Posts tagged “store”

Cupcake EULA


Warning Sign, Haute Pink Cakes, San Diego, CA, July 2010

The text of the sign:

IMPORTANT POLICIES!
*If cupcakes are dropped by customers it is our policy to refrost them, and place them in a new box for $1/box. That’s the cost of the box – this could take probably 15 minutes depending on how busy we are)
We do not offer new cupcakes. If you wish to purchase new cupcakes you may receive 10% off the total, but only for that visit, same order.
*Offers cannot be combined. One coupon or offer per customer per day. Military discount not to be combined with Buy One-Get One Free coupons. Coupons will not be taken for day olds.
*We do not take American Express. Also, no credit cards will be accepted for amounts under $7.00.

One has to wonder about the frequency and severity of the exceptions that led this small bakery to break from their pink/fluffy/hip/indulgent vibe with this pre-emptively admonishing lists of warnings and do-nots. The owners have failed to internalize the brand experience they are trying to create with their flagship product.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] No E-Books Allowed in This Establishment [NYTimes.com] – [In which the blogger goes to a cafe with a No Computers rule and tries to use his e-Reader, then gets into a debate about whether an e-Reader is really a computer or not. A bit of a tempest in a teapot; looking to connect to a larger social crisis which isn't occurring]
  • [from steve_portigal] Skill Building for Design Innovators (from CHIFOO) [All This ChittahChattah] – Steve will take a look at some fundamental skills that underlie the creation and launch of innovative goods and services. He will discuss the personal skills that he considers to be “the muscles of innovators” and the ways you can build these important muscles, including noticing, understanding cultural context, maintaining exposure to pop culture, synthesizing, drawing, wordsmithing, listening, and prototyping.
  • [from steve_portigal] Five Indispensable Skills for UX Mastery [UIE Tips] – [This makes a good companion piece to my recent CHIFOO presentation "Skill Building for Design Innovations"]
  • [from steve_portigal] An interview with Eric Ludlum of Core77 [All This ChittahChattah] – The Dutch Master project is a natural extension for Core and also myself. Having gone through the industrial design program at Pratt Institute, and then founding Core77, covering industrial design, with Stu Constantine and myself always being on the outside of the industry in terms of actually participating, but then covering it, watching it from the inside. The Dutch Master, and previous to the Dutch Master, the Blu Fom shoe have been our attempts at doing some product development and design.
  • [from steve_portigal] Announcing the Core77 Flagship Retail Store in Portland Oregon! [Core77] – [Eric Ludlum of Core77 takes some of the themes he shared with us in the recent Ambidextrous interview and pushes them further with the opening of a Core77 retail space. I was surprised to visit it recently and see that it wasn't a curated museum store, but instead a 'Hand-Eye Supply' outlet] If there is a poster-boy, a hero, of Hand-Eye Design, it is Bucky Fuller. Who practiced sustainability, who advocated design-thinking, who studied the needs of the human being, but who understood these as parts of the whole enterprise of doing. He is the guy who, as good designers do, kept all that in his head and in his heart and used it as he MADE THINGS -not for the sake of self-expression or commercialism but because they had to be done. And that work was not birthed effortlessly from within but dragged out of the world in handfuls, built-up slowly into something meaningful through sketches and prototypes, mock-ups and fabrication. That is the design philosophy of Core77's Hand-Eye Supply.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] On the Road – Complaints of Poor Attitude in Airport Body Scans [NYTimes.com] – [Why does a change in process and design generate such a dramatic change in behavior?] By far, most readers wrote to complain about screeners who were rude. Helaine Fendelman said she felt as if she were in a cage as a screener “yelled at me about why I wasn’t paying attention to those who had proceeded me” through the machine. Elizabeth Wiley wrote of the “generally bullying air of the experience.” Melissa Hickey said a screener “barked orders at me as if I were a common criminal.” Bob Michelet agreed with my view that being ordered around was a “boot camp-like experience,” as he put it. Mary P. Koss said she didn’t like being “yelled at” after a screener decided her fingers were not forming a triangle as instructed while she held her hands over her head. “When I exited the machine, I was yelled at again to stand in place,” she said.
  • [from steve_portigal] Starbucks "Olive Way" test store aggregates Starbucks concepts [The Associated Press] – [While I applaud Starbucks for focusing on the quality of their core product – the coffee – I'm not sure that their secondary product – the experience- will benefit from closeness to the baristas. They need to makeover the staff brand before customers will seek them out] What succeeds at Olive Way will most likely be spread to other Starbucks stores around the country. With muted, earthy colors, an indoor-outdoor fireplace, cushy chairs, and a menu with wine from the Pacific Northwest's vineyards and beer from local craft brewers, this 2,500-square-foot shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood will reopen in the fall with espresso machines in the middle. The machines at Olive Way will be part of what executives call a coffee theater. Counters will be narrower — a slim as a foot in some places — to bring customers closer to baristas; the machines will brew one cup at a time to extract deeper flavor from beans. The store will be the chain's only location that sells beer and wine in the U.S
  • [from steve_portigal] Introducing New Core77 Columnist Steve Portigal! [Core77] – [I'll be writing something monthly for our friends at Core77]

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Lost Garden: Ribbon Hero turns learning Office into a game – If an activity can be learned; If the player’s performance can be measured; If the player can be rewarded or punished in a timely fashion, then any activity that meets these criteria can be turned into a game. Not only can you make a game out of the activity, but you can turn tasks traditionally seen as a rote or frustrating into compelling experiences that users find delightful.
  • With Rival E-Book Readers, It’s Amazon vs. Apple – [NYTimes.com] – Ian Freed, vice president for the Kindle at Amazon, said he expected developers would devise a wide range of programs, including utilities like calculators, stock tickers and casual video games. He also predicts publishers will begin selling a new breed of e-books, like searchable travel books and restaurant guides that can be tailored to the Kindle owner’s location; textbooks with interactive quizzes; and novels that combine text and audio. “We knew from the earliest days of the Kindle that invention was not all going to take place within the walls of Amazon,” Mr. Freed said. “We wanted to open this up to a wide range of creative people, from developers to publishers to authors, to build whatever they like.”
  • Pushing Military Styles to a New Level of Ferocity [NYTimes.com] – A stepped-up demand for vests, blazers and hoodies tough enough to deflect a .22-caliber blast but sleek enough for a night of clubbing suggests that body armor is not just for the security-conscious. Fake or real, it exerts a pull on those inclined to flaunt it as a flinty fashion statement. “The trend to protective gear is pretty strong right now,” said Richard Geist, the founder of Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters in downtown Manhattan. “It’s big with rappers, alternative types and even some women.” Uncle Sam’s sells protective gear to the military. But most of its clients are civilians who snap up authentic bulletproof vests for as much as $1,000 or trade down to look-alike versions stripped of their armored lining ($24).
  • ComScore Calls Shenanigans on Gartner’s 99.4% App Store Figure [Maximum PC] – Gartner says 99.4% of app sales in 2009 were from Apple. ComScore disputes the figures but Gartner stands by its determination.
  • Amazon launching Kindle Development Kit so third parties can develop apps – Active content will be available to customers in the Kindle Store later this year. Remember that unlike smart phones, the Kindle user does not pay a monthly wireless fee or enter into an annual wireless contract. Kindle active content must be priced to cover the costs of downloads and on-going usage. Voice over IP functionality, advertising, offensive materials, collection of customer information without express customer knowledge and consent, or usage of the Amazon or Kindle brand in any way are not allowed. In addition, active content must meet all Amazon technical requirements, not be a generic reader, and not contain malicious code.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Don Norman on Ethnography and Innovation – Some great commentary on Norman's piece (discussed here as well) including the very exciting revelation that Edison did something very much like ethnography!
  • General Motors – The Lab – It’s a pilot program for GM, an interactive design research community in the making. Here you can get to know the designers, check out some of their projects, and help them get to know you. Like a consumer feedback event without the one-way glass.

    We work on ideas that will influence our future vehicles. We want to share our ideas, inventions and pre-production vehicle designs. We want to build the right cars and trucks for your future. We want your opinion.

  • Iceberg Digital Book Reader for the iPhone – Digital books as content, as hardware, as a platform, as an OS, as an app? Interesting to see a range of approaches appearing. Iceberg use the iTunes store to sell the books, which seems like a brilliant strategy, leveraging a storefront/distribution platform that already exists.
  • Steal These Books – From Wikipedia page about book theft, a set of articles that describe what books get stolen from bookstores (independent, chain, and campus) and libraries.
  • Archaeology’s Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites – A large set of links to articles about fake archeological-type stuff (discoveries, artifacts, and the like). How and why.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • A thoughtful consideration (that could have so easily gone curmudgeonly) on the changes in how (and how much) we consume art – Cameras replaced sketching by the last century; convenience trumped engagement, the viewfinder afforded emotional distance and many people no longer felt the same urgency to look. It became possible to imagine that because a reproduction of an image was safely squirreled away in a camera or cell phone, or because it was eternally available on the Web, dawdling before an original was a waste of time, especially with so much ground to cover.
  • Michael Pollan on the cultural shifts revealed by themes in food-related TV entertainment – The historical drift of cooking programs — from a genuine interest in producing food yourself to the spectacle of merely consuming it — surely owes a lot to the decline of cooking in our culture, but it also has something to do with the gravitational field that eventually overtakes anything in television’s orbit…Buying, not making, is what cooking shows are mostly now about — that and, increasingly, cooking shows themselves: the whole self-perpetuating spectacle of competition, success and celebrity that, with “The Next Food Network Star,” appears to have entered its baroque phase. The Food Network has figured out that we care much less about what’s cooking than who’s cooking.
  • Nine Reasons RadioShack Shouldn’t Change Its Name – Best one is " RadioShack has problems beyond any issues with its name." Also they did already change name from Radio Shack to RadioShack.
  • Radio Shack: Our friends call us The Shack – Do they really now? More proof that you can't simply declare yourself cool. Promo or overall rebranding, it reeks of inauthenticity.
  • Understand My Needs – a multicultural perspective – A Japanese usability professional compares the norms of service that retailers provide in Japan with those elsewhere (say, his experience living in Canada), and then contrasts that to the common usability problems found in Japanese websites. Culture is a powerful lens to see what causes these differences, and how usability people can help improve the experience.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • In Recession, Strategy Shifts for Retail – It's hard to parse this piece; it's about a lot of cost-cutting stuff that is happening in retail but the tone suggests that these are innovative ways for companies to be more responsive (better customer service? better localization of products?) and integrated (linking the in-store and online experiences?). I'm skeptical and don't believe the concluding statement that this is happening because we're not spending in stores like we used to, it's too close to the whole "innovate your way out of a recession" talk and I don't think retail is an adaptable industry to take on a frame shift like that.
  • An evolutionary perspective on what we display to others with our consumption (not clear how there's anything new here, though) – Instead of running focus groups and spinning theories,marketers could learn more by administering scientifically calibrated tests of intelligence and personality traits. If marketers understood biologists’ new calculations about animals’ “costly signaling,” they’d see that Harvard diplomas and iPhones send the same kind of signal as the ornate tail of a peacock.

    Sometimes the message is as simple as “I’ve got resources to burn,” the classic conspicuous waste demonstrated by the energy expended to lift a peacock’s tail or the fuel guzzled by a Hummer. But brand-name products aren’t just about flaunting transient wealth. The audience for our signals care more about the permanent traits measured in tests of intelligence and personality, as Dr. Miller explains in his new book, “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior.”

Veggie Tales

Two favorite topics – groceries and stories – collide when the NYT profiles a Cleveland-area grocery chain

“One of the things Whole Foods taught us is the need to tell stories” about our products, Mr. Heinen said. In fact, Heinen’s has 50 stories that it trains employees to tell customers about its meat, produce, baked goods and other items.

This month, Whole Foods took another step forward on this front, designating one employee from each store as a “value guru.” Those employees now give regular tours highlighting sales, local and seasonal items and popular selections from its private label brand.

With all the scaremongering over Americans not taking vacations this summer, perhaps the Whole Foods tour will be substituting?

Sustainability Biz

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The Loft store in Tokyo has an entire section that offers a huge range of reusable grocery store bags. Do the Japanese values around “choice” and “sustainability” collide? Does it make sense within that culture? Does it make sense to outsiders?

I had an uncomfortable reaction along the lines of “Oh, crap, something else to buy.” It seemed to contradict my expectations of restraint in a product category that carries a meaning of “sustainable.” Of course, that may not be the meaning that these bags have in Japan.

Germs are in the details

I’ve blogged here and here about good and bad implementations of wipes in grocery stores.

I found another one in Coupeville, WA, the other day.
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Despite the rather industrial graphics, there’s a few improvements. It’s very clearly for cleaning the cart, not your hands (as Safeway suggested).. It’s right next to the carts, so when you take a cart, you use it (rather than located near the exit, at Safeway). And should the Red Apple employees fail to maintain the display, there’s at least an encouraging reminder to the customer that they should ask to have it replenished.

This is no iPhone, it’s not a radical innovation, but it’s a definite response to a need, and tracking how it is and isn’t being dealt with is enlightening. First, one has to understand the need. Then one has to develop a solution. Then the solution must be implemented. Properly. Effectively. And throw in iteration, for fun. The fact that something as simple as this fails around solution/implementation at a major chain like Safeway tells you something about the organizational barriers to even the most mild of innovations.

How glitz (so easily) becomes failure

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If Steve (sans glasses) was a Simpsons character

The blogosphere is abuzz today (in the post-iPhone, post-Ratatoullie, post-Transformers frenzy) with the launch of 7-11 stores converted into Kwik-E-Marts to promote the Simpsons Movie. The nearest Kwik-E-Mart is an hour away, but we walked to our local 7-11 to see if they were carrying the promised set of Simpsons-themed merch. We walked through the entire store and were just on our way out when we discovered the display. Yep, we’re enough off the grid here in Pacifica that what we get is just another messy shelf of crappy products. Perhaps life imitates the Simpsons, once again?

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Retail experience at Cabela’s

One of the highlights of Kansas City was the chance to check out Cabela’s, a hunting/fishing/camping superstore. Although it’s chock full of animal killing products (and animal killing accessories), it manages to (in that way that the hunting community has always done) reframe this as pseudo-conservation and love for animals. The awe-inspiring amount of taxidermical displays feels like a trip to the national history museum, but the outdoor grill right next to one of the displays reveals the true nature of the endeavor. Lots of surprise and general challenges to my own perspectives made for a fun visit.

Here is a flickr set of my photos.

Safeway Update

A quick update on the lame hand-wipe station at Safeway (blogged earlier here) – an unattractive display that cleans hands (not cart handles), and doesn’t really address the perceived problem.

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It’s been shoved further against the wall, the container for the wipes is sitting open, and is empty.

Add neglect to the problem, I guess.

On Every Street

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Old and run-down business goes away, omnipresent Dunkin Donuts comes in. One shouldn’t infer timing, nor cause-and-effect, of course. But perhaps signs of the times?

Meanwhile, a recent post on Bostonist maps out the density of DD in nearby Boston.

I figured I’d be eating some donuts on that trip, but I did not. I was quite excited to see a Tim Horton’s (a rare sighting in the US, especially away from a Canadian border) and ran in to get a butter tart (a dessert fave). Yum!

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