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    Published on: March 1, 2007

    To hear Kevin Coupe’s weekly radio commentary, click on the “MNB Radio” icon on the left hand side of the home page, or just go to:

    Or, to simply read the commentary in text form, continue below…

    Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe, and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, brought to you by Webstop, your first stop for retail website design services.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference…or maybe it is the confluence…of effectiveness and efficiency. Ideally, it seems to me, companies should try to pursue both simultaneously…but it is when efficiency becomes the primary goal, even when sacrificing some of the essential values that caused the business to be created to begin with, that a company really begins to suffer. Customers can tell pretty quickly when there has been a shift in priorities, and so can employees. The result is rarely a good one.

    This week alone, the struggle between efficiency and effectiveness has come into sharp relief with the reporting on two companies – Whole Foods and Starbucks – that have been far more than just retail entities. They’ve become cultural icons, because they have represented something more than the selling of organic and natural foods and coffee. And so, when there is even a hint that shifting priorities may be altering the DNA that allowed them to occupy special positions in consumers’ consciousness, there is an almost immediate backlash.

    At Whole Foods, where the company is acquiring Wild Oats, the question is whether management has grown to be out of synch with its core consumers – who in fact may view the retailer as being too big, too mainstream, to effectively represent their interests and priorities. Whole Foods management has to figure out how to manage the often conflicting expectations of Main Street and Wall Street – growing and becoming more efficient while at the same time not losing the essence that has made Whole Foods so special.

    Starbucks actually managed to get ahead of the criticism when a memo by company chairman Howard Schultz questioned whether the company was moving away from its core competency – coffee – and from the theatrical and unique in-store experiences that were the foundation for the company’s growth. The suggestion seems to be that if it is not careful Starbucks could become this year’s Krispy Kreme…though I suspect that this isn’t likely to happen. I haven’t had a Krispy Kreme doughnut for some two years, but I can’t imagine going that long without drinking a venti skim latte. And I think there are a lot of people who would feel the same way…and besides, I think Starbucks’ management is a lot more on the ball than Krispy Kreme’s.

    Last week, I had a couple of speeches in Florida, which meant I had the opportunity to do something I hadn’t done in a while – do the theme park thing. On my own I wouldn’t have dreamed of it, but my 12-year-old daughter hadn’t been to Disney World, so we figured it was now or never. (Besides, I figure I’m now done with the Disney experience until I have grandchildren, which is probably more than a few years away.)

    I mention this because it’s been years since I last went to Disney, and my general impression of the Magic Kingdom was of a theme park that is suffering from wear and tear…which is very different from what Disney would have you believe. It was like the folks at Disney have been so focused on cramming as many people into the parks as possible, and getting as much money from them as possible, that the magic of the experience has somehow been diminished. Epcot and the Disney/MGM studios were marginally better, but not much…though I have to say that the Mission: Space ride in Epcot may be the single best ride I’ve ever been on.

    For the most part, I think that perhaps Disney may be losing its way a bit, by focusing more on efficiency than effectiveness. It isn’t wildly obvious because there are so many people in the park, but I think it is likely to become more evident over time unless management steps in and does something about it.

    Think about it. Disney. Whole Foods. Starbucks. Three companies that are more than just companies, and they are all facing the same basic problem.

    Now think about your company. Do you have the same issues? Are you dealing with them, or ignoring them?

    If you have them, and you aren’t facing them head-on, then you are making a mistake that could, in the long run, be fatal.

    For MorningNewsBeat Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    USA Today reports that retailers who sell contaminated food are the target of a California law and proposed federal regulations that require that the names of these retailers be disclosed in the event of a food safety crisis.

    The California law takes effect on July 1, and “will authorize health officials in that state to inform consumers which retailers sold meat and poultry covered by the most serious recalls,” according to the paper. “The national proposal comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which wants to post retailer names and store locations on its website for all meat and poultry recalls. The agency expects to finalize its plans by year's end. If it follows through, it will break ranks with the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees other food recalls. The FDA has no plans to release retailer names, as it considers them confidential business information.”

    Among those fighting the federal proposal are the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), which believe that recalls will be less effective if retailers are named. Their concern seems to be that in the event of a recall, consumers will pay attention only to where the products were bought rather than the products being recalled…and are more likely to eat contaminated food. Another concern is that by identifying retailers, manufacturers essentially will be making their customer lists public, and both retailers and manufacturers would prefer that this information remain confidential.
    KC's View:
    It seems to us that at some level, the argument against retailer name disclosure is obsolete, because if consumers really wanted to create such a list and make it public – without the cooperation of the food industry – the Internet makes it entirely feasible to do so. In fact, it probably would be easy…and then the names would be out there anyway, and retailers would have to deal with the fact that they didn’t want the data made public.

    It’s 2007. In a lot of ways, there is no such thing as confidentiality.

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    • The New York Stock Exchange reportedly has informed Wal-Mart that it did not violate exchange rules – a charge made by the AFL-CIO – by how it deals with compensation consultants.

    The AFL-CIO charged that Wal-Mart broke the exchange rules because the consultants report to management instead of only to corporate directors.

    "We're not in violation of any New York Stock Exchange rule," Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley tells the Wall Street Journal. He blamed the complaint on a misunderstanding, saying "the shareholder has confused a compensation consultant hired by management with the matter of a separate compensation consultant that may be hired by the board's compensation committee to advise on executive compensation."

    • There are numerous published reports about Wal-Mart being urged to diversify its focus.

    One piece, in Washington State’s The Herald, quotes CFO Tom Schoewe as telling an analysts conference that the company saw no need to split itself into multiple companies as a way of generating cash and building shareholder value. "We don't see any need at all to be considering the kinds of alternatives that you're talking about. It's just not necessary," Schoewe said.

    And Schoewe said that there remains plenty of room for expansion both in the US and abroad.

    Other media reports in Europe suggest that Wal-Mart may be considering the development of a new format for the US that would allow it to compete more effectively with Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets.
    KC's View:
    Wal-Mart, of course, already has a smaller format – coincidentally enough, called Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

    Maybe what the Bentonville Behemoth really has to do is figure out a way to ramp up the ROI for the Neighborhood Market format, which we’re told is the biggest reason that it has not rolled it out with the same sort of aggression that was planned just a few years ago.

    We’ve been saying all along in this space that the Tesco incursion in the US would end up being a prime motivator to get Wal-Mart to get more ambitious with its Neighborhood Market concept…especially because in addition to Tesco’s stated plans for Arizona, Nevada and Southern California (the latter of which has been problematic for Wal-Mart’s supercenter expansion goals), there now are reports that the UK-based retailer is looking at sites in the Denver area. If Tesco is in Southern California, we think that it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to imagine that it has specific plans for San Francisco, Portland (Oregon) and Seattle.

    And we’d be willing to venture a guess that Tesco probably has teams on the ground in places like Dallas, Houston, Austin, Chicago and other densely populated areas.

    We actually wonder if Wal-Mart would be better served by thinking a little less and acting on instinct a little more. Pay less attention to the consultants and analysts…and just go out and be Wal-Mart.

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    The Bellingham Herald reports that Washington State’s Whatcom County has “banned for six months new big box stores in unincorporated areas, becoming the fourth jurisdiction here to impose temporary or permanent bans on large retail development.” The moratorium on big box stores applies to any unit larger than 75,000 square feet.

    The paper says that Bellingham, Washington, has permanently banned all stores larger than 90,000 square feet, while Ferndale has a temporary ban on stores bigger than 75,000 square feet, and Lynden has a permanent ban on stores larger than 65,000 square feet.
    KC's View:
    Like it or not, consumers have every right to dictate such conditions for the communities where they live…just as consumers become more empowered every day to take control over the shopping experiences and the foods they enjoy.

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    The Arizona Republic reports that Bashas’ has begun adding shade canopies to several of its parking lots and plans to add more – all in the name of giving its customers a little protection from the blistering heat of summer…not to mention providing a differential advantage not offered by competitors such as Fry's Food Stores of Arizona and Safeway.

    "All the grocers out there are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition,” Steve Klett a retail analyst with Ernst & Young, tells the paper. “Bashas' is kind of the home-grown guy. They have tried unusual things and unusual locations others won't go into. They continue to be innovative and get people to come into Bashas'."
    KC's View:
    You’d think that giving people shade to protect them from the hot sun would be an easy tactic…but things always are more complicated than they seem.

    Good for Bashas’.

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    The Times of London reports that starting today, all advertisements for food and beverages in France must include a health warning – one of four messages developed by the government – designed to help fight the nation’s obesity crisis. According to the story, “Manufacturers must display one of four messages on broadcast commercials and print and internet adverts or pay a fine of 1.5 per cent of their total advertising budget to a national health fund.”

    The mandated messages include:

    • “For your health avoid eating food with too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt.”
    • “For your health avoid snacking between meals.”
    • “For your health eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day.”
    • “For your health undertake regular physical activity.”

    The Times writes, “With its tradition of good food and regular eating habits, France suffers less from obesity than any other European nation except Norway, according to EU statistics. However the authorities have been alarmed by a steep rise in weight in recent years.”

    Still, despite the efforts, consumer groups say the government isn’t doing enough – and have called for a complete ban on all food and beverage advertising to children.
    KC's View:
    Maybe this is just us, but we think that the French government ought to worry more about smoking than obesity. The obesity rate may be lower than most places, but we suspect that the lung cancer rate is high.

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    • The Financial Times reports that Tesco has identified a new and high profile location for one of its Southern California stores – “7021 Hollywood Boulevard, in a building that overlooks the famous names celebrated in pavement stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is also just a block from the Kodak Theater, site of the annual Oscar ceremonies.” The site is generally loaded with tourists, as well as being near numerous residential buildings – and is expected to be a big performer for Tesco.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) issued the following member alert yesterday:

    “On Monday, March 5, 2007, the FDA and USDA will begin conducting a joint agency Food Defense Surveillance Assignment to assess the state of readiness should there be a need to identify and trace back food products from retail, food service and schools. The agencies want to emphasize that this is only a test, and there is NO real threat.

    “Here are the details:

    • “Approximately 148 state and local regulatory jurisdictions will each be visiting up to 5 facilities during the week of March 5 through March 9, to conduct a routine inspection, collect trace-back information, and potentially collect product samples.”

    • “The facilities visited will include retail food stores, restaurants, food service operations and schools serving lunch.”

    • “The targeted product for this “assignment” is tomato-based pasta sauce, with or without meat, and may include certain spices such as basil and oregano. The targeted product may include canned or jarred product from a manufacturer, product made on site or at central kitchens, or product that is received in bulk and assembled or portioned.”

    • “If your facility is visited, the inspector will identify why they are there and provide the store manager with a statement explaining the purpose of the assignment. They will emphasize that this is a test and there is no real threat.”

    • “The primary purpose of the assignment is to test the trace back system. You will be asked to provide whatever information you have available on the ‘immediate previous source’ in order to trace back the product (‘one-step’ back).

    • “During the following 3 weeks (March 12 through March 30) the inspectors will continue to test the trace back system by visiting distribution centers, wholesalers, warehouses, and manufacturers to determine how effective the ‘immediate previous source’ (one-step back) system is working.

    • “FDA acknowledged that not all facilities or products are covered under the Bioterrorism Act Record Keeping Rules; regardless, they will still ask for such records to determine how effectively they could respond to a potential threat or if the alert level were to be elevated.”

    • “FDA and USDA assured us that this is not a regulatory compliance exercise.”

    FMI has scheduled a conference call for its members, to take place at 4 pm EST today. For more information contact FMI at 202-452-8444.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    The Los Angeles Times reports that “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has put a damper on hopes for legislation to protect consumers from lethal bacterial contamination of California-grown lettuce and spinach, saying he favors a voluntary, industry-run program to impose controls on growers.” Schwarzenegger appears to be resisting legislation proposed by state Sen. Dean Florez, who wants to “require state health certification and inspection of farms growing leafy greens,” according to the Times.

    The California agricultural community largely opposes state mandates, according to the Times, preferring a voluntary approach.

    Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the governor, tells the Times that Schwarzenegger "prefers an industry-regulated solution, but his top priority is public safety." He directed state agencies to help the industry "develop strict agricultural practices" for its new program.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that Marks & Spencer does not plan to make a bid for J. Sainsbury – “at this time.”

    According to the report, M&S CEO Stuart Rose seemed to give some credence to the notion earlier this week, saying, “It's an interesting idea because assets like this don't come on the market very often. And the company effectively is in play and your shareholders would think you're an idiot if you didn't consider it.

    "But it's one thing thinking about something over a glass of wine, it's quite another going down that road," Rose said.

    Other companies said to be considering bids for Sainsbury include Wal-Mart’s Asda Group and a consortium of private equity groups that would include CVC Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Ltd. and Blackstone Group International.
    KC's View:
    Must be a helluva glass of wine…

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    • The Seattle Times reports on how deli sales are growing in the Pacific Northwest, in part because deli foods are getting increasingly sophisticated and expensive. According to the Times, “Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market and other chains say their prices represent the cost of providing quality food and a diverse selection…but the price also reflects the cost of employing all those working behind the scenes to prepare selections and keep bins and kettles filled, the highly trained positions such as cheese and wine stewards, the inviting environment and the high rent of being near where we live and work.

    Nation’s Restaurant News reports that Dunkin’ Donuts’ newest store, scheduled to open on Friday in Philadelphia, is slated to offer a broadened range of all-day menu items including “a line of flatbread sandwiches filled with a choice of three cheeses, ham and cheese, or turkey, bacon and cheese. Personal breakfast pizzas, topped with egg and cheese, or sausage, egg and cheese, also are being rolled out.” The store also will feature “a new logo and a warm bakery display at the front counter.”

    • McDonald’s president/COO Ralph Alvarez reportedly told an investors conference that the fast feeder is considering adding smoothies, iced coffee and other specialty coffees to its menu, calling them “destination beverages” that would attract new customers.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    • Longs Drug Stores reports that its fourth quarter profit was down 24 percent to $26.9 million, from $35.4 million in the year-ago period. Q4 sales rose 8 percent to $1.34 billion from $1.24 billion last year, with same-store sales up 2.1 percent.

    For the full year, the company posted net income of $74.5 million, up slightly from $73.9 million in 2005. Revenue rose to $5.1 billion from $4.67 billion.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 1, 2007

    Lots of reaction to yesterday’s lead story and analysis of the news that A&P is negotiating to acquire Pathmark.

    Our opinion: We wrote once that we could imagine no worse news than coming to work in the morning and finding out that A&P is about to acquire your company. We see no reason the adjust that thinking.

    A combined A&P-Pathmark chain might be bigger, but we see no reason to think that it would be any better positioned to be more competitive, more innovative, more imaginative.

    We have remarked previously than it has often seemed like the changing of the seasons seemingly have always been accompanied by press releases from A&P announcing a new restructuring, a new strategic plan, a new this or a new that. (This is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.) They say that the company’s new president/CEO, Eric Claus, is beginning to make a difference…but perhaps we’re just grown weary of the same message and the ineffective implementation over too long a period of time.

    As for Pathmark…well, we’ve already picked on them this week when we criticized the company’s decision to start selling Subway-brand meats and cheeses in its deli department, suggesting that this is symptomatic of an industry too willing to promote enemy brands.

    We would also suggest that the analysts saying that a combined A&P-Pathmark chain is better positioned to compete with a combined Whole Foods-Wild oats chain may be spending too little time shopping…because we don’t think they’re even on the same retailing planet.

    MNB user Mike Griswold wrote:

    Agree completely with your view. Clearly this is a case of the blind leading the blind.

    Another MNB user wrote:

    I happened to be in an A&P and a Whole Foods this week (an anomaly I'll admit). You couldn't be more accurate about them being on "totally different retail planets". Anyone who thinks this new proposed combination would in any way cause Whole Foods to pause/care/worry is on that different retailing planet as well.

    One MNB user wrote:

    Am I the only one whom thinks Ron Burkle is at it again....?

    If this transaction takes place, would Pathmark executives (Greg Mays and John Shields, will be free soon too!) wind up part of the A&P team, and Yucaipa a major stockholder and then continue to look for acquisitions? Isn't it possible he is looking to do something similar to the roll up he did with Smiths, Fred Meyer and Ralph's? There was a rumor that A&P was trying to buy Stop & Shop too.... maybe that's the roll up???

    We suspect that the story isn’t over…you’re certainly right about that.

    MNB user David Livingston wrote:

    I think we are going to hear enough conclusions that A&P will simply ruin Pathmark like they did with every other acquisition…I don't recall ever finding any supermarkets that went up in volume after A&P took over. Think about it.

    Despite the lack of execution at store level, A&P has managed to get their stock price up, which to investors it the most important thing. Odd how stock price and the ability to run supermarkets and make a profit can be so mutually exclusive. I got a kick out of reading "biggest advantage is that A&P, which has proven successful in the suburbs." I wonder how they define successful? Market after market we find A&P's overall sales per square foot to be consistently 20-30% below the market average. When A&P gets above being 20% or less below average, they call that successful.

    Another MNB user had some thoughts about the continuing debate over whether supermarkets should carry fast-food branded packaged products:

    Had one of those thoughts from out of the blue while I was at the gym this morning...(and you thought we all forgot about you after we finished reading MNB each morning...!)

    A supermarket carrying another supermarket's private label is sheer folly, for any of a hundred reasons.

    A supermarket carrying a restaurant's brand, however, might not be as crazy as you think.

    We live a long, long way from a White Castle or a Skyline Chili parlour (like 1500 miles long) -- and as much as I try to eat healthy, sometimes a slider or a five-way just sounds really good. Not a problem -- I can swing through the grocery and fix the craving – and pick up salad makings to assuage the guilt. (I can also make the choice to only have a couple of sliders and skip the fries...or only eat half the chili now, and save half for lunch tomorrow -- while still possible, much harder to do at the actual restaurant!)

    My other thought is that if someone is buying, say, Subway meats at a grocery, the decision has already been made -- that consumer is going to make a sandwich, not pop over to the nearest Subway. There's an argument to be made that the consumer expects Subway deli meats to be as good as at the sandwich shop, so why shouldn't Subway (and by extension, the grocery) profit from the decision that was made?

    Yes, I know, the price will likely be higher than standard meats...and the profits earned are little less for each party (Subway as a licenser, the manufacturer as the licensee, the grocery, etc.) -- but brand awareness is brand awareness.

    Just a different train of thought....

    We can think of products for which exceptions could be made, and we understand the rationale.

    But in the end, we think that supermarkets are in a war – a war for their very existence. And if they don’t start acting that way, they’re facing irrelevance and obsolescence.

    Food safety is an ongoing topic here on MNB, and one member of the MNB community offered the following thoughts on the subject:

    To make the food supply safer, there are a few things to do. First, the FDA Food Code is a couple of hundred pages long (400+ if you include annexes) and getting longer all the time, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have studied foodborne illness outbreaks and found there are five main causes:

    • Food from unsafe sources
    • Inadequate cooking
    • Improper holding temperatures
    • Poor personal hygiene (including improper hand washing)
    • Contaminated equipment

    If the code reflected the extreme importance of these items, we could reduce the length of the code considerably and get operators to focus on the real problem areas rather than dilute their attention they give these most critical areas. Operators have to consider all possible violations though, since any repeat violations could cause them to lose their licenses to operate even if they weren't these most critical ones.

    Second, there is a need to increase sampling for likely pathogens (microorganisms that cause illness) based upon the product type and processing. Visual inspection CANNOT detect microbial contamination. Even a piece of equipment that looks "clean" can still have microbial contamination.

    Third, and likely the most difficult, there needs to be a single agency responsible for food safety. A good part of the infrastructure already exists within the FDA and USDA without creating a new agency. Can't meat and poultry fit under the heading of food in the Food and Drug Administration? Also, the USDA has a conflict of interest since it also is charged with promoting agricultural commodities. This change would provide better, unbiased safety information (such as Mad Cow) as it relates to consumers. It would also clear up which agency regulates what and standardize cooking temperatures for food.

    Fourth, the new meat and poultry inspection system needs to reduce the regulation for "constant supervision" during operation. No other food industry in the U.S. (and maybe no other industry period) is inspected in the same manner. It is not cost feasible and the industry gets a free/low cost inspection and grading service. By re-working the
    regulations, more money could be used for other preventative programs (like laboratory analysis) and still work within budget constraints. If constant supervision was the answer to food safety issues, we shouldn't have any meat recalls. We should re-allocate these people into different sectors of food safety as well as food security/defense.

    We reported yesterday the NYC Board of Health is considering changes to the regulations would mandate that chain restaurants and fast food chains provide calorie information on their menus or menu boards, and one MNB user responded:

    So the New York Board of Health continues to debate nutrition issues while video of a rat infested Taco Bell makes it around on the Internet and newscasts nationwide. Where are the priorities? The Board of Health should get out of the nutrition business and focus its energy on its REAL job. Actually, I think that statement works on many different levels for all of government. Let people have freedom of choice.

    Wasn't that the founding principle in our country? By the way, some people can be chain smoking, beer guzzling, fast food fanatics and live until they're 80 or 90 while other people stress about everything they do/eat and die at 50. When will we finally make the connection that STRESS (and how people handle it/don't handle it) is the biggest predictor of future health problems?

    On the subject of Whole Foods, MNB user Gunther M. Brinkman wrote:

    Has Whole Foods moved too far to the middle, or have the trailblazing consumers who fueled its growth found a new wilderness to conquer?

    It seems to me that the kind of activist shopper who found Whole Foods (and Wild Oats, and Fresh Fields, etc.) so appealing ten years ago is the same kind of consumer who will abandon a concept when it is embraced by the mass market. Whole Foods hasn't changed, the rest of the world has caught up with it, so the activist consumers need to find a new way to distance themselves from the mass.

    To paraphrase Groucho: "I wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have soccer moms as a member."

    Finally, we had a piece the other day about a new survey lauding Wegmans as the nation’s fifth-best company in terms of customer service.

    Which led one MNB user – a Publix executive – to write:

    I am disappointed in your personal bias. Just a few days ago, when the University of Michigan ASCI study released it's survey results, you downplayed the significance of that report. You talked about the economy and how it was adversely affecting the survey results being reflected. Yet, after reading this similar report by Business Week, you seem to glorify Wegmans, whom wasn't even listed on the ASCI study. It would appear that you only wanted to give spotlight to Wegmans. They are deserving of good press, don't get me wrong. I fully believe that Wegman's may be the best in the industry in Customer Service. But to downplay another report implies bias on your part of reporting the story.

    We actually responded to this email personally:

    To be clear, our criticism of the ASCI report had to do with its suggestion that it was predictive of a strong economy...which we thought was a stretch. The Business Week story makes no such claim.

    We’re sorry you seem to think that we have a bias toward Wegmans and, by implication, against Publix. Not true.

    And this MNB user wrote back:

    It was not that I thought you were posting anything against Publix but rather a lack of commendation that we scored so highly on the ASCI. Not even a comment on Publix's increase over the prior year. As you may understand from the daily comments from your readers, your comments actually get read better than the actual news you comment on. After having to read all of the criticism the prior week about Publix, I thought we got a small amount of vindication in the ASCI results....but no commentary by you. Follow that up with today's comments on Wegman's and I felt like Publix got slighted.

    It is your column and you can print anything you wish, but it would be nice to read something positive after having been 'beat up' the prior week in the comments.

    It’s true…Publix did get beaten up a little bit a few weeks ago by some MNB users who thought that the retailer lost a little something off its fastball.

    Listen, everybody gets beaten up from time to time. We think the world of Publix, but our feeling is that we all learn more from criticism than praise…

    And by the way, we also think it is remarkable that this Publix executive feels invested enough in the company to object to perceived slights. That alone says a lot about the company.
    KC's View: