Monday, November 9, 2009

A Good Idea, But...

A few months ago Wal-Mart upgraded their Great Value brand. There is nothing unusual about that. Store brands are growing and the profit margin is higher so everyone is looking at how they can gain the most from it. Wal-Mart went with a white background with pictures of the item. Personally I like the look. Some might say that they copied from Kroger since Kroger has recently put out a store brand using a white background. The biggest difference is Kroger's line is a secondary line to the Kroger brand. The quality levels are not as high so the product can be sold for less. I am not putting the products down. I actually buy a couple of them myself. Wal-Mart has stepped theirs up and have expanded the line. Where before the Great Value pizza competed more with Totinos, it now is competing with DiGiorno.

The problem with the line is the packaging for some products is too similar. One example in the dairy department is the shredded cheese. Shredded cheddar cheese comes in three types, feather shredded medium, finely shredded medium, and sharp. All of the packages have an orange bar on them with the wording in that bar. They make the assumption that those people stocking will take the time to make sure that the proper product is put in the proper place. That is a dangerous assumption. I like my co-workers, but too many of them just throw the product out. If you have any doubt about a product, the UPC number is on the shelf label. Unfortunately too many of my co-workers just look at the color or the picture and they just put it out. The old packaging had different color schemes for each variety. Things still got put in the wrong spot but not quite as often. There may be some more revisions coming. The first of the new packaging that I saw was frozen fruit. The labels on those are changing already so time will tell.

As far as the quality goes, Consumer Reports rated Store Brands vs Name Brands. (The link only gives you an overview. You have to be a subscriber to get the full results.) In comparing Great Value Lasagna Vs Stouffers Lasagna, they declared it a tie. They preferred Stouffers sauce, but thought the Great Value pasta was better. Over all, comparing 29 products, they declared 19 ties, Name Brands won 6 and Store Brands won 4. They used several different store brands for the comparison.

Lastly, a couple of things from my birthday list. I should have mentioned with my brothers I am the oldest. Also, Jeff asked me why I didn't want to be a manager for Wal-Mart. As I mentioned in the list I have held several management positions. I would get a raise of over $1000 a month. However there is a tremendous amount of pressure that goes with those jobs. Because you are on salary you end up working more hours than your pay is based on. From what I have seen, Wal-Mart is not as bad as Kmart. At Kmart, my salary was based on a 48 hour week, I rarely worked less than 70. At one time I had to work 21 consecutive days. I am at the age where I don't need that kind of aggravation. Wal-Mart has something called career preference. In it you tell them what you would like to do to advance your career. At one time I had listed that i would like to be the department head in almost any department in the store. The only departments I wasn't interested in was fashions. I have since gone in and removed that from my choices. Now I simply want to go in, do my job, and go home. I don't want the headaches that go with leadership. I am making enough money for me to live on and I am happy with that.

1 comment:

Volly said...

I don't like the new GV packaging at all. The old version looked a lot "classier." This new stuff reminds me of the "no-frills" fad that many supermarkets had during the early 1980s. The problem was that the no-frills was exactly that. I remember some no-frills soap pads (like Brillo) that fell completely apart the first time you used them. Plastic wrap that would shrivel and tear as you tried to use it. Just junk. Most private store brands nowadays are really comparable to national brands, and stores should take pride in that and show it in the packaging. Making the label scream "I'm so poor I can only afford this sub-par cheap crap" does a disservice to both Walmart and its customer. IMO, of course... :)