Shaws, Star Market ditch loyalty card

Now a collector's itemNow a collector's itemThe value of tracking every last thing a consumer buys apparently ain't what it used to be: Shaws and Star Market discontinued their loyalty cards this weekend, saying that from now on, they're going to give all customers the same overpriced values.

At the Hyde Park Shaw's this afternoon, a lady manning one of the stores two entrances was offering customers a discount on a 12-pack of any Coke product if they turned in their cards; no word on why the store wanted the cards back, or whether any Pepsi/Dr Pepper fans were disappointed.

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At the JFK/UMass Shaws, we

By on

At the JFK/UMass Shaws, we were informed that they would be making a bench out of our confiscated cards. Can't wait.

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Why?

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Wouldn't your receipts show the same thing?

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I think he means all the

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I think he means all the analytic data re your shopping habits, deals you were offered, etc.

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Hey Adam

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Shaws is over priced, try visiting Roslindale Village Market, not to mention everything is on the verge of expectation

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I always lie when I filled out the forms

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There was never a problem with privacy. I was Baba Wawa from NYC.

The prices are not going to go down, so I will start using Peapod. If I am going to pay those prices, I might as well have my food delivered to my doorstep.

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Does this mean...

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Does this mean Shaw's is going to *lower* its prices to reflect no more cards? Everyone knows that these store cards just inflate the everyday price, so when it goes on sale, it looks like a great deal.

Maybe Shaw's is wising up and realized, like Market Basket always had known, that the store card is useless overhead that could otherwise be passed onto the customer (yeah right, it's Shaws).

OR they just realized they were getting their butt handed to them on a platter by Market Basket and Stop & Shop.

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Shaw's Apparently...

By Kate on

Shaw's Apparently lowered prices on over 12,000 items in the store; however, I haven't seen too much difference, but have seen it on a few everyday items. I wasn't overwhelmed at the register on Friday, either.
I guess they lowered prices as much as $6 (I think beauty/households were the bigger price decreases).

There was an article I read the other day that said they were trying to compete with Hannafords, but Shaw's didn't confirm (or deny) the articles accuracy. I'm sure they are also trying to compete with Market Basket too.

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Everyday items

According to the article that was on Boston.com, the focus is on everyday items like bread, eggs, and milk (maybe they are prepping for future French Toast Alerts?). Either way, my bf went in to do the card--coupon exchange and he said he noticed the price did seem lower on some items. They're also supposed to be getting new employee uniforms and redesigned signs, although, I'm not sure that will really make more people shop there if other amenities/lower prices are lacking. For me, I love shopping at Market Basket for the prices, good generic brand quality, and the awesome bakery and fresh food/cafe section, at least at the Chelsea store. I feel like there's nothing really special or unique about Shaws.

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I wish I could shop at some of these other stores

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If you don't have a car and other stores are not easy to get to on the T, you're stuck with Shaws or Peapod. The prices are ridiculously high at the Shaws near my place, and the quality is low. We're talking spoiled food. A few pennies off a dozen eggs doesn't matter very much.

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Shopped at the Melrose Shaw's this morning

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Prices seem to have declined from outrageously overpriced to overpriced. My rule of thumb is 20% more expensive than the Saugus Hannaford.

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Shaws has been hurting for a

Shaws has been hurting for a long time suffering from a case if it's Euro-holding corporate owners treating it as a cash cow while trimming costs such as staff levels, store renovation.

Shaws was once a great company, but is a hollowed out husk of it's old self.

Regarding rewards cards, I've wondered since most customers use some type of electronic transfer cards for their purchases if stores weren't using the payment cards to track the same purchase data. Perhaps the rewards cards are obsolete?

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It shows on the shelf, too,

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It shows on the shelf, too, at least at the Pru. They're constantly swapping stuff out, discontinuing diversity in favor of a single brand (peanut butter, condiments, crackers, and canned soup, for example).

The bakery blows anymore (again, no diversity in selection compared to even four years ago), the produce is awful, and they moved the "return can for deposit" bum problem from the airlock into the store proper.

If only Whole Foods weren't overpriced and Trader Joe's insufferable.

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What's bad about trader

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What's bad about trader Joe's?

For the select things I go there for they always seem to be better priced than Shaws and Stop & Shop.

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Trader Joe's itself is great

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It's the customers that suck. Not you, of course, the OTHER people who shop there.

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I get what you mean now.

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And I completely understand. We all hate those people.

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Euro?

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I think you are confusing Shaws with S&S. Ahold (a Dutch food company) bought S&S in 1995.

Shaws' ownership has bounced around a bit. They were owned by J Sainsbury plc (a UK company), but sold in 2004. They have been owned by Albertsons until a US-based private equity firm.

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Rewards programs

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Have probably become too costly to administer, especially since they can get information on ALL the shopping you do once you swipe your credit card. Banks making money off us whatever way they can.

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DP is in...

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Dude, you gotta read the small print...

Dr. Pepper IS part of the deal.

And they really don't want the cards back... it just saves them a bunch over time reminding customers they don't need them.

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loyalty are stupid and useless

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I went to CVS today and forgot my card as I was going though self checkout, and on the screen was a loyalty card button that I can use in case I forgot mine and wanted those big savings, same with Stop & Shop, forgot your card? Use Ours! Why can't you say it's cost $x and mean it at the register without having to flip out the card.

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What I've found most

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What I've found most interesting about the "loyalty" card in the last two years is that I'll give the cashier my card, she'll ring my groceries, then swipe her own card! I mean, I shop for one and rarely spend enough to get a turkey or whatever, but isn't that basically stealing? I still get the discount (partly important) but some people rely on the actual "tangible" reward. Terrible job.

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Yep

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Most stores will fire cashiers if they use their own cards (or keep the rewards that come out).

When the CVS cards first came out, I was so tempted to replace the courtesy card with one registered to me (this was before the rewards printed out at the register -- they came in the mail). Probably not the only one to consider this.

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CVS

CVS is one I try to remember to swipe, though, because I get coupons for things I actually buy and the Extra Bucks at the end of each quarter are nice. I registered mine to my Junk Mail email address, too, and get decent coupons that way as well.

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Agreed - for me, CVS only market-type biz that does this well

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There are other businesses that offer loyalty rewards that get me to use cards (mostly prepared food places like JP Licks, Panera, Halfway etc).

But CVS is the only general merchandise store I can think of where I get a big enough benefit from using a personalized card that I will regularly pass by one of their competitors to get to a CVS instead.

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Walgreens has a nice rewards program too

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If you take five god danged prescriptions a month like I do, Walgreens is a better loyalty program. No more waiting until the end of the quarter. You rack up points and then you get the rewards when you hit a milestone.

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Globe article?

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At the Shaw's near the Prudential Center, the attendant giving out those soda coupons in return for loyalty cards told me Saturday that the reason why Shaw's was discontinuing the loyalty card program was that "the Globe wrote an article a few weeks back that made Shaw's look bad."

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Alart the Boston Globe

Apparently they've found the only people left who take their writing seriously -- Shaws executives!

I went to the Porter Sq. Shaws tonight. I've already preferred Shaws over Stop 'n Shop but the prices didn't seem any lower and even seemed higher. Maybe I'm just used to being a slave to the card.

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As I understand retail

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As I understand retail advertised sales in Massachusetts, if a company offers a product at a sales price, they need to honor that price - regardless of whether the consumer has a courtesy card or not.

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Hmm, is that right?

Have you tested it? My first reaction is Good Luck With That, starting with the cashier.

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Shaw's new dress code

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There is another change Shaw's made at the exact same time they discontinued the loyalty card. From my observation, it seems all employees now must conform to a dress code of black pants, official Shaw's polo shirt and black vest. In addition, the deli workers must wear a white chef coat looking thing and a black European looking beret type hat. I'm not exactly sure what the point of the new outfit is.

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It's a good thing

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The new dress code beats the saggy pants we had to contend to the past. Shaw's workers just looked sloppy.

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Still look saggy

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I have news for you. The new black pants look saggy too. People who want to sag will sag regardless. Black dress pants and men's dress pants in general were the original saggy.

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Shaw's uniforms

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My sister was given one deli jacket, one apron, one hat, all in enormous sizes that she had to alter. She had to buy black chinos (no black denim allowed) and black shoes. Being in the deli, for safety, she had to buy shoes that are not just slip resistant but oil resistant. That amounted to a lot of money. Given her average 20 hour allotment, it cost her about 2 week's pay.

Do you have any idea what a white jacket looks like after working a day in the deli? With no backup uniform, she has to do laundry after every shift. To get any additional uniform pieces, she has to buy them herself at a high cost. And there are never any in stock.

How about how cold they get? At first they were told they're not allowed to wear anything under the jacket. Now they can, but with very rigid regulations.

It's ridiculous.

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"A lady manning" No. Just no. Write, "A lady staffing" instead.

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It's so easy:

At the Hyde Park Shaw's this afternoon, a lady manning one of the stores two entrances was offering customers a discount

becomes

At the Hyde Park Shaw's this afternoon, a lady staffing one of the stores two entrances was offering customers a discount

I'm surprised this one isn't already in your UniversalHub styleguide.

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How will I make my choices now?

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Damn, that was how I shopped, yellow tag to yellow tag. Now I'm gonna be overwhelmed with choices and I can't stand that. I wind up not buying anything.

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A Bit Confused, They Are

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Seems they can't decide if they want the cards back or not.

One store turned down my card and then the next day gave me the third degree about turning in my card and made a supervisor come over to confirm I turned it in. Another told me to come back with "as many cards as I have" and they will give me the soda deal.

Gee, if only they had some system that would help them figure out if someone had gotten the deal before... Hmmm...

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Waltham Shaws

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Waltham Shaws on River Street jacked up prices on many items, it seems, except for a few loss leaders (usually of cheap brands). This was especially apparent in the frozen isles where there were only two things that were discounted - Hungry Man meals and one of the low-end ice cream brands. At the other end of the store some types of fruit, like apples and nectarines, were as high as I have ever seen them at the store. It was like the Whole Foods markup.

As for ditching the loyalty cards, that takes away one of the few incentives to go there.

The "private equity" types who bought Shaws actually think this is the road to profitability? They're driving away old customers.

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A discount card isn't a

By on

A discount card isn't a reason to go to a store.

An actual discount is. And they're still having sales -- you just don't need a card to get them.

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Had a supermarket analyst in the car last week

and she was more than forthcoming in her analysis of the Shaw's situation. She told me that Shaw's previous owners screwed up the brand so badly, that the new owners are desperate to try an save it and are strong believers that they can.

She also mentioned that Market Basket's rapid expansion from a Merrimack Valley based brand to it's current status as a statewide retail juggernaut has shaken every other chain to it's core. Looking over both the Shaw's and Market Basket circulars this week shows Shaw's clearly trying to match MB in it's prices on family staples like milk and OJ.

Of course they could do the right thing and stop charging a dollar more at the Mt. Auburn Shaw's for house brand milk then the one up the street from it in Waverly Square.

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Yes those mutts messed up the

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Yes those mutts messed up the brand big time, and they destroyed the Star Market one as well. I think those stores were the right size for a grocery store , not these super sized walkathons that sell stuff that you wouldnt think of buying in a grocery store. Bigger box means more $$$ needed to square the foot of sales.

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No more sales?

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So, are there no sales/weekly specials at all anymore (every item is just marked at an incrementally lower price), or do you just not need the card to get the sale price?

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You don't need a card

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At least as of this and next week, they are still mailing/posting circulars with weekly sale prices. And they are still doubling coupons under $1, as most other local supermarkets do.

Fwiw, other Boston supermarkets seem to do just fine without loyalty cards (around my neighborhood - Village Mkt, Roche Bros and Whole PaycheckFoods are card free).

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Stop & Shop

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Would they be next? One possible difference for them is that you also need one of their cards to get a discount at their gas stations if you buy enough stuff.

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I don't think so. Guess it

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I don't think so. Guess it depends on how they manage the data, but there is value in knowing what a shopper buys most often (even if his card is tagged "Homer Simpson, 123 Fake St." If they get it right, they can get shoppers to spend more (which is their ultimate goal).

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BIg Data, Little Data

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Although stores with loyalty cards care somewhat about what you buy so they can target coupons to you (CVS does this at their in-store card scanner and with your receipt), they get more useful info from correlating the different items in your cart. It's obvious that people who buy hot dogs also buy hot dog buns but do people who buy diapers buy more packaged foods? Or ice cream and diet soda? that can help with pricing and stocking the correlated item when it's companion goes on sale. Or what to feature in the store in relation to national coupon offers.

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The value in tracking

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The value in tracking everyone is still there, but these days, it's easier to just tie it to a person's credit/debit card. Yeah, a few people still pay cash, but the vast majority of customers pay with plastic.

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I don't drink soda either but

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I don't drink soda either but I'm tempted to get some to stash in the back of my pantry for the next book club or housewarming party I have been invited to. It probably takes a lot for soda to go bad.

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this

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The checkout will go smoother for the hard-working and awesome cashiers, who have to put up with some of the most obnoxious customers you can imagine. Even if you don't have the card with you, they have a skeleton card for your discounts and probably find themselves using it for every other customer or even more often.

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What I don't understand is

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What I don't understand is why they haven't completely rebranded from Star Market to Shaw's. How many years has it been a weird hybrid?

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