Published on: June 12, 2006MNB
had a story last week about a new study done by Yankelovich Inc. that looked at attitudinal differences between “new moms” and “non-new moms,” and we commented that the essential conclusion was that new moms can best be described as women young and energetic enough that they haven’t had their idealism beaten out of them by ingrate children. (Not that Yankelovich put it quite that bluntly.)MNB
user Catherine Lanna responded:I don't think idealism is only beaten out by ingrate children but also by other moms, with too much free time on their hands, that feel they have an obligation to offer unsolicited and uneducated comments to your own situation. That's not cynical, just realistic.
We sense a voice of experience here…
Another member of the MNB
community wrote:I busted out laughing (at the office in the middle of the cube farm) when I read your response to "Not All Moms Are Created Equal," specifically your statement that "New Moms can best be described as women young and energetic enough that they haven’t had their idealism beaten out of them by ingrate children."
I recently bought a button for a friend of mine that is the mother of three. It says "I Used To Have A Brain - Now I Have Small Children."
But the best part (the part I didn't laugh about) was when you said that "the older you get, the more you realize that life is complicated, that life requires compromise, and that aspirations sometimes have to give way to reality, even if just a bit." Ouch! Truth hurts so early in the morning...
Then again, I miss my idealistic youth.
Skepticism, even cynicism, often are byproducts of age. It’s inevitable, since as we all see and learn more, it can’t help but affect our attitudes. We’ve long felt that it’s critical to leaven cynicism with some kind of idealism, to which we should cling desperately like a life raft.
We got a bunch of emails last week responding to our story about Disney licensing its name for labels to be used on fresh produce as well as other products. One of the items already being sold is “Old Yeller” dog food…and we commented that since Old Yeller died at the end of the movie, it might not be the best image to conjure up.
user wrote:Your memory is correct, but Old Yeller doesn't just die in the end of the movie. He gets bitten by a wild animal, goes rabid, and the little boy who owns him has to shoot him! I know I'm not the only person with a lingering childhood trauma about this movie. Of all the dogs in Disney's catalog, I was really surprised that THIS was the dog the chose. What about Pluto and Goofy?! Lady and the Tramp? 101 Dalmatians? Using that monkey from Aladdin would have made more sense...
And another MNB
user chimed in:Let’s not forget that Old Yeller was put down after turning rabid. Now there’s an appealing image for your brand. You’d think Pluto or Lady & the Tramp would’ve been better choices — or is Disney hoping to steal some of category leader Old Roy’s equity?
user wrote:I read your column almost daily. I love your style and you make points that many of us wish we could make to our upper management. Regarding your piece on Disney’s decision to get into pet merchandise, all I can say is “It’s about time!”
Though I, too find it odd that they used the name of “Ol’ Yeller” on the pet food; that film is forbidden in our home.
My family spent a wonderful weekend in the Magic Kingdom, I was amazed to see that they have a kennel on site for those who like to travel with their four-legged children. Of course, our kids ended up with souvenirs, but when it came to our Lab, we really had to work to find him a toy. While we did find something for our pooch (a little baby Pluto plush toy intended for toddlers and not nearly as drool resistant as items designed to be chewed!), Disney could have gotten a while lot more out of us if they had offered some leashes, collars, real chew toys, etc. If memory serves, Pluto has a house in Toontown that can be used as a retail store. We were amazed that the marketing wizards at Disney could miss such an obvious opportunity.
user wrote:First and foremost there is a cost issue here - someone will have to pay for putting stickers on all those pieces of fruit. Guess who? Secondly there is the handling itself - yet more processing for a simple (and dare I say healthy?) item that does not actually need any additional handling. Thirdly, a question of packaging. Will putting the sticker on also mean selling the fruit in bags, which cost even more and require yet more processing to the fruit to maintain its freshness? About the only good thing in this is that kids will want their parents to buy it but it will be interesting to see whether they also eat it or just collect the stickers and ditch the fruit.
But most people seemed to disagree with us.
user wrote:Is Sam Walton's Ol' Roy still living? Customers seem to buy that brand.
user wrote:You may be surprised at how well the Disney produce program is put together. The depth of program is strong. The company behind this, Imagination Farms, is the only company solely focused on increasing consumption of produce among children. Their program is building to give parents choices for children in every major produce category.
Maybe our opinion is influenced by a memory of our mother trying to get us to eat spinach as a kid by buying “Popeye’s Spinach.” We weren’t buying into it even then…MNB
user Marty Nicholson wrote:While Disney may have forgotten its heritage regarding “Old Yeller”, it certainly is making some very good moves in other areas. Ending its long time relationship with McDonald’s due to the perceived unhealthy connection between some of their products and kids (obesity), and positioning their brand and characters with a new line of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed by Imagination Farms under the Disney Garden label. They have also rolled out branded produce items in Europe (Tesco, of course!) already.
As the U.S. growing seasons begin, consumers will soon see dozens of produce items under the Disney Garden label. Imagination Farms is targeting kids by packaging small fruits and vegetables and ones easy to eat out-of-hand, like cherries, blueberries and fresh-cut apples. Their mission is to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among children! A very worthy goal indeed!
And another MNB
user wrote:You forget that it is not the way Old Yeller died in the movie, it was the way he lived.
On the subject of new competition for Starbucks, one MNB
user wrote:I believe the timing is perfect for Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and McDonald's to undertake a major effort to challenge Starbucks. As a fairly consistent patron of Starbucks, I am starting to wonder whether the company's commitment to the "Starbucks ambience, lifestyle, attitude" has detracted from its commitment to a high quality product. It seems to me that more and more of my visits prove to be disappointing as the product quality is lackluster --- improperly made beverages, cups filled with &frac; foam and 1/4 liquid. All in all, I find that companies such as Dunkin Donuts provide a more consistent product than does Starbucks and I believe they will be able to capitalize upon this key point of difference as they challenge for more revenue.
The acts of lounging at Starbucks and enjoying a quality beverage are not mutually exclusive -- as the product quality starts to decline so too will the number of folks lounging in the stores. Frankly, five years from now, I believe we will be talking about the over-expansion of Starbucks and how it diminished the value of the brand.
We covered the Senate’s inability to pass a permanent estate tax ban last week, which also resulted in some email.
user wrote:You can argue forever on what the correct answer is but the fact that the money has already has been taxed as income once seems pretty clear to me that this tax needs to go away. It also often hurts families at a time when most could probably use some help. As far as the deficit; although it is out of control currently fiscal responsibility is the key (Clinton had a cash surplus when he left office). As everyone knows the key to financial success is not how much you make (Taxes) but how much you save (Financial responsibility).
user wrote:It ain’t a death tax, no matter how you look at it. The dead aren’t being taxed. The beneficiaries of the estate are being taxed. Inheritance is income not a birthright.MNB
user Ray England had a recommendation:In my opinion, the estate tax is just another example of the US Government imposing its power into the everyday lives of ordinary and not so ordinary families. It is another example of an effort to redistribute wealth. No different than our income tax code and the multiple entitlement programs our tax money supports. This type of government strong handedness impacts every individual and business.
Think about a thriving family business that looses the head of the family and the company in a tragic accident resulting in a tax bill for that company of forty or fifty million in estate taxes to the government. All because of a tragic accident that robbed the company of its leadership and now it’s operating capital. What is the impact on that business and the people that work for it? Why should a company or any individual family have to pay taxes on money that has already been taxed multiple times; regardless of the U.S. deficit? Congress is responsible for creating the deficit. Not individual families or businesses. Ultimately, this is nothing but class warfare at its worst.
Now there is a tax solution out there that I believe provides a solution to both sides of the political isle; liberal or conservative. It satisfies those that want a smaller, more efficient government that has less power over individuals and businesses, and those that are jealous with the success of others and believe that those with the most should pay the most where taxes are concerned. This system of taxation is called the Fair Tax, or House Bill 25 (HR 25).
The Fair Tax does away with all federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, interest income taxes, capital gains taxes, dividend taxes and the inheritance tax for business and individuals. All of these taxes are replaced with a national sales tax of 23%...
…Who is against this bill? Politicians and lobbyists are. Why? Because politicians enjoy the power to tax or not to tax and lobbyists make a living gaming the system. Check out your Congressman’s web site to look at their current legislation and count how many have to do with amending the Federal Income Tax code of 1986. A tax code amended some 10,000 times in the last 16 years.
You may choose not to post my response on your site and that’s cool but perhaps you will take the time to do some research on the Fair Tax and judge its merits for yourself. If you do choose to post it, I hope that those not familiar with the Fair Tax take the time to check it out. It could be the best thing ever for our economy and business success of all types.
Finally, we had a piece last week about all the speculation surrounding a 125,000 square foot building in Jane, Missouri, that is located behind a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The building is owned by Wal-Mart, but not open to the public; in fact, even the county assessor had to sign a nondisclosure agreement just to get in for an inspection. And nobody seems to know what’s in there, though some feel it is where Wal-Mart does all its data analysis.
But one MNB
user seems sure of another possibility:I think that is where all the union people are held and the FBI should take a look for Jimmy Hoffa there as well. I’m just kidding, sort of…
Hey, Hoffa was a union organizer, and Wal-Mart is assiduously anti-union.
Coincidence? We think not…