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The Fresh & Easy debate never seems to end. Yesterday, an MNB user said he wasn't impressed, especially when comparing the format to Walmart’s new Marketside small store concept.

But MNB user Paul Schlossberg disagreed:

A few weeks ago we were in Los Angeles and found our way to the F&E at Vanowen and Sepulveda. It was about 2 PM on a Monday. The store was busy. My estimate is that there were about 25 shoppers in the store.

The fresh food on display met my criteria for eye appeal and quality. We purchased a sampling of products across a few categories to create a meal. This was before F&E introduced their new meal combinations program. The preparation instructions were simple and easy to understand. Everything we had was very good. The salad and dressing were great. The entrees were good tasting. And the desserts were even better.

My son, who does the shopping for his family, said that the prices for fresh food, bakery and produce were better than the supermarkets where he usually shopped. And he said that he would shop there in the future. He lives about four miles away from the F&E store.

Is the store environment unexciting? Yes! That did not seem to be a problem for the shoppers who were there.

The store was clean. The staff was active and helpful. When we asked about a category, a store employee walked us over to the section. There was constant restocking going on while we were there. The checkout process was fast and efficient. It was easy to get in and out of the parking lot.

If I lived near an F&E, I would be shopping there.

I will be interested to see a Marketside store to compare it to F&E.

But another MNB user wrote:

Just wanted you to know that I agree completely with the MNB user you quoted regarding their assessment of Walmart’s Marketside stores here in the greater Phoenix metro area.

Responding to yesterday’s story about how has begun an initiative that is designed to get rid of frustrating packaging – especially the hated hard plastic clamshell – one MNB user wrote:

I impaled my thumb with a scissors due to frustration packaging 2 years ago. I still don’t have all the feeling back. I’m glad someone is trying to help. I love shopping Amazon (my usual source for DVDs, as they notify me when my favorites are available), especially when I get free shipping!

But MNB user Michael Freese suggested that there may be some inconsistencies in the plan:

I really love Amazon and use them when possible.

I just ordered a ribbon for our time clock (which was supplied by an Amazon partner) that arrived in a box that was 14 inches long by 8 inches wide by 4 inches high.

This ribbon weighed in at .8 ounce. In theory it could have been sent with 42 cent stamp.

Overpackaging given new meaning.

Not a perfect world. Not by a long shot.

KC's View: