Thursday, September 30, 2010

Self-Service-Only Checkout Safe at California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores Thanks to Governor's Veto Pen

Breaking Buzz

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed AB 1060, the legislative bill that had it become law would have made it illegal for grocery and other format stores to sell alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout lanes, such as those used by Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

The Governor vetoed AB 1060, along with a batch of other bills, before the midnight deadline tonight, at which time it, and any other bills he doesn't veto, will automatically become law. You can read the Governor Schwarzenegger's veto message regarding AB 1060.

AB 1060 was authored by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate, Southern California) and supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a number of California law enforcement agencies and others. It was opposed by the California Grocers Association and the California Retailers' Association, both trade associations for grocers and other format retailers with stores in California.

Self-service checkout at Fresh & Easy. The grocer calls its system assisted checkout because store clerks will assist customers in scanning and bagging their grocery purchases if asked.

CEO Tim Mason and his team at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood headquarters in El Segundo, California will be relieved to learn about the Governor's veto of what we've been calling the "Tesco Fresh & Easy Law," since had he signed AB 1060 the grocery chain would have most likely had to change their self-service-only checkout scheme in its California stores, offering at least one full-service checkout because of the face-to-face, clerk-to-customer provision of the legislation.

Our analysis, however, is any sense of relief is misplaced. As we've suggested since 2008, Fresh & Easy is missing out on expanding its customer base by not offering full-service checkout as an option, along with self-service. Our argument essentially is self-service checkout-only is a non-consumer-centric, customer-limiting, and thus sales limiting, policy for Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. [Read our March 7, 2009 piece: Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track. See the linked stories at the end of the piece as well.]

But Fresh & Easy's self-service-only checkout policy is safe, perhaps though only until the new legislative session next year, thanks to Governor Schwartzenegger's veto of AB 1060.

Read our 'Countdown to AB 1060" Stories Below

September 30, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Hopes Governor Scharzenegger Can Find His Veto Pen Before Midnight Tonight

September 28, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Hoping Governor Schwarzenegger Prefers His Veto Pen When it Comes to AB 1060

September 25, 2010: Future of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Self-Service-Only Checkout in California Up to Governor Schwarzenegger

August 24, 2010: California State Senate Sends Bill to Governor That Could End Self-Service-Only Checkout at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market

August 15, 2010 piece : Bill to Ban Alcoholic Beverage Sales at Self-Service Checkouts Would End 'Self-Service Only' at California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores

July 14, 2008: Breaking News & Analysis: CA Assemblyman Introduces 'Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' to Ban Stores With Self-Checkout-Only From Selling Alcoholic Beverages.

Related Stories

March 7, 2009: Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track

May 20, 2008: Take One Dose of 'Internal Research', Add An 'Independent' Survey From An Unnamed Source, and You Get A Consumer Preference For Self-Service Checkout.

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