retail news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of the obesity epidemic and varying responses to it, MNB user Joye Crosby wrote:

All of these so called “solutions” don’t really take the bottom line changes into the picture.  My family on my Mom’s side were mid-western farmers.  They were mostly over-weight by our current standards.  They all lived into their late 90’s and one auntie made it to 101!  They all ate 3 square meals a day – Breakfast, Dinner, Supper.  All meals consisted of something fried, gravy, bread, dessert, meat, and vegetables.  So, what is different now?  Here are the differences that I personally have observed, whether you think it is of scientific value or not.

No one spent all of their free time watching TV or playing with electronic devices.

No one got a “ride” to school.  Everyone walked or rode a bike. (The furthest farms out did have a bus but had to walk to the bus stop.)

Everyone went outside to “play”.  (TV was a treat right before bed.  Choose one program.)

Most of the food was grown or raised, not “further processed”.

“Cokes” were a treat.  Iced Tea and Lemonade were the drinks of choice.  (Real lemons.)

And even though my family lived in the “City” and we did buy all of our food in the Grocery Store, all of the above rules did apply to us.  My Mom rarely bought anything that wasn’t fresh.  We had snacks, but they were homemade without preservatives or fruit.  Everyone of us still has all of these options before us and it is up to us to make the decisions.  I will say that one big change is that the fresh foods used to be the least expensive to buy making it less enticing to buy the processed foods.  Now the processed foods are cheaper than the fresh foods and we pride ourselves on being able to charge more for “fresh from the farm” foods.  This is a real tragedy.  However, disregarding all of this, if it’s really true that we only need to walk 20 minutes a day to keep fit, then all we have to do is make our kids walk to and from school and half the battle is won!  I don’t know the answer, however, I do believe that we can probably eat and drink whatever we want if we get enough exercise to balance it.  Exercise is not happening in the electronic age where everything we let our kids do for entertainment keeps them sitting still.

Responding to one specific email on the subject, one MNB user wrote:

I have stayed out of this for as long as I can. The lady that went to Disney and said she  was absolutely disgusted by what she saw there.  Children between the ages of 10 and 15 should not weigh 200 pounds, period. Her quote.

Is she just uninformed? I have a 17 year old who 6’1” 260 lbs. He was 5’11 230 at 15. He started varsity football since he was a freshman, never has been off the honor role, took 3rd in the State in shot put, plays in the band, plays in the jazz band and umpires High School Baseball. I guess I should lose my child since he weighed more than 200 lbs.

Remember she said NO child should weigh over 200 lbs from 10-15 PERIOD. WRONG!!!!!! FAIL!!!!! There are many factors that determine weight including bone structure and height. The comment was irresponsible at best, if not inflammatory.

Shame on you for not taking her to task.

You are right in the sense that she probably should not have used the word “all.” But let’s be clear - she wasn’t talking about varsity football players. She was talking about people are morbidly obese. Go to any water park in America and you’ll see them today, and it is a little heart-breaking when you see a little kid who is clearly overweight, and who is being bought unhealthy foods by his or her parent.

On the subject of speculation that perhaps in certain cases, parents should lost custody of kids who are so obese presents a clear and present danger to their health, one MNB user wrote:

I understand the angst of government intervention versus parental authority, but how does this differ from cases where children are being undernourished? If we saw on the news a set of parents who, due to neglect, were allowing their children to starve, the vast majority of people would be up in arms. Isn't overfeeding your kids mistreating them in a similar fashion? While I would never want the "government" granted undue authority to begin removing kids willy nilly from their homes, there has to be an avenue where doctors, schools or other authority figures can initiate some sort of intervention for the children. Only when it is apparent that the parents are not modifying their parenting approach in a way that would benefit the child would there begin to be any sort of condition sufficient to remove a child from their home.

We had a piece yesterday about proposed changes at the US Postal Service, which led MNB user Deborah Feld to write:

I would just like to make a comment on your comment "They could go to three-day-a-week delivery tomorrow, and nobody under 30 would notice or care."

As someone under the age of 30, there was only one time that I really noticed and cared when the mail arrived: during college decisions. Yes, I admit that I was very happy to log-on to the college admission's website at 5pm ET on Decision Day and know right then if I got in or not. But there was something magical about getting that large accepted student envelope in the mail the next day and being able to spread all the new student information on the kitchen table. I feel the "large envelope" experience is something that would cause anyone under the age of 30 to notice what day of the week their mail was delivered if it did not correlate to college admission decisions.

I understand. But I’m not sure that this experience is enough to build a business on. (BTW...they could always send it FedEx. Or via email as a PDF.)

Another MNB user wrote:

While I know that the electronic age is changing the postal service, I really hope that it doesn’t go away completely.  Nothing makes me feel better than to open a special card that came in the mail.  I love hearing from friends and relatives that are close and far away.  It is so much more special and meaningful to know that someone who cares about me took extra time to find a card, or write a note and then actually mail it!  It makes the mail seem more like Christmas morning instead of just the place that the bills come to!

Again, a lovely sentiment. But not a business model.

I’m with MNB user Mike Franklin on this one:

I go to my mailbox to pick up my mail about once a month…at that time I immediately throw 95% of the mail into my recycle bin. I occasionally get a personal letter, a book mailed to me, or tax information from the state.  I wouldn’t mind if the post office discarded all my direct mail and only delivered to my house on those 6 or 7 days a year when someone sends me something.
KC's View: