memorial for a brilliant woman

Monday, May 17, 2010

The new Martin's at Dumbarton Square (and all of them really)

No one asked me (well, actually, the store manager did ask me while I was there and I intend to send this to him) but here are my thoughts on the new “Martin’s” at Dumbarton Square.

Good things - mostly the same great people, friendly as usual and busy trying to find things that had been moved - think of a friend who moves into your house with all their stuff and you can’t find your keys- though everything was really sparkled up, it felt and looked clean. Double coupons every day is nice. This store will close at 10pm- Good call!!!

Uncomfortable things- beer and wine jammed into a very small store, in fact EVERYTHING was jammed in, as if someone forgot to note this is a small store and doesn’t need to have all the items other stores carry. The shelves are crushed with product- it’s not that easy to remove a can or box without knocking things off (I did, twice). Also, everything is piled too high- frankly, all I could think of was “an embarrassment of riches.” In contrast, the meat section is a flat landscape displayed so you have to leer over the bins to see what’s there- and it’s all crammed in, too.

on that note- all those guys in white shirts standing around watching things and talking about the shoppers and stuff- go home- there are capable people in this store who know how to do their jobs.

Sad things - all the ‘cheap’ looking packaging- sorry, GIANT- your logo looks dated (so does the Martin font). I felt like I was in a Dollar Store. There are also so many new brands the variety of sizes is not available, and I guess crammed up so they can get the beer & wine in. I wish someone had done local research to see what works here- it’s not a big city, we have room to spread out a little. A LOT of the new clerks looked uncomfortable. I’m glad for their jobs, though.

Bad things - The hang tags under products are very misleading- at least twice I had to explain to some older shoppers the bottom price is what you SAVE- not what the item costs. Yes, it says so, but it’s difficult to tell, particularly if your vision is not perfect. Believe me, clearer info will help- I’ve stood in line at this store behind an old person arguing over ten cents. The tags don't cleary indicate what is and what isn't on sale- some say 'new price'- huh? It's a new store, all the prices are new.In addition the stores are junked up with displays and freestanding products (I mentioned this on the UkropsInsider survey I sent in). It makes it difficult to negotiate a basket.

Disappointing things - The prices. Sorry. Overall they are not that good- I know my prices and I am a careful shopper- you can fool some of the people but not me (most of the time). I won’t slip over to Kroger (none close) or Food Lion (Yuck) but some of the produce prices in particular make Whole Foods look pretty good. In fact, considering the current emphasis on health and good eating, the produce selection seemed a little wanting. It may be there is more content there but the section is sprinkled with packaged crap- and the vegan/vegetarian selections are tough to locate.

Yes, I will still shop there, I’m loyal and it’s close. I like the people- particularly the deli folks (where prices are a little better). I do hope things shake out and upper management listens to the locals. If they don’t, it’ll just be another big chain full of scuzzy people who don’t care (no matter what they say) selling us stuff we don’t want or need.

In the meantime, there's always farmer’s markets and places like Nadolski’s Butcher Shop in Goochland. Oh yeah, and Whole Foods.

Maybe I’m the dinosaur- but I don’t think so.

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