Published on: July 13, 2010
Loved this email from an MNB user about the proposal made by the US Postal Service (USPS) that first class mail rates be increased from 44 cents to 46 cents:Certainly consistent with the Federal government's version of the Law of Supply-and Demand: When demand goes down, prices go up.
They ought to go talk to Ireland Senator Feargal Quinn, who a long time ago was brought in to run the Irish Post Office when it was in major trouble. If I recall correctly, he reduced prices to a penny...and jump started the whole system. I’m not sure that would work today, since Feargal Quinn did not have to deal with email as a competitor, but I also am pretty sure that he’d figure out a way to compete effectively.
On the difference between lobsters with claws and clawless lobster, one MNB user wrote:I've had the opportunity to compare various lobster types side by side, in particular, Pacific (clawless red), Australian (clawless white), and Maine (clawed red). From my experience, the lobster fishermen have nothing to worry about. The Maine lobster wins, hands down, in terms of tenderness and taste. If I'm going to splurge on lobster, I'm getting Maine lobster and I expect I'm not alone.
We had a piece last week about how the state of Pennsylvania is testing a new concept in wine sales - vending machines that allow people to swipe their drivers’ licenses, blow into a breath sensor, and then buy a bottle of wine using a credit card. The kiosks are being tested inside two supermarkets, and if successful, could lead to its expansion throughout the state.
One MNb user responded:Brilliant! And how are they going to guarantee that the blower is going to be the drinker?
MNB reported that Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, released new poll data showing that 80 percent of Americans want Congress to immediately give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to recall food when it poses a danger to health and safety.
To which one MNB user responded:Ask anyone in the food industry, for all practical purposes FDA already has the "power" to recall food when it poses a danger to health and safety. While these recalls are called "voluntary" they are usually as voluntary as the act of handing your wallet over to a mugger that has a gun pressed to your belly. Actually, giving the FDA the "power" to mandate recalls might actually reduce their number. Many of the "voluntary recalls" you see today for foods involve situations that do not really present any significant danger to health and safety. FDA might be more hesitant to order a recall in some of these situations, perhaps for fear of being held liable for errors such as occurred several years ago when a faulty FDA analysis led to a recall of a major brand of shredded cheese. Frankly, I suspect that FDA would prefer the current "voluntary" approach but stating that position would not be politically correct.
On another subject, MNB user Mike Martin wrote:Johnson & Johnson is viewed as having done a near perfect job handling the cyanide-laced Tylenol crisis in the early 1980s. Apparently, all who were involved are gone from J&J and they developed a bad case of amnesia. They seem to have gone from top to bottom in crisis response, seemingly overnight. It would make a good case study to determine what changed within the organization to allow the most recent miscues to happen.
The other day I wrote a piece suggesting that postcards were old world technology that eventually will be obsolete because people will simply email pictures or post them on Facebook, which led MNB userBrian Fox to disagree vociferously, suggesting that his grandchildren love getting postcards. I suggested, tongue in cheek, that these same grandkids probably also liked watching Super 8 movies of his vacations, which led him to write back:In fact they do LOVE the old super 8 movies of their Dad, Uncle and their cousins although they now get to watch ‘em off the DVD that their Mom & Dad had made for us as a Christmas (can I still say that?) present a few years ago! And yes you’re right the 7 year old uses my netbook and her Nintendo DS like a veteran! I also have to admit that even I was astounded last week when grand baby #4 was born and Gramma took a picture of the whole family in the hospital, our two year old grandson was the first to say lemme see, lemme see… two years old I didn’t even know what a picture was let alone ask to immediately see it…. Wait a few weeks until the old drug store MAILED them away to get processed…..digital world is so much better in oh so many ways…
MNB user Lorri Putnam chimed in:My 20-year-old daughter is coming home tomorrow from a 7-week jaunt through Europe (Paris to Istanbul). Before she left, she sent a message (via Facebook, of course) to friends all over the US and the world asking them to send their mailing addresses if they wanted postcards from her. She was overwhelmed with the response – everyone wanted postcards from exotic locations they may only dream about visiting. She says that her largest discretionary expense was postage.
Maybe I’m wrong on this, but I don’t think so. Postcards may continue to have some currency because of some romantic notion about the past...but I have to believe that they pretty much will go the way of Super 8 movies.
Responding to my comment that the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) threatened lawsuit against McDonald’s as it looks to get rid of toys in Happy Meals is ludicrous, and that parents ought to decide whether Happy Meals are appropriate or not, MNB user Steven Barry wrote:Welcome to the world of personal responsibility. It’s nice to see you hear once in a while..lol.
To support your view on this, I believe that it is still legal for parents to allow their children to bungi-jump, Han glide, motocross and buy the most ridicules food items being sold in the grocery stores.. I have my own judgments on whether or not these are good for these children and do voice my opinion from time to time as that is my right to do so as it is they’re right to choose what is right for their children. But if we keep on discussing this, you know we’ll end up in a healthcare argument again…..I’m just saying……….sometimes lessons are learned the hard way – let’s allow people and children to learn them….
I don’t think I’ve changed my position on this. I think you just noticed.
On the subject of “new views of the new normal,” and consumer shifts that are taking place, one MNB user wrote:I am especially looking forward to articles reporting how consumers from different generations emerge from this economic disturbance and how their long-term purchasing behavior and economic values have been altered or formed by this economic disturbance… the differences between the first half of the generation versus the second half (X & Y) and Millennials from either side of the millennium. I’m very curious about Gen X (1967 to 1987/8 and Millennial generation (1988/9 through 2009/10) since they will soon be in charge…
I raved yesterday about Jimmy Buffett’s free concert on the Gulf Shores, used to bring some tourist energy to an area that has been devastated by the BP oil spill. Which led one MNB user to write:You obviously missed on the news where Jimmy Buffet went on about the whole gulf oil spill being Bush’s fault – not BP’s. Forget the fact that Obama, Bush and Clinton all allowed drilling in the gulf, and Obama had just ok’d expansion before the disaster and his administration as with past administrations was “too cozy” with the oil industry.
For his comments, I would only give Buffet credit for furthering the political divide in the country and prefer to find him a place in history as a bonehead. Nothing turns me off faster to a celebrity on either side of the aisle then for them to use their status to make ill informed statements. I’ll skip the margarita and stick to the facts.
Actually, I knew what Buffett said ... it was something about the regulatory situation in the Gulf being akin to letting vampires run a blood bank. Which strikes me as true...and, by the way, when he sang on Sunday, he said “it’s all BP’s fault.”
Yes, he blamed Bush...and I agree that the blame for not regulating the oil industry needs to be spread around a lot more.
But furthering the political divide? Jimmy Buffett? Give me a break. He’s a child of the Gulf who is watching his home region get devastated by corporate greed and mismanagement, and a government that has not done its job in this area for decades.