Published on: March 31, 2010
Commenting on a story the other day about how many ministers in Chicago have come out in support of allowing Walmart to build more stores there, I wondered if it is fair to say that ministers are more connected to the needs of the local community than the union activists who oppose Walmart expanding there.
Which led MNB user Harry Hamil to write:Hell no! Kevin.
Wal-Mart reduces employment by bankrupting existing local businesses. And what happens to the taxes on those empty buildings. And it is well-known for targeting stores. Later, its prices go back up.
Wal-Mart is a great drain of money out of a community.
Enough! This is my last letter to you because you don't have the ears to hear nor the eyes to see!
That's the definition of a bias, Kevin.
I guess I haven’t run enough of Harry’s emails. Sorry about that.
For the record, I’ve never denied having a bias. MNB is designed, in part, to showcase my biases and to provoke conversation...and I try to put as many different opinions out there as possible.
But I don’t think most people would suggest that I have a pro-Walmart bias. I’m just trying to be fair.
I also don’t have a pro-cleric bias. Just ask the nuns who would roll their eyes and describe me to my parents as “a challenge.”
Another MNB user disputes the positive reviews Walmart has been getting for its effort to buy from local farmers:My take is simple. This is largely for show and to raise questions in the minds of the pundits, etc. If Wal-Mart finds some farmers they can buy from, fine. If not, fine. Wal-Mart has always been good at recognizing good ideas of its competitors and then implementing them without letting anything get in the way. It may copy the vertical integration of the meat industry where everything that can be industrialized is owned by them and everything that can't they contract buy. Perdue is probably a good model for that. Everything at Wal-Mart since Sam exited has been pitting suppliers and workers against each other. And, this is the best way to do it in the produce area. Simply put, anyone who does business will get squeezed...
A lot of people would suggest that what you just described is good business done in the consumer’s best interests. Not everybody would, but some.
Regarding the 20 year sentence received by the hacker who was found guilty of massive identity theft, one MNB user wrote:Let's see, this clown gets 20 years but the people responsible for driving the greatest economic collapse in modern times get…oh yeah, a bailout from Hank Paulson. And look, I know the comparison isn't truly valid. This guy should pay the price for his crime, however, I do find it odd that his penalty is pretty strong especially when considered alongside the Wall Street crowd. Makes you wonder.
Five Guys was reported to be the fastest growing restaurant chain in the US, but one MNB user was not impressed:The grease in their french frays is toxic.
But oh so good.
Responding to the story about Daymon losing both the Safeway and Supervalu accounts, MNB user Tal Vance wrote:Safeway and Supervalu have finally realized that the only value added by an in-house broker is administrative help. Daymon and their kind are roadblocks to new suppliers that might bring value to a retailer. Daymon brings value to retailers that are financially "sick" and they think that the "kick back" of funds helps their bottom line. In reality, suppliers raise their price to retailers using in-house brokers to cover the cost of properly handling the account with a direct salesman since the in-house folks don't represent the supplier...they represent the account.
Don't you think that leading retailers like Walmart, Target, and Walgreen's would use these guys if they had real value.
I think the situation may be a little more complicated that the way you describe it. But IU’ll have some more thoughts on it as the days pass.
On another subject, an MNB user wrote:Regarding your post about ice on seafood: we recently bought some scallops at our favorite grocery store. When I unwrapped them to cook them there was at least 3/4 cup of liquid and some remaining ice crystals in the plastic bag. At $12.99 a pound that's really significant. I know the store wasn't trying to cheat us, but I'm going to be more vigilant the next time I buy these. If I were a grocery store I'd make sure my fish counter employees were warned to watch out for this problem and fix it before it happens.
Responding to an activist group’s call for Ronald McDonald to be retired as a mascot because he exerts undue influence on young people to eat fast food, MNB user Mark Wright wrote:He gets them hooked on those insidious Happy Meals and then and then moves them up to the hard stuff - Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese - leaving them to suffer the consequences throughout their tortured, but short, adulthoods.
If you don't believe me, just ask the fat police…there’s a trail of greasy clown-shoe footprints leading right to his house! Oh, and be sure to check with the Department of Salt Intake - they have a file a foot thick on this guy. He's despicable, and he's going down!
And another MNB user wrote:Sorry but saying that Ronald McDonald should be retired because he is bad for children as a spokesperson is like saying Tiger Woods should not endorse any brands because he is bad for marriages..... We are getting way to politically correct on this one. We all have the choice ... Go or don’t go.... Very Simple.
I actually don’t understand the activists’ concerns. I’ve raised three kids, and they’ve eaten their fair share of McDonald’s. But I’m not sure I’ve ever heard them reference or even pay attention to Ronald McDonald.
It is up to me as a parent to regulate how much of the stuff they eat. Sometimes I’ve done a better job than other times....but this is what I signed up for. Thinking that retiring a mascot is going to make an enormous difference is just utter nonsense. And delusional.
On the subject of MillerCoors’ new Vortex Beer, reported on here yesterday, MNB user Chris Esposito wrote:Beer makers would be better suited at trying to develop beers with unique taste rather than gimmicks to sell the swill they offer up. When the consumer can find outstanding, unique beers, with great flavor and depth (think Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Harpoon, etc.), they aren’t going to switch to Vortex because of how the beer pours. Lousy beers is still lousy beer if you pour it from a tap, can or bottle. All I see is them cannibalizing their own sales.
And finally, thanks to the dozens of folks who wrote in to point out that while Eric Clapton made “Cocaine” a hit, the song actually was written by JJ Cale. You’re right...and I should have known that, since I have both versions on my iPod.