retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Mixed reactions to MNB’s coverage of the Walmart annual meetings…

MNB user John Giggy wrote:

Kevin, I really have enjoyed your commentary on the Walmart Shareholders meeting. My only regret is that I didn’t get to Bonefish to meet you. I have been reading your column religiously since early ‘03 when Fleming was going down the tubes. Fortunately the department I worked in at Fleming (advertising/marketing) was spun off in the fall of ‘02 to a company that became an outsource for Fleming before they crashed the following year. The company that absorbed our department also handled the print buying for Sam’s Clubs so after Fleming closed I was sent to Bentonville to manage our office here. While working inside the Sam’s offices I turned a number of Sam’s management team on to your column and know that at least one of their letters has appeared in “Your Views”. I retired in the summer of ’06 but still live in the Bentonville area and continue to read your column daily. I look forward to spending part of my morning each day keeping up with the latest in the industry I was part of for 40 years.

Thanks, John. That means more than you know.

But another MNB user wasn't so impressed:

Congratulations, you drank the Kool-Aid!

Commenting on the fact that Michael Jordan appeared at the Walmart annual meeting, I innocently asked what the expiration date might be on Jordan’s basketball fame, and when he might be better known as an underwear salesman.

MNB user Brian List wrote:

I don’t know, man, he’s the greatest basketball player of all time. It will be while before people forget about Jordan. Unless Lebron starts winning championships, and I don’t think Kobe is on his level, even though he’s won a lot.

It really was just an idle query…nothing against Jordan. But at a certain point, Joe DiMaggio became the Mr. Coffee guy, to a generation that did not remember his exploits as a NY Yankee centerfielder (not to mention his being married to Marilyn Monroe).

Got the following excellent email from MNB user Elizabeth Archerd:

One of the most consistent, and incorrect, messages that keeps coming out about the recession is that bad food is the cheapest food option in the recession.

I wish my friend who feeds her family of six organic meals and snacks for $30-40/week could teach the world to cook. Whole grains and beans are sold in bulk at natural food co-ops and other stores and work out to four or five servings per dollar. That leaves plenty for fruit, vegetables and cuts of inexpensive meat that cook all day in a slow-cooker (also cheap) to achieve fantastic flavor.

On the subject of credit vs. debit cards, one MNB user wrote:

I suspect people use "Credit" either because of the rewards or because they don't have the money in their bank account.

Those few of us who understand that it costs the retailer more when we use a credit vs. debit card do not really believe that our use of a debit card will materially change the prices we pay at retail. And most certainly we would not see lower prices sufficient to offset a 2% rebate. Checks bounce and I think the banks charge businesses a per check fee to deposit. Even cash has its expenses for the retailer - that Brinks truck service is not free. A former large gasoline retailer told me that his bank charged him a fee even when he went in person to deposit large sums of money - there is a cost (and risk) of handling that too!

Regarding yesterday’s Sports Desk report, MNB user Al Kober thought I unfairly neglected Tiger Woods’ win at the Memorial Tournament:

I know you are not into golf by many of us are. It was a great last day comeback for the win.

And another MNB user wrote:

Thought you might want to include in your sports update tomorrow that it will be game six of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the Detroit red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the Wings win tomorrow night’s game in Pittsburgh, they take the cup. If not, there will be a game seven back in Detroit.

You’re both right. Golf and hockey are just not on my radar screen. I obviously need to hire some sports reporters…

And I think we’ll make these the final words about the guy who suggested that a promotional program designed to get supermarket employees to use more private label was a massive infringement on their personal freedoms that must have been created by someone named “Hitler, Castro or Obama.”

One MNB user wrote:

As a child of Holocaust survivors what I object to is the use of Hitler's name for something so trivial as a prize contest. The comparison of the racist mastermind of genocide to "Prize Patrol" trivializes the Holocaust. When a retailer decides (and has the power) to murder 8 million people because they shopped at the competition, then we can throw Hitler's name around.

And another MNB user wrote:

Thanks for calling the "wingnut" on his comments. I was massively offended by his comparison of President Obama with Hitler.

Regardless of his opinion, a large (largest in recent history) majority of Americans voted for President Obama. These wingnut "Americans" make me wonder if they truly value democratic ideals, when they seem unable to cope with election results they don't agree with.

Case closed. Time to move on.

KC's View: