Saturday, March 22, 2008

Random Idea #1: Going Paperless for Grocery Store

I go to CVS on a regular basis. Each time I make a purchase, they give me a long-ass receipt with coupon information even if I buy just a pack of cigarette. Same goes to grocery stores like Ralph's and Mitsuwa. Every time they hand it to me, I feel that I'm wasting paper. Of course, I can tell cashiers that I don't need the receipt and they would put it in the recycle bin. That's a bit more eco-friendly. But it costs money and energy to recycle.

On the way back from CVS a couple nights ago, I thought up this idea: Grocery stores should go paperless.

My idea is very simple yet practical, though it may require some levels of remodeling grocery industry infrastructure. To go paperless, grocery stores can give out electronic receipts to customers. This would be more useful for both companies and consumers (for those people who have Internet connection at home).

Instead of giving out paper receipts, the company can store all purchase information into database for each customer's online account. The portal site can provide coupon and other useful information so they can cut down on expenses related to design/printing/shipping and save paper and ink materials. With coupon information linked to an account, customers do not have to worry about carrying physical coupon (This will also help cashiers' and customers' stress level too... you sometimes see some people flipping through a big fat book of unsorted coupons at the cashier and they do not back down until they find the right one and cashiers give them discount). If checking what's on sale on home computer is not too convenient when walking down aisles, maybe customers can download information onto their cell phone or PDA and use coupon right at the spot. Or, if the coupon information can be pulled out along with your account, they can give you discount automatically. How useful is that?

Current online services offered by grocery companies are limited. They offer coupon information, online shopping, delivery options, etc. This is old school system that has not changed for decades. There are many other ways to utilize what they have.

For a consumer, they can check their online account and see what they have purchases at a glance. If the database is linked to detailed product information, they can even see how much calories they consume, nutrition facts of individual product of gross amount nutrients taken from what you purchase. If they go further and link up with health information, maybe the site can kindly notify consumers that they should buy more vegetables with vitamin B2 or less red meat. You can look at your expenses for arbitrary period of time and help yourself plan a budget for grocery. There are many more possible usage for this. Also, having been provided all these useful features on their account, I believe the customer is likely to stick to one company, so it's good for business as well.

How does this help a business? First, they can save expenses on paper. But, there are new expenses such as server all other related fees including manpower to run this infrastructure, and that could be more expensive (Well, major companies already do have database on their sites anyways). So how could they make a ROI? Well there are several ways I can think on top of my head:

Online ads - Food channels would be thrilled to put their commercials. Any other TV commercials would want to buy commercial spots since the target audience is very clear... whoever go to grocery shopping. There is a difference between online ads on Google and, say, Ralph's sites. Google filters audience and stream ads of arbitrary products that are likely suitable for a user. Ralph's, on the other hand, put ads of what they actually have on their store... it can be more like a coupon. Of course, Ralph's can implement CRM and pull out "you may also like this" products like Amazon as well. Targeting would be much more accurate than Google which bases their CRM based on cookies store on user's computer.

Affiliate programs - There are many forms of online affiliate programs and this one can be quite simple. They probably do not want to limit their portal site as merely a grocery information bulletin board. Since there are thousands of products from hundreds of different companies in different industries on the shelves, opportunities to make useful affiliation is virtually limitless.

Nominal membership fees - Who wants to pay membership fees for this kind of program? I doubt anyone does. But would you mind giving out maybe 10 cent as a donation from each purchase you make? Probably not. Let's say an average family goes grocery shopping 2-3 times a week unless they're big time Costco lovers. $0.10 x 3 times a week x 4 weeks = $1.20. If you multiply that by 12 months, it's $14.4. According to US Census Bureau, the resident population of the United States is about 300 million. Let's say conservatively 1/10 of the population buy something at grocery store on a regular basis. That's still 30 million people. The annual fee of $14.4 x 30 million = $432 million for the whole grocery industry. Can they cover the cost with $432 million? They'd better.

Information stored on their database can be used for research purposes as well. Upon users' consent, demographic and purchase information can be used for health-related research to find out who eats more meat than fish or vegetables in which cities, for example.

I think that grocery stores going paperless can save energy and natural environment, make things easier for shoppers and give more business opportunities.

Food Junkie #3: Sundubu Jigae (Soon Tofu)

Soon Tofu & BBQ Pork combo from ILMI Tofu House

If you like something hot and spicy Asian food, you have probably eaten Sundubu Jigae or spicy stew from South Korea (wiki). If you go to a Korean restaurant, 99.9% of the time they have it on the menu. Sundubu is one of my favorite spicy dishes of all time.

This spicy stew comes in a clay pot while it's still boiling. When they bring you a spicy one (many restaurants have spice levels), it is apparent to anyone's eyes that is is damn spicy. It's red, bright red. My tongue can take very spicy stuff and my stomach can bear with it as well. But, my intestine is not immune to the craziness so I would usually order spice level 7-8 if the hottest one is 10. If I go higher, I would enjoy the soup but then the next day I would feel like I have a large-size sparkling firecracker stuck in my ass. Unless you know your entire body can take it for sure, I would suggest you order the same level.

Anyways, aside from the goodness of the spiciness of chili powder and paste, what makes this soup enjoyable is tofu that is extremely soft and delicate. This is not "silk" tofu we see in an ordinary grocery store. The softness of tofu in Sunbubu is comparable to a flan. The texture is so smooth that sometimes it feels like the tofu melts in your mouth (but don't try to roll it on your tongue or it could give it a burn. It's very hot).

I tried to make Sundubu at home a few times but I never succeeded. Something is different. I've asked a few Korean friends but they said the same thing. Even their moms and grandmas can't make it quite as same as ones you get in restaurants. I guess I'd have to keep going back to restaurants to eat good ones...

Anyways, there are a few Korean restaurants I go often to eat Sundubu in LA area, but I don't know any place that's specialized in Sundubu... Ones I go are decent but not particularly great... I go there because it's fairly close to where I live or work. Let me know if you know good Sundubu specialty place.

1001 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Vermont and Olympic in K-town.
Open 24/7. Avoid 1am - 3am since the place will be packed with people coming from clubbing. Parking space limited.

Tofu House
3575 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
Open 24/7. Plenty of parking space. Sometimes they close temporarily while cleaning around midnight.

ILMI Tofu House (Formally known as ILMI Sushi & Sashimi Bar)
818 N Pacific Ave Ste L, Glendale
Right off 134 Pacific exit.
Open daily 10am - 11pm.
Very friendly staff. They give out free frozen yogurt... pretty damn yummy :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I really really REALLY wanna do this!

These make my first jump like a baby step... But damn I had a terrible haircut... lol

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Appears 4:44 - 5:08

His latest Mix CD can be downloaded at:
DJ OGGY 2008 1st MIX
It's a nice underground hiphop mix.

Track list:
1. Ahmad, Ras Kass, and Saafir/ Come Widdit
2. The Beatnuts/ Psycho Dwarf
3. Rapper Big Pooh/ Between The Lines v.s. J. Dilla
4. Pete Rock/ Grown Man Sport inst
5. Pete Rock/ Don't You Love It
6. Pete Rock/ Think Twice
7. Grand Puba/ I like It (I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE)
8. J-Live/ Got What It Takes
9. Bahamadia/ Rugged Ruff
10. Jeru The Damaja/ The Frustrated Nigga
11. mic Geronimo/ Wherever You At
12. Large Professor feat. Nas/ Stay Chisel
13. Large Professor/ Q-Tip in the Sun
14. The Flavor Unit MC's/ Roll Wit The Flava
15. Fu-Schnickens/ La Schmoove
16. The Pharcyde/ She Said
17. 9th Wonder & Buckshot / He's Back
18. A Tribe Called Quest/ Mr. Incognito
19. Guru/ For You
20. Gang Starr/ You Know Mr. Steez
21. Planet Asia/ Medicine
22. DJ SHADOW& Gift of Gab/ Count & Estimate
23. Organized Koufusion/ Fudge Pudge
24. K-Solo/ Spellbound
25. Digital Underground/ Humpty Dance
26. Sequesnce/ Funk You Up
27. William Onyeabor/ Body and Soul Scientist remix
28. Afroheat #4/ Gaytones vs Sugar Hill
29. Afroheat #4/ Fela Kuti vs Rayvon
30. DJ Jazzy Jeff & Flresh Prince/ Twinkle Twinkle
31. Das Efx/ Hip Hop
32. Souls Of Mischief/ Step Off
33. Jay Dee feat. Hodge Podge&Lacks/ It's Like That

That's all I have to say tonight. Peace.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Hobby!

I just started a new hobby. It is so much fun!!!! I can't believe I've been missing this all these years having opportunities and incentives around me all this time. I can't wait till tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the day after... wot wooot!!!

Don't you hate it

I'm a sucker for perfume and...

Don't you hate it when you're walking down the street and you smell really nice perfume that reminds you of someone from some "chick" walking by... then you turn around and realize that the "chick" was like a 50-year-old soccer mom? This happened to me twice today at Melrose and Promenade... I'm gonna start wearing a nose plug from now on.