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5 things
Why Amazon and Walmart increasingly let shoppers keep their returns.png

5 things: Amazon and Walmart’s ‘secret’ return policy

Here’s 5 things you may have missed in grocery

For keepsies: Making an online return? You may end up not having to return it at all. This year, 59% of retailers offer “keep it” policies for such products, up from 26% last year, according to returns services firm goTRG, Reuters reports. The firm surveyed 500 executives at 21 major retailers, among them Amazon and Walmart. As retailers adopt tech to root out excess costs, more are embracing returnless policies for certain online purchases — a trend that obviously retailers do want out there. Online grocery, in some ways, has a similar policy in place. Get the wrong item in your Instacart order? You can report it and get a credit, but in many cases you end up keeping the item anyway. Will consumers start to abuse these systems? Time will tell. —Chloe Riley 

A chicken conundrum: When it comes to rotisserie chickens, it takes a lot to keep ahead of the game. And sometimes it’s a losing battle, according to a deli worker at Costco who explained on Reddit why sometimes the warmer is empty at stores. The main reason is that Costco requires workers to determine how many chickens will be needed for a two-hour span in order to avoid dried out chicken. The employee says the formula is far from scientific, and often the demand is too heavy and the labor power is just not there. Another reason is that there is no limit to how many shoppers can purchase, which sometimes leads to chickens being stacked 40 or 50 high. (That has to be some kind of safety hazard.) Some Reddit readers could relate to the rotisserie circus. One said they “worked chickens for over four years” and it was one of the hardest jobs in the warehouse. It appears chickens are not the only things getting cooked behind that counter. —Bill Wilson

An apple a day keeps the hunger at bay: There was an apple surplus this year, attributable to a couple of different factors. Bumper crops have kept domestic supply high, and exports declined 21% over the past decade, a symptom of retaliatory tariffs from India. Weather also played a role this year, with hail leaving a significant share of apples cosmetically unsuitable for the fresh market. In West Virginia, rather than leaving the apples to rot, the USDA ended up paying for the apples produced by growers. This apple relief program purchased $10 million worth of apples from a dozen growers — which were then donated to hunger-fighting charities across the country from South Carolina and Michigan all the way out to The Navajo Nation. Talk about avoiding food waste. —CR

A killer strategy: Dave’s Killer Bread has a pretty killer story attached to it. After 15-plus years in prison, founder Dave Dahl found his true calling: to make organic, whole-grain bread. This six-minute video from HubSpot examines how Dave’s Killer Bread nailed its target market and leaned into social to tell its story. Dahl wasn’t ashamed of his criminal past, but his advisors begged him not to mention it…So he fired them and became a champion of second-chance employment.That strategy, along with a national rollout following a 2015 acquisition by Flowers Foods, would eventually lead to 50% brand growth within a purpose-driven brand identity. The morale of the story? It pays to be on purpose. —CR

Self-checkout, now even faster: Checkout scanners are far from perfect, and when you add those not trained to work the technology the whole process can become a shopping cart full of frustration. British grocer Tesco, however, is taking that approval beep out of the equation in the self-checkout area. The retailer now has scan-free kiosks at one of its stores. The tech allows the transaction to be completed without scanning a single item. According to a recent survey by retail data supplier PYMNTS, 28% of merchants, including grocers, are investing in in-app scan-and-go capabilities. Surprisingly, shoppers are not jumping in line to take advantage of the fancy gadgets. Another PYMNTS study revealed only one-in-three consumers wanted to take advantage of the store tech. If you’ve ever had to wait for a worker to come help you in self-checkout, you might just think another thought. —BW

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