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    Published on: October 27, 2010

    Like some of you, I took a course in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation years ago and thought that somehow the knowledge would help me forever. Needless to say, I was wrong. The American Heart Association is coming out with new guidelines that change the recommended order of aiding someone in cardio distress.

    For 40 years the order was as simple at ABC. A stood for airway and the importance of leaning the ill person’s head at an angle that eased air flowing to the lungs. B was for the quick breaths to give the stricken person. And C was for the quick chest compressions to get blood moving around the body. ABC was taught as the way to start giving treatment before heading into full-blown CPR.

    Not anymore. Now, think about a CAB. The Heart Association says giving the chest compressions first are the best way to offer aid, to help move healthy blood around the body. Then, move back to the airway and the breathing, but the compressions done quickly are simply the most important step. Go figure.

    The article on the new procedures, which appeared in Yahoo’s Shine magazine, also addressed a number of myths around CPR. Most prominently among them is that chest compressions always help, even if done wrong. Simply starting to take action (on top of calling 911) is the always the way to go. And if you have any doubts about the importance of this, Yahoo says most people perform CPR on a loved one, not a stranger. So it’s worth learning something about the procedure.

    Altogether, some pretty interesting things to know. It’s not unusual to find out that a long held belief is wrong whether it is about how to steer when our car skids, how to apply sunscreen or even the safest way to handle food. Every now and again, we have to unlearn and relearn because there is some better knowledge we need to know.

    Somehow it seems macabre to say this, but a new order of CPR is a real Eye Opener for today.

    - Michael Sansolo
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    Bloomberg reports some good economic news, that “economists lifted estimates for consumer purchases in the third quarter after retail sales climbed more than forecast in September and the government said gains in the prior two months were larger than previously reported. Predictions of a 3 percent or more increase by RBS Securities Inc. and 2.6 percent by Morgan Stanley would mean the most robust household spending of the recovery.”

    The feeling seems to be that despite an enduring unemployment rate of just under 10 percent, and an under-employment rate higher than that, there are at least some companies and business executives that can “smell a recovery coming.”
    KC's View:
    Something smells, but I’m not sure it is a recovery. It’d be pretty to think so, but I think it is going to be a long, hard slog, and that it will take years for the employment and real estate markets to make a comeback.

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    • Eight Coborn’s supermarkets in Central Minnesota will begin offering shoppers access to the NuVal nutritional scoring system, which uses a proprietary algorithm to assign virtually every product in the store a score of one to 100, with the healthiest products given the highest numbers.

    According to the announcement, “participating Coborn’s grocery stores carry NuVal labeling for more than half of all their grocery products, and will continue adding more. In the stores, students from the four St. Cloud area universities (St. John’s University, the College of St. Benedict, St. Cloud State University, and the St. Cloud Technical and Community College) who are studying for careers as dietitians or nutritionists, will help educate consumers about NuVal.”

    • Guiding Stars, the Delhaize-created system that uses its own proprietary algorithm to assign one, two or three stars to products in the store that qualify as good, better and best for consumers, announced yesterday that it has made it “even easier for consumers to find healthier foods with a new search engine called the ‘Food Finder’,” which will use UPC-level ratings to offer users access to the Guiding Stars database to identify healthy foods from home.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    Arkansas Business reports that John Mills, the former CEO of Affiliated Foods Southwest, has been sentenced by a US District Court judge to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution.

    According to the story, Mills pleaded guilty earlier this year “to a single count of aiding and abetting bank fraud by participating in a check kiting scheme ... Mills' sentence could be reduced for continuing to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their case against the former CFO of Affiliated, Alexander "Lex" Martinez, who is scheduled to go to trial May 16. Mills has agreed to testify against Martinez, who has pleaded not guilty.

    “Prosecutors said Mills and Martinez orchestrated a scheme from September 2008 to February 2009 to kite checks from two of the grocery wholesaler's subsidiaries and deposit them in Affiliated's account at U.S. Bank. The total value of the kited checks was about $11.5 million, although the actual loss to U.S. Bank was about $4 million.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    The Seattle Times reports that a federal judge has ruled that does not have to reveal the names of North Carolina shoppers who bought product on its website, nor the items that they bought, to state officials who were seeking the information.

    The state said it wanted the data so it could assess how much state income tax Amazon might owe it, but the judge agreed with the company that consumers’ constitutional free speech rights superseded the state’s interests.

    Amazon had provided some information to the state, but had refused to get more specific on the grounds that it would have a “chilling effect” on people’s ability to buy in privacy the products they want.
    KC's View:
    Glad to see that someone is taking the Constitution seriously.

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    The New York Times reports that GlaxoSmithKline “has agreed to pay $750 million to settle criminal and civil complaints that the company for years knowingly sold contaminated baby ointment and an ineffective antidepressant.” The company conceded that it “sold 20 drugs with questionable safety that were made at a huge plant in Puerto Rico that for years was rife with contamination ... Among the drugs affected were Avandia, Bactroban, Coreg, Paxil and Tagamet. No patients are known to have been sickened by the quality problems although such cases would be difficult to trace.”

    The complaints were the result of a suit brought by a whistle-blower who worked at the plant and, she said, was fired when she warned company executives of the problems at the facility.
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    The New York Times reports that Lost Abbey, a division of the California-based Port Brewing Company, has bowed to pressure from a special interest group offended by its portrayal of witches as being burned at the stake on the label of its Witch’s Wit pale ale.

    The special interest group was given a voice by Vicki Noble, described by the Times as “famous in the pagan and Wiccan communities for her astrology readings, shamanic healing and writings about goddess spirituality.” She saw the label, and turned to the internet (which, let face it, had to be invented by someone with mystical powers) to communicate her displeasure to like-minded people who, in turn, started complaining to the company.

    And now, Lost Abbey has promised to change the label, and may even hold a contest in which consumers can suggest their own options.
    KC's View:
    Maybe the picture of a witch standing on the steps of the US Senate?

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    The Los Angeles Times reports that a German company has patented a new process for what it calls “nocturnal milk” - a dairy product that comes from cows milked during the middle of the night, which it says contains more sleep-inducing melatonin than cows milked during the day.

    According to the story, the “milk is then freeze-dried, packaged and sold under the brand Nightmilk Crystals, which can be mixed with milk or yogurt ... According to a statement on the company's website, officials say they have scientific research to back their claims, but several consumer watchdog groups are far from sold on the idea.”
    KC's View:
    I think I’m with the watchdog groups on this one. Let’s face it...this sounds a little less than entirely credible.

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    USA Today reports that Kimberly-Clark “will begin testing Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper at Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the Northeast. If sales take off, it may introduce the line nationally and globally — and even consider adapting the technology into its paper towel brands.”

    The story says that this could be the biggest toilet paper innovation in years. While the holes in the toilet paper rolls are not perfectly round, it is said that they fit perfectly on bathroom spindles ... and they have the added advantage of being environmental, since “the 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA account for 160 million pounds of trash.”
    KC's View:
    What’s really amazing about this one is that nobody was able to execute it before now. Great idea...they should wipe up the market with it.

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    • The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that U.S. Bank announced “that it will issue credit cards and reloadable prepaid debit cards with rewards for Kroger customers. Customers who shop at Kroger stores will earn free groceries and fuel discounts when they use the cards from U.S. Bank.”

    Bloomberg reports that “Grupo Bimbo SAB, the world’s largest bread maker, is in the lead to buy Sara Lee Corp.’s North American bakery business to bolster its U.S. operations.” The deal could bring Sara Lee as much as $1 billion, and likely “would accelerate a broader overhaul of Sara Lee, which is focusing on brands such as its Jimmy Dean meats.”

    Grupo Bimbo currently makes Entenmann’s cakes, Thomas’ English Muffins and Mrs. Baird’s breads.

    • Published reports say that two assistant managers have filed a complaint against Dollar Tree, citing the Fair Labor Standards Act and charging that the company did not may them minimum wage and compensate them for overtime.

    The plaintiffs reportedly are looking to have their complaint certified as a class action lawsuit, maintaining the the abuses were systemic.

    • The Wall Street Journal reports that “the Agriculture Department is standing by its forecast for unusually tame food-price inflation this year but warned Monday that the broad rally in farm commodity prices since midsummer will take a bigger bite out of consumers' wallets next year ... The USDA also left unchanged its forecast for retail food prices to climb by a more typical rate of between 2% and 3% in 2011.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    Okay, let’s try this one more time.

    Yesterday, I corrected a mistake I made on Monday, when I said that the Giants had not been to the World Series since 1954, when in fact “the Giants went to the World Series in 1962 (lost to the Yankees in four games), in 1989 (lost to the Oakland A’s in the series affected by the earthquake), and 2002 (lost to the Anaheim Angels in five games).”

    Except that in 2002, the Angels beat the Giants in seven games.
    KC's View:
    I gotta get more sleep.

    Published on: October 27, 2010

    Responding to Michael Sansolo’s piece yesterday about Jimmy Buffett’s unique brand proposition, MNB user Jim Nolan wrote:

    Michael, you hit the nail on the head.  We have talked about Jimmy Buffett as a marketer numerous times.  His whole idea of summer party hit me about 12 years ago when he played Boston in mid-February.  Watching folks walk down Causeway Street, stepping over the snow banks, in shorts, sandals and flowered shirts was quite a site.  Dinner in the North End prior to the show was our version of a tailgate.  The restaurant was full of folks in summer attire much to the delight of the staff.  Everyone got it quickly and it became one big pre-concert summer theme party.  While Jimmy did not change our actual Latitude, he did change our Attitude that cold Saturday on Boston.

    Welcome to the party Michael!

    MNB user Jeff Folloder wrote:

    Buffett has been a "foundational element" for me for quite awhile because his approach has always been about relaxed honesty.  Whether he laments the irony of discovering meaning long after the resources to enjoy it have faded (A Pirate Looks at 40) or the silliness of leading a crowd full of "Fins" leaning to the left and right or just the joys of the ubiquitous cheeseburger... It's low overhead honesty.  That said, the whole Margaritaville restaurant thing turned me off.  I was just never able to reconcile the exploitation thing with the Buffett thing.

    Funny. The other night, while in Vegas, I had a “perfect margarita,” flavored with just a hint of guava.

    I didn’t feel exploited. Not a bit.

    MNB reported yesterday that the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis announced that it will distribute $1 million in cash to its 14,500 members in what is called “likely the largest-ever patronage refund provided by a single-store grocery co-op.”

    I commented:

    This only works out to about $68 per member (if my math is right) ... but that’s $68 more than I’ve ever gotten from any food retailer that I’ve patronized over the years.

    Apparently, I didn’t completely get it. Elizabeth Archerd of Wedge Co-op explained:

    Our average refund doesn't tell the real story - the percentage does.

    Members are getting 3.58% of their purchases from last year. That comes to almost two weeks worth of average grocery shopping bills. So, you shopped for 52 weeks, but paid for just a lick over 50. Our members who shopped for a family here all year should find a check in the mailbox today or tomorrow for several hundred dollars.

    I’ve said it before...if I had a co-op near me, I’d certainly be inclined to be a member.

    In my Eye-Opener yesterday, I reported on the branding travails of Gifford’s Ice Cream in the DC area, which led one MNB user to write:

    Right on point…but…the story you related has and is happening all around the country as small regional ice cream companies are purchased by conglomerates or investors to reap and rape the brand cache. And, it’s not just the ice cream industry in which this happens. It leaves the loyalists to the brand wondering what happened, and the previous owners of the brand with a pocket full of the loyalists’ money. It’s sad really.

    Lessons learned: Two ; 1) sometimes it can pay great dividends for a brand to stay local and be a big fish in a small pond, because not all brands can scale…and 2) don’t ever expect someone else to manage your brand the way you would…


    Another MNB user wrote:

    May I add to the ice cream story?  Just take a look at “In-N-Out Burger” chain and you will see a similar evidence of quality erosion.  What was the California icon of premium burger chains has become another Mc-D’s in high-heels.

    Michael Sansolo will be disappointed to hear that you think so ... he’s convinced that In-N-Out Burger is one of the best burger joints in the country.

    And finally, on something really important, MNB user Steve Jensen wrote:

    Really Kevin???

    The National League is superior??? Do you REALLY want to go there??

    Who’s won the most World Series titles???
    Good thing you’re not running for office...

    I’ll stick by my opinion that National League baseball is pure baseball, and therefore superior, because there is no designated hitter.

    We’re all entitled to our opinions. Right? Especially about the most important thing that doesn’t matter...
    KC's View: