Liberty In Peril


                                                                                       The Llano Ledger

HEB                                                    11-25-16 And Continuing  ©2016 All Rights Reserved

Think, despite living in the country, you're not affected daily by the corporate management suite?  Whether working, retired, self-employed, unemployed, etc.?  The insurance cartel certainly affects all.  Whether it's automotive liability, homeowner's insurance, healthcare, etc..  You remain at their mercy.  They do as they please, -- with little to no oversight by government regulators.  Forget?  Most of their government shills are bought and paid for.  At all levels of government.

How often do you shop at a supermarket?  Think most are not corporate-owned?  Kingsland HEB certainly is.  While local staff and management are truly magnificent, they are not free to do as they please.  Are controlled by the HEB corporate management suite.  Only have so much leeway as to what they can and cannot do.

For years, Kingsland HEB has been cash cow for the corporate management suite.  Forget?  They have virtually no competition.  Very little even with a couple of Dollar Stores in the community.  With no competition, however, they do as they please.  Have a captive audience.  ... How many will make a trip to Marble Falls, Burnet, Austin, etc. to do their food shopping?

Have certainly noticed over the years, prices are indeed more expensive in Kingsland than they are in HEB stores located outside this area.  At least, most recently, on non-name brand goods.  After all, they've looted the public about as much as they can on more expensive, highly popular items.  What next to do?  Go after staple goods those on the bottom end of the food chain and middle class are more likely to purchase.

That is, do what you can to loot those on no government assistance of any kind.  They've become cash cow as the game has become zero-sum, winner-take-all.  After all, there are only so many in the top 1% to loot.  ... Right, TL?  Tim?  Ben?  Lou?  Forget?  No one's tighter than the corpulent wealthy.  Particularly, those who disingenuously claim they're not.

Cheaper, that is.  More self-centered.  Yet, this class can't seem to understand they can't take it with them.  -- Ever see a hitch on the back of a hearse?  Equally pointedly, these hopelessly greedy bastards have done all they could to decimate the middle class.  Stupidly strangled the Golden Goose.  Can never get enough.

Unquestionably, the corporate management suite has always believed if profits don't increase year to year, they're losing money.  Precisely, why non-name brand goods have skyrocketed in price.  Particularly, over the last year or so.  They've gotten about all they could out of the rich in the area.  The middle class has indeed become an endangered species.  Food stamps for the impoverished are no longer as ubiquitous as they once were.

Forget?  GOP nazis in a desperate effort to line the pockets of their corporate masters have done all they could to reduce social programs such as food stamps.  Despite the fact hunger remains a problem.  Don't think so? Wake up.  Food banks have a continuous issue maintaining stock.  All at a time of record corporate profits and cash reserves.  Zero-sum game.  Winner-take-all.

During a time of supposedly zero inflation, HEB has certainly jacked up prices on at least some of its goods.  Readers are reminded at the beginning of the year there was an 18% increase in the price of Stax Potato Chips.  They went from a buck to a $1.18 while remaining priced at a buck at General Dollar.  Soon after January 1, the price on a popular brand of ramen soups went from six for a buck to five.  An increase remarkably similar to the chips.

There are many other examples beside these two.  While the above is based on extremely careful shopping and not through a skillfully constructed scientific study, there is no justification for these price increases.  It's called gouging.  They do it because they can.  Little to no competition locally.  They benefit as well from a captive clientele that's usually too busy to shop around.  ... Or, buy in quantity monthly outside this area.

Certainly, most shoppers, other than the privileged few, agree there has been quite an increase in prices on staple goods during a time of supposedly no inflation.  What is even of far greater concern than all this is the fact the corporate management suite is getting increasingly greedy, -- and 'careless.'  In how it does business, not-so-shrewdly covers its ass, then desperately tries to bullshit its way out when caught in the act not delivering on its promises.

They arrogantly believe the public is hopelessly stupid, achingly ignorant, and will put up with virtually anything.  Have you noticed that when prices are about to rise on a given product, the scanner often reflects the increase before the price on the shelf changes?  Truly believe this unintentional?  An aberration?  Wake up.  It's a way to increase profits corporate wide.  Consider the number of stores.  How this all adds up.  To a lot of undeserved, unearned profit looted through deception.

Decades ago when scanning first came into existence, the price was guarantied.  That is, if it scanned incorrectly, overcharged, you received the product free.  No longer.  In fact, pay cash for the product, get screwed by the scanner?  Guess what?  The courtesy counter asks to scan your drivers license.  Forget?  You paid cash.  Comply with the request for identification?  You're achingly ignorant.  Aggressively stupid.  Clueless.

This information winds up being used for far, far more than ensuring there is no fraud.  First, the corporate management suite cannot protect this extremely valuable personal information from being hacked.  Second, likely will wind up sold to other marketers.  Third, your personal information is none of their goddamned business.  Forget?  You paid cash.

While store personnel are not happy when you refuse to comply, they have no choice.  They no longer even ask for identification from me.  They know better.  There are other issues the corporate management suite refuses to deal with in the Kingsland store.  Years ago, they could have built a new store at a different location.  A much larger location somewhere along 1431.

Local residents could have had a superstore.  That is, had a bakery, pharmacy, deli, etc..  Not to be.  The corporate management suite knew it already had a cash cow in Kingsland.  Why spend additional money to build a superstore when you already enjoy a captive audience you can loot at will?  Forget? No competition.

Consequently, no amenities other HEB stores have,  to say nothing of inconvenient, narrow aisles loaded with merchandise, -- both inside and outside the store.  At rush hour, there are consistently a shortage of check-out employees.  Months ago, I asked the check-out manager why he didn't hire sufficient staff.  Stunningly, he told me the store couldn't find them.

How can that be?  While most of the staff is indeed young and highly competent, hard workers, we have an enormous elderly population in the area.  People who would work at least part time if given the chance.  The few the store already has work hard.  Why hasn't the Chamber mobilized?  Contacted the churches, civic organizations, other groups, etc. to do something about this issue?

Again, there is clearly not enough aisle space in the store.  At rush hour or before holidays, shoppers have to be extremely careful with carts.  Compounding the problem is the motorized carts for the disabled.  Solution?  Wider aisles, less merchandise in the aisles, no shopping carts filled with merchandise in the aisles the store is trying to liquidate, etc..

Clearly, customer convenience and enjoyment of shopping experience mean less than profits.  After all, why bother when you have no competition?  Forget?  The American Way.  Readers, again, should fully understand local store management is not free to do as it pleases.  Has to answer to an achingly clueless corporate management suite that has no understanding of what local needs truly are.  Worse?  Couldn't care less.  Years of doing the same old thing, the same old way prove the achingly obvious.

Another problem the store has is just-in-time delivery of staple goods that is often nowhere in time.  Notice empty shelves on occasion?  Despite daily deliveries?  Observe, for example, there are times when there is no Hill Country Fare wheat bread on the shelves?  Or, you have to gently squeeze the end of loaf after loaf to find a fresh one?  Have you noticed the price on tomatoes is not dropped even when they're soft, have over ripened from sitting there too long?

While all the above is true and remains a pressing issue for this writer and other shoppers I've spoken to, the reason for this article is due to growing deceptive trade practices HEB is now apparently engaging in.  While they indeed remain minor in comparison to all the coverage given in this publication to those at Wells Fargo, attention needs to be drawn to this growing issue at HEB.

There is certainly a problem with their advertising.  They advertise a sale, then the product may or not be there.  Was certainly an issue weeks ago when frozen 1lb. ground turkey went on sale for a buck.  Immediately, ran out the first day of the sale.  Bait and switch?  May be since the same problem happened several times in coming weeks.  On the same product.  Apparently, they got tired of the complaints.  Finally, solved the problem.

Several weeks ago, they ran a sale on Knorr Granulated Bouillon 15.9 oz. Assorted.  Buy one you get a couple of other packages of bouillon cubes 'free.'  Great deal on a great product.  Problem?  They only had the granulated product in half the size.  The Courtesy Counter made good on it for a couple of days, then reneged on the deal.  Pulled the in-store coupon required off the shelf.

Then, last week, they ran another sale on the very same product, this time you get a 'free' bottle of cooking oil.  -- The sale was advertised in their flier as was the last one.  This time, however, they initially refused to make the substitution.  That is, the store manager did.  Only, initially.  Until I made enough of a stink about the issue.

He pointed out correctly the flier does indicate not all stores have all products available.  I also knew precisely where the disclaimer was printed on the flier.  In small print, most people need a magnifying glass to read.  Worse, it's located at the bottom of the inside flap on the first page.  In other words, the disclaimer couldn't have been better hidden.  What's the strategy? Get you in the store, then bait and switch?  That's called deceptive trade practices.

In anything other than under a national socialist regime in Nazi Texas, it would have been investigated and prosecuted as such, -- if not corrected.  Not so, with Republican fascists ensconced in the Texas Attorney General Consumer Protection Division.  Forget?  They're bought and paid for by their corporate masters. Right, General?

As I made it abundantly clear to the Kingsland HEB store manager, I'm quite aware who ultimately runs the show.  And it's certainly not the store manager.  This crap is not perpetrated by local store managers and employees.  Rather, the determinedly clueless corporate management suite that does not have to deal with angry shoppers on a daily basis who are growing increasingly tired of this bullshit.

The point of all this, readers, is really quite simple.  Don't remain silent when the corporate management suite is doing its best to screw you over.  Speak up.  Resist.  Let them know.  That it won't be tolerated.  That they'll pay a price.  Otherwise, nothing changes.  Why would it?  Forget?  Greed rules.

Two final anecdotal points about this issue, the Knorr Bouillon cube product went up in price approximately 40% this year.  This product is useful for flavoring meals.  With meat as expensive as it is, many add this to vegetable soups and stews.  Yet, the greedy bastards in the corporate management suite can't seem to ever get enough.

Ever try to get a 25-cent HEB cola out of the machine outside?  Time after time after time the machine's been empty, or rips off the customer a quarter.  To their credit, the Courtesy Counter makes good on this.  Why is it inoperation of this machine has become a persistent issue?  So much so, I gave up trying for months.  The last time I tried not too long ago, however, amazingly it delivered product.  ... think...hope?

Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril

Tim Chorney, Publisher
Liberty In Peril
The Llano Ledger
P.O. Box 151
Buchanan Dam, Texas 78609
United States Of America