retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We have a story today about Walgreen considering a move into the food business, which follows last week’s story about Walgreen testing out some new health care initiatives. Interestingly, we got very different responses to last week’s piece.

MNB user Connie Montgomery wrote:

When is the last time you tried to speak with the Pharmacist at a Walgreens?   The last time I did, I had to wait about 30 minutes. And if you've ever had to wait for an Rx; that is even worse.  So if the Pharmacist stops putting together the Rx's to talk to the Type 2 Diabetes customer, the filling of the Rx is extended even longer.

I can't see this program working well for them.

I shop at Walgreens, but stopped using them for Rx years ago because of their service in the pharmacy.  I go to Wal-Mart or HEB.

But another MNB user wrote:

I took my sister to a Walgreen Clinic recently for her H1N1 and reg. flu shot! It was perfect. In addition they were offering several other vaccinations there, and I would have no issues getting them there as opposed to having to drive the 15 miles to my doctors office and get them. It was clean, professional, and within walking distance for us!

As long as they are clean, sterile, and professional I think they are an awesome idea!

Responding to last week’s news about Procter & Gamble creating a new website for direct selling of some of its products, one MNB user wrote:

This seems like a response to the retailers attempt to diminish the role of branded items and increase the role of private label. The mantra is to have a few branded best sellers and a ton of private label. It is called SKU rationalization.

Basically, P&G loses retail space. They need an alternative. Looks like e-commerce is it. I imagine that there will be efficient home delivery of bulky items like Charmin, Pampers, Iams dry dog food etc “as a convenience to the shopper”. Then they will move to speciality items that have been pushed off of the retail shelves.  If P&G is feeling this pressure, and responding, imagine what is happening to its less sophisticated competitors.

My review of “The Blind Side” last week generated the following response:

You mention “the usual Hollywood approach” re: Blindside.  Two thoughts – first, it’s a true story, so it wasn’t Hollywood in this case.

Second, I tend to notice just the opposite – the trend and subliminal message in the majority of sitcoms and movies is to portray ‘the rich” as evil, greedy, selfish people and they should share their toys and the sandbox.  Especially “white men”.  According to the media, TV, movies, ads – they’re the worst!  Rich white men = “bad”.

Blindside showed there are actually good “rich” people!  Who can be altruistic and unselfish.  It just so happens that Michael Oher was/is “black”.  It’s not the fault of the family who adopted him.  (I loved the pictures at the end of the movie, with the “real” family!! )


I took note last week of the fact that a new Whole Foods being built around the corner from my home will have free charging stations for electric cars - not something you see a lot of in this part of the world. Which prompted one MNB user to write:

Here at our Food Co-op in Burlington we reserved a space for electric cars with free charging when we built our larger store in 2002.  At the time we chose to do this because it was a nice way to reward customers who chose a greener form of transportation.  It’s always interesting to see big business getting press for similar initiatives years down the road for something Co-ops did for the sake of doing the right thing.

We’ve discovered over time that Co-ops are great at providing cutting edge services to our customers well in advance of the corporate industry, we just haven’t been as effective in tooting out own horn. As folks learn more about our food system I suspect that the masses will recognize that food co-ops offer something corporations can’t buy from their ad agencies.

Fair points. All of them.

I mentioned last week that I wouldn’t use the charging stations because IU don’t own an electric car and can actually walk to the store, which prompted one MNB user to write:

I hope that if you are walking to Whole Foods that you are not returning home with one of their shopping carts.

Of course not. I’ll be carrying my genuine, limited edition MNB canvas shopping bags, made by our sponsor, EcoBogs.

Finally, MNB user Katherine Dykes wrote:

A writer who does a fairly obscure Risky Business reference and a Johnny Carson reference in one week will keep me reading!  Thanks so much!

My pleasure. “Obscure references” is practically my middle name.
KC's View: