Uh oh. Amazon is opening up a new chain of grocery stores

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/01/uh-oh-amazon-is-opening-up-a.html


Who knew capitalism would lead us into food stores resembling those in the Soviet Union.


Amazon going to battle with Wal-Mart and Target?

It’s like Godzilla fighting Rodan and Gamera.

And we’re all Tokyo.


No one could have predicted that a supply chain method and a business model based on selling prepackaged mass produced imperishable widgets would founder and fail when applied to selling food!


Also due to “just-in-time inventory” I bet. This always pisses me off. Stores are always out of stuff these days; not just Whole Foods.


I hate to say it, what those photos actually depict is a shelf with 30 cartons of 6 different kinds of eggs, instead of a full 90 cartons of 12 different kinds, and the next is 25 prepackaged 5oz clam shells of 11 different kinds of sorted, prewashed baby greens (in addition to what’s available in the produce section) as opposed to 50 packages of 20 different salad mixes.

Complaining about this comes across as slightly unhinged to me.


I’ve definitely noticed this. The Whole Foods 365 store near me is always out of 1 or 2 of the things we need (out of a list of 8 or 10). We also do delivery regularly, and they’re always subbing in one thing or another. It’s one thing for a store tracking many wholesalers, but stores like a WF365 where the very business model is almost exclusively private label, this seem ridiculous.


It may seem odd but Family Dollar has a automated order and stocking program. I owned the stock for awhile and made some money off it. Of course FD has kind of loose policy of how their stores look, but you can always find the cheap stuff they are known to carry. I understand that Walmart has a similar system.


I expect that the understocking of items is part of the profit optimization process. Working as intended.


Do they have cake?


Maybe I am buying the wrong things, but I haven’t yet noticed any great difference in prices at WF, but then, even before the buyout I’d usually only go there for produce and some things I wanted that I couldn’t easily get elsewhere. Since the buyout, I’ve put more effort into finding alternate sources for those things too.

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In a couple of years, after Amazon management gets tired of this line of business, we’ll probably see empty storefronts all over the place too.


Hold it right there, pal. Godzilla and Rodan are licensed monsters of the Toho company. Gamera is owned by a rival studio, Daiei. It’s like Marvel and DC. No crossovers.

Besides, Gamera would kick Godzilla’s ass.



" For more enjoyment and greater efficiency, consumption has been standardized."


I’m not sure if you mean this sarcastically, but it’s a good thing. You won’t believe the amount of good food being thrown away from a supermarket, even ones with this kind of stocking (and at one time Boing Boing was against that). A constantly full shelf of perishable foods means a shelfful is being thrown away every time you change stock. And that isn’t just wasted food, it’s wasted transportation and wasted processing. People also far overestimate how large our backrooms actually are.

People can’t both have stores that constantly look virginal and aren’t horrible for the environment.


Trader Joe’s makes a concerted effort to donate nearly-expired food. I wonder how effectove that is, in the end, at cutting down overall waste.


What we’ve been finding in Whole Foods around here is a lot more rotten/spoiled food on the shelves. To a level that I’ve never seen at a whole foods.

One time all of the avocados were all bad-very very soft. So I asked an employee if they had more in the back. He said no, they had just thrown away thirteen cases and those were the best that were left.

Another time all of the pineapples were past. And the quality of the vegetables has declined precipitously, as has the availability of local produce. We’ve heard some unpleasant reports, too, from relatives working there in other parts of the country.

Whole Foods has fallen off of a cliff. I never loved them but at least the produce was generally in better shape than at other stores. Not any more… no point to pay a premium for the same stuff.


A grocery store that never runs out of anything must be throwing out a lot more expired food, right?

I shop at Whole Foods because it’s extremely convenient - I walk by it on my commute every day. They’re often out of many types of fresh-baked bread by the end of the day. But (good) bread has a shelf life of about a day*, so I don’t mind that they err on the side of understocked. If they went the other way there’d be a lot of wasted bread.

*I don’t mean that it’s actually bad to eat after a day, but I’d be disappointed if I bought a loaf at full price that was more than a day old.