retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the possibility of Amazon.com opening a bricks-and-mortar store in Seattle to test whether it makes sense to open units around the country to compete with Apple Stores, one MNB user wrote:

One thing more to consider….if Amazon has a physical presence in WA – will all internet purchases by WA residents from Amazon.com be subject to a sales tax? Just asking….

My understanding is that Washington State residents already pay sales taxes on their Amazon purchases.

MNB user Matthew Muir wrote:

I wonder if this is in response to Retailers overseas who are retailing Kindles?  In Australia, Woolworths retails them in around 1,000 stores, with what appears to be a fair amount of success.

But a Kindle based store? Unsure...


Me, too.




Responding to Michael Sansolo’s column yesterday, about how the phrase “10-4” is being phased out as an anachronism, one MNB user wrote:

Michael is right on point!  To his example of companies that remained stuck in their current business model, I’d add Xerox.  They invented Ethernet but couldn’t figure out how to bill it.  They invented the fax machine but insisted on slapping meters on it.  If it didn’t have meters, the X couldn’t bill it.  Think the Mouse, the Mac – all from Palo Alto Research Center.  All could have been Xerox winners if they’d been able to detach from the rate-per-copy pricing that was their bread and butter.

An interesting and inspiring story of a company that took the other path is the story of the Warren Featherbone Company, a company that started out manufacturing whalebone corsets in the 19th century.  Its CEO, Gus Whalen, was the keynote speaker at a Supply Chain conference about fifteen years ago.  When whales were no longer used for corsets, the company switched to plastic – then a scary new product.  When nobody wore corsets anymore, the company started making children’s clothing.  Whatever disastrous blow the company was dealt, it just grabbed on to something new and reinvented itself.  Too bad more Supply Chain leaders didn’t take Gus’s narrative to heart!


But MNB user Bob Anderson wrote:

Wow as an ex police officer I’m sorry to hear of this change, as the 10 series code was put in place for a reason, and that was to cut down on talking do to the high volume of calls. Also to simplify the discussion as some folks may get a little wordy when others are needing the air time.




On another subject, MNB user Regina G. Tator wrote:

I had the pleasure of working with Larry Zettle when I was at Price Chopper and he certainly goes down in the books as not only one of the good old grocers, but he also was an amazing mentor.  He had a passion for private brands that contributed greatly to the growth of the PC program.  My favorite LZ story was walking from the hotel to the airport at O'Hare with Larry and he dropped his bags.  I feared he was having a heart attack, but he was saluting Cubs memorabilia in the gift shop.

I always knew if I picked up the phone I could get advice and the gift of that knowledge is something I will truly miss.





I also continue to get email about the Super Bowl commercials and half-time show.

One MNB user wrote:

Interesting debate on ESPN radio today.  The under 30 crowd thought Madonna was lame. The consensus was they liked the showmanship but not the music and yes thought her dancing was not up to par,  They all mentioned she was over 50 - wending comments with "what do you expect".

In contrast, the crowd at our super bowl party (admittedly 40-60 year olds)  all moved upstairs away from the food  and adult beverages (a major feat with this crowd) to watch on  the 120" in anticipation of the show  - and to a person - all loved it.  Thought it was the best in the last few years.

This debate is more about cultural divide than the quality of the production.  The NFL needs to start thinking about the younger audience and putting on a show all age groups will respond to.  Or maybe they already have since everyone obviously watched it and everyone is talking about it and having an opinion.

To the commentators I say in the end, art is in the eye of the beholder and like a virgin - Leave Madonna alone.  She fulfilled her end of the bargain.

To the NFL - get younger and remember your audience is changing.....  Kevin - I am sure there is a business lesson in there for you to comment on:)


All of which makes sense. Except of course, that I am at the upper end of the age range in your Super Bowl p[arty group, and I hated Madonna. As did my 22-year-old son. So there are no clear lines of distinction on this one.

From another MNB user:

Not that you need another Madonna Half-Time Show e-mail, but IMHO, it looked like her videos from her “golden” years. Even the new song sounds like a throwback. I thought the production was okay. I think she has a great make-up artist and terrific personal trainers. I also sympathize with feeling 30 in the  heart, but the body is 50+ no matter  how hard you train. Not one of the better half time shows, but not really the reason I watch anyway, at least I knew the songs.

MNB user Larry Lyons wrote:

I continue to be amazed at the things people get upset about.

I commented during the performance Madonna was not really dancing, but that the “show” was entertaining.

My teens were disappointed LMFAO was not given more time.

If you enjoy something, fine share it.

If you don’t, quit griping already…nobody cares.


Then I’m in trouble. Because I make at least part of my living “griping.”




Got the following email from an MNB user regarding yesterday’s story about at-home male fertility tests being sold in drug stores around the country:

Actually, it sounds like a great idea – so long as it provides accurate results.  It sounds like a purchase that women are likely to make for their partners when they’re picking up their own DIY fertility test.  I’m not saying he’d enjoy the process – but if the couple wants to get pregnant they may both have to be willing to be uncomfortable.   And if the doctor’s office is a little too uncomfortable, this product makes it possible to take stock in the privacy of your own home.

As a young (32) planning-to-be-a-mother-sometime-soon I am highly aware of the high rates of infertility and I’d feel good knowing what our odds are going in.  I’m glad we have the option to do both tests at home.


Well, he might enjoy the process. Sort of depends on what the process is.

And I’d like to say, for the record, that I went out of my way yesterday to avoid using phrases like “going in.”
KC's View: