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Thursday, September 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Smart Bombs: Merchants Should Separate Sales, Marketing

At what point will it be so ridiculously convoluted to hand merchants money that consumers will revolt? I can remember taking a product to a cashier, handing over some method of payment and leaving. Those were the days. Now, we're asked a growing number of questions as clerks punch in dozens of data points. "Do you have our preferred card? Can I have your phone number? Is there another number that might work? Do you want our card? What's your ZIP code? Debit or credit? You can swipe your card now. No, the other way. No, the other way. I'll just punch it in over here. Do you have another card? My computer screen is frozen, can you wait? I need to start over. What's your phone number? What's your ZIP code?" Then after you've run the gantlet of questions, they tell you how much money you've saved. Of course, they don't add back the time you've spent being debriefed or watching them fumble around because they weren't properly trained or their computers were outdated or upgraded. None of this is the fault of clerks. They're just doing their jobs. The fault lies with managers who've decided to do inventory and marketing on your time -- Gary Crooks/Smart Bombs.

Full column here

Question: What annoys you most about running your purchases through a checkout stand?

Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.