Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Kalamazoo, MI - For years, it has been assumed that a friendly welcome from employees and fair prices are main factors in deciding whether or not a customer is satisfied with her or her shopping experience. In my recent study, I set out to find that which truly captivates one's satisfaction. In an effort to relate this topic of consumer satisfaction, I chose to study student customer's of the local convenience store chain, Munchie Mart. This small convenience store which sits right off Kalamazoo College's campus serves as a main source of food, drinks, and other daily essentials to a majority of students here at Kalamazoo College, especially those who have a limited level of transportation. With the word 'convenience' so often labeled to various shops and stores, one must wonder, what makes this store convenient to me? to others?
With my survey, I set to compare the overall satisfaction of each year of students (qualitative data) with the general aspects of the individuals in question (quantitative data). This way, I could attempt to make connections between a person's characteristics and their satisfaction with their local convenience store. As discovered by the study, there was statistically significant evidence which showed Kalamazoo College students to be more satisfied with pricing than a large number of other consumers which were studied in a related research project. Also, it was shown that K students spend more money at Munchie Mart than the average amount spent at other convenience stores that was measured in a study by
With all of these statistics considered, one would definitely assume that Munchie Mart is a well-received store by the Kalamazoo College general student population. However, it was shown in the data collected in our survey that Munchie Mart is generally unsatisfying to our students, in comparison to a similar convenience store, Walgreen's. In order to find out this satisfaction of Munchie Mart, my partner, Scott Beal, and I created a comprehensive 10 question test which was based on a 1-10 scale. The average of all answers given by students was 6.06, which shows a generally mutual level of satisfaction. A similar scale is used by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which shows a score as such to be a low level of consumer satisfaction. So, we are left with the conflicting statistics that even though K students are satisfied with pricing and spend more money at Munchie Mart on average than other convenience stores, they are still left unsatisfied. In order to explore more into this relationship, a particularly interesting question was entered into the survey: "Is the service given to you at Munchie Mart that which you would expect from a convenience store?" Although the students were shown to be generally unsatisfied with Munchie Mart, 80% of the students surveyed answered "Yes" to this question. So, 80% of the unsatisfied students expected to be unsatisfied. This leaves us to believe that Munchie Mart runs on a locational monopoly, as students with a low level of transportation are left with no other choice than to buy their goods from a generally unsatisfying store. So what is left to be convenient about to "convenience" store? Well, one is only left with that which student's answered an average of 8.17 out of 10 on our survey: Convenience of location.
After considering the conflicting ideas of my survey, I am left to conclude that Munchie Mart, or any business for that matter, has the ability to operate and excel by factors other than having spritely staff and great pricing. A business must work to their advantages, and more importantly, work towards profits in any way possible. Munchie Mart excels at this aspect of business-making through their location, and little else.

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