New Fresh and Easy Around Town, posted by Tango , a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 1:58 am
I went to the new Fresh and Easy store this week and found it to a lot like Treader Joes. You can buy produce that looks to be very fresh, but you have to buy by the package. There is only my Husband and I living at home, I have no use for 4 artichokes or 6 squash, I saw that some things did come individual, but there were very few. I also found that a lot of items were not price marked. which made it hard to price compare. Then it came time to check out , and I had to check and bag my groceries myself. The staff were very nice. and I probably will go back, but it will not become my main grocery store. I wish them good luck in their endeavor. I wish we had a nice regular grocery store in Vintage Hills.
Posted by concerned, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 8:28 am
I was told by a contractor that Whole Foods Market was interested in the empty store in Vintage Hills shopping center. He said that the leasing agent is very difficult to deal with. Must be true because it doesn't look like Whole Foods is coming there.
Posted by Maggie, a resident of the Valencia neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 8:32 am
Fresh and Easy has a better parking situation and it is easier to get in and out of than Trader Joe's. I could do all my shopping at F&E but not Trader Joe's. Don't get me wrong, will continue to go to TJs but also like have F&E nearby for other items. I like the Safeway in Pleasanton but the packaged meats and fish looked much fresher than Safeway...and more prepared foods as well.
As for self-checkout...it did look like a self-checkout area but when I asked the clerk she said that it wasn't and she rang up my items.
Nice edition to Pleasanton. Just wish we had a Whole Foods closer than San Ramon!
Posted by Sue, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 9:04 am
Whole Foods is a decent store but WAY WAY WAY OVER-PRICED - especially with their salad bar. Everything is $7.99 a lb whether is be a mushroom or a shredded carrot or an artichoke heart!
Fresh and Easy stores are popping up all over the place. I think it's just a fad, it will fade just like all other fads. I believe they are out of Canada. I would rather shop at a store that is owned by Americans. After all, we ARE in AMERICA!
Posted by John, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 9:17 am
Fresh & Easy is a subsidiary of Tesco, the world's third largest retailer, which is based in Great Britain. Trader Joe's is a privately held company based in California. Based on my visit to Fresh & Easy, it is clear that they're aiming for a similar market to Trader Joe's, but also with more packaged prepared foods. It was hard to tell if their prices are any better. A lot of the food with their own brand name looked a lot like the Trader Joe's brand named products, which makes me wonder if they source these items from similar places.
Overall, as a shopper, I was not terribly impressed with Fresh & Easy. Not enough new or interesting there to make me change my current shopping habits. I was surprised how small it was, though, and I think it would have done well in the vacant Vintage Hills site (and not have been so close to competition with Ranch 99 and Trader Joe's). I wouldn't expect Whole Foods to go to Vintage Hills, as the vacant space and parking lot are probably too small for them.
As for self-checkout, it was the implementation of self-checkout and closing of the express checkout aisles at Safeway that finally made me stop shopping there altogether. Clearly, this is the wave of the future, and once shoppers are well trained enough, most markets will go this way. Personally, though, I find it cold blooded. Another example of corporate need for profit sucking the personality out of our day-to-day lives.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm
I wasn't too impressed with Fresh & Easy, either. I was expecting it to be another Trader Joe's type market, but as soon as I stepped into the store I saw that it was quite a bit different from Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's has a somewhat inviting entrance, with produce and flowers right near the entrance. Lot's of warm colors and texture to keep one's interest. The entrance of Fresh & Easy, on the other hand, has a much colder feel to it. I don't recall any flower collections or inviting colors being present. Just the feeling of stepping into a coldly lit fluorescent lighting area and being confronted with some rows of white refrigerated units containing meat and poultry. Very utilitarian and not very warm. My quick check of the market for unique items didn't turn up much. Most of the items were just standard fare that I could pick up at any supermarket, unlike Trader Joe's which has a lot of things that are difficult to find in most supermarkets. So I came away pretty disappointed by Fresh & Easy.
Posted by Lee, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm
I went on the opening day. Having people in front of the entrance to hassle you about the store not being "unionized" did not give me a good impression. Upon entering, it looked to me to be utilitarian oriented. I did get some good buys, but the milk I purchased went sour in less than a week..not a good sign.
The self checkout was OK. Parking was OK. It looks to be OK for a smaller shopping trip, but not for a large one.
Posted by Mrs JHH, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm
I was interested in Maggie's comment that a Fresh and Easy clerk had told her it wasn't self checkout. A few days ago, I asked another clerk whether all the registers were self checkout and he told me that they were!
When I moved to the USA, one of the things I most appreciated was having my groceries packed for me, instead of having to race the against the conveyor belt and scramble to pack my own bags. I have NO desire to return to the bad old days!
Nor do I wish to do anything to contribute to the loss of jobs, which is of course the goal of self-checkouts, whatever "customer-benefit" pretexts the supermarkets put forward. Their goal is to save money by making customers do the checkout operators' and baggers' jobs.
So although I love new technology, my visit to Fresh and Easy was the first time I'd used a self checkout, as I normally boycott them. The clerks swarming the checkouts were very pleasant and helpful and rushed to help me and other customers. But I wonder how many of them will be fired once the store is no longer new and most customers are familiar with its self-checkout process.....?
I'm hoping that the company intends to have one clerk-operated checkout, but has started with none, so that when they introduce it they can claim it is "in response to customer requests". Thus they provide a reduced service but keep the clients happy nonetheless. It's a tried and tested business strategy. Maybe the clerk's comment to Maggie was an indication that the process is starting?
If not, then I shall have a dilemma. I do NOT want to shop at a store that doesn't provide clerk-operated checkouts. But - drat it - they had back bacon (without strips of fat running through it) and it's the first time I've ever seen that in the States!
Posted by Jon, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm
The shopping center in Vintage Hills is a great place for a whole foods or a specialty market store. With all the people from Ruby Hills, Vintage Hills, and nearby apartments, it's a no-brainer.
I live nearby and received a notice that Pleasanton has chosen that shopping center site as a 'possible site' for an affordable housing complex! Can you believe that? There was a council meeting last Thursday and I was unable to attend. The land owner needs to loosen up so that whole shopping center can be thriving again. I also heard he was trying to turn it into housing about 10 years ago and Pleasanton said no. Anyone else have more info?
I did see signs at the shopping center saying there is going to be a coffee place too-just haven't seen any action on it.