Time has the story of former Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson, who worked for the company for more than 30 years, the last five as CEO, and how he is suing the company for more than $200 million.
According to the story, "Wasson is suing his former employer in a contract dispute with a technology startup he helped found in 2017. He claims current Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer reneged on an agreement to replace glass doors on store refrigerator displays with high-tech digital screens that would flash product information and advertisements at consumers while they were shopping for cold beverages."
Time writes that "Cooler Screens had sold the Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmacy chain on a pilot project with the innovative doors in 2018 before winning a nationwide contract, only to have Brewer change direction after she started as CEO in 2021, according to the complaint … Cooler Screens said it spent $45 million making and installing doors in the first 700 stores, $88 million on doors that haven’t been installed, and more than $100 million on third-party vendors."
The lawsuit alleges that Brewer did not like the way the doors looked, "purportedly comparing the screens to ‘Vegas’ in a derogatory way,” and that the company then "fabricated reasons to terminate the contract, including by citing safety defects with the Smart Doors that didn’t really exist."
- KC's View:
I can't make a judgement about the contract, but I'm totally with Brewer on the aesthetics of the doors - I think they're terribly distracting and just add to the media clutter that make stores unattractive and off-putting.
The story says that Cooler Screens maintains that “third-party consumer surveys taken earlier this year show that 79% of respondents reported that in-store digital advertising positively impacted their shopping experience, while only 6% said it had a negative effect.”
This may be true, but it also may be true that these surveys depend on selective survey techniques. I have no idea. I do know that they didn't ask me.
I just hate the damned doors. Do we really need screens everywhere? Do we really need to be "sold" at every turn? Isn't it really more important that customers be able to see what are behind the doors?