retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We wrote yesterday about how Walmart.com is selling Christmas trees over the Internet, something we’d never heard of before.

Apparently, we need to get out more…as MNB user Frederick Arnal explained:

“We've been buying Christmas trees on-line for the last 5 years. You can get balsam firs from Maine, frasier firs from the Carolinas or noble and grand firs from Oregon. They arrive at your door via FedEx or Parcel Post fresh-cut and ready to be slipped into a stand. There are literally dozens of suppliers out there. Our latest is a "Fralsam Fir" from New England, a cross between a balsam and a frasier fir. Happy Holidays.”

And to you…



On the subject of acrylamides, which the US Food and Drug Administration is saying do not appear to present enough danger to human beings that any sort of dietary changes be recommended, MNB user Westall Parr wrote:

“The acrylamide issue sounds a lot like the early days of the Earth Warming issue.

“I suspect we will see the "scientists" tell us that it isn't happening just the way they did with tobacco.

“Do we ever learn?

“Stay with this one and serve as a leader.”


We’ll try. And by the way, there are still a bunch of folks out there who think global warming is a lot of hooey…




We wrote yesterday about how c-stores are getting into meal solutions because of declining gasoline margins, prompting the following email from a member of the MNB community:

“C-stores have a tough row to hoe with their gasoline margins leaking away to the supermarket retailers. Meal solutions are a good idea but now these stores are probably slapping their foreheads about the pay-at-the-pump thing. Will the sandwich really be good enough to lure the customer back into the store? Loyalty programs may help capitalize on the c-stores strengths.

“Once upon a time, an employee would maybe go to the bank, gas station and restaurant on a lunch break. (At least so I've been told.) If lunch times are down from 60 minutes to 20 (this I can relate to) then a short walk from the parking lot and back to my car is important. Short distances inside the store from the ATM machine, to the food, to the drinks and to the counter are helpful. The distance from my parking space back to the open road is brief.

“A weakness of the large retailers could be huge parking lots and humongous, spread-out store space. Though then they do have little in-store cafeterias and restaurants and often a fast-food place shares the humongous parking lot with them.

“As the channel homogenization continues it does make one wonder if a new channel will appear. And what it will look like.”


We spend a lot of time pondering that, too.




On the ongoing discussion topic of workers who are complaining about Wal-Mart’s labor practices, MNB user Bob McMath wrote:

“Not concerned with the murder and crookedness in general of the immensely popular Sopranos TV show which is making the characters "heroes," remember that some of the episodes have covered the work supposedly done by the characters in the building trades, and yet not done. They just sit around and get paid, anyway. Most people cannot relate to the crime and murder in general (at least I hope not), but they can relate to the "fun" of sitting around and doing nothing and getting paid for it.

“ Several of my kids have jobs in various government entities or learning institutions that have people in the organizations that just don't pull their weight at the jobs. One of my children complains that there is just no accountability for anything, including making deadlines among the administrative staff. None! Nada! It causes great frustration among the kids because as my own boss all these years, they have developed a work ethic second to none. You can't build and run a business without it. They have seen how hard my wife and I worked year after year to build something to be proud of. Unfortunately, while their frustration makes us proud of them, it doesn't help get the work done without their shouldering a lot of work that should be done by others -- is paid for to the others -- but not done by the others.”


Y’know, it always has been our opinion that every generation has its share of slackers…not just the current one. The percentages may be a little different, and these days industrious slackers can get written up in the newspaper or in magazines. But we don’t think it has changed that much.

As for “The Sopranos,” we think the creators have gone out of their way to make sure that Tony and clan aren’t seen as heroes…

And like a lot of other people in America, we’ll be captivated Sunday night be the season finale.
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