Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ellen DeGeneres 'Goes Bananas' At A Fresh & Easy Store in Burbank

On Sunday, February 5 we reported (see the story and photos below on the blog or here) on the new "Scan As You Shop" hand-held customer scanning system Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is testing at its store at Olive and Verdugo in Burbank, California.

Our reporting included a visit to the grocery market last week.

But today the Burbank Fresh & Easy store had a much more famous visitor - at least by proxy.

Television talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sent her writer, Amy Rhodes, to the Burbank Fresh & Easy market, where she posed as the produce manager, for the "Hidden Camera Pranks" segment of the show.

Hidden cameras were placed throughout the store, and the writer, who Ellen sends out on various adventures, was equipped with a hidden earpiece in her ear, which allowed the comedian and talk show maven to interact with customers by instructing her - like trying to convince customers to purchase bananas, for example - through the earpiece, as you'll see in the video of the segment at top.

By the way, that's one of the "Scan As You Shop" units the customer in the produce department is holding and using at the start of the video segment.


Anonymous said...

I stopped by the blog tonight, specficially to see if you were going to post anything about Ellen and her writers escapade to F&E.

The only reason I caught this segment on Wednesday was to hear Ellen's comments regarding what Bill O'Reilly said on his program regarding the controversy that developed when JC Penney announced they had signed Ellen as a spokesperson. BOR came to Ellen's defense, and Ellen acknowledged BOR's comments likewise on her show the next day, the same day as the F&E segment.

For some reason, I kept Ellen on, and before long, I see a Fresh & Easy store on my screen. At first, I thought it was a news promo or something about a F&E story coming up on the news.

I thought the segment actually bombed. What was funny is when Ellen's staff brought the F&E grovery cart over to the Warner Bros lot (about a 5 minute drive from the F&E store), along with the willing customer.

I was wishing that the customer had placed a can of Heinz Spotted Dick in her cart, and Ellen would have pulled that out from the cart, and shown that on national tv! I wonder if that would have made it by the Wsrner Bros. Standards & Practices department?

If it did happen, the Spotted Dick would have made for a very hilarious segment, that was mediocre at best.

I forgot, didn't F&E discontinue Spotetd Dick?

Actually, the segment reminds me of what Jay Leno does by sending an actor (his name escapes me) to talk to people through the televison screens that are installed above the gas pumps at the Costco location in Burbank. Most of those segments are fairly funny. Ellen and her writers have some catch-up to do.

Now, the folks in El Segundo must be bloody mad that they "lost" a customer, cart and all to a television program. To me, the free advertising that F&E received on Ellen's show makes-up for the $250.00 gift card that F&E gave away a couple of weekends ago on KTLA's new weekend morning news show during their chili cookoff segment. Last weekend, KTLA gave away a 70" flat screen during their morning weekend news show.

Let's see...a 70" flat screen, a $250.00 F&E gift card...or Wendy I have to answer that?


Nigel said...

I think Fresh & Easy still has spotted dick, Heinz brand. Was on the shelf last time I was in a store, early January. I always thought they should do a display of it with condoms, just for the fun of it.

Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

Thanks for your comprehensive and interesting comment on the video and topic.

Thanks for adding to the discussion as well, along with the KTLA info.

Do you get into the Burbank F&E often?

PS: Do believe Nigel is correct on the Spotted Dick still being in the F&E stores. Not sure on his display suggestion though:)

Anonymous said...

The area I am usually slutting around is downtown L.A. and no further south than the USC area (I didn't make it today to the grand openinng of the mini-moo adjacent to USC), then points north and northwest, up to and including Eagle Rock, Glendale, Burbank, the San Fernando Valley, and on into the Santa Clarita Valley, and then over to La Canada/Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena and Arcadia...whew...that's alot of retail slutting!

I do make runs (or should I say I get the over to the Simi and Conejo Valleys, Moorpark and Ventura areas, then down into the westside areas/neighborhoods of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Culver City, Mar Vista, Westchester, Marina Del Rey and Westwood..that's about every two months or so, give or take when I need to be on the westside.

Every quarter, I make a run up the coast to Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo, and then at Paso Robles, I swing over into the central Valley areas of Visalia, Hanford, Tulare, and then down to Bakersfield, then over to Ridgecrest, then down to Lancaster and Palmdale. I used to go as far north as Fresno/Clovis, but that market (for my needs) has been static (except for lil' ol' Fresh & Easy).

Actually, something this blog really doesn't cover, but a compelling story nonetheless, is the large expansion/addition of new locations by the mexican-format stores in the central valley, Antelope Valley and in general, the entire Los Angeles/Orange/San Diego/Ventura/Riverside/San Bernardino/Palm Springs/Indio-Coachella market areas.

Getting back to F&E, yes, I do visit the regular-sized Burbank F&E and the new mini-moo Express also in Burbank (when in this neighborhood, good reason to stop in at Porto's Bakery at Magnolia and Hollywood Way as well as Fry's Electronics), as well as F&E locations in Van Nuys, Northridge, Sylmar, North Hollywood and the soon to open Granada Hills location, formerly a Hows/Hughes Market (I miss Hughes...Roger Hughes...R.I.P.), and formerly to that the new Granada Hills location was a Ralphs and before that, Alpha-Beta.

After I wrote all that, I realized that's way too much slutting around...but I can't stop now!

With Family Dollar rolling into town, and the ex-Long's Drugs senior executive management team now in charge and running Dollar General and their tear to open as many locations in California (especially their Dollar General Market format)....and some Dollar General's with I dare say will have..."pharmacies"...oops...was I supposed to say that here?, and with 99 Cents Only Stores being sold to the Canadian teacher's union pension fund...I will have so much retail slutting to do...I'll be craving "Spotted Dick"!

By the way, check out this headline from this liberal/alternative paper in Santa Barbara...the editors must have been at the medical marijuana clinic stocking up/using/smoking when they wrote this headline...

I didn't realize that F&E was opening "massive"

By the way, it's about time (and loooong overdue) that "some" supermarket/retail industry rags are finally giving you and the blog credit when you break stories and headlines regarding Tesco and it's money losing United States operation, Fresh & Easy.

Maybe, I should just stay home and watch


Fresh & Easy Buzz said...

Thanks for another 'Tour De Force' comment S_C_R_S_

First, you are right on the ex-Long's team and Dollar General. After all, who would discover Centro Mart in Stockton - five stores of which will soon become DG stores (4 Dollar General Markets; one regular DG Dollar store) - besides those with local experience. Can still hear the folks at DG HQ in Tennessee ... Centro Who?

I was never all that impressed with what Long's did with grocery, although they did some good in-and-out stuff.

But then, they did have to work with format limitations.

To their credit, they were one of the first drug chains in the U.S. to get into grocery in a big way - before Walgreens, before CVS went bigger with it. In fact, that was one of the lures for CVS in acquiring, although sheer store-count and maket position were obviously tops.

Good call on the Latino format stores. Have done some on them but not enough.

Have been following that design issue regarding F&E in Santa Barbara. Crazy on the "massive."

Would you drop an email to when you get a chance. Want to ask a question of you regarding the Latino stores in Southern CA and related topic.

Thanks for participating in the blog! You add much to it.