Published on: March 16, 2006
We had a story the other day about how Kmart settled a case related to violations of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), agreeing to spend as much as $70 million over the next eight years to bring its stores into ADA compliance. In our commentary, we wondered what the odds are that Kmart actually will be in business in eight years…MNB
user Lisa Malmarowski responded:Yep - another example of how Kmart has let down their shoppers. As a retailer, it should be a sad day when the courts have to order you to make changes so people can easily shop your stores and use your restrooms.
I think the most ridiculous part is that they have eight years. They should have reacted to this before it ever came to court. And the courts let them off easy. You're right KC - the changes will never happen because it's doubtful they'll even be around.MNB
user David J. Livingston added:I came to the same conclusion as you on Kmart. When I read the court was going to give Kmart 8 years to comply I just laughed. There is barely a Kmart now. I can't even vision Kmart being in existence in three years, let alone 8.
We also got several emails responding to our story about how Northwest Airlines has decided to charge extra for certain aisle seats…and several of them made the same and canny observation.MNB
user Sam Narotsky wrote:Wouldn’t Northwestern have been better off positioning this as offering a discount on the lousy seats?
user Steve Lutz wrote:Wouldn't it have made more sense to announce a plan to begin "discounting" the price on the middle seats that nobody wants to sit in anyway. If I really want a cheap fare, I'll gladly take a less desirable seat. They could have been cast as heroes. Instead they are seen as pikers. Well, if the shoe fits...MNB
user Sriram Daita thought we were making much ado about nothing:I do not see anything working with NW policy. At a company they have the right to charge any fare and as a consumer I have the right to either accept or reject the fare hike. So I am not sure where you are going with the story.
Where we are going is that we think it is crazy how airlines have gone about cutting, cutting, cutting and then charging, charging, charging for services previously taken for granted. We understand that the economics of the airline business are difficult, but these changes have been handled about as badly by some airlines as one can imagine.
And here’s the thing. When we think that something is outrageous or stupid or offensive, we believe in speaking up…maybe because we grew up in the late sixties and early seventies.
Reaction to this week’s new mad cow revelations, including this email from MNB
user Evan J. Zobel:The only way that the public might feel more secure about our beef supply is if an efficient and accurate blood test is developed such that prior to slaughter, the cow can be tested and then subsequently removed from the human food chain if the results come back positive. MNB
user Justin L. Jones wrote:It is not realistic to think that determining the age and origin of every cow is feasible at this point in time. While mad cow disease has been in the public spotlight for a few years (with the first case in the US back in 2003), farmers have many cows that are much older than that. It is impractical to think that a farmer can go back and trace the origin of every cow he/she has.
In many cases, it is not possible because programs have just been put in place in the past year or two and are still not widespread. And one reason they are not wide spread yet, is that to start these programs, farmers have to go from the “ground up” and this takes a lot of time and a lot of money to do the initial start-up.
As the son of a small farmer in the Midwest, there are many things that a farmer wants to do to better his/her livestock operation and ultimately his family’s livelihood, but may not be able to afford it or may not have the time to get fully accomplished because they are stretched thin in the first place.
In my father’s case, he has started to document, tag and vaccinate according to the new policies and procedures on his NEW calves and some of his existing cattle that he either raised on the farm within the past few years or purchased close to home. However, it is virtually impossible to do the complete regimen of documentation on the older ones (in addition to the fact that determining older cow’s age is extremely difficult because much of it is centered on teeth and jaw development and merely gives a rough estimate after cows get older). It is unfortunate, but a reality nonetheless. It will take many years for farmers to cycle through the older cows to the point that they are out of the food chain and only documented ones are active in the system.
I agree that the policies and procedures must be adopted nationwide, but the government and the public must understand that it will take time. Farmers know that implementing the procedures to document and vaccinate properly will result in a more stable demand for US beef, but some are only able to do so much given their financial position. Farmers have good intentions, but the want and the desire to do it can only go so far as the clock and the wallet will allow.
We think that at the very least, every cow born in the US should be fitted with a permanent RFID tag…and that a program should be implemented that would tag every cow – so at the very least, we’d know where every cow came from and traceability would be less of an issue.MNB
user Rebecca Brown wrote:Kevin, thank you for continuing to be the sounding board for this very important issue. I've been watching this issue for years, having had a family member die from CJD and having watched our government deny the cause of that event. Please continue to provide the information we need to make change happen in the way we test our cattle. Meanwhile, people should think about what might be in that piece of steak before consuming it. And don't forget the wild meat - from deer to elk, our government continues to drop contaminated feed to wild life in this country.
We reported yesterday how Publix is investing in an enormous number of generators for its stores in order to deal with future hurricane problems. To which MNB
user Chris Murray responded:As a resident of Florida, I commend Publix decision to install generators. Not only will this allow the units to keep perishable products safe during times of lost power, but it also will allow the stores to open quickly after the hurricane has passed. There are many items you don't realize you need until after the storm and having a local store open can help fill that need.
As an added bonus...a store with air conditioning...is a great escape when you don't have power for a week or two.
We commented that while installing generators is one approach, we sometimes prefer the Jimmy Buffett solution, as exemplified in the lyrics of “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season”:“Squalls out on the gulf stream
Big storm's coming soon
Passed out in my hammock
God I slept till way past noon
Stood up and tried to focus
I Hoped I wouldn't have to look far
Knew I could use a bloody mary
So I stumbled next door to the bar…”
To which MNB
user David Saunders responded:Buffett's approach to life is how many of us Parrott Heads get through each day. 8 salesman covering a 4 state territory for me and an average of 125 emails a day, just a quick brief song by Jimmy puts it, and life in general, all in perspective.
It's Gotta be Five O'Clock Somewhere!