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5 things: Are big retailers the problem?

Here's 5 things you may have missed in grocery

Are big retailers the problem? All of grocery has been affected by the inflationary environment of the past year. But, according to this op-ed from the executive director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, some retailers have benefited more than others. In the writer’s opinion, as suppliers cut special deals for Walmart and other large chains, they make up for that lost revenue by charging smaller retailers even more. “This isn’t competition,” she writes. “It’s big retailers exploiting their financial control over suppliers to hobble smaller competitors. Our failure to put a stop to it has warped our entire food system.” Her solution? Dust off Robinson-Patman and put it to work. —Chloe Riley 

Doting on dad: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but which will the customers pick? A family competition has kicked up in Ontario, Canada, where Devon Wadley now finds himself keeping a close eye on dad, Allen Wadley. That’s because Devon recently became the store director of an Albertsons store, which is a rival to Red Apple Marketplace run by Allen. There is no love lost, though. Devon has worked alongside his father for much of his career and wants to emulate him now more than ever. It appears Allen has quite the rapport with his workers, and Devon believes the best tribute he could give his old man is to practice what he says, as well as what he does. I’m betting the Wadley family could sell tickets to other store managers for a seat at that dinner table. —Bill Wilson

Is it time for wine yet? A 1934 law tracing back to Prohibition is still a pain in the neck for New Yorkers who want to buy wine from their grocery stores or have a stiff Sunday brunch drink. For years, state lawmakers have tried to tackle New York’s antiquated liquor laws, reports the New York Times, but updates were never adopted. While liquor stores, distributors, distillers, bars, restaurants, and grocery stores have backed frenzied lobbying, it seems the pushback stems from three wholesalers who control all liquor distribution in the state and believe it would be a disadvantage. So, if you want to buy marijuana, smoke it in public, or bet on sports from your cell phone … go for it! But just don’t try to buy wine from Wegmans in the Big Apple. —Alarice Rajagopal

Giant’s solution to theft: Crime and theft aren’t the only reasons that grocery stores are shutting down recently. (Though it was enough to shutter the Whole Foods flagship in San Francisco). Retailers are also dealing with decreased foot traffic in urban centers and inflation-related issues like higher labor and real estate costs. Enter the east coast-based Giant Food. Giant, which has not closed any stores yet this year, has used a multi-pronged strategy to curtail theft, hiring security guards — some of them armed — and limiting self-checkout to 20 items. The company has also locked up items like razor blades in wall dispensers. At one store, they even closed off the entrance near the pharmacy. “To say [theft has] risen tenfold in the last five years would not be an understatement,” Giant President Ira Kress Kress told the Washington Post. So far, their efforts seem to be working. —CR

Make your meat selection: Meat on the grill? Yes! Meat in the oven? Okay! Meat in a vending machine? Say what? It is true. A grocery store in Loretto, Pa., called Smithmyer’s Superette is now in the meat vending business. Refrigerated meat machines have been installed at two locations, and more are expected to be coming soon. The machines are placed in employee break rooms and offer items like a six-pack of beef sticks for $6.95 and a half-pound of jerky for $7.95. No word on when the vending machines will be offered to the general public, or if someday they will come with a smoker and deliver hot, smoked meat in mere minutes. Hey, if there can be pizza vending machines there can certainly be ones of the grilled beef variety. Right? Please say yes. —BW


According to an op-ed, suppliers have been cutting deals with Walmart and other large chains during this inflationary time. The big retailers then use the deals to drop prices, putting smaller grocers at a disadvantage. Is this a fair practice? Does Robinson-Patman need to be put to work?

Let us know in the comments below, or email your thoughts to the SN staff at [email protected].

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