Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Albertson's $10 Secret

Here's a moderately fearless business prediction from someone who really has very little idea of what he's talking about: within the next five years, either Albertson's or Randall's will pull out of the Austin market due to the influx of Super Wal-Mart and Super Target. Personally, I hope Albertson's isn't the one to go.

Despite having no real beef with my tenure as a sacker at a Houston-area Randall's Flagship during high school, I refuse to shop there because you have to get a Remarkable Card to get the sale prices. I get pissed off when I see how much they want to penalize me for not getting one of those stupid cards. If you're going to reward faithful customers in exchange for giving you personal data, you should do it in a way that doesn't discourage potential customers from shopping at your store. Besides, even with the Remarkable Card price, your overall bill would probably still be lower at H-E-B.

Albertson's, on the other hand, has gotten more serious about price competition in recent months. They still can't top H-E-B on the overall cost of the items I typically buy, but you can do pretty well on certain things with their 10-for-1o promotion. The idea is that you can mix or match any 10 specially-designated items in the weekly circular for $10. They want to make you think you need to buy 10 items to get the special price, but here's a little secret: you don't!

The other thing to know about Albertson's is that their circular goes out Wednesday to beat H-E-B's circular in reaching your mailbox. However, the prices in that week's circular don't go into effect until Thursday. If there's an Albertson's within reasonable distance of your domicile, it might not hurt to do a little circular comparison.

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