business news in context, analysis with attitude

We continue to get email about the obesity issue. MNB user Sharon Riddle writes:

“Why can't people take responsibility for their own actions and the choices that they make? Why is it the bartender's fault if you choose to drive drunk, don't you know when you are drunk? The tobacco company doesn't hold a gun to your head and make you smoke. We are bombarded everyday and have been for years on the elements of a healthily lifestyle, if you choose to do things that could harm your health, you are responsible, no one else.”

For the moment, let’s play devil’s advocate. Sure, you harm only yourself. But what if an epidemic of obesity puts pressure on the health care system, which gets prohibitively expensive, which causes economic problems for the company, which then results in government action that requires higher taxes?

If this is the chain of events, does it make sense to have some kind of social-cultural response to the issue so the long-term problems don’t emerge?

Just asking…

We got some email regarding our story yesterday about reported pricing discrepancies in various Wal-Mart stores in Dallas. One MNB user wrote:

“If the discrepancies were being advertised by Wal-Mart…then that is a problem. If however, they are simply responding to local competitors, then that is good business and done all the time. The ability of a Wal-Mart to have autonomy in pricing is a competitive advantage.”

And another MNB user added:

“Funny, I purchased a box of steaks (8-6 oz) at my local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market yesterday. The price listed on the display was $10. When I got to the checkout, I was charged $7. Needless to say, I'm going by there again today, and if the price is still $7, I'm getting a couple more.”

Not if they read this first…

Finally, MNB user Westall Parr was very interested in yesterday’s report from FMI’s MarkeTechnics conference about human genome research and its impact on the food industry:

“I am looking to you for some real content leadership on the Genome stuff. It must have been fascinating to hear the guy speak - but I didn't get any sense of the awesome future - just out there.

“More on the genome mapping and what is being done. You're in a position to lead in the educating of the food industry.

“Go for it.”

Well, if you didn’t get a sense of the awesome future that human genome mapping can bring about, we didn’t do our job right.

But we may be to the end of our expertise on the issue, not having taken a science course since 1971.

However, the presenter at FMI, Juan Enriquez, has written a book on the subject: As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces Are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth.

We’re planning to read it, and you might want to do the same. And we’ll report back…

Until tomorrow, when we’ll be reporting from the annual Leadership Conference sponsored by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)…
KC's View: