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'[OT] I wonder what company would let such aproduct'
2006\12\09@180105 by Jason

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From: "Peter P." <spam_OUTplpeter2006TakeThisOuTspamyahoo.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 09, 2006 11:59 AM


> Not so easy. The cart must be weighed first.
...
> Then it
> becomes interesting for a cart that contains 20 items of average weight
> 1kg and
> one valuable item that weighs 50 grams and is buried in ketchup. What
> would the
> scale indicate (required accuracy is 0.12% - almost impossible in practice
> normally, but not unthinkable) ?

The tolerance on filling those 1kg food packages is much worse than 0.12%
even if the scale were accurate enough.

There are expensive items that light at my grocery store; flash memory
sticks for example.


2006\12\09@192250 by Herbert Graf

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On Sat, 2006-12-09 at 22:51 +0000, Peter P. wrote:
> Herbert Graf <mailinglist3 <at> farcite.net> writes:
>
> > Eliminating shoplifting completely is a pointless exercise, putting
> > guards in to minimize it is the best we can do. There will always be
> > people who can get around WHATEVER guards are in place. To completely
> > dismiss something new because it appears slightly easier to take
> > advantage of is IMHO not a good way to approach things.
>
> The whole point about the system is to eliminate costly jobs and to increase
> user satisfaction (convenience) ? There is only one employee instead of six.
> Maybe there is a little more potential for shoplifting. If the savings from the
> eliminated jobs cover it then there is a net gain even with the increased
> shopliftings (if any).

This "loosing jobs" argument is very common, and IMHO very flawed.

Yes, cashier jobs would disappear. But has anyone considered that OTHER
jobs will appear? Off hand it's obvious that the technical jobs will
increase, since someone has to design, manufacture, test and deliver
these systems. There there are the field techs, the sales force, the
distributers, the repair companies, the replacement parts companies, the
competition delivering the same functionality for a better price, etc.

EVERY TIME technology comes and takes the "job" of a person, people
start crying, yet has the unemployment rate skyrocketed in the past
century?

Sure, numbers wise there ARE probably statistically less people who work
on say, a single car then there were before Henry Ford came along, but
there sure are ALOT more cars being built, and I'm willing to bet MANY
MAGNITUDES more people working on building cars today.

TTYL

2006\12\10@191353 by Herbert Graf

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On Sun, 2006-12-10 at 00:44 -0800, Jason wrote:
> From: "Herbert Graf" <.....mailinglist3KILLspamspam@spam@farcite.net>
> Sent: Saturday, December 09, 2006 10:03 PM
>
> > As for the weigh scale, that was just a suggestion. Another technique
> > perhaps is to put an RFID scanner and scale in the cart. The RFID
> > scanner continuously scans the basket, if there is a change in weight
> > and no change in the RFID inventory the cart will tag itself as
> > "problem" and signal the self check-out terminal that a manual check
> > should happen.
>
> Put 2 items in the cart at the same time, one with a destroyed tag.

Which would fail since the cart would detect the RFID tag of the first
item, note it's weight, and then determine the actual increase in weight
doesn't match.

> I understand what you're trying to say, my point is just that there's so
> many loopholes in the system, and no real advantage.

Checking out in 5 seconds vs. 10 minutes? HUGE advantage IMHO.

TTYL

2006\12\10@191803 by Herbert Graf

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On Sun, 2006-12-10 at 00:28 -0800, Jason wrote:
> That less than a second figure is meaningless.  People aren't going to just
> blindly pay the total shown without checking down the list to make sure
> there's no extra items because the scanner picked up a stray tag.  

You're kidding, right? MOST people never even look at receipts, they
just pay whatever the cashier says to pay.

> Also,
> don't you watch the prices as the cashier scans your items to make sure
> everything is right?  

Yes, I do, but observing most of my fellow shoppers, they don't. They
spend their time putting the items they JUST took out of their carts
back into their carts, and only stop when the cashier says "please pay
this amount".

Just my observations. TTYL

2006\12\10@214116 by Jason

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From: "Herbert Graf" <mailinglist3spamKILLspamfarcite.net>
Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 4:13 PM

> Which would fail since the cart would detect the RFID tag of the first
> item, note it's weight, and then determine the actual increase in weight
> doesn't match.

First, not when 1 item is a 20 pound bag of flour and the other is a 2 ounce
memory stick.  Second, now you're talking about a scale in every shopping
cart along with the computing infrastructure to support it and probably and
RF link.  How much are stores going to pay for shopping carts, especially
when carts are stolen all the time.

> Checking out in 5 seconds vs. 10 minutes? HUGE advantage IMHO.

> You're kidding, right? MOST people never even look at receipts, they
> just pay whatever the cashier says to pay.

Everyone I know checks their receipts.  Even if most don't now, they're
going to start when they repeatedly get home with items in their cart that
were added by pranksters and hear horror stories of all the items people
paid for because the scanner read a stray tag.

Also, you can wait in line behind me and people like me a few minutes each
while we check the receipt :).   Then you lose the speed advantage anyway.



2006\12\10@215905 by Breesy

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Jason wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I wouldn't say that exactly, with an RFID system all checkouts would be
'open' so unless it was the night before christmas there generally wont
be a line at a checkout. The RFID tags can be placed inside the
packaging in many cases by the manufacturer, preventing casual theft.
How does an RFID system handle things like buying things in variable
quantities, grapes/nuts/coffee etc...

2006\12\10@224038 by Tony Smith

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> > Everyone I know checks their receipts.  Even if most don't now,
> > they're going to start when they repeatedly get home with items in
> > their cart that were added by pranksters and hear horror stories of
> > all the items people paid for because the scanner read a stray tag.
> >
> > Also, you can wait in line behind me and people like me a
> few minutes each
> > while we check the receipt :).   Then you lose the speed
> >
> >  
> I wouldn't say that exactly, with an RFID system all
> checkouts would be 'open' so unless it was the night before
> christmas there generally wont be a line at a checkout. The
> RFID tags can be placed inside the packaging in many cases by
> the manufacturer, preventing casual theft.
> How does an RFID system handle things like buying things in
> variable quantities, grapes/nuts/coffee etc...


Same way as it's done now.

Not selling it is the easiest way out, followed by pre-packaging.  You won't
be able to buy a single carrot, you get to pick from 3 or 4 bag sizes.

It can be handled the same as meat/cheese etc, where it is weighed, wrapped
and has a custom label applied.  If you look, you'll see the bar code will
start with '22', and you'll find the weight (sometimes price) of the item
somewhere in the rest of the number.

For RFID, this means you need to be able to provide programmable (one time)
ones in the form of a label.  Price (of the labels) is the holdup here.

Another option is to have split checkouts, RFID & non-RFID.  You take the
fruit & veg out of the cart, they get priced (by a human), push the cart
thru the scanner to handle any RFID stuff, toss the rest in and head for the
car park.

More likely is to have the cart weighed & priced.  If there's a mismatch
(caused by fruit) you go to a normal checkout, and handle the non-RFID (as
well as errors) there.

Tony

2006\12\10@235357 by Tony Smith

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> > Which would fail since the cart would detect the RFID tag
> of the first
> > item, note it's weight, and then determine the actual increase in
> > weight doesn't match.
>
> First, not when 1 item is a 20 pound bag of flour and the
> other is a 2 ounce memory stick.  Second, now you're talking
> about a scale in every shopping cart along with the computing
> infrastructure to support it and probably and RF link.  How
> much are stores going to pay for shopping carts, especially
> when carts are stolen all the time.


You weigh the entire cart at checkout.  Don't forget to take the baby out.

You can put an RFID reader in the cart.  There was a trial where this was
done with bar codes, you scanned the products as you added them, and it
displayed the total cost.  A true nerd would have added weight, volume and
density.  In the real world no-one cared.

Or course, getting accurate weights is still a problem as you point out.

tony

2006\12\11@003534 by Jake Anderson

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Tony Smith wrote:
{Quote hidden}

why try and encode all that information in the first place?
its rf ID not rf encyclopedia.
1024bits worth of ID should probably cover every possible product that
could be sold You then have a database with the product ID's against the
items. Fruit+veg etc go into the bag, the sales person says this bag has
carrots in it. The computer takes the weight of carrots, and the fact
that it is carrots and sticks that item in the database.
When you get to the checkout your cart is read, That ID is pulled out
and the fact you have 12.2354435kg of carrots is added to your total.
You aren't going to make something programmable cheap enough to work.
I'd wager a coke that any time somebody says they are "programming" a
rfid tag when they wave it near the same device that reads the tag, that
that is what is actually happening. They are just reading the tags value
and telling the computer to associate this ID number with entity X.

2006\12\11@011127 by Jason

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> why try and encode all that information in the first place?
> its rf ID not rf encyclopedia.
> 1024bits worth of ID should probably cover every possible product that
> could be sold You then have a database with the product ID's against the
> items. Fruit+veg etc go into the bag, the sales person says this bag has
> carrots in it. The computer takes the weight of carrots, and the fact
> that it is carrots and sticks that item in the database.
> When you get to the checkout your cart is read, That ID is pulled out
> and the fact you have 12.2354435kg of carrots is added to your total.
> You aren't going to make something programmable cheap enough to work.
> I'd wager a coke that any time somebody says they are "programming" a
> rfid tag when they wave it near the same device that reads the tag, that
> that is what is actually happening. They are just reading the tags value
> and telling the computer to associate this ID number with entity X.

The someone has to associate the tag to 12.235kg of carrots, it just happens
in advance, so no labor is saved for the store.


2006\12\11@041140 by Tony Smith

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{Quote hidden}

The problem has already been long solved with bar codes, and will be solved
with RFID.

If I go to my local supermarket and buy a 2kg bag of potatoes (if it's good
enough for Dan, it's good enough for me), it will have the bar code
9300633098841 on it.  This code has been assigned to the grower/packer, and
everyones database has it recorded as a 2kg bag of spuds.  That's
pre-packaged.  I pick it up, it gets waved over the scanner, and the price
pulled from the server.

If I buy them loose, that's a different story.  That's called 'variable
measure'.  They can be weighed there, and a bar code added.  The range
starting with 22 (and a couple of others) has been set aside for this.  The
format is something like 22IIIIPPPPPPC, where I is the item, P is the price
and C is the check digit.  So if carrots are $2/kg, my 12.235kg of carrots
gets a label with the barcode 22987600024471 on it.  The backend system sees
9876 as the item, and 2447 as the price ($24.47).  Quantity is calculated.
RFID will be similar.

The bar code on books (non-US) is essential the ISBN number.  While on
books, they have a pricing bar code on them too.  After the main bar code,
there's shorter one, that's the price.  (I know it's almost useless, ok?)

You can get field programmable RFID tags, but in most cases it's as you say,
you're just getting the system to recognise the tag which has a unique
serial number.  Still, where's my Coke?  A cheap programmer is easy.  The ID
is set thru thin wires acting as fuses.  Burn out the ones you don't need.
Cheap, simple, fast.

They're a bit expensive to put on a bag of spuds at the moment though.

Roll on 1 cent programmable tags!

Tony

2006\12\11@041249 by Tony Smith

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{Quote hidden}

You're over-complicating things.  It's just a number.  While more data
stored on the tag is nice, it's not necessary.

You have few classes of tags depending on purpose, just like bar codes.

You have your standard bar code replacement.  Every product is identified by
a unique number.  No matter where you are in the world, 9300650653214 is a
jar of Vegemite.  That's probably 40 bits or so there.  It would be cool to
add product name, weight, dimensions, mgf date, expiry date etc in there
too.  I can think of a lot of uses for that, from they 'smart kitchen' to
calculating postage (who needs scales?).  

In this case, every product gets the same RFID, just like a bar code.

Next is field programmable tags.  A programmable RFID tag it just like a
PROM.  Initial all 0's (or 1's), you burn the appropriate number into it.
This will be more expensive than a plain sticker (thermal paper at present)
but economies of scale will bring it down soon enough.

Even the current labels are more expensive than a human peeling off a price
tag & writing a price on it.  Or are they, if you consider the full chain?

Like I said in previous post, a tag that can be partially programmed can be
very useful.  The product id part is set, and a serial number or other
information can be added.  For example, the tag is placed on the milk carton
when it is made, and the expiry date burnt into it when it is filled.  From
that point on, an old carton of milk becomes easy to find.

However, the relentless march of technology and all that means RFID will
become cheap, will become programmable, will become commonplace, and you
will be assimilated.

Tony

2006\12\11@065930 by Jake Anderson

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> You're over-complicating things.  It's just a number.  While more data
> stored on the tag is nice, it's not necessary.
>
>  
Thats what i just said lol, its a rf *ID* not a rf *usermanual*
There is no need to ever program a device *if* the scale that does the
weighing (by the deli staff) is networked to the checkout.
You just say that this label is attached to 12.324 kg of carrots. The
deli staff member bagged them up for you and said they were carrots.
(perhaps in something resembling a traditional checkout?) Yes there is
an additional employee there, but you get them back by not needing them
on checkouts.
Buying pre-bagged carrots works out cheaper for the consumer because you
don't need to pay for that staff member.

To my way of thinking all ID's in a given range (say 1 billion
possibilities) would be allocated to that kind of "temporary data" and
would have a life span of say 2 days. So the chances of you having a
valid tag coming back into the store or a tag generated in another store
that is valid in the one you are currently in would be minimal.

2006\12\11@082730 by Tony Smith

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{Quote hidden}

Oh, I see.  You want something like how day pass or ticket systems work.

You have a bunch of serialised RFID tags, that is 1, 2, 3 etc.  No
duplicates.

When I get my carrots bagged, the next available tag is stuck on it (&
printed with carrots, $, kg).  The POS system now knows tag #1 is active and
that it's 12kg of carrots, worth $25.  The checkout picks up the tag, and
adds $25 to your bill (& print carrots on the receipt).  The tag is marked
as inactive in the system to reduce double counting, mixups from other
stores etc.

Yep, that'll work.

Some supermarkets do have staff in the fruit & veg section to do this.  Not
many in Australia though, they expect the checkout staff to do that.  It's
not too hard to imagine it happening again.

Tony

2006\12\11@094826 by Peter Bindels

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On 11/12/06, Tony Smith <EraseMEajsmithspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTrivernet.com.au> wrote:
> When I get my carrots bagged, the next available tag is stuck on it (&
> printed with carrots, $, kg).  The POS system now knows tag #1 is active and
> that it's 12kg of carrots, worth $25.  The checkout picks up the tag, and
> adds $25 to your bill (& print carrots on the receipt).  The tag is marked
> as inactive in the system to reduce double counting, mixups from other
> stores etc.
>
> Yep, that'll work.
>
> Some supermarkets do have staff in the fruit & veg section to do this.  Not
> many in Australia though, they expect the checkout staff to do that.  It's
> not too hard to imagine it happening again.

The stores in the Netherlands have reversed that system to the
supermarket staff checking your vegetable weights, since people would
hold the vegetables slightly off the scale to reduce its weight (and
thus its price). A cashier doesn't notice the difference between 1 kg
and 0.9 kg. How would you avoid that?

2006\12\11@161047 by Tamas Rudnai

face picon face
Having to press two buttons at the same time which are a bit away so that
both hands needed for pressing them... but you can still apply tricks like
two people work together. Maybe to continue measuring until weight settles
so that nobody could support exact amount of energy for more than couple of
millisecs? So if weight is there for at least 10 secs then that is the exact
measurements. But you cant avoid to leave the bad open and put one more
apple into it :-)

Tamas

On 12/11/06, Peter Bindels <dascandyspamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\12\11@161210 by Tamas Rudnai

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sorry, mistyping, bad = bag of course :-)

On 12/11/06, Tamas Rudnai <KILLspamtamas.rudnaiKILLspamspamgmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\12\11@220036 by Tony Smith

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> > Some supermarkets do have staff in the fruit & veg section
> to do this.  
> > Not many in Australia though, they expect the checkout staff to do
> > that.  It's not too hard to imagine it happening again.
>
> The stores in the Netherlands have reversed that system to
> the supermarket staff checking your vegetable weights, since
> people would hold the vegetables slightly off the scale to
> reduce its weight (and thus its price). A cashier doesn't
> notice the difference between 1 kg and 0.9 kg. How would you
> avoid that?


By getting the cashier to weigh it, without any 'help' from the customer.
That's how it's done here.  Anyway, that makes up for the old stories of the
butcher putting his thumb on the scales.

To have a fully RFID checkout you'd need to have stuff weighed back at the
fruit section (same as deli is done).

Whether stores go RFID depends on a lot of factors, price being the big one.
Reliability, equipment, warm & fuzzy customers, perception of 'hi-techness',
stock control, faster stocktake, the usual.

I can tell you the ability for the POS sytem to track product expiry dates
would save my local supermarket a few thousand dollars a month.  At present,
they hire temps to go thru and check the dates codes on *every* item.

Tony

2006\12\14@041515 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> The stores in the Netherlands have reversed that system to the
> supermarket staff checking your vegetable weights, since people would
> hold the vegetables slightly off the scale to reduce its weight

Actually *some* stores reversed, my AH store still has the
weight-it-yourself system. AFAIK the main motivation for
weight-at-the-checkout was to people in the queue who had forgotten to
weight their groceries.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2006\12\15@173559 by tachyon 1

picon face
On the plus side, the homeless could always know if anyone stole any of
their junk, not to mention easily manage their diet.

 {Original Message removed}

2006\12\17@083944 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Golly, I have NEVER had a bad experience at WalMart, and I don't have
any neighbors or friends
that ever did.

Can somebody document a bad experience at WalMart so I can get
understand this?

--Bob

TakeThisOuTtachyon_1EraseMEspamspam_OUTemail.com wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>   {Original Message removed}

2006\12\17@140935 by James Newtons Massmind

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My wife's friend Ann worked at Wal Mart. She became eligible for health
insurance and went to personnel to apply for it as she was having a health
problem that needed treatment. She was informed that better care would be
available via the medical system which is state sponsored at her income
level. They filled out all the paperwork for her and got her treatment
without providing it themselves.

So, yes, they did help their employee. But at the cost of the tax payer,
rather than at their cost. It is my understanding that this is common
practice and it is not uncommon to see a significant drain on local health
care systems when a Wal Mart opens in your town. I have no facts or figures
other than hearsay to support that opinion. I was told there was a ban on
Wal Mart in Denver due to a study they commissioned that showed Wal Marts
actually hurt the local economy, but I found nothing about that on the net.
I personally doubt it. I think the overall effect is probably economically
positive.

But cost and economy are NOT the only factors that control where I shop. I
want a QUALITY product, and I'm willing to pay more for it, because I think
I come out ahead in the end. And I don't buy at Wal Mart because even if the
product is NORMALLY a quality product, knowing what Wal Mart squeezed the
mfgr down to with the promise of quantity purchases, and knowing how the
mfgr will push themselves to the limit to fill the order... Well, a widget
may be good, but a Wal Mart widget is less good.

This is a good read that explains what I mean:
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/102/open_snapper.html

But that isn't the main reason why I don't shop at Wal Mart. Another reason
is the people. Not the employees, the other shoppers. My impression is that
Wal Mart shoppers tend to be poor white trash. Costco, Trader Joes, Jimbos,
have a different class of shopper. I see a lot of people shopping for their
businesses; at Wal Mart, people are shopping for their whining kids. I see
people wearing classy outfits like jeans and a sweater or simple dresses; at
Wal Mart, people are wearing loud cotton/poly prints. I hear people using
full and correctly formed sentences and having informative conversations
with their kids; at Wal Mart I hear people yelling at their kids and buying
them candy to shut them up.

I feel better when I avoid Wal Mart.

Now, we have purchased one thing from Wal Mart: Plastic miniblinds. Can't
have drapes (cats) and can't afford wood right now. We can't find the sizes
we need anywhere else, so we go to Wal Mart. In the last few years, we have
replaced them 3 times. They break very easily. If I could have afforded
better quality at the beginning, I would be ahead of the game in a few
years.

And I haven't always been happy with things purchased at other stores.
Costco seems to have some of the same effect on product quality that I blame
Wal Mart for. I usually buy my tires at Costco. I always buy the top quality
and I've had problems with them that consumer reports would tend to indicate
are unusual for the brands. Without fail, the kids who put them on screw up.
Usually, they forget to put the little "hub caps" back on my Honda Civic.
Once, they cross threaded a nut and tried to say it was a pre-existing
problem. I knew better because I had just changed the tire by hand. The
manager saw it my way and they paid for the repair.

I friend of mine just returned from China. He was very impressed with the
economic gains he saw. People were driving nice cars, sipping on Star Bucks
and living in modern, comfortable, even elegant houses. But when he tried to
look up some information on the city he was in, he found Wikipedia was
blocked. The local newspaper has a government employee who "corrects"
articles before they are published. He heard a man on a bull horn outside
and thought he would be witness to a protest, but no, it was an announcement
of the opening of a new computer store. The Chinese people seem genuinely
happy, living in a state controlled society without freedom of speech. Why?

I think sheeple are distracted by shiny objects; I don't want to be a
sheeple.

That is the real reason I don't shop at Wal Mart.

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

2006\12\18@193057 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
James Newtons Massmind wrote:
> My wife's friend Ann worked at Wal Mart. She became eligible for health
> insurance and went to personnel to apply for it as she was having a health
> problem that needed treatment. She was informed that better care would be
> available via the medical system which is state sponsored at her income
> level. They filled out all the paperwork for her and got her treatment
> without providing it themselves.
>
> So, yes, they did help their employee. But at the cost of the tax payer,
> rather than at their cost. It is my understanding that this is common
> practice and it is not uncommon to see a significant drain on local health
> care systems when a Wal Mart opens in your town. I have no facts or figures
> other than hearsay to support that opinion. I was told there was a ban on
> Wal Mart in Denver due to a study they commissioned that showed Wal Marts
> actually hurt the local economy, but I found nothing about that on the net.
> I personally doubt it. I think the overall effect is probably economically
> positive.
>  

That's an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

{Quote hidden}

Good story.
{Quote hidden}

Yes, poor people shop at WalMart. Their money goes "further" at WalMart.
They'd be foolish to NOT do so.
> I feel better when I avoid Wal Mart.
>
> Now, we have purchased one thing from Wal Mart: Plastic miniblinds. Can't
> have drapes (cats) and can't afford wood right now. We can't find the sizes
> we need anywhere else, so we go to Wal Mart. In the last few years, we have
> replaced them 3 times. They break very easily. If I could have afforded
> better quality at the beginning, I would be ahead of the game in a few
> years.
>  
True statement in every case. I NEVER buy blinds at WalMart, they are
flimsy. Guess what: Target
sells the same flimsy blinds, at a 15% higher price.
{Quote hidden}

I don't buy Tires at WalMart either. I go to Discount Tire. Good
employees that KNOW how to install tires.
{Quote hidden}

That's why you don't shop at WalMart?

...I must have missed a lot of this thread...

--Bob
> ---
> James.
>  
>
>
>  
>> {Original Message removed}

2006\12\18@210754 by Tachyon

picon face
Yeah, I had a similar experience. A friend and I were standing in an
aisle, discussing what shampoo it was his girlfriend had asked him to
pick up. A non-descript guy came up behind us, accused us of
shoplifting, and threatened us with a baseball bat. Needless to say,
that didn't go over too well and his threat had the opposite affect to
what I think he intended. I didn't back down or cow to him and instead
made my way to the store's office with him following me screaming to
stop or he'd call the police. I acted as if he no longer existed, went
to the manager, and demanded that HE call the police so I could press
assault charges. They then refused. I sent my friend to the pay phone
outside to call them. When they showed up, they denied it all, and
claimed we had been acting suspicious and were believed to be the people
who had been shoplifting there recently. I showed the cop my drivers
license, pointed out that I lived over 500 miles away and had never been
in that store before. My friend and a woman shopper backed up our story
about the threat, but the cop said is was still our word against his,
and told us it wasn't worth pursuing. The manager asked the cop to give
him our licenses so he could copy them, and distribute to his corporate
security office with a recommendation of banning from the premises.
That's when the cop turned on him and told him that then I'd have
something to sue them about. The manager shut up, the cop gave us our
IDs, and walked out with us and kept the manager and security guy from
following (they threatened to get our license plate too).
Since I started following some of the anti-walmart sites after that,
I've seen a lot of similar stories about their staff and security people
getting rude, and even physical with people. Detaining people, searching
them, etc..
If that's how they treat their customers, it's not hard to believe the
stories about how they treat their employees and their competitors.



David VanHorn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\12\20@040712 by Nate Duehr

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On Dec 17, 2006, at 12:09 PM, James Newtons Massmind wrote:

> other than hearsay to support that opinion. I was told there was a  
> ban on
> Wal Mart in Denver due to a study they commissioned that showed Wal  
> Marts
> actually hurt the local economy, but I found nothing about that on  
> the net.

As a Metro Denver area resident, I don't recall that having ever been  
the case, but there have been a few suburban zoning meetings that  
have hotly-debated the usefulness of allowing a WalMart into a couple  
of the suburbs.  Westminster, CO and Littleton, CO both have had some  
battles.  Pretty sure Westminster residents lost their fight, not  
sure about Littleton.

A little Google-trolling of the topic turned up that San Diego County  
in CA banned them, though.

Some early articles on Sam Walton when he was still alive seemed to  
allude that he was an interesting person, and ran his businesses with  
an iron fist, flying from town to town unannounced in his Cessna 340,  
hitching a ride or using the loaner car at the local (usually rural)  
airports to visit his stores without warning.

Early on he seemed to think it was important to purchase products  
made in the USA vs. buying from overseas, no matter if it were higher  
priced.  There were a number of good articles about him in the early  
years, bringing affordable goods to rural areas by the leverage his  
bulk purchasing power to bear.  Sam's Club was his answer to other  
large "club" outlets in the cities that had just started up, and I  
remember when they claimed they were going to sell nothing but  
products "Made in the USA".

But his death, and globalization mixed with the economic realities of  
US manufacturing being too expensive for low-priced and "bargain"  
products, and additionally the apparent high levels of greed of the  
four (or is it five) children that inherited his (large) fortune --  
who certainly don't need more money -- have utterly wiped out any of  
that early good his company may have brought to local economies and  
small-town America.  People still love the cheap crap, that's for  
sure... but nowadays it's mostly cheap Chinese-made crap.

An early business experience with WalMart and some telecommunications  
equipment they purchased would indicate that they were (and are)  
ultra-paranoid about their internal communications, but since I'm  
still in the telecommunications industry I won't share details.  
They're beyond ultra-paranoid down in Bentonville, AR.

I personally know someone who was bodily thrown out the door and his  
site-visit credentials were removed (as well as the other technician  
from the same company being asked to leave) after lifting a floor  
tile in a data center without written permission -- to install  
equipment he was on-site and contacted to install.  The credentials  
to even go on-site required a background check and a signature that  
he and his company didn't mind if a polygraph test were administered  
on-site.

I'd estimate the equipment price to be just shy of two million  
dollars back then, but a single floor tile almost had the equipment  
shipped back to the supplier for good.  Two security guards arrived  
within seconds of him pulling the tile to look underneath to see if a  
cable could be run.  This was in the very early 1990's.  I have no  
doubt from later dealings with them that their level of paranoia is  
still just as high as it was back then.

Other articles and second-hand knowledge seem to indicate that the  
cameras in the employee areas of the stores outnumber the cameras  
watching the customers by about 3:1.  I can neither find a way to  
confirm nor deny this, but it matches with their corporate ultra-
paranoia that I have personally witnessed.  They're more worried  
about organized pilfering of goods by their own (badly paid)  
employees, than they are about shoplifting -- the other stories here  
showing that they're awfully serious about that.  I wouldn't like to  
see how that "interrogation" session in the back room goes if they  
spot an employee stealing something.

I've heard their NDA's are ridiculously huge...

--
Nate Duehr
RemoveMEnatespamTakeThisOuTnatetech.com


2006\12\20@072721 by Tachyon

picon face
I would agree with this. It was my understanding that Mr Walton was a
shrewd and tough competitor, but also a decent, fair and patriotic one.
With his death, it seems the corporate ethic changed greatly, and not
for the better IMO. For example, Walmart's "Made in the USA" campaign
pretty much went out the window. The stupidity of this is obvious. If
you provide business to suppliers in your own country, then that
company's employees now have income to ultimately spend at your stores.
Henry Ford knew this. They thought he was insane when he increased his
employees wages to the levels he did. But he paid those employees enough
that they could afford to own cars. And they became loyal Ford
customers. They also spent more in their local economies and that
trickle down created more people able to buy cars.
What gets me is that these companies that get into this profit at all
cost, and by next quarter, attitude don't seem to realize that those
business practices are detrimental in the long run. But none of them
seem to think of anything other than showing a profit at the next
stock-holder meeting.

Nate Duehr wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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