Well just when we thought all of today’s grocery retail was up to date with stores such as Kroger, Meijer, Mariano’s, Albertston, and Safeway with their IP or Digital telephone systems with built in Intercom/Paging and wireless handsets, I found an anomaly this weekend on a road trip to Indianapolis. I stopped at local grocery store chain called Marsh and I snapped a picture at their service desk of their very 1979 styled intercom/phone system. 90 percent of their stores have this arrangement:
Analog phone using Centrex service at the service desk with a separate I/C handset that only allows either 1 intercom path or 1 paging path. It is not integrated with the phone system. The checkouts also have just one of these I/C handsets. These unique primitive handsets are only found up front….
The intercom handset sounds terrible on the store speakers, like the worst audio paging connection you could ever imagine over the speakers in the store.
In the rest of the store, each department in the store such as deli, bakery, meat, coffee, has a standard 500 set analog wall phone that can call all departments, just not the checkouts.
So it’s really hard to figure out what they are trying to accomplish here. I believe that the Centrex analog phones can dial into a paging controller, but at the checkouts, the primitive handsets can only call the service desk and no other departments in the store, unless they page for them to call…..this is quite odd compared to stores such as Jewel-Osco, Meijer and Safeway that have a fully functional phone at each register that can page, park, transfer, call 911, etc. Let’s say you need someone from deli to call your register, you’d simply announce:
“Deli please call 223, Deli call 223 for customer assitance.”
or you could call the deli at their extension.
at Marsh they would have to say
“Deli, pick up Intercom”
Deli would then pick up the handset, to talk back to the checkouts, BUT, if someone else in the store is on the Intercom path….there is only ONE intercom patch and the deli would have to wait for the other party to disconnect before they talk to the checker.
What is even more annoying is that some newer Marsh stores have installed Nortel Meridian Norstar systems in their stores…..with Nortel digital phones throughout the store BUT with Aiphone Intercoms for internal communication such as paging and Intercom calling. The Meridian phones are supplemented by a white Aiphone Intercom handset next to each phone. What a joke! Why buy 2 systems when one (the Norstar) can do both. The only purpose of the Nortel system is to answer external calls…..what a waste! Talk about Continuous Improvement or avoiding duplicity in company operations, they fail here.
Let’s not forget Target and Wal-Mart, they have ditched their phone systems and gone back to the old days of having a separate internal communications system with walkie talkies that again, while convenient, they do not interface with the phone system……so we have come full circle 🙁