Published on: June 19, 2012
MNB continues to get email about the proposed NYC ban on jumbo sodas being sold by selected venues (restaurants, but not c-stores) ... and I seem to have inflamed things by suggesting that there is little connection between this ban and what I see as the completely justified tobacco bans that have made the US (or, at least, its bars, restaurants, cinemas, sports venues and airplanes, among other places) a far more pleasant - and, more importantly, safer
- place to live.
I think it is fair to say that this MNB user disagreed...though at least he is amused:It is amusing to see how when someone agrees with a new law based on their personal feelings and beliefs it is a good law, but when they disagree with it for whatever reason it is automatically a bad law, even when those two laws may mirror each other exactly. The differences you cite in the beverage and smoking bans are really not that different. You say different because smoking is addictive, is not caffeine that is in large beverages addictive. You say that the smoking ban has made places you frequent more pleasant, but are they more pleasant for the smoker, not when you have to sit through a 4 hour game. You say that tobacco kills, how many folks out there are touting their new and ridiculous anti fat laws due to health concerns that could lead to death. And before you bring up the second hand smoke argument about it affecting those who don't smoke, I say if a person drinks enough large sugary drinks to grow to 500 lbs and that person falls on you, are you not likely to be injured or die even though you may have never consumed a large sugary beverage. I am sure you are gonna balk at that last one as farfetched, but there are still respected scientists that say that the statistics about second hand smoke a greatly exaggerated. So you, like everyone else draws the line at what affects you and your life personally, rather than from the unbiased point of view you try sometimes to portray.
Yeah, well, those same scientists are probably the ones who said that cigarette smoking doesn't cause cancer. I have no idea what the statistics might be, but it seems like a pretty good bet that it is far more likely that one will suffer from the health effects of second hand smoke than be crushed by a 500 pound person. Just guessing, here of course. (I also felt compelled to write this because I did not want you to be disappointed by a less than predictable response.)
For the record, I think that most people agree with laws that support their personal beliefs and behavior, and disagree with those that are in opposition to those beliefs and behavior.
Two final responses to his email.
One. I think it is a crock to suggest that these two laws "mirror each other exactly."
Two. I never, ever suggest that I have an unbiased point of view. I mean, come on. Two-thirds of my stores have "KC's Views" attached to them. I make a living expressing my opinion. Your email was a response to my opinion
, not to a dispassionate statement of facts. Now, I think that the facts support my opinion better than yours ... and, thank goodness for my lungs and longevity, most people probably would agree with me on this one.
MNB user Steve Kneepkens wrote:I call this out as absolute crap. Smoking is legal – I don’t doubt that smoking is terrible for you. But let people decide if they want to die a slow death. I am sure there are effects of second hand smoke – but no research can prove the extent. It is a scare tactic. Just like the breast cancer awareness stuff that goes on. How much money is spent on “awareness” and the levels have not come down? It is essentially a fraud. Another big organization telling me what they don’t really know and how they really cant effect the outcome. Cancer rates are not down. But make sure everyone is scared so they give more money.
Bars, restaurants, movie theaters, etc should be able to choose. Don’t tell me what I can do. Don’t go to a bar where they allow smoking – YOU CHOOSE.
Don’t you see? Liberty is GOD given – not Kevin Coupe given or Michael Bloomberg given or Obama given or given by any human being. None of you created me so none of you control me… your only hope is that I act like YOU want me to act. CRAP!
One day you will wake up and you will realize it is one of your personal liberties that is gone (like wearing black turtlenecks) than you will realize – oh that affects me – so now start shouting out. Look beyond yourself – and stop judging others habits – because that is what you are doing without saying it. Heck if you want to shoot heroin in Times square I would say do it as long as you don’t bother me about it.
I'd like to say that they'll get get my black turtleneck when they cut it off my cold, dead neck.
MNB user James P. Scher wrote:So I keep reading the debates and it is hard to defend Bloomberg’s actions or refute most of the commentary and responses you have achieved. However, we should not forget that we all pay the price for obesity, higher health insurance costs, lower productivity, risks to ambulance and fire departments, crowded seats on an airplane, etc etc. At what point does the debate of peoples freedom to choose and live whatever lifestyle they would like impose upon others freedom to fly comfortably, pay a fair premium for healthcare, and manage all of the other negative impacts of the obesity epidemic.
MNB user Mark Raddant wrote:Eliminating large sodas and popcorn is only symbolic. What is needed is to allow insurance companies to underwrite for obesity.
That would be fun, for many reasons. One would be watching companies who have workers sitting in one place all day suddenly being charged more for those worker’s ill health effects. The other would be to watch those same companies try to pass the obesity “surcharge” on to the same employees they task with jobs which eliminate possibility of movement for much of the day.
Now, we simply socialize the ill effects of the obesity epidemic, and fit people and everyone else pay more to subsidize the obese.
Another great idea would be to QUIT SUBSIDIZING SUGAR. And then, TAX IT, just like liquor and cigarettes. (More fun: watching farm belt Senators go apoplectic over that idea.)
MNB user John Lert wrote:I thought I would chime in my 2-cents-worth on the subject of the ban on jumbo sodas in NYC. I think Bloomberg’s goal here is admirable and that obesity is a very legitimate public interest, but his mistake was in banning the jumbo sugar-filled drinks outright instead of just putting a high tax on them. Call it a “sugar tax”. I believe the main reason why people buy those outsized drinks is that they a much greater value on a cost-per-ounce basis than the smaller sizes, the logic being “Gee, for an extra 10% in price I can get 50% more soda” or whatever the numbers are. And for the retailer, the actual cost of goods is so low that they make slightly more margin on that extra price increment. But if you put a big tax only on the jumbo size (say any serving more than 12 ounces), the cost-per-ounce equation then favors the smaller sizes, few people (if any) would buy the jumbo size, and his portion-reducing goals would be achieved.
Also, few people would question the right of government to use taxes to achieve human behavioral goals—they do it all the time—so a tax would not be seen as a draconian measure and the uproar would be negligible. He could even have declared that the additional taxes would be directed into city-sponsored anti-obesity programs in the public schools. I suppose there would have been loud complaints by retailers about the added administrative burden required to collect this special tax, but when did that ever really stand in the way of government decisions? And if such a burden were a major problem, many retailers would simply stop selling the product on their own, which would further contribute to the success of his initiative. Seems like a major missed opportunity to me.
And from another reader: While I hate the idea of government imposing such limitations, I an sympathetic to the fact that Bloomberg is trying to grapple with a tough problem. I also don't think he's running for anything,
If he DOES run, his platform is going to be "the only bad things in life are immoral, illegal, or fattening. I'm working on the third one."
Last week, in a piece that was critical of the boorish behavior exhibited by some people when they use social media to viciously attack sports stars who are on Facebook and Twitter, I suggested that if I were a team owner, I would put in each of my players' contracts a requirement that they stay off Twitter and Facebook.
Well, you'd think that I had suggested taxing jumbo soft drinks.
MNB user Mark Olivito wrote:You are defending social media on one hand, rightfully so blaming bad behavior on the fans that spew anger over the edge. Then you want to ban athletes for participating in SM for fear that they will say something stupid? Contradiction! Character + Common sense matter, owners that are concerned with bad PR are well advised to evaluate more than a radar gun or 40 yard dash. Successful owners get “branding” and the players that shape it, but I agree that many players need protection….from themselves.
From another reader:I think the regular yelling on all of the talking head shows (news and sports), politics and TV made discourse on “reality” TV is rearing its ugly head in social media. I agree that there will always be jerks and people who speak and act inappropriately, but when you see it on TV every day that yelling and demeaning someone who doesn’t agree with you is acceptable then it becomes the new norm. I hate that it has come to this. I am old enough to remember the “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” generation. There was a former radio talk show host in Southern California named Michael Jackson (no, not that one) and he was always pleasant. When he didn’t agree with a caller he would let them have their say and would end with let’s agree to disagree. The lack of civility in society worries me.
Another MNB user chimed in:Personally, I love when the athletes use social media as a way to engage the fans. I am a diehard Steelers fan, and many of our players have active Facebook pages that they use to engage with the fans. While a couple have been irresponsible with their comments (Rashard Mendenhall, I'm talking to you), the vast majority have used it as an opportunity to engage with fans on a personal level, share connections, promote charities and generally present a human side to players we normally see only in uniform. The idea that you can't taint all fans because of the bad behavior of a few applies to the athletes as well. Most are respectful, honest, often funny and are using social media as a tool to market the sport, their team and themselves. Instead of outlawing use of social media, the leagues should provide mentoring on how to do so responsibly.
And, from still another reader:With your views on transparency, I’m really surprised to hear you say this. I think it’s great the fans get insight into the minds of their favorite players via social media. It removes barriers that create hero-worship and humanizes the multi-million dollar athlete. And I believe casual fans are more likely to attend a sporting event if they feel engaged in conversations with the athlete or the team. I read awhile back the Washington Capitals were encouraging their players to take to social media and engage with their fans. Ownership realized there would be mistakes made along the way, and executive management in major corporations should realize the same when it comes to engaging with their “fans” via social media. Too many companies are afraid their starting pitcher may say something stupid.
I only wish Bobby Orr had a Twitter account back in the day…
MNB user Dan Jones wrote:Fans want to connect with their team and the players, and Twitter is a great way to do that. A few abusive fans should not prevent that.
Errors are made in the field. They will be made in social media as well. But you need to be able to let fans connect with players – otherwise you are just rooting for laundry.
And, from yet another MNB user:Kevin – you had me till the last paragraph. You wax on about not blaming social media, and then you turn around and do just that. Restricting player access to social media won't fix a player who doesn't know enough to keep quiet. There are too many places and methods to misbehave.
We continue to blame the medium, when the problem is the user. And unfortunately, fixing "dumb" isn't easy to do.
As in, fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life
To be clear, I said "if I were an owner." In my current position, with different priorities, I don't feel the same way.
Last week, we took note of a a study by YouGov BrandIndex looking at the brands which the highest level of perception among fathers. The top ranked brands were, in order, M&M's ... Subway ... Snickers ... Sony ... Planters ... Cheerios ... Amazon ... Bose ... Johnson & Johnson ... and Lowe's.
I commented:Maybe I have to get my testosterone levels checked. To be honest, only one of these probably would have made my top 10 of brands that I perceive as relevant to my life.
Apple would be first. Amazon would be second. Diet Coke would be third. Starbucks would be fourth. LL Bean would be fifth (it is the clothing label I see the most when I get dressed). New Balance and Rockport would be tied for sixth (they make the only products I ever put on my feet). Stew Leonard's would be eighth. AMC Theaters would be ninth. And I'm having trouble coming up with a tenth. (It certainly would not be a candy. And definitely not a home-improvement chain.)
MNB user Gary Harris (who, for reasons that will become clear in a moment, works for Wegmans), offered his own list:Wegmans (surprise!) ... Home Depot ... Apple ... GMC ... Bosch ... DeWalt ... Henckels ... Blue Moon ... Herman J Wiemer ... Cracker Barrel.
From another reader:The Dad name brand thing… you probably fall more under the metrosexual category based on your top "9"! LL Bean, Starbucks, Rockport and New Balance? Come on… man-up!
Sporting event-watch the game at home brands:
Need to feed kids something healthy/quick and not cook brand:
Don't want to go to the store to get it brand:
Must smell good, not itch, no flake brand:
Johnson & Johnson ... a
Wife is nagging and I'd better fix it brand:
Clearly you either have more time on your hands than Dads with younger kids and/or bigger budget and more understanding spouse!
Sure, I probably have more time on my hands than when my kids were young. And I certainly have an understanding spouse. But a bigger budget...not likely.
And this may be the first time I've ever been described as metrosexual.
MNB user Mike Franklin wrote:I live a simple life…I only need six brands…
NIKE – running, apparel, golf, outdoor, casual
Apple – phone
Ninkasi – Beer
Walnut studiolo – bicycle accessories (one of my son’s businesses)
Widmere – beer
Barnes & Nobel - books
And MNB user Terry Pyles wrote:I think I may have to get my brain cell levels checked; because I am having the hardest time figuring out what the heck a “perception level” is. Doesn’t the word perception require some sort of context? Perception of quality? Value? Something else? Or do you think they really mean recognition as opposed to perception? Or maybe relevance. Or maybe I’m just having a Vinny Barbarino moment, i.e., I’m so confused!
We also had a story last week about studies saying that men are doing more food shopping, which I suggested means that maybe stores could do more to attract men.
Which led MNB user Jarrett Paschel to write:What people forget when they read the data about fathers doing more of the family shopping is that dual parent families with kids living under a single roof are an ever dwindling, and increasingly irrelevant population--at least from a numbers perspective. Singles vastly outnumber married households, and around 40% of all parents are single.
Moreover, suggesting that retail spaces need to be "re-thought" for men is no different, and ill advised, than the belief that the retail space should be designed with mom in mind. If you look at any of the best in class food retailers, it's evident that they designed their stores not with moms or dads but with food in mind. Food marketers and retailers are free to imagine an America like that portrayed by Norman Rockwell, but that doesn't match reality. And it is not even close. The story here is not about families. It is the food.
MNB user Andre Jaeger wrote:The ultimate man-product is beer. How is beer advertised? That’s right, girls in skimpy bikinis jello wrestling for a Coors Light. I can’t wait for the Retail Marketers to catch on.
Two final things.
In a discussion last week in which I defended myself against accusations that I look down my nose at people who eat at McDonald's, I offered the following coda:(I have to go in a minute. I have to go buy some octopus to grill up for dinner tonight, and then figure out what white wine I'm going to serve with it...)
MNB user Anne Maas wrote:Can't wait to read what wine you found to complement the grilled octopus!
Your sense of humor rocks ...
Thanks. I ended up going in a different direction in terms of food over the weekend. But I did have a great white wine...which I'll talk about on Friday.
And responding to a comment I made last week in which, after one guy said that when I do FaceTime commentaries from hotel rooms I need to make the bed, I said that it would have been worse if there had been a blonde in the bed, MNB user Doug Morales wrote:Somehow I don’t see Mrs. Content Guy finding the humor in the blonde in the hotel bed…unless Mrs. Content Guy is a blonde!
She's not. But she did. We've been together a long time.
(At least, she found the comment funny. Not sure she'd feel the same way about an actual blonde. Then again, she found it both funny and true when a woman once said about me, 'The only thing safer than Kevin is staying home."
Which, for the record, I thought was one of the most hateful things anyone ever said about me.)