Pay By Touch Not So Much

I’ve often wondered who uses the Pay By Touch systems at Cub Foods stores. It turns out the answer is, “not nearly enough people”:

Beleaguered Pay By Touch Looks To Sell Itself in Two Auctions

Pay By Touch’s biometrics business proved to be a huge money loser despite installations in more than 700 U.S. retail locations, most notably SuperValu Inc.’s Jewel/Osco grocery stores in the Chicago area. The biometrics and so-called personalized marketing businesses lost $137 million last year on only $600,000 in revenue, according to documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, which is overseeing the case.

It seemed like a solution in need of a problem to me. I tend to have plenty of time to dig out my wallet and whip out a card during the time it takes the cashier to scan my stack of Jack’s Pizzas.

Plus, it only worked with checking accounts so you’ll miss out on your credit card incentives. I suppose Cub chose to do that so they wouldn’t have to may a Pay by Touch fee on top of a credit card merchant fee in their relatively low margin business.

Here’s a story1. from 2005 when Pay by Touch launched at its first MN location.

1. It’s cool that Blaine newspaper has a linkable archive from 2005.

Food Co-ops: Not Just for Urban Hipsters Anymore

Stillwater has long had a co-op, but not Orono is on tap for a food co-op as well:

The West Metro » Blog Archive » Update on Orono food co-op

A new food co-op is a small step closer to sprouting in Orono.
At an April meeting, the Orono Planning Commission voted to recommend a comprehensive plan amendment that would allow Harvest Moon Natural Foods as part of a larger development at Hwy. 12 and Willow Drive.
The City Council will likely vote on the amendment at its meeting May 14.

Personally, I don’t think eating healthy, organically, and locally produced food rather than the overly processed crap found in the middle of big box grocery stores has the same political breakdown of some other issues like transit or gun control. Everyone who cares about what they put in their body will make better choices . . . given a choice. It’s great to see more people will soon have an option in the Western ‘burbs.

Reactionary Grocery Store Signs

Only 2 Kids

I had to wait outside since there were already two kids in the store and I’m a kid at heart.

This is from the front door of the grocery store on 42nd Ave S at 39th St E. I can’t remember the name. The inside of the store is covered with signs like this, including one saying something like, “For returns larger than $5, you’ll have to talk directly to the manager.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum are stores that post what you CAN do instead of what you CAN’T like this store in Nebraska I saw last summer along I-80:

Smoking is Permitted

That’s just rad.

Environmental Trends of the Rich

One thing I really like about reading Seth Godin’s stuff is his ability to sucinctely state things I’ve been thinking about for a while. Since I tend to agree with him, so he must be pretty smart. 🙂

Seth’s Blog: Noimpactman makes an impact

The richest and best-educated people in our economy are shifting, and pretty quickly. They’re just as willing to spend money as they always were, but now it’s not focused on fancy organic stuff at the Whole Foods Market or giant bulletproof cars from Germany or private jet travel. Instead, the market is trying as hard as it can to spend time and money without leaving much of a trace.

This does seem to be an emerging trend. People are becoming much more aware of where their food is produced because of food outbreaks and dieting trends. And people seem to be discovering that food that’s picked fresh tends to taste better.

Carrots that taste like carrots? Wha? Carrots have flavor? Try the organic ones from Seward Co-op in a blind taste test against Cub’s mini-carrots.

Jeremy Iggers expressed similar sentiments about the evolution of the Twin Cities food scene over the time he’s covered it for the Star Tribune:

It’s been two star-studded decades

The most exciting trend I have seen since I started covering the local restaurant scene has been the rise of restaurants that put their values — social, environmental, humane — on the menu. Brenda Langton of Café Brenda (and Spoonriver) and Lucia Watson of Lucia’s Restaurant and Wine Bar were the pioneers, but today, their creed of locally grown, organic and sustainable food can be found at most of the best restaurants in town, ranging from Muffuletta, Corner Table and W.A. Frost & Co. to Restaurant Alma, Cafe Barbette, Sapor Cafe & Bar, jP American Bistro, the Craftsman, the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant and Heartland. Maybe it’s a sign of spiritual progress: Instead of getting our identity from what we consume, we make choices that express what we value.

This goes beyond food, although it makes sense that food would be a leader in this trend since people tend to make more considered purchases about things they put into their body.