Tag Archives: business
Everyone in Florida knows Publix. It’s a large grocery store “chain” (supermarket) if you’re not familiar with the name. If you live “up North” you might compare it to Pathmark or Shop-Rite – out West it’s Albertson’s or HEB or Kroger.
I have a long relationship with Publix. I should say had a long relationship – past tense. It was 30 years long to be precise. Sure I’ve tried other stores like Winn-Dixie, Sweetbay and Piggly-Wiggly. I’ve traveled all over the world and throughout the U.S. and shopped at many places, but it was always good to come “home” to Publix where the customer used to be #1.
While many have closed stores, some permanently out of business, others trying to “reorganize” under bankruptcy, Wal-Mart is popping up everywhere. There are two new “super-centers” opening within two miles of where I live. Publix sadly closed two convenient locations near where I live. There are a few other choices like Target or Aldi, but they cannot compare to a Publix and certainly not Wal-Mart.
Lately, Publix has been in a competitive “war” with Wal-Mart. From my perspective as a long time customer, Publix is losing. Here’s why.
1. Price. I don’t care what the commercials or comparisons say, I clearly save more money shopping for the same items at Wal-Mart. Why should I pay $4 for a pineapple at Publix when it costs $2.99 at Wal-Mart? Yes, Wal-Mart fruit looks and tastes the same, if not better, for less.
2. Savings. To save money I have to wait until Publix puts an item on sale or decides to offer a buy one get one free item. At Wal-Mart just about is already cheaper. These are American products, not imported from China or Bangladesh or Mumbai or manufactured in some horrible sweat shop.
3. Convenience. In addition to groceries, Wal-Mart has all that other stuff (ie: computer paper) and shopping there saves me an extra stop. There are also far more superior and cheaper private label brands (Equate and Sam’s) at Wal-Mart v. Publix.
4. Stock -Inventory. I don’t understand why and Publix employees don’t either, that they’re constantly out of what I normally buy. It gets worse and worse. Publix now displays an annoying little green tag under where the item used to be that says “out of stock”. Wal-Mart has some out of stock issues, but far fewer than Publix.
5. Quality of Employees #1. Last week I walked into Publix and the “husky” general manager was walking toward me and looked down at the floor. He did not acknowledge me. Yes, he knows me. I’ve always been “professional” to him. I don’t care what “other’ issues he might be dealing with – this is a highly competitive service business – his job is to make sure I’m happy. At least he does not hide in his office, like other Publix managers.
6. Quality of Employees #2. Wal-Mart is Wal-Mart. I know their employees are trying their best. Publix workers are not. And management seems to look the other way. A perfect example of this is Publix cashiers.
They talk to their co-workers, the bagger and ignore the customer standing there about to hand over $150 for groceries. One cashier took a short break to read the front page of the newspaper I was buying. A part time cashier was so tired because of her assigned schedule, she couldn”t help acting like a zombie. They’ve all lost the edge that made Publix a place where “shopping is a pleasure”. I never thought I’d say Wal-Mart employees are friendlier than Publix, but most of them actually are.
I’m well aware of the criticism of Wal-Mart’s human resources policies. But, many Wal-Mart employees I speak to have been there more than five years, some more than ten or fifteen. I know that Publix employees are not better compensated (including benefits) versus Wal-Mart and are not any more “well-treated” than Wal-Mart.
7. Publix on-line “services” are terribly inconsistent. It’s takes too long to get a suitable response to a customer service or inventory issue by e-mail. If you do get a reply – you’re assigned a Law & Order type “case” number – it will most likely be an unsatisfactory lower level bureaucratic one.
I tried to renew my prescriptions on line and found out the system was “down”. That was after 10 minutes of inputting all my information. Their point of purchase coupon “system” just before you pay with a credit or debit card is cumbersome and unecessary. Forget Twitter or Facebook, where anything negative that is posted is scrubbed.
Bottom line, shopping at Publix is NOT worth the extra prices you pay for your groceries. Sure, Publix will assist you by walking your order out to your car. But I don’t want to pay $5 for milk or $6 for ice tea at Publix for someone to do that. You might spend a few more minutes at Wal-Mart waiting to check out, but the stress of paying less for everything is worth the wait.
If Publix had everything I needed in stock, provided better training and supervision leading to more alert and attentive cashiers and managers, I would consider shopping there. Sadly, they don’t and my wife and I have decided to do all our shopping at Wal-Mart and avoid Publix. They’ve lost our vote. It was a great 25 years Publix, but you have failed me and I know many shoppers around where I live feel the same way and now shop at Wal-Mart. Publix, where shopping is no longer a pleasure.
Ambition is both a blessing and a curse. I’m convinced it is not learned or acquired, it is definitely in your DNA. I’ve actually admired people with little or no ambition because they seem like happier and calmer people. If you “suffer” from ambition, it is very similar to OCD or obsessive compulsive behavior, overeating or even sexual addition. For certain, you cannot masturbation away ambition. You can most definitely squander it away. Truly ambitious people are ambitious all the time – no off one minute and on the next. Ambitious people die ambitious. Being ambitious is a thorn in your Achilles heel that eats away at you until you attain some sort of temporary satisfaction with your circumstances until “the drive” rapidly begins all over again.
You expect yourself, if ambitious, to be just that all the time. It is not a choice. Your ambition drives or feeds your ambition. People with ambition know of the “swell” that occurs inside you when the “aggressive” chemicals that make up your individual physiology align. Unambitious people don’t have a clue what this is like. The man that secures a job out of high school as a train conductor – his father was also most likely a train conductor – will remain at that same job for 40 years, retire and feel a sense of utter satisfaction that no ambitious person is possibly capable of. The ambitious person has to become the head conductor, then the supervisor, the director of conductors, the vice-president of customer service, the executive vice president of operations and eventually the president of the damn railroad.
Personally, I never wanted to be ambitious. My father was terribly ambitious. He drove himself until he had a heart attack at age 55 and died. I wanted to be everything unlike him. My brother is ambitious. He has some trouble with it also. I keep trying to somehow will it away. To relabel it in my head as annoying and an untrustworthy emotion. I’ve tried, as Dr. Jeffrey M Schwartz, MD outlines in his book Brainlock to not only reclassify but re-attribute, refocus and revalue my ambitious drive. It has not worked. And unfortunately, the older I’ve become the more intense my ambition has become. The dilemma is to be somehow fulfill ambition despite the ring of opportunities closing in around you because of discrimination and stereotypes.
Let’s be clear about something. Ambition does not equal success. It can cloud judgment and force mistakes, both professionally and personally. There are gobs of unsuccessful ambitious people. Understand also that as uber ambitious as you think you are, there are others who are nine times as ambitious. Combine ambition and talent – look at someone like a Beyonce or Jamie Foxx or Bill Clinton – and the scope of their ambition can be light years ahead of the typical individual. On the other hand, many have squelched their ambition in order to fit in, adapt or be part of some organization or group. You can easily be ambitious and high frustrated.
Ambition also tends to generate luck, which is a key element in success. Would you not agree that if you not seeking something by being ambitious, the tendency for luck to come your way is far less? By the same token, being in the right place at the right time, a component of luck, appears to happen more for those who are ambitious than not. Ambitious people in order to be successful also need to have a good deal of political acumen in order to manipulate their way around other ambitious people. The expression lead, follow or get out of the way comes to mind.
I personally am tired of being ambitious. You might say I’m too ambitious for my own good. At the high level of ambition that I operate at it is difficult to be around “normal” people. Ambition people like me tend to operate better sequestered – outside of the box – way outside the box. After several careers, some successful, others not, I have chosen to write. I’m an ambitious writer, not quite knowing what that means or how to channel it. I’m in transition from one ambitious state to another. Trust me, it is very stressful. I’ve traded abusive demanding unreasonable bosses for me. I’m killing myself. It’s like slow suicide. Some say anger is driving my ambition. Maybe, maybe not. It’s three days into the new year and I’m way behind on my New Year’s resolutions! Will successfully freelancing and being published make me any less ambitious – I unfortunately don’t think so. Wish me luck.