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Kroger Screwed This Up Big Time

August 18, 2014

KrogerbsSometimes you can smell bullshit from a mile away… Like a BP ad featuring a green field full of wind turbines with the message, “We care about the environment.”

Still, we want to believe in the good of humanity. We want to believe that there can’t be racism with a black man in the White House, people are honest, and that all those Big Macs we’re eating won’t affect us, even though they might affect everybody else.

That’s why I was happy to see a sign that said, “Hello! It’s great to see you again” when I walked into a local Kroger yesterday.

And when I saw employees wearing shirts with similar messages like, “I’m glad you’re here” and “I’m here to help you,” I thought to myself, “Maybe this visit to Kroger will be different…”

Look, I don’t expect much from Kroger. As long as they’ve got what I’m there for and there isn’t some guy with a gun trying to make a political statement, I’m fine.

But these messages were a pattern interrupt that got me thinking there might be something different than what I’ve experienced so many times in the past…

I got my stuff and went through the self-checkout line. Had a coupon, so the machine instructed me to “Please give your coupons to cashier.”

I did.

She didn’t say a thing. No“Hello” when I walked up to her and no “Thank you” when I handed over the coupon. She simply took the coupon from my hand and started typing something on her computer.

She didn’t give a shit. Kroger had lied to me.

Everybody Has A Bad Day

That’s why I went to another Kroger today, before I wrote anything here, just to make sure what I experienced yesterday wasn’t a fluke — a rogue employee that didn’t care.

It wasn’t. Today at the self-checkout line, something screwed up with the machine and I got the dreaded, “Attendant has been notified to assist you” message.

There was a Kroger employee right next to me. I could’ve reached out and touched her.

Nothing happened for several seconds, so I looked up at her and said jokingly, “I think I broke your machine.”

She looked at me and, without saying a word, pointed to a guy 20 feet away.

I got his attention and, to his credit, he was very nice. He reset the machine, I finished my business, and I left.

But the point still remains…

Don’t piss on my leg and call it rain.

That’s marketing lesson number one. If you can’t back up what you’re saying, don’t say it.

And marketing lesson number two is this… Hire the right people for the right positions. For example, if you’ve got a job to fill that requires interaction with the public, you should fill that job with somebody who can talk.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Monday, I analyze the good, bad, and ugly about the marketing behind a common business or famous personality. See other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for something (or someone) you’d like me to analyze for this series, contact me via Twitter.

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