This week I’m sharing a pair of consumer gripes which I hope you will enjoy. Businesses want to know what their customers notice and care about. And when I see senseless waste benefiting nobody, I take it personally.
My Gripe with Office Max
I avoid having office supplies delivered because they arrive so mortifyingly over packaged; and individualized delivery often requires greater fuel consumption. Our office has minimal needs so it’s easy enough for me to walk a couple blocks to the nearest office supply store. Recently, we placed an order from Office Max to help a friend meet a sales goal. I presume this petite order came in two boxes because items shipped from different warehouses. The boxes are grossly over sized and nearly empty.
My email of protest
I am writing to express my shock and dismay over the wasteful way our recent shipment from Office Max was packaged. Though all items were ordered at the same time, the shipments arrived in two separate and extremely over sized corrugated cardboard boxes. The few contents; a 50 pack of DVDs, some post it notes and a small box of sharpie extra fine markers, took up maybe 10% of the space in the two boxes. This excessive packaging makes ordering online from Office Max not viable for our business, from the standpoint of environmental responsibility. I hope Office Max will find a way to save money/ resources and step up efficiency/environmental conscientiousness by making your shipping service less wasteful. One thing your over sized boxes provide is PLENTY of room for improvement!
Thanks for your time.
My Gripe with Edina Theater (Landmark Theaters)
I felt almost guilty even setting foot in the Edina Theater over the weekend, what with the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival in full gear at the St. Anthony Main Theater, showing micro release films from around the world; many of which I may never get the chance to see again. But my husband Brian had his heart set on seeing the Dardenne Bros’ new film A Kid with A Bike on the big screen. We are fans and had only ever been able to watch their films at home.
Washing down movie theater popcorn is one of my few remaining occasions for enjoying fountain drinks, and it was a personal victory that I actually remembered to bring my own re-usable cup (below) to the theater. We’ve all noticed those movie theater trash receptacles heaped with humungous half full drink cups, right? RIGHT?!
My dream of package-free soda was dashed by the shift manager who clamped down on me with the long arm of the Landmark Law: each cup must be inventoried. If they filled my reusable cup, she would need to throw away a cup. Duh!
Time for another email of protest. Yes I have seen the film Greenberg. I am aware.
I visited the Edina Cinema on Saturday April 21st. I was disappointed that the shift manager couldn’t accommodate my request to use my own cup for soda without throwing away a cup in order to keep her cup inventories accurate.
I understand that your employees are trained to be meticulous about cup inventories to prevent employee theft, but when this infringes on a customers’ efforts to prevent needless garbage and thereby save your business the expense of unneeded cups, then it is time to consider methods which allow your staff to provide more conscientious customer service.
There are many ways to eliminate this problem through employee training or procedural changes: program a button on the register to punch if someone wishes to use their own cup which will adjust the cup inventory and not affect your employee theft precautions.
Successful businesses like Starbucks not only allow customers to bring their own cup, but encourage them by offering discounts. It is extremely frustrating to make the effort to bring my own cup and be told “no” due to an unnecessary technicality. And you lost a concession sale because I ended up asking your employee to fill my cup with free water instead, which she she was allowed to do.
Please let me know your thoughts on this matter.
On the bright side
Enough with the gripes. Here’s some good news. SunRidge Farms Natural Foods makes snacks using quality ingredients and their business exhibits respectable environmental awareness. Their peanut butter malted milk balls (immortalized in my blog The Ziplock Controversy) are currently on special at the Wedge Co Op. Candy lovers, bring your own bag and buy them package-free!
Super Job, Supervalu
Supervalu Inc. (based in Eden Prairie, MN), is one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, and 30 of it’s Albertsons stores in the Las Vegas area diverted over 90% of all store waste from local landfills in the past year. I hope to see these efforts spread. Read the good news here.
Thanks for reading the Wednesday Post.
I received an uninspiring response from the Landmark Theaters Regional Manager. Her message and my response below.
I want to thank you for your suggestion, but at this time we do not want to go with what you suggest. There are several reasons, one big one is we do not allow outside food in our theatres and if we allowed customers to bring in their own containers we would have a big problem trying to control what people brought in as opposed to what was bought at the stand. Right now we have eco-friendly bags for our popcorn and continue to look for a better solution for our soda cup.
Landmark Theatres- Central Midwest Region
Thanks for writing.
In my opinion, your thinking is backward in that you are giving decreased options and lesser customer service due to your perception that your customers (and employees) cannot be trusted. This may be true in some cases, but it is a rather adversarial and negative philosophy to build a business on. Also you are showing that policing your customers is more important to you than supporting environmental efforts that actually help your business and the world. Most people won’t appreciate this mentality.
In truth you have little control over what people bring into your theater whether or not you allow people to bring in their own reusable cups. People who want to sneak food and beverages in have little trouble accomplishing this. However I had trouble paying your business for a soda because you wouldn’t let me use my own cup.
Thanks for your consideration.