“Phone” of the Day: Market Intercom small hometown market Kalamazoo, MI



Today’s phone comes to you from a 60,000 square foot grocery market in Kalamazoo, MI.  This really isn’t a true phone, it’s an intercom phone.

As modern as it looks, it basically can only do 2 things.  It can talk on 4 intercom paths and 1 overhead paging path by pressing the button inside the handset.

This is a dramatic departure from the Meijer store and Avaya 9620 shown on the counter of the pizza area on my posting yesterday.  At Meijer, no need to wire an intercom box nor even phone cable to the register…..just simply use the LAN connection and you can pick up the phone and dial your manager, page the store overhead, make an outside call, or even call 911.  NOT AT this store.  The Intercom is a dumb terminal only allowing internal communications.

What’s even more upsetting to me, is that I designed this store while working at my previous job in Grand Rapids.  I designed the entire interior branding, decor, flooring, lighting, ceilings, and layout…..and then I come in to the Grand Opening and I see this 1970s junk and NEC key system brought over from the old store they vacated.  Not only did they bring over the NEC digital phone system, they didn’t find a way to use the Intercom and Paging feature built into the NEC system and they hooked up these Communist looking intercoms.  The desk phone version of the Intercom looks worse than the register phones….they are clunky and old and look like a 1950s handset with only 4 buttons on the dial area.  It ruined all that I was excited for in the design of the store.

You should hear the audio on these systems on the overhead speakers.  A weird warped chime, not a crisp chime like from a Bogen Paging Module, but a warped scary sounding chime announces.  “BOING….Bill Line 1”, “BOING, Steve Line 2”  It’s like an out of pitch BOING noise.  Then the voice quality itself is fair, but sounds extremely “plasticized” compared to that of a phone system.  There is just something really weird and scary sounding about the paging from these systems.

I honestly don’t know how in a modern grocery store, you could have this kind of junk still….especially with phone systems with built in paging outputs and voip paging adapters readily available today.   Believe it or not, this store isn’t the only store I’ve seen like this…I was out west in Petaluma, CA and stopped at a Lucky foods.  Much worse setup there!  They had Cisco, yes Cisco IP phones, with white intercoms next to each Cisco phone.  I mean, come on, you took the effort to put in Cisco and then you don’t even use it for an Intercom or Paging?  WOW….so much for these IT guys at these companies to learn!

Thank you Meijer, Mariano’s, Kroger, Safeway, and Supervalu with your high tech integrated use of your phone system for paging, intercom, and outside calls.

I am always hoping, one day I will walk in, and this Kalamazoo store will have a new system.  At least they are proud of the interior of the store and they keep it up.