remember going into one of their stores to do the minimum lick it and split maintenance, found the compressors running with what can only be described as muck in the crankcases. I drew a sample and took it to the store manager and showed it to him. He said "you should be glad it's that nice," and he didn't approve the cost of changing it. A year later he was moved to another store and his replacement had to bear the cost of those compressors failing one by one out of his pay check. There was no incentive for that previous manager to have kept the store in good condition. And the replacement manager suffered near starvation wages until he had enough of that and quit, leaving the company with his acquired experience.
I hated going to those stores, when I walked in the assistant managers all through the store would ask me, "why are you here, again" like it was my fault. They knew my presence was reducing their pay check, and they clearly would prefer to not see me. I would say "your manager called me," it did little to reduce the feeling pouring off them that they hated to see me. If it seemed like they were being nice it was just so they could quiz me to find out if one of my coworkers had done poor work the time previous so they could blame them and dispute the bill, which would get me in trouble with my office. That's toxic, pretty soon I didn't feel like giving a damn for them.
Contrast that to Safeway where when I walked in the middle of the night they were pleased to see me, especially if my arrival was prompt. Pleased because I was there to save the day. They worked with us rather than against us. I felt like doing my best for them. That is taking the long view.
There was little difference between Albertsons and Save Mart who took their stores after that bankruptcy, the management policies were similar. When those stores changed hands, not much but the sign outside changed. They buy the cheapest products they can find, and sell it for all the market will bear.
Safeway is good, but where management is concerned Trader Joes is the best in the business, watch them grow. Costco is pretty darned good, but I would rate Safeway a wee bit better.
Walmart's management is the worst I've ever seen. Back in the managers office of those stores one can smell the human pheromone of fear, it's lingering a stench. I don't think that stench could be washed off, it's been so impregnated into the floors, ceiling and walls over the years. And it exists in every one of those stores I've ever been to. Those back offices smell like a casinos where people lose their life savings.