Published on: June 15, 2011
Got several reactions to yesterday’s Eye-Opener piece about what I viewed as a poor attitude and lousy choice of words by LeBron James in the wake of the Miami Heat defeat in the NBA championships at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
One MNB user wrote:A couple points about your view on Lebron James:
You may have read “get back to your miserable little lives” into what the ringless king said, but I read, “People have been hating on me for a year now and although they finally got what they wanted, it’s petty in the grand scheme of things and I’m not going to let it bother me.” For a guy who’s been getting endlessly killed since The Decision, I think we can allow him this one “shut up and get over it now” comment.
You feel that athletes have an obligation to “create a product that people actually want to root for”? I disagree, the only people he’s beholden to are his teammates and the Miami fans, and although they are probably one of the weakest fan bases in all of sports, they were still cheering for him. It’s not his job to make everyone want to root for him. In fact, by having everyone rooting against him, the NBA enjoyed some of the highest ratings for the Finals they’ve seen in years. He’s the villain and it brings fans to the sport, hence your mention of it in the Tuesday Morning Eye-Opener.
Keep up the good work (talking about the CPG industry that is, you can give up the sports commentary...).
It wasn’t just me who came to that conclusion about James’s attitude.
And to me, the very use of the phrase “The Decision” speaks to the utter egomania at play here.
MNB user Mark Raddant wrote:It is ... instructive to note the difference between LeBron’s constant references to “ME, MY, I, MINE” in his interview and Dirk Nowitzki’s discussion of his team and their play.
LeBron worked all year on HIS game. The Mavericks worked on THEIR drive to a championship.
In the same piece, I commented about CEOs who are disconnected from the front lines,and wrote:I know CEOs who like to visit stores in luxury cars that cost more than many store employees make in a year, and I know CEOs who visit stores in battered SUVs that are far less ostentatious.
Which led one MNB user to write: Funny you should make that comparison about LeBron. A few years ago one of the major networks did a bio piece, while he was still in Cleveland, and showed him going back to his old high school.
I was disgusted to see him pull up in a Lamborghini and remember thinking, what kind of message is that sending to these kids.
It was at that point I really started to dislike Mr. James and he has only managed to nurture it from there.
In a story yesterday about banks using bank statements to issue coupons both virtual and physical, and allowing retailers to track best customers, I wrote:Any retailer needing a bank to help it identify and reward its best customers is not doing its job, is not paying attention.
Which promoted this response from an MNB reader:I disagree with your comment below. Retailers like Target and Costco commonly use their credit card to identify their best customers; what they’re buying, what they’re not buying, what they’re buying elsewhere. Seems like these companies are ahead of the game vs. companies that only mine their loyalty cards.
My point was perhaps inarticulately made.
I guess I should have written that retailers should not depend only on banks to identify good customers.
I think that if a retailer wants to use credit and debit card information to mine shopper data, that makes sense. But I’d also be willing to bet that a retailer like Dorothy Lane Markets, which may have the best frequent shopper program in the business, knows more about its customers - and has a more intimate relationship with its shoppers - than retailers only using credit card data.
It is creating a relationship that is important. Not just mining data.
Responding to Michael Sansolo’s piece yesterday about tectonic changes taking place in food retailing, one MNB user wrote:There are two economies…and they diverge at $75K…watch what HH making <$75K do while grocery shopping and you’ll be shocked.
We would totally agree with you about this. And the bigger national problem - affecting far more than retailing - is the fact that there seems to be a growing chasm between these two groups.
We’ve had some stories recently about how Target’s move to sell groceries cheaper than Walmart has alienated some of its core “cheap chic” customers.
One MNB user wrote:I am one of those higher income shoppers who enjoyed the visit to Target for this or that. I am quite disappointed in the change so perhaps you are not far off the mark in your surmising they may be losing some of these shoppers. I went to Target for the nice things they carried at good prices. Toiletries, well-considered (tasteful) household and garden/patio items mainly. They whacked the toiletries section and discontinued personal care products I specifically made trips for. I zoom past the food section and feel badly they took out the garden and decimated the outdoor section for the food. I could go to Walmart for this new Target experience. They took out their point of distinction for me and my reasons to go. I used to like going there, enjoyed it even. Now, just the past weekend oddly, even the store was depressing, like the old Kmarts and it seemed to smell unpleasant though the smell was perhaps due to remodeling. I bought something I now need to exchange and found myself disinclined to want to go back to that store and reconsidered just keeping the item as is. What does that say?
MNB user Kristy Chadbourne wrote:As a longtime Target fan and shopper, I have found myself making less of those "impulse" purchases - the cool and funky home goods and cheap stylish clothing that used to abound at Target that you just "had to have".
Now it's more of a stock up trip on toiletries and paper goods, and less of a fun shopping trip that I'd look forward to...
That being said, I would still argue that Target is much, much "cooler" than Walmart even after losing some of it's cool. They still hands down have a superior shopping experience. Their stores are much better in terms of layout, stock position, merchandising and of course customer service.
From another MNB user:The Target near me recently added a lot of food although it is still not a Super Target. It has lost its cool as a result. The store fixtures weren’t updated. They moved things around and the store just looks dull now. The dullness is the first thing I notice when I walk in because they moved women’s clothing up front and the old blue carpet and linoleum really stands out. It reminded me more of a K-Mart. Target sent out food coupons to get me to come in. They were out of stock on the item I wanted and I noticed many other out of stocks. The opportunity to make a good impression for their food dept. was lost on me.
That’s two people who compared Target to Kmart. Not good.
On the subject of the importance of customer service, one MNB user wrote:I’ve been in retail forever and customer service is my number one platform. My teenage son has heard more times than he’d like about my asking for a manager, writing a letter or calling corporate to discuss a customer service situation. I don’t yell, but rather insist on being fairly compensated when I’ve been mistreated, overcharged or received unacceptable service such as the four tries to get a laptop fixed. I also try to remember compliment an employee who has been very helpful or pleasant.
My son has been training at his first job which is to work in a brand new grocery store about to open. He’s already told me what a cool place it is because if he overhears a customer tell the bagger to be careful with the bread because it was smashed last time, he may take immediate action. He has a variety of actions he may tale to make the customer happy. He is absolutely amazed that he is empowered to do this! I am thrilled because he is learning a valuable lesson to use when he opens his own business as he aspires to do after college although. And mostly because it reinforces one of the values I’ve tried to teach him his entire life; treat others the way you want to be treated.
We had a story the other day about how Wegmans has taken foie gras off its cooking school menu, a decision of which I heartily approved. But not so fast, said one MNB user:You fell for the trap Kevin and I am surprised at you.
Fatted liver is something that actually happens naturally in certain breeds of ducks. That’s how humans discovered it.
First, the ASPCA is not your local SPCA. Just like the Humane Society of the United States is not your local Humane Society.
Second, I invite you to visit the Hudson Valley Foie Gras site to learn how foie is made. Ducks are not hurt at all.
In Jan of 2012 Foie can no longer be sold in California thanks to groups like PETA. They went ahead and decided to convince our horrible former governor Schwarzenegger to sign into law the ban. So the decision was made for me the thousands of Californians who LOVE foie gras and will pay the price to eat it (it costs me at work, wholesale $26.00 lb for A grade.)
Perhaps I was swayed by the fact that I hate liver in all its forms. Want to torture me? Make me eat liverwurst.
Finally - and this brings us full circle to my LeBron James comments - I actually got an email about the brief posting yesterday noting that I would be in Barcelona for the rest of this week. What I wrote was this:Tonight I leave for Barcelona, where I’ll be spending the rest of the week covering the annual Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Executive Summit. (This is what used to be called the CIES Executive Summit.) Coverage of the Summit is sponsored, by the way, by TCC Global ... and I hope you’ll watch their videos, check out their site, and pay attention to their programs.
There’s no reason to think that delivery of MNB should be affected by the time zone differences, but you never know, especially because internet access can be a little dicey at times. But I’ll do my best to make sure MNB gets done in a timely fashion, and I thank you in advance for your patience.
MNB user Rick Henry observed:Your mention about having to suffer through your visit to Barcelona sounded like you where whining about the inconvenience of being in one of the world's most beautiful cities while we live our "miserable little lives" in Anytown, USA.
"Dicey" internet, what a bummer dude!
Is that what I was saying?
I didn’t think I was complaining in the least; over the years, I’ve tried to maintain a constant sense of wonderment about how lucky I am to go to places like Barcelona.
Now, I could survive in Barcelona for a few days without internet service ... if I didn’t feel like I have the obligation - and privilege - of writing MNB each day. Far from whining, I was just trying to let people know that delivery of the Wake Up Call and posting of the site might happen at odd times this week.BTW...this is exactly what happened today. A broken plane and missed connections meant that I was not able to get MNB out today until almost 11 am EDT.
Trust me - I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.
Far from it.