March 2014 - I Hate Working In Retail


12 Ways Fast Food Companies Trick You Into Eating More Junk

1. They make it cheaper to buy “meals” than a la carte items.

They make it cheaper to buy "meals" than a la carte items.

Studies have shown that people will eat significantly more when their meals have “variety” than when they consist of just one food. So a customer will consume more calories if their fried chicken comes with a side of mashed potatoes than if it just came with more chicken.

2. They use fake smells to make you think you’re hungry when you aren’t.

12 Ways Fast Food Companies Trick You Into Eating More Junk

That Cinnabon smell wafting through the mall is not an accident.

3. They change the meaning of basic words, like “Large.”

They change the meaning of basic words, like "Large."

4. They know that seeing a food “can stimulate unplanned consumption” even when you’re not hungry.

5. They keep adding cheese.

They keep adding cheese.

Partnerships between the fast food and dairy industries mean there is more cheese in everything. As Dairy Management chief executive Tom Gallagher wrote in a trade publication in 2009, “If every pizza included one more ounce of cheese, we would sell an additional 250 million pounds of cheese annually.”

6. They turned cup holders into meal holders.

They turned cup holders into meal holders.

Cars: The new dining room.

7. Their restaurants are designed to make us eat too much too fast.

 Everything about a fast food restaurant encourages us to clean our trays quicker than we normally would. The color red, the bright lighting, the clatter of noise, and the nonstop smells all make us think we’re hungrier and in more of a rush than we really are. (And as we all know by now, when we eat too fast, we eat too much.)

8. They sneak salt, sugar, and fat into items they market as healthy.

They sneak salt, sugar, and fat into items they market as healthy.

Thought your Apple Pecan Chicken Salad was a responsible choice? With 27g of fat, 1350mg of sodium, and 37g of sugar, Wendy’s lowest calorie salad is anything but healthy. That’s more fat than their Double Stack burger (25g), more sodium than their 10-Piece Chicken Nuggets (870mg), and more sugar than their Vanilla Frosty Cone (34g).

9. They remove walking from the eating experience.

They remove walking from the eating experience.

The easier it is to get to our food, the more likely we are to eat it. While the drive thru meant we no longer had to get out of the car to get a burger, delivery means we don’t even have to leave the house.

10. They pretend that buying Happy Meals is the same as helping sick children.

They pretend that buying Happy Meals is the same as helping sick children.

As detailed in the recent report, Clowning Around With Charity, McDonald’s has made a lot of money convincing customers that buying a burger is donating to charity. In 2010, for example, the chain claimed that it would donate “proceeds” from all sold Happy Meals to the Ronald McDonald House. But it turned out that by “proceeds” they meant “a penny.”

11. They turned soda into a side dish.

They turned soda into a side dish.

Before Cokes were included in combo meals, most fast food customers didn’t buy them. But once they started grouping it with burgers and fries, soda sales skyrocketed. According to longtime Coke executive Jeffrey Dunn, “From 1980 through 2000 at least, that was the predominant marketing strategy of Coke to build consumption within fast food outlets.”

12. They get us while we’re young.

They get us while we're young.

Because our eating habits start forming before we’ve even taken our first steps, what we eat as kids may determine what we consume as adults. So when fast food companies lure children in with toys, playgrounds, cartoon characters, and a very famous clown, they’re not just peddling Happy Meals. They’re creating lifetime customers


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Study: It’s harder to get a job at Wal-Mart than it is to get into Harvard

This year’s Ivy League admissions totals are in. The 8.9 percent acceptance rate is impressively exclusive, but compared to landing a job at Wal-Mart, getting into the Ivy Leagues is a cakewalk.

Last year when Wal-Mart came to D.C. there were over 23,000 applications for 600 jobs. That’s an acceptance rate of 2.6%, twice as selective as Harvard’s and over five times as choosy as Cornell.

ivy league admission rates wal-mart

This isn’t an anomaly – last year a Wegman’s in Pennsylvania boasted an acceptance rate of 5%, while Google only has room for one half of one percent of its job applicants.

Parents and students – particularly those from a certain socio-economic background – tend to obsess a lot over the college admissions process. The danger, of course, is that this single-minded focus on preparing kids for college – the extra-curriculars, test prep, admissions coaching, and the like – is coming at the expense of prepping them for the job market hurdles that come after.


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Wal-Mart Sees $3 Billion Opportunity Refilling Empty Shelves



Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) executives, speaking at a company meeting this month, said its store shelves need to be better stocked with merchandise and that resolving the matter could be a $3 billion opportunity.

Improving “in-stocks” — a measure of how much merchandise is available for shoppers to buy — is a top focus for Wal-Mart, executives said at its Year Beginning Meeting, according to notes taken by an attendee that were reviewed by Bloomberg. The company also plans to add labor hours as part of an effort to bolster “in-store execution,” executives said at the summit in Orlando, Florida, which was attended by Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon and U.S. CEO Bill Simon.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has struggled to keep shelves stocked over the past year at U.S. stores, Bloomberg News has reported, citing workers and customers. The lack of merchandise has frustrated some shoppers, prompting them to decamp to the chain’s competitors. Increasing labor hours could make it easier for staff to get inventory from the stockroom and replenish the products on the store floor.

The focus of the Year Beginning Meeting was “serving customers and reinforcing our commitment to serve them,” said David Tovar, a spokesman for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart. He didn’t elaborate on specific remarks from the event, which was held two weeks ago.

‘Positive Energy’

“More than 7,000 associates attended the meeting and there was a lot of positive energy,” he said in an e-mail. “We used the meeting as an opportunity to listen to our store managers and give them the tools they need to succeed so they can do what they do best, take care of customers.”

Wal-Mart has pared back its domestic workforce in recent years, putting a bigger load on the employees that remain. U.S. staff at the main Wal-Mart chain and Sam’s Club warehouse chains fell by about 20,000 between 2008 and January of this year, according to a filing this month. The company now has about 1.4 million workers nationwide. Over that same period, it has added more than 650 U.S. Wal-Mart stores, bringing the total to more than 4,200.

Groups such as the union-backed Organization United for Respect at Walmart have taken up the issue, saying employees are being stretched too thin.

“When you have to pick up the slack of people not there, you can’t do the job the right way,” said Richard Reynoso, an overnight stocker who has worked at Wal-Mart for almost three years in Duarte, California. He’s a member of OUR Walmart.

‘Scrambled’ Inventory

Reynoso said he and his co-workers have to work outside of their assigned departments to get everything done. On a given night, he can find himself stocking shelves in the hardware, auto, sporting goods and toy departments.

“Some people don’t know where things are supposed to go, so the merchandise ends up getting scrambled everywhere,” he said. “Either that or they don’t have enough time to put it in the real spot.”

Even as Wal-Mart tries to better stock shelves, the company is working to curb inventory growth in the U.S. — an effort to cut costs and avoid being stuck with slower-moving merchandise. Wal-Mart will try to limit its inventory increases to half the rate of sales growth this year, Chief Merchandising Officer Duncan Mac Naughton said at the meeting. In 10 of the past 12 quarters, growth of Wal-Mart’s U.S. inventory has exceeded that of sales.

Wal-Mart’s U.S. division had $279.4 billion in sales in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

Missing Estimates

The company forecast annual profit last month that fell short of analysts’ estimates, hurt by a still-sluggish U.S. economy and government benefit cuts. McMillon, who took the CEO job in February, is attempting to boost growth with smaller-format stores. The company plans to open 270 to 300 Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express shops this year, almost doubling the number.

Aubretia Edick, another member of OUR Walmart, said she hears customers complain every day that they can’t find what they’re looking for.

“It’s hard because I know the item is in the backroom,” said Edick, who works in Chicopee, Massachusetts. “We just don’t have the people to put the stock out.”


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