Published on: March 23, 2011
We had a story the other day about how a senior Walmart exec said that “sustainability and some of these other initiatives can be distracting if they don’t add to every day low cost.”
Which led one MNB user to respond:What a sad commentary. I am no fan of Walmart but I had some hope that their interest in sustainability was driven by more than a desire to jump on the green bandwagon. Apparently not the case if this person has any say in the matter. That’s not to mention the myopic view that sustainability initiatives can’t contribute to efficient operating cost; they can, if one is willing to consider the longer term and define stakeholders as anything other than the company’s shareholders.
It does seem at odds with the image the company has been trying to communicate of late. But seven quarters of stagnant same store sales can have that kind of impact.
Got the follow email responding to Michael Sansolo’s piece about interchange fees:Thanks to Michael, Kevin and MNB for yet another great article.
Being on the side of how these fees affect retail, not only from working for a retailer but also having family in the restaurant business, a thought occurred to me after reading today’s MNB.
I wonder how the banking industry and consumers would react if an alternative to the reform was offered up.
Instead of the current reforms to reign in the increasing cost of fees, what if the reform law was changed so that all the fees were imposed on the consumer instead of retail.
Yes, there are fees charged to the card user now but what if they also got hit with the additional charge the retailers are hit with now?
Perhaps then, through transparency, consumers would react and change their habits and use cash and pass the fee savings directly on to themselves.
But then again the banks would probably just start charging retailers for cash handling fees.
Another MNB user wrote:Transaction fees are not where you start. You start by taking America back from corporatist. You do this by reducing corporations from citizens to citizen servants. Separating government from business and reconnecting citizens back with their government. Then business serves the citizens of this country or they are dissolved, and issues like transaction fees become non-issues.
On the subject of concerns about energy drinks, one MNB user wrote:Kevin, you make a fine point,
"It has been the long-held, oft-stated position here on MNB that these energy drinks are a disaster waiting to happen. Retailers who sell them and manufacturers who make them ought to be prepared for a potential backlash when some high-profile incident occurs that throws the long-term future of this category into serious doubt.”
But sales of alcoholic beverages continue to grow (particularly in times of recession), & there are few who have not been touched by an alcohol-related tragedy in their lives, be it family or friends. It's all about the money & the desire for people to consume.
The difference in how I view it is that energy drinks seem to be primarily marketed to kids, and alcohol largely is not. I think that intelligent, responsible consumption of alcohol is very different from what is being encouraged with energy drinks.
Regarding Amazon.com and the online sales tax debate, one MNb user wrote:Amazon and its “you bought this and we thought you might like” e-mails, generally result in my responding about 60% of the time. With one-click and Prime it is so easy and their “picks” fit well.
Their key is convenience and relevancy; the sales tax doesn’t figure into my equation but I don’t blame them at all for their hard stand against the multiple sales taxes regimes.
I don’t blame them, either ... but I also recognize that fiscal reality may have caught up with Amazon on this one. (I think you also could argue that the nation’s financial straits also mean that you have to take a hard look at all the subsidies paid to corporations in this country - especially those paid to corporations making hundreds of millions of dollars or more in profits.)
On the same subject, MNB user Rosemary Fifield wrote:I was surprised to see 60 cents added to my $9.99 Kindle book, since there was no indication on the website that this might occur. However, living in a taxable state (Vermont), I'm used to it and I don't purchase online to avoid tax. It's going to help my state's coffers.
I wrote the other day about The Daily
, the e-newspaper created for the iPad that I view as an unmitigated disaster editorially sand creatively. To which MNB user Frederic Arnal responded:Good commentary, Kevin. Too many traditional journals feel that all they have to do to deliver their content is to copy it on a website. They couldn't be more wrong. Traditional formats were designed to be functional in print not web. One of the best applications I have seen is from the New York Times. They provide a daily digest (8 pages) to subscribers as well as a software application called "The New York Times Reader". Brilliant use of graphics and navigation. It's a pleasure to use. It truly is news content designed for the web platform.
I prefer the Washington Post
for the iPad, which is fabulous.
MNB user Rick Rector wrote:It strikes me as odd that Murdoch would get the iPad app so right for the WSJ site and so wrong for the Daily. Maybe the cos. should talk to each other!
Another good lesson for businesses.
On the subject of the new Jack in the Box food truck in Los Angeles, which I said I wished had been available on hangover mornings back when I went to school there, MNB user Doug Madenberg wrote:I’m sure many of your readers are Cornell food alums… what you describe was the niche held by Johnny’s Hot Truck which rolled up to West Campus nightly at 10PM and stayed until the wee hours. That was the original French bread pizza. Coming back from bars and parties, nothing could beat a PMP pep-mush, hot-n-heavy (“Poor Man’s Pizza” with pepperoni, mushrooms, and hot sauce). Or grease-n-garden (with mayo and lettuce, not kidding). But delicious! How many calories was that right before crashing for the night?