I feel like I’m back in college

So, Betsy and I watched Supermarkets, Inc. tonight on CNBC. Bottom line: it was awesome.

Obviously, the description of Supermarkets being a “money machine” isn’t consistent with what they repeatedly pointed out — profit margins in the industry are between 1 and 3%.

All of this got me nostalgic. Marketing was my first academic “love” before economics (not that the two aren’t related — is that weird?). It was my major, political science, my minor. I was convinced, at least for a while, that I was going to be some bad ass market researcher. I kept pausing the show and pointing things out to Betsy. She was annoyed. This program, with the pitch of an investigative reporting nature, was anything but.

They interviewed folks from Whole Foods, and I was really impressed by the pro-market views of their co-CEO, who didn’t write the anti-Obamacare op-ed. Their time with Stop & Shop’s market researcher (known to us in D.C. as Giant, not Giant Eagle) blew my mind.

Of course, most people realize the reason behind the “secret clubs” of grocery stores: market research. I even cracked open my buyer behavior textbook, which is one of the few I kept. (You can buy old textbooks on eBay for like $3 now, isn’t that depressing?)

I guess part of my brain that learned all about market research deactivated recently. Hearing those little self-scanners at Giant are wi-fi enabled to send you immediate deals and coupons really knocked my socks off. I’d never really thought about it with that much depth. Fucking Awesome.

Those cameras everywhere? Not always for loss mitigation. They track you around like NORAD tracks blips on a radar screen in China. Heat sensors? Your supermarket has them. Crazy.

The bottom line? This program is awesome. Search for it, and TiVo it. If you’re not into this stuff like I am, at least it can help make you a better consumer.

How do you like them apples?

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