Published on: December 3, 2008
Responding to yesterday’s story about how Whole Foods is apparently using the FTC’s continuing effort to unravel its acquisition of Wild Oats as a way to subpoena the marketing plans and financial records of competitors like Oregon’s New Seasons Markets, one MNB
user wrote:As a consumer who lives in the Portland area, I have to believe that Whole Foods is taking an enormous risk knowing how civic-minded the residents are. If the big organic chain wants to give the local competitor this kind of trouble, there is a likelihood that they will suddenly see a precipitous drop in sales due to a local boycott.
On casual glance, Whole Foods business here seemed to be tenuous anyway. I was in the local Whole Foods a few days before Thanksgiving and there were not a lot of people in the store. I also went to Trader Joe's and Costco that same day and they were crowded and very busy.
The FTC case with Whole Foods is clearly a waste of time and taxpayer dollars and seems to be the product of some disgruntled attorney who did not get his/her way. But Whole Foods needs to be very careful about not alienating its consumer base by acting in the same fashion as the FTC.
The more I think about the Whole Foods strategy the more I am utterly disgusted by it.MNB
user Mike Griswold wrote:Agree completely with you on this. So far, Whole Foods has been able to play the “victim” card and we all know the FTC has very few friends relative to this topic.
However, that perception will change quickly if Whole Foods is perceived as taking advantage of their “plight” to improve their competitive position.
There was the earthshaking news yesterday from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) that the US is in a recession and has been for more than a year, proving that if you want an accurate economic reading, you are better off going to consumers than to economists. MNB
user JJ Bepko observed:We probably are in the midst of a recession, but I am surprised by the definition used by the NBER. What exactly constitutes a “significant decline”?
It seems like the best definition of a recession I have ever heard is 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth in the GDP. It is simple and more importantly quantifiable.
Don't care how you measure it. This is a recession.
I made the observation yesterday that best I can tell, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to drop the ball, then deny that it has dropped the ball, then question what dropping the ball really means. If these are our tax dollars at work, I’d like to ask for an audit.
To which one MNB
user responded:Hear Hear!
An audit of how our tax dollars are being spent! Absolutely! And while we're at it, add a law that no longer allows Congress to vote itself pay raises…
Regarding the Black Friday Walmart stampede that resulted in the death-by-trampling of a temp worker, one MNB
user wrote:I’ve read reports that said that Walmart knew that there was unrest in the crowd more than an hour before they were due to open. At that point they should have called in more reinforcements, including the local police, to guarantee the safety of their customers OUTSIDE and their employees inside.
It’s easy to second-guess the people who made the decisions in this situation. The Walmart store manager and their security details had no way of knowing what mindless barbarians waited at their gates; they could not have foreseen that humans would break down a set of doors and trample other humans inside to get to cheap electronics.
However, these professionals could have seen the unrest and testiness of the gathering crowd and erred on the side of caution with added security and police protection. Aside from the inevitable legal consequences I’m sure that these individuals will have the images of this horrendous event in their minds forever.
user wrote:Regarding the Wal-Mart trampling death in Valley Stream, NY last Friday, the aspect that troubles me the most -- apart from simply the senseless loss of life -- is this: following this story in the news, talk is of the police straining to try & identify any specific individuals from surveillance video who might then be tracked down for possible prosecution. Absolutely 100% nowhere in any public discussion is the expectation -- common, I suppose in gentler times -- that the guilty parties would simply step forward and say "I was there, I did it, I'm here to face my punishment." It seems to be an utter article of faith in this incident that those who trampled this poor soul to death will simply retreat into the background, hoping (and reasonably expecting) to never be identified. And so, to never have to face any consequences, legal or otherwise.
Why is no one in the media focusing on this aspect of their reprehensible behavior? Have we simply fallen so far as a society that it doesn't even occur to (a) those that killed this man to step out of the shadows and face their days in court, or (b) those in the public media to use their bully pulpit to shame the guilty parties into coming forward? As a society -- call me naive, for sure -- we can do so much better than to simply expect & assume, right from the start, that the guilty parties will just never come forward of their own free will. And thus, not even bother to make an issue of this deplorable societal dynamic.
And another MNB
user wrote:I suppose the next step is for all the stampeders to now sue W-M for false advertising, in that they advertised specials, then had to close the store down because of the idiots trying to get in trampled some poor man to death, thereby not really offering the items at the advertised prices.
Just how do you train someone for crowd control anyway?
Tragedy all around.
I understand that there is going to be a good deal of cynicism about this case and the inevitable lawsuits that will result.
But I don't even want to hear the words “frivolous lawsuit” used to describe any legal action in this case.
Because there is nothing frivolous about this case. Nothing.
Reacting to Michael Sansolo’s column yesterday, MNB
user Ken Wagar wrote:There is a reason our parents have been referred to as part of “The Greatest Generation” and Kudos to Michael for taking his to the WWII Memorial. My parents are in poor health and won’t be able to make that journey which I firmly believe would mean so much to them. I’m very happy that Michael was both able and insightful enough to make it happen for his parents.