business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week, we reported that Wal-Mart has been stopped (at least temporarily) from building superstores in a couple of California communities that have legislated against stores of a certain size. This piece generated some email.

One MNB user wrote:

“I would like to hear from someone well versed in the legal mumbo-jumbo of ‘land-use.’ Primarily as it pertains to what a city, county, what-have-you, can do to restrict one's building on a piece of property they own.

“I can understand the need and desirability to puts limits on how close you can build to the neighboring structure, or how close the street, but I fail to see the legal justification to be able to say ‘You can't put over 20,000 items for sale in your business.’

“I can see where there may be a need to rule that you must have "X" number of parking space per square foot of building area but to say, point blank, ‘You can't build a building over 155,000 square feet’ when you might have a land area of three to four times that much to build on. Doesn't make sense!

“And how can there be any connection between either limitation as to your ability to build a structure for your business.

“Looking at my handy "Wal-Mart Road Atlas" I find Inglewood in the flight path into LA International and close-by is the Hollywood Race Track and Great Western Forum.

“Hmmm..... Maybe a Wal-Mart Supercenter might be an improvement to the area.”

Coincidentally, we happened to live in Inglewood for a few months while attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. It was a quarter-century ago, though, we things have changed there…it’s grown up. A lot.

Still, our apartment building was right in the path of the Los Angeles international Airport runways…we used to kid that the planes would tip their wheels against the roof of our building to slow themselves down when landing.

It’d be a shame, however, if only the denizens of Beverly Hills were able to legislate against stores of a certain size, and not citizens of Inglewood. We’re not particularly in favor of protectionism, but it at least ought to be equally available to everyone.

Another MNB user wrote:

“To take a different perspective....

“Imagine if Starbucks could have no more than 6 tables, or Krispy Kreme 3 types of donuts....”

This user has just described our idea of hell…

We posted a story last week about deciding to take manufacturer coupons. This report prompted an email from MNB user Mike Spindler, president of

“Most online grocery services take coupons. Almost all are good on your
‘next trip,’ as will be the case at Most of our clients do it.”

Mike also responded to a couple of pieces we ran about retailers figuring out ways to help consumers during the holiday season:

“On your series entitled "what can we do to help you through the holidays"..... It’s a great time of year to have an online shopping with either pickup or delivery service.

“The customer can order ahead and either pick up or have it delivered, eliminating the increasing hassle of fighting through crowed aisles, battered shelves and longer than normal holiday lines with fuller than normal carts.

“The customers who do not order ahead and either pick up or have their groceries delivered, have fewer people in line (cause the smart ones all did it online).

“The grocer can get through the aisles more easily to restock, has fewer irate customers in line and might just save some labor cost surcharges for nights, weekends and holiday pay.

“The grocer has a service very few other grocer's in their area are offering and its a great opportunity to switch the consumer ....permanently.

“There are some tricky issues that have to be dealt with online at the holidays, but dealing with them is generally well worth it. Clearly this is a commercial for MWG, but it is also right on the money.”

Yeah, it is a bit of a commercial for MyWebGrocer, but we’re letting it through for a couple of reasons. First of all, it makes sense. Second, we believe in full disclosure: MyWebGrocer happens to be a valued sponsor of MNB, helping to make it possible for you to get this service every morning for free, That doesn’t get them special editorial treatment…but it doesn’t deny them the right to express their opinion, either. Third, we happen to believe in their message and their service…and think if you’re interested in e-grocery, their site is worth checking out.
KC's View: