Friday, October 30, 2015

Why Did Haggen Fail in Southern California?

Earlier this year, Haggen was a medium-sized chain of twenty-something supermarkets in the Pacific Northwest. By March they had expanded to 160 overnight, primarily in Southern California. In September they declared bankruptcy and by the end of November there'll by a bunch of vacant markets in San Diego. The 160 stores they purchased were comprised of Albertsons and Safeway. Nobody really cares about Safeway but there's a near unanimous agreement that Albertsons, simply put, was the shit. Haggen, simply put, is shit.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into my newly converted Haggen was how ugly it was. It felt like a market that you'd find out in the middle of nowhere with boring and dull colors and a general lack of any sort of excitement that the good supermarkets are supposed to elicit (check out Sprouts to see what I mean). Pair that with the fact that prices skyrocketed while employee morale tanked and you knew it was just a matter of time before these goofballs would throw in the towel. I'm just not sure we thought it would be this soon.

Anyway, I've been venturing to Haggen the past couple of weeks in an effort to possibly take advantage of some sales. Needless to say, even with Haggen finally lowering their prices for their "going out of business" sale...THEY'RE STILL OVERPRICED!!! For your enjoyment, here are some pictures and observations from Haggen. I'd just like to preface by saying nothing here is the fault of the employees. This particular Haggen is going out of business THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING and these people are being LAID OFF. These goons came into Southern California, took over all these stores, pissed everyone off, and now they're leaving a trail of destruction behind. I feel for the employees. The Haggen executives, though? Morons.

Anyway, the first stop on our tour of Haggen is the (former) butcher block, which is now nothing more than a series of empty refrigerated displays. I'm guessing they were the first to be let go. When you really think about it, this is actually kind of a cool set for the beginning of a horror movie. Come to think of it, Haggen's entire existence is much like the beginning of a horror movie.


Maybe this is how they save themselves some work so they don't have to restock the sample trays

The Haggen discount cart. Even after the announcement of their bankruptcy and departure plans, these were still the only clearance items in the store

The pharmacists and service folk have all peaced out

Even the flies have had enough of Haggen

Items randomly scattered around the floors. Haggen couldn't sell Pee Pee Pads to a toilet

On a plus note, Haggen is probably the only place in America that sells green blueberries

For some reason there's a couple rolls of paper towels stuffed under the dairy fridges. Maybe a leak? Maybe a who cares?

Haggen missed the memo that generally the generic brand is supposed to be LESS than the name brand

The reality is that Haggen was doomed from the beginning as they were entering a market they obviously did zero research for. Prices are bad. Employees are unhappy. Their produce is overpriced and disgusting. A thing of blackberries and a Naked Juice goes for $8 here. I could go over to Sprouts (which, of course, is what I do) and get the same for $3.75. 

It's been real, Haggen, but you suck. I hope you apologize to all of the people who are losing jobs right in time for the holidays. Actually, it would be nice if all these people find other jobs and walk off so by Thanksgiving there'll be no one left to run the store anyway. 

Haagen-Dazs? More like Haggen-Don't.