Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Netflix and chill, no seriously just chill it's hot out there

Netflix and chill, no seriously just chill, cause this weather be crazy hot here in East Vancouver. I think I might have to put off blogging for a bit.

Anyways Black Summer Season 2 just dropped on the 17th of June, so last week, and I finally got to watch it. It's such a crazy show. 

For those of you into the zombie genre, which might be getting a bit played out, Black Summer is another strange take on post pandemic life. It's like the walking dead on adrenalin!

If you're at home trying to stay chill then why not throw this show on to kill some time.

Monday, June 28, 2021

OMG, Completely overwhelmed


It's been a while since I was blogging on the regular.

It's been even longer since I started this blog.

Well, it seems I've neglected a bunch of stuff over the years, and it's time to fix everything.

Fun Facts 

#1. European laws dictate you need to have security imbedded into you domains through a DNS service?

- I honestly thought I had done this when I click ok.

Well here is the problem, I started this blog (and other blogs) as a free service from Blogger (google). I later went on to purchase this (and other) domains from Blogger (google). Blogger (google) purchased the domains (on my behalf) from GoDaddy. 

So now when I need to do an update, I use the Blogger interface which send me to the Google interface, which redirects me to the GoDaddy interface, which lets me make changes. Well, somewhere along this chain, I lost access. Normally I just use the auto-password and auto-login from site to site, but I lost a password, or changed it, or changed my user name or something happened. I now use safeincloud which helps tremendously (I am not sponsored by them, purchased it and use it). 

I'm stuck, I can't seem to make changes, Oh well F*it, I'll suffer the wrath of the EU.

This non-compliance has been going on for some time now, and some people have even reported to me that mass-imo.com, no longer works in search engines, and that they can only get to my site using www.mass-imo.com, of which I am truly remorseful.

I want to give blogging another chance to monetize (to earn some money, since I retired from my day job), and tie in Facebook/Instagram monetization and maybe start vlogging (we will see). Monetizing is no longer as simple as it used to be, in that there is so much tax info needed, oh and you also have to be EU compliant!


This EU compliance is going to be the end of me.

I'm currently wading through all the interfaces and re-submitting for access, trying to determine which username is associated with with which domain, which password is associated with that username, and getting them all to communicate in harmony.

My plan is to...

  1. Resolve this EU issue
  2. Possibly host this blog on my own server (not sure how to do it, so it's learning curve).
  3. Get this blog re-monetized through Blogger (google)
  4. Get this blog monetized through Facebook/Instagram
  5. Bring vlogging to this site.

If anyone has any suggestions or help, drop me a line.

Friday, June 25, 2021


So this just happened... 
Not to long ago I received a package in the mail from the United Food and Commercial Workers union local 247. Inside the package was the certificate shown above,
this letter,
and this watch.

This is such a nice and thankful thought, a big thanks to the UFCW staff and members world wide.

So this might come to some who frequent www.mass-imo.com as a shock, but I recently retired from my "life defining" job of 31 years as a retail worker/cashier/attendant. I say life defining, because I have always found it somewhat comical how, when you meet people, they almost always ask what you do for a profession. You're answer to this question, will ultimately somehow determine your worth to them, or your overall worldly worth. I was always at a loss because there is so much more that I've accomplished in life, and more to me than merely my cashier status. 

Anyways that chapter of my life has closed, and we will see what the future holds.


Monday, June 21, 2021

Dear Retailers, (Part 2: Self Serve)


Self-scan, U-scan, Scan N Go, whatever they want to call it, it's basically self serve.

(Full Disclosure: I may be somewhat bias when discussing this post, as it's the job I've done for the past 8 years. While my comments towards my former employer may seem harsh, keep in mind that I was contracted to do a job as they requested, and they compensated me. There is no animosity or ill will on my end, just my interpretations of what I observed)

To begin my post I want to address that the implementation of self serve machines was handled completely wrong by the retail industry, and Ill explain why.

The first problem...

We all know why retailers brought the machines in, and that's to kill off jobs and shrink their labour costs, despite retailers trying to tell consumers it was about "making their shopping experience better". The retail industry had a new weapon in the fight against labour costs, and it was the machines. They were so determined to undermine and shrink labour costs that they would stop at nothing. When I first began training to work with the machines, I witnessed as my former employer, purposely short staffed the regular checkout lanes, in order to force customers to use the machines. As you can expect there was tremendous pushback from the customers. This was the first, politically driven tactic in ringing in the robot invasion. I say politically driven, because this idea of shrinking the labour force, and cutting labour costs is an accounting decision. For those outside of accounting room, it makes no sense to anyone, besides investors. A case point is that in sports like... let's say our Canadian pastime hockey, you wouldn't listen to the accounts and fire all the goalies just to make your budget. That would make no sense, you need the goalies to play the game properly. Just like you need staff to provide a pleasant retail shopping experience. In the boardroom, a true great leader realizes these accounting tricks, and makes decisions that complement and streamline the business, not hinder it.

Another politically motivated tactic, used by my former employer to promote self serve, was to remove the express lanes. So for those whom were merely buying a few last minute items, or maybe you forgot something, you had two choices wait in line behind buggies full of groceries or use the machines. You can just imagine the overwhelming level of resentment and backlash we received from customers.

Two attempts and two complete failures at getting "customers" to embrace the rise of the machine robot apocalypse (and we thought it would be to Arnold Schwarzenegger ).

Do you know why they really failed, because this new modern retail industry is run by a bunch of entitled brats who are merely educated by academia, with no regards for common sense, wisdom, or knowledge (I have worked for both Galen Weston Senior, and Galen Weston Jr, know which I preferred). While it may seem as if I'm bitter, I assure you I'm not, it's merely the frustration of spending 30 years learning the art of interacting with customers, only then to be told by a recent college graduate (with no real world experience) that I'm doing it wrong (OK, but I'm still being paid right?)

What should they have done...well I'm glad you asked. As with other industries, if you want your customers to embrace something new, you need to give them an incentive. Let's look at gas stations, they successfully moved away from full service, by offering a discount for those who choose to pump their own gas, or a premium for those who still want the service. This would also prevent the line jumper people, who want full service but demand it from self serve (which is an entirely different topic altogether). It seems, at the gas stations, the customers interest in saving money far exceeds their social beliefs of gainful employment for the attendant.

My former employer, and, I imagine the whole industry, could have easily kept the status quo, brought in the machines, and offered a 5%-10% discount to those willing to scan their own groceries/items. Sooner rather than later, I'm sure the demand for machines would begin to outstrip the need for cashiers or attendants and the retail environment would naturally evolve. What happened at the gas pumps could very well happen at the brick and mortar retailers, but I don't have a college or university degree, so why listen to me.

Now, brick and mortar retailers are offering the premium service of home delivery, if you want to pay for it. I'm not sure about this, as I'm old enough to remember that a Milk person or Post person, used to do home deliveries too (don't see that much anymore).

Problem number two

Lack of consistency! 

There is no consistency, in that, some retailers have no attendants helping, some have attendants that step in when there are problems and some where only an attendant operates the machine. Depending on the store, the retailer, and even the industry, policies around "self service" differ. It's complete anarchy, and it's only frustrating the consumer. In my very own experience self serve policies would change weekly, and could change based on store manager, district manager, or even regional manager. It seems everyone in the organization had a say as to what the policies and procedures should be, except the consumer. 

I'm curious if anyone else dealt with this, let me know?

Problem number three

The Machines.

The machines, which are really just computers, are fundamentally flawed because of the software. Now I can only describe my experience as it pertains to my working environment, so bare with me. When we first started out, using self serve, the software was decent but the computers were vastly under powered. It was 2012ish and we were using computers built in 2005ish era. If you know anything about computers it's that a computers lifespan is about 5 years, so you can see why there were so many initial issues. The first self serve machines were very slow, and this was the biggest aggravation for the consumer. It made no sense, and I heard it all the time, why should a customer use a self serve machine, when a cashier is easier, friendlier, faster, and costs the same? They wouldn't...unless there were no cashiers available.

As time has marched on, the self serve machines have had major improvements in processing power, which really improved the self serve experience. All the emphasis, however, was on upgrading the computing power of self serve machines, and as a result the software fell behind. You ever see people row a boat and they only row on one side, and the boat goes in a circle. This is how my former employer treated self serve, they just wanted the machines to move forward, but put 100% budget resources in software. When the software failed because the hardware couldn't keep up, then 100% budget resources to Hardware.

Instead of moving the machines forward towards a more pleasant shopping experience, my former employers machines were in a constant state of moving in circles. It was comical to most of the staff, as "big improvements" always meant a worse shopping experience. In all honesty though, I will say, when the machines first launched, the software was rather amazing (for the time). We had complete remote control of the machines, full real-time display of on going orders. We as the self serve attendants had the ability to start/stop/hold/reverse/suspend/recall the machines, add/subtract items, all remotely, which made it very simple to assist in a pleasant shopping experience. This no longer exists, it must all be done physically, at the machine now, which is tremendously slow, and creates anxiety for the customer and attendant (specially during the pandemic). 

My former employer even thought it was a great money saving idea to remove the phones from self serve, because machines don't need to make phone calls (so who is going to call for price checks, security, first aid, unwanted items to be returned). Honestly I sometimes wonder if management even knew what running a grocery business even meant.

This is my take on the retail industries self serve machines, do you think I missed out on something?

Let me know what you think.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Dear Retailers,


Dear Retailers,

So having spent the past 31 years working retail, for a major national (Canadian) grocery/supermarket chain, I think I know a thing or two about retail.

Regardless, of my retail background, I believe that I'm a fairly prudent shopper.

Ok, with that out of the way, I want to discuss this trend by all retailer to do away with staff. Hey big corporations, I get it, you want to save money, and lets face it labour is your biggest cost. This is nothing new, it's been going on since the inception of capitalism, and all industries seem to go through this. Heck, I get it, however...

This is what I don't understand, and I'm trying my best to understand. Marketing!!!

Companies spend all this money on TV ads, Flyers (print and online), endorsements and promotional signs. Just to get the consumer to choose them over the competition. Each and every one of these strategies has it's own team and staff, dedicated to getting people to spend money with them. This I can understand, I mean you want people to remember you when they shop... 

I just don't get it, and it makes no sense to me. How much does it cost to make a TV commercial, or create a flyer, make posters, endorse a sports team? All this is done, in the name of Marketing, to stir an emotional bond with you and the retailer. 

Psst... You want in on a secret, I'm actually motivated to shop by my last shopping experience. Yup it's true. 

Case in point. The other day, I got an email from Canadian Tire, about some clearance items. Now I don't really want to pick on Canadian Tire, because I actually like them, but a point has to be made. So I saw they were clearing out portable power banks ( used to charge your phone on the go), I like having these when I'm travelling as you never know when you'll run out of power. Anyways, this power bank was on sale for $15.99 down from $59.99, something I just couldn't pass up on (I thought). I looked online, and my local Canadian Tire has 60 units available, sweet. 

I'm gonna buy two, I really don't need them but, it's always better to have something you don't need, then need something you don't have. Am I right?

So I go to Canadian Tire, I just love this place. It has everything you could want, except food, but you know what I mean. So I cruise the whole store, make it an adventure, look for other cool stuff to buy, and that's the trick right? That's what the marketing is about, get you in the store, make you feel good, so you spend your money. Sign me up, I'm all in the marketing is working.

Then I find the power banks, and sadly they are locked up behind glass. Like Orcas at the Aquarium, I can sense the sadness in these power banks, all they want is to be free and in the wild. Don't worry power banks, I'm here to save some of you. 

Canadian Tire conveniently places a buzzer, which when pressed magically summons staff who will release captive items into your care. So I press the button and anxiously wait, but no magic, WhatTheHeck. Press the button again after a few moments, that seem like an eternity. No magic. Am I being punked? Um, hey, when I press the button, magic is supposed to happen, and I free captive items. This is not how this is supposed to work. Another eternity goes by, and I press the magic button again, while holding my hand to the glass (ok that didn't happen, but I thought a visual could help).

So, giving up, I decided not to buy the power banks. 

Come to think of it, I'm not in a rush, if I willing to wait a month, I can order online, and get a better deal. That's probably what I'll do.

You know what I wont do, is buy that power bank from Canadian Tire.

So back to the point... I understand marketing and it worked, but marketing is useless without providing for a successful transaction. These big box, brick and mortar retailers seem to be intentionally sabotaging themselves by undervaluing the shopping experience that well trained staff provide.

In conclusion while I would love nothing more than to shop locally and support local, sometimes it's not my fault, despite all attempts.

Have an opinion about this post? 

Let me know.


Thursday, June 10, 2021