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  • Michael Krakovskiy 1:10 am on March 15, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 212-387-8882, 212-420-6370, 212-866-4780, AM 34, Bet Park, , Canned coffee, , , , genius science fiction writer, Iced tea, , , junk food, late genius science fiction writer, , , , Retailing, , SAM BOK store, skincare products, , , , Unagi   

    Japanese Convinience 

    In one of the stories of the late genius science fiction writer Robert Sheckley, the main character needs crazy and exotic items to cast a spell. Bat wings, eyes of newt, etc, etc. Seemingly hard to find items, yet the character did not have any problems finding them. Why? Because he lived in Manhattan. You can find the most obscure, impossible to locate items in New York. Dried parasitic fungus that feeds on caterpillars? I had no trouble finding it.

    A couple of days ago I made a happy discovery. It looks like Manhattan has it’s own chain of authentic Japanese “konbini” – convenience stores. When I visited Japan, I really liked konbinis. They have 7-Eleven, just like we do, but also Ministop, Lawson, Sunkus and FamilyMart.

    So, what’s different in a Japanese konbini? The variety and quality of junk food that they sell is a lot better. They are stocked with a humongous variety of snacks. Dozens of types of dried squid and fish for beer, Japanese sweets, nuts, edamame, sashimi quality fish, japanese pickles like umeboshi. The variety of soft drinks and genki drinks. They also have Japanese shampoos and skincare products. In short, they are stuffed with Japanese goodness of overpowering variety.

    I’ve been to SAM BOK store at 127 West 43rd Street before. It was nice but not the same as the real Japanese kombini. Also there’s a big Chinese supermarket in my are which has a lot of Japanese stuff. Not the same either. But then I found JAS MART. It even has 3 locations!

    35 St. Marks Place, (Bet 2nd & 3rd Ave), NYC
    212-420-6370
    Sun – Thur: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
    Fri & Sat: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM

    34 East 23rd Street, (Bet Park & Madison Ave), NYC
    212-387-8882
    Mon – Fri: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
    Sat & Sun: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

    2847 Broadway, (Bet 110th & 111th St), NYC
    212-866-4780
    Mon – Sun: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

    They even have genki drinks and Coffee Boss coffe! I’ve been to the one on 23rd street and promptly loaded myself up with goodies. Unagi eel, unagi sauce, roasted rice tea, sencha tea, several types of dried ika and fish, umeboshi, edamame. It’s a little expensive, but hey – beats buying tickets to Japan.

    Coffee Boss is a brand of Japanese canned coffee drinks with a J. R. “Bob” Dobbs-look alike mascot. They are sold in Japanese style soda machines which look rather different from the US Coke/Pepsi machines. They can serve the cans hot or cold. I wonder why somebody doesn’t bring some of these to Manhattan – it looks like the design of soda machines hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years!

    Pocari Sweat is a brand of Japanese sports drink, and despite the name rather tasty I might add. Notice the recycling can next to the machine – apparently the Japanese etiquette requires you to finish drinking your soft drinks next to the machine and not walking around with them. Almost every machine sold unsweetened green tea, in many cases Coke or Pepsi-branded.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:11 am on February 22, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Retailing, scary vending machine food wrappers, Supply chain management, , , Wrapper   

    Raiding the Foodmotron 

    I am endlessly fascinated with vending machines, and being my old semi-autistic self like to study their contents. These days, trying to fight my way out of being overweight, the only thing I ever consume out of them is peanuts or trail mix. Still, I am amazed at how hard it is to get anything remotely healthy out of them.

    I’ve seen an article once that described how to get a balanced meal out of a vending machine. All I have to say to that is – “Ha!”. So in the spirit of exploration I decided to figure out what is the single most unhealthy item you can get from them.

    The placement of items in most of machines that I’ve seen at different workplaces follows the same pattern. Chips at the top, various snacks in the middle and ultrascary stuff at the bottom. The very last minirow is usually reserved for dried out rolls of lifesavers and gum.

    The ultrascary items are the ones that I am interested in here. I have to admit that in the dot com years a consumed a couple of items from there. In fact I had a manager who publicly admitted his addiction to “Black Forrest Brownies” located there. I looked at the wrapper of the brownies and was absolutely scared of the fact that somebody managed to stick that much high calory crud into such a small package.

    I checked the machine at work and promptly started the collection of scary vending machine food wrappers. I present to you the current champion:

    The little “Eddie” character looks a little creepy, doesn’t he?

    Wow, 40 grams of fat and 61 grams of carbs. Food of the gods!

    I dare you to find something less healthy in your vending machine. If you do and send me a scan of the package I will send you a nice set of 3d photos of New York that I took and 3d glasses to view them.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:39 am on December 6, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carts, Coupon, Horse driving, , , Retailing, , Shopping cart,   

    Die Kunst Der Rant : Shopping Cart Issue. 

    I don’t care what you call it – a shopping cart, a shopping bag or a shopping sack, but the following retarded things are going to cost you some sales:

    1) Expire the shopping cart. There’s nothing that makes me want to complete my order than coming back in the morning and finding out that 20 items that I picked the night before are gone and my shopping cart is reset. Even better, store the cart id in a memory only cookie so that the cart will be reset even sooner.

    2) Before checkout ask – “do you have a coupon”? Hey, the fact that there is a possibility that a coupon exists makes you feel that you are getting the _best_ possible price! Nobody is going to use that popular search engine dealy to try to find that coupon, and then to search for a better price on an item. No siree Bob.

    3) Save money on copyrighter’s and photographer’s fees. A one line explanation and a tiny pixilated picture is enough. Even if the photographer gave you a big image file, that stuff will only confuse the customer. Product dimensions are irrelevant. I mean, what moron cant’s figure out the dimensions of a product from a tiny image with white background?

    4) Don’t link the product in the shopping cart to the page with the description and photo of the product. A 10 pixel by 10 pixel image and a cryptic description is good enough. Who can forget what he added to the cart earlier?

    Arrrrgh.

     
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