retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday’s piece about hotels sewing RFID chips into towels and robes so they can keep track of them and reduce theft, one MNB user wrote:

Now there is a great business model in the making. Imagine a business like a Kinkos Fed Ex or UPS store you can go to to have your possession RFID tagged in the eventuality of a theft or loss.  Your kid's bikes sport equipment?  School's equipment?  The carpenter's tools?  Your laptop, IiPhone, iPad?  For a nominal registration fee and tagging, a service that will locate your losses... Then, imagine the social revolution and altercations that will ensue when we endeavor to reclaim our property... Will it make honest people or just brain fried ones and will a new entrepreneur then set up a shop to negate and void the RFID tagging.  Human enterprise in its wondrous glory!

MNB user Donna Burns wrote:

I too read this article and found it interesting relative technology although there was also a piece in the article that mentioned that most of the lost laundry was from when the establishments send out their laundry to an outside service not from guests pilfering bathrobes or towels. They simply could not keep track of what went out the door versus what came back in.  This is a loss prevention opportunity which will only serve to keep costs under control.  I applaud their efforts.

Yesterday, MNB took note of a the Journal-Sentinel report that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent a letter to the makers of Muscle Milk, a fortified drink, saying that its name is misleading since it actually contains no milk. The absence of actual milk - though it does include ingredients “derived from milk” - is noted on the product’s label, though in smaller typeface than other information.

According to the story, manufacturer CytoSport says on its website that it is addressing the concerns, though it suggests that the FDA’s concerns are being driven my the dairy lobby.

My comment:

I have to be honest on this one. I don’t know what to think. On the one hand, milk is milk, and products that are not milk ought not be able to call themselves milk. After all, transparency is transparency.

On the other hand, does anyone really think soy milk comes from a cow?

Muscle Milk seems more egregiously deceptive - I’ve seen this stuff on shelves, but had no idea that it did not contain milk.

One MNB user wrote:

I think you have hit the nail on the head with that observation.

Muscle Milk is not taking sales away from the dairy industry - but soy milk, almond milk, rice milk etc. are.  The dairy lobby used "Muscle Milk" to try and get FDA motivated to go after Soy Milk etc.  That's not going to work ... There is a way via proper labeling they could retain use of the "Muscle Milk" trademark - we'll see if their lawyers can find it.

Maybe the dairy lobby will next go after "Milk of Magnesia" and "Cream of Wheat".

And, from another MNB user:

Kevin’s article about the dairy industry and Muscle Milk also got me thinking – if this is the precedent for regulating common nouns associated with beverages, what will the FDA do about products like vitaminwater?  Where is the crackdown on the use of the word “water” in a product name that has as much sugar as something we call “cola?”  The Center for Science in the Public Interest had to bring the false advertising suit against Coca-Cola last year, but where are the FDA guidelines when it comes to labeling a water product?  In the end, when our government is used as a tool for industry lobbyists, good old-fashioned label reading is the only way to know what you are truly putting in your body.

MNB user Dianna Chiu wrote:

Seriously?! Did the FDA really just do that? Honestly, I don’t think it matters. It’s just a brand name! The consumer of Muscle Milk most likely knows almost every ingredient backwards and forwards on that label. After all, they are consuming that product for nutrition/body building. These people are by far the most health conscious people out there without a nutrition degree.

What are they going to do next? Make Special K change their label because it’s really not all that “Special?”

Y’know, in the past I might have agreed with the notion that the people who drink things like Muscle Milk would be highly familiar with its ingredients. But then we had all these ballplayers who claimed that if they took steroids it was accidentally, because they didn’t know and didn’t ask what was in this cream or that hypodermic needle.

Another MNB user chimed in:

So from where does "The Milk of Human Kindness" come?

Mrs. Content Guy.

What else could explain her sticking with me for all these years?

Yesterday we posted an email from sone who was commenting on the 30th anniversary of MTV, and who said that he looked forward to MNB celebrating its 30th anniversary. I replied that I’ll be 76 if that event occurs...which led another MNB user to write:

You better be interviewing some young journalists and trying to create a succession plan. Last time I looked, I think you and Michael are on the same exit time frame. Will MNB adapt to the next generation and continue to provide meaningful discussions with the same level of attitude?

I look forward to your commentary when you reach 76. I think most men (self included) just get more opinionated with age.

I continue to enjoy the morning comments every day. Don’t ever stop.

I’ll try.

My kids would agree that I’m getting more opinionated with age. (Though they might argue that I’m not necessarily getting any wiser.)

If I’m doing this in my seventies, though, I may have to work on Johnny Carson’s old schedule...
KC's View: