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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What A Range.

We still have a bit of snow on the ground.  Yet the temperature as I write this is 28 degrees Celsius(over 80 degrees Fahrenheit for you non-metric folks).  It seems like Summer and Winter at the same time, and it's swung that far in less than a week.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just A Little Extra.

If you're really into filing your tax return late this will make you happy.  Due to an error at the Canada Revenue Agency the deadline for filing tax returns has been moved to May 5th.  Of course if you'd done your taxes weeks ago you wouldn't have worried about the deadline in the first place.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

You'd Better Not Forget.

It's just a few days until the deadline for Canadian tax returns for 2014, unless of course you file more than yearly.  So make sure you get it done.  You don't want to piss off Mr. Wilson and Mr. Heath, especially since they're dead.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Winter Returns.

Well, not really.  But it is snowing quite heavily here today.  There might be less than a week left in April, but snow at this time of year isn't much of a surprise.  Good thing for me I still had my winter jacket handy, since I decided to go out via bus for a bit today.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Gas In Saskatoon, April 17, 2015.

It's always nice to see the price of gas drop, at least if you're a consumer.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 93.9 cents a litre at most locations.  This time last year it was hovering around the 130 cents mark.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pathetic.

The month is half gone, and this is only the fourth post I've written.  This is definitely not acceptable. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Not Many Customers.

Doing a search on eBay tonight I noticed that one product was listed as coming from Korea, South.  In a way the South part is probably redundant.  After all I doubt the typical North Korean is allowed to buy or sell on eBay, or that PayPal would accept North Korean won as payment.  The handful of people that might conceivably be allowed access to eBay no doubt use some other method of acquiring goods.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Gas In Saskatoon, April 2, 2015.

A nice Easter treat for Saskatoon drivers, a price drop.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 97.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Hopefully we won't see a price increase for a while.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Target Lost.

Today was the end of Target's operations in Saskatoon.  The Mall at Lawson Heights store closed yesterday.  The Centre at Circle and 8th store will end operations tonight.  I went to the latter last night, assuming it would be less busy than today.  Frankly it looked almost like a riot had taken place.  Most of what was left was clothing, and much of that was scattered around the store.  From the looks of it some stuff was dropped by customers who decided at the last minute not to buy things.  This seems consistent with news reports about other Target outlets, with employees noting piggish behaviour by would be customers.(I'm probably insulting pigs by saying that.)

Target likely holds as much of the blame as the customers do.  I was in those same stores when Zellers, the previous holder of those spaces, closed their doors in 2013.  Even at the very end the Zellers stores looked neater that what I saw yesterday.  It seemed as if some of the employees were still willing to put some effort at making a good impression.  Perhaps the difference then was that Zellers had generated loyalty in both its customers and its employees, and Target's Canadian operations never managed to do that.

I've never been to an American Target store, but there were multiple news reports that Canadian buyers didn't find the experience the same, or the prices as low.  This strikes me as na├»ve on their part.  Surely some of these people must have visited Walmarts in the US, and noticed the Canadian ones weren't clones of the American stores, especially when it came to price.  Operating in Canada is always going to be a bit more expensive than the US, even when the Canadian dollar is closer to the US one, as it was when Target opened.

In the end though Target's disastrous Canadian foray was the result of their own mistakes.  Reports indicated an inability to understand the Canadian market, and an unwillingness to change their ways until it was too late, which seems odd.  You'd think someone at Target would have realised the value of hiring former or even current Walmart executives, given the latter's long and successful operations in Canada.  Along with price complaints the most commonly heard criticism of Target was their lack of selection, which was obvious even to the casual customer, and which they never managed to correct.  To me at least the Saskatoon stores lacked any sort of energy that would encourage customers to become regular patrons.  This was a result of that lack of selection and other things, like the absence of any sort of music or customer information from an in store PA system.  They may also have hurt themselves with their unwillingness to offer previous Zellers employees preference in hiring for the new stores, people familiar with the markets they were serving.

Given how poorly they did in Canada, a country with strong cultural similarities to the US, and a common language, English, spoken in most of the country, I hate to think they might have done if they'd picked a non-English market as their first expansion attempt.  Target's foreign expansion plans are likely to remain on the back burner for a long time to come given what has happened here.