retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I wrote last week with some surprise about how many people at a Western Michigan University food marketing conference had not ever bought anything on, or had not even visited the site.

Which led MNB user Phil Censky to write:

What really strikes me about Amazon is how they understand the concept of loyalty. Two programs really stand out: Amazon Prime and Subscribe and Save.

With Amazon Prime (as you've pontificated in the past) and its free 2-day shipping, the more you order, the bigger the savings. Subscribe and Save offers consumers convenience (you never run out of certain stock items) and it offers brand loyalty to the manufacturers (and to Amazon). If a consumer subscribes to a certain household staple category (food or nonfood) via Amazon, what's the likelihood that they'll ever go back to traditional brick and mortar retailers for that category?

Time to rethink the leakage tree and who the competition is.


MNB user Doug Hessinger had this response to Michael Sansolo’s paean to the Wii:

Like yourself, I just recently had the opportunity to play a few Wii games - a long stretch from the "model T" Pong and Atari games I used to have as a kid (wish I'd kept them now as they're probably becoming a collector's item..). While amazed, I was also somewhat disheartened to realize that I was actually beginning to tire and breath hard while playing the boxing game - then realized that I was actually exercising! (Please, no comment as to my obviously being out of shape.)

But on the Today Show this morning, there was a report that physical therapists are using Wii for their rehab patients. Great idea, and while Nintendo probably had no intention of this, it presents a great opportunity to possibly expand their business with program designed for such purposes, benefit a portion of society, create goodwill and receive some good press.

Who knows, perhaps one day moms will be telling their kids to "go play your video game and get some exercise."

MNB user Keith Green had the following question:

In response to the Ukrop’s rBST announcement – Having grown up in Chicago, I have a healthy dose of cynicism and know almost nothing about cows, except that they come from Wisconsin. You could certainly read an announcement like Ukrop’s and assume that means there are NO hormones/additives given to their cows. My question is, do the cows receive other injections/additives that get into our milk? Or is the article just stating that there is one less hormone injection, making the cows and therefore the milk, safer?

Another MNB user wrote, about another issue:

I read with interest the article about economists thinking that the US has slid into recession. The article sites the slow-down of retail sales as one of many reasons for the slow-down.

I continue to be dumbfounded that retail companies continue to outsource middle class jobs to other countries who do not purchase their products and yet they don’t see the correlation between lower sales and that outsourcing.

I'd like to assure those companies that outsource that family and friends of people who work for companies that outsource are thinking twice about buying from those companies.

And, because the discussion here about the nature of sin hasn’t quite ended, MNB user Glen Terbeek chimed in:

Maybe the energy spent discussing the seven dealing sins of the Catholic church by the followers of MNB should be redirected to the discussion of the seven deadly sins committed in the Supermarket Industry.

Let me start the list off by suggesting that the current "false economics" of trade dollars might be number one. I am sure that your readers can add and debate many others.

I think there is room for both discussions…but maybe that’s just me.

MNB user Dan Murphy wrote:

Delighted to see the thought provoking discussion regarding ethics, sin, science and the relationship of the food business to all three matters. Could not agree more with those of your readers who feel that discussion of serious and challenging matters such as these is not any sort of attack on anyone, and if I am not terribly wrong about a central tenet of Catholicism, the matter of an informed conscience is of central significance -- so a spirited discussion is if anything rather useful.

I did need to take issue with the reader who commented that that the Catholic hierarchy hates science. This is an incorrect, though easily digested assertion (think planet of the apes with the “inherent contradiction of being minister of science and defender of the faith!”). Yes, they surely sought to suppress Galileo and any number of others. I hasten to point out though, that that was some 500 years ago, and that although slow, the church understanding and philosophy changes (witness Vatican II). In a similar way I suspect you Kevin, and many of your readers have changed their thoughts and understandings over their lives to this point (surely I know I think differently now than when I was a teenager- although I am unsure if I think more clearly or better in any way).

It bears noting for the record that unlike many more fundamentalist philosophies Catholic doctrine supports the Big Bang (Georges Lemaitre was in fact a Catholic cleric), the theory of evolution, and evolution is taught in Catholic schools (which I bring up only because so many others did). The church has no particular issue with the notion of life on other planets (life everywhere in the universe is a divine creation), and taking a larger view, if I am not terribly mistaken there are and have always been plenty of religious scientists, not only of the Catholic and other Christian flavors but I think it safe to say Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and many others. God and science are not at all mutually exclusive and I assert that any dogmatic repetition that it must be so because Charlton Heston said so, or because it seems so obvious having been shown as axiomatic in TV and movies for 80 years is as equally ignorant a position as is that of anyone who would use their faith to proclaim that all human efforts to understand and improve the world we live in is the devil’s work.

It is a matter of some pride here that there cannot be that many business-oriented websites where the readers write in to talk about people like Georges Lemaitre.

And, an email from an MNB user that I found particularly amusing:

Does God creating Eve from Adam’s rib count as genetic manipulation?

Excellent question.

Of course, I’ll probably go to hell for reprinting it…

KC's View: