Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, September 03, 2021

Odds are you’ve walked out of the supermarket or drugstore lately with a veritable kite-tail of a paper receipt, laden with everything from coupons to product-recall announcements. Length is key now that the proof-of-purchase has become a point-of-sale direct marketing piece.

Not without some grousing, from both customers and merchants:

The purchase of a pack of gum from a Duane Reade Inc. store in New York generated a foot-long receipt. Single-item buys made recently at RadioShack Corp. stores around the country each yielded 19 inches of paper. The purchase of a Hula Hoop at a Chicago Kmart produced a receipt two-and-a-half feet long.

Receipts for a family of four’s weekly grocery haul can run to three-feet long. CVS cashiers sometimes jokingly ask customers if they would like shopping bags to tote their receipts. Many retailers’ receipts are half an inch longer because of lines urging shoppers to keep their receipts…

Nobody tracks receipt lengths, but retailers, consultants and makers of receipt printers all agree the tallies have gotten longer. Burt Flickinger III, a retailing consultant with Strategic Resource Group Inc. in New York, said store managers and retail executives recently have been complaining about running out of receipt paper and having printers break down more often.

It is absurd, and yet I can see how effective it is. The price-scans that go into the register ideally conjure up a relevant coupon for that customer — for instance, a family buying the week’s supply of catfood should get a coupon for kitty litter at checkout. The conversion rates have to be sky-high when the paper offers are being placed directly into the consumers’ palms, right when they’re already in shopping mode. That certainly beats out direct mail or print/online advertising, which has to vie for your attention.

I admit this works on me, and I’m one of those people who can’t be bothered with traditional clip-and-save coupons. I’ll actually pay attention to the receipt-delivered offer — coupon, online survey invitation, etc. — instead of idly tossing it. I don’t always go for it, but it’s got me looking, and that’s half the battle.

Of course, size matters — in the opposite direction. The longer the sales slip is, the more likely it is to repel customers and get tossed instantly. Instead of jam-packing everything they can onto the paper record, stores need to be judicious in what they promote in this channel. Instead of going long, the goal should be the keep the receipts at a reasonable length, with relevant messaging.

But retailing overkill is overwhelming, so merchants will continue to push the long-tail of the tape. Might was well include a universal coupon for a kite purchase, so people can get actual good use out of that excess ribbon.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/03/2021 11:06 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business
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swiss missLibya is about to assume its year-long turn at holding the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly, and Moammar Gadhafi is kicking things off in grand style: He’s proposing abolishing Switzerland.

He first mentioned his idea at the G8 summit in Italy in July. “Switzerland is a world mafia and not a state,” he said.

“It is formed of an Italian community that should return to Italy, another German community that should return to Germany, and a third French community that should return to France.”

Did Daffy Gadhafi just now find out about this demographic breakdown? It’s been there for quite a few centuries. Most of the rest of us are fairly neutral on the subject. Besides, I’ve never heard of any Helvetic-accented mobsters, shaking down ski lodges for protection money…

I believe Benito Mussolini proposed the same thing, back when he was running things from Rome. He actually lived in the Alpine confederation for a time, so I assume he was using fascist-expansionist rhetoric to mask feelings of homesickness. Maybe Gadhafi harbors a similar longing?

Or, as I suspect, this is just one more instance of the Libyan strongman trying to impress his not-so-secret crush, Condoleeza Rice.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/03/2021 09:01 AM
Category: History, Political, True Crime
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