Published on: September 7, 2012
Yesterday, I did a FaceTime commentary about why accuracy and transparency are important in business - and used the recent exaggeration by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of his marathon finish time as an example of how easily things can be checked and challenged.
Which led MNB user Jim Martin to write: Good point about transparency, accuracy and trust. However your comments are blatantly partisan... by singling out just one politician, you've exposed yourself as covert, inaccurate and untrustworthy.
First of all, even though the contest is officially closed, I'm thinking that "Covert, Inaccurate & Untrustworthy" ought to make it into the finals in the MNB Mantra competition.
Second ... Really?
I'm curious what you thought was covert about it. Anyone who reads MNB knows that I would have done that same commentary about any politician who misstated his or her marathon times. Regardless of party. And I also emphasized that I did not think that the misstatement would affect anyone's vote, but served mostly as a cautionary tale.
As for being inaccurate ... I think I stated my marathon times accurately. I think I stated Paul Ryan's marathon time accurately. And I don't think he did.
And untrustworthy? Well, that's ultimately up to you folks ... though the one thing I hope you do know is that you can trust me to stir the pot each morning and occasionally letting it boil over.
The other day, I wrote the following headline:Study: Organic Food No Better For Consumers Than Conventional Food
But one MNB user thought I underachieved:Wow - can't believe the easy way out headline you used, KC.
Here are some other headlines you might have considered.
Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce ...
Stanford study finds organic food is safer to eat
Chronicle of Higher Education:
Emphasizing the Negative, Stanford Draws Wide Audience for ...
Organic Food - better for you or not? A study takes a look
MNB user Carter Calico wrote:I enjoyed the article about Walmart’s iPhone application and had a few thoughts about the comments from ‘Your Views’:
• Theft: Why not put a weight in the cart similar to that at the self checkout? Not infallible, but a step in the right direction
• ‘Big Data’: Isn’t this the first step for brick and mortar? The ability to see the shopper’s path, other items in their basket, etc. Why not offer the shopper the most efficient route or the route with like items also purchased with their basket? Why not give digital coupons that can be applied when additional items are purchased?
• Jobs: This idea can work if the jobs lost at registers are reallocated. Inevitably, some jobs will be lost, but others could be transferred to hot spots throughout the store offering advice/demos/coupons to get customers more involved.
The fact is, this technology is here. The ability to capitalize on the opportunities it brings is the only question that remains. Use the data that is gathered and sell the shopper what they want to buy!
On the subject of Safeway's decision to do an IPO for its Blackhawk gift card subsidiary. MNB user John Gillis wrote:I foresee a shift in this category, It's just a matter of time retailers will figure out that one way to fight against the show rooming and the monster that is Amazon, is and will be Social Gifting. Being able to give someone a gift card on their phone through the huge Social Networking sites I.e.Facebook, Twitter, Linked In…
Wouldn't It be nice to be able to go on Facebook and check your birthdays and in one fell swoop wish your niece across the country a Happy Birthday along with giving her a Gift Card to Best Buy, Target, Gap etc…Think about it, they will never lose it and will be on their phone when they do want to redeem it. The show rooming Caveat could be that they need to go to the retailers brick & mortar to redeem, which could mean incremental sales and more transactions.
With that being said, I think it will only be a matter of time before physical gift cards and payment services will be handled through the retailers electronically?
Yesterday, a story about Food Lion contained the following passage:
"The new strategy encompasses lower prices, more convenience, improved service, greater value in private brands and better produce, and the company has been adding jobs at the retail level. Phillips-Brown put the number of new retail jobs at 2,100 this year."
Which led MNB user Bryan Nichols to write:Any organization that considers this a new strategy is in serious trouble. It sounds more like a minimum expectation and something that all retailers should be doing everyday just to stay relevant.
From MNB reader Jarrett Paschel, the following email:It seems like almost every day in the trade press and analyst community that there is a news story about Tesco, Walmart or SuperValue, and the stories are almost always negative.
Meanwhile we really do hear very little about Kroger, Sainsbury's, Publix, HEB/Central Market, etc. Of course one could argue that this observation is merely a reflection of size--the bigger they are, the more coverage they receive.
Another explanation might be something like the following: In a land populated by clumsy dinosaurs with tiny brains stomping around looking for food to stave off extinction, there are plenty of other creature going about their business who have quietly adapted to their environment and will likely outlast the dinosaurs for many years to come.
Point taken. Though I'm not much interested in size. I'm more interested in stuff that strikes me as thought-provoking.
Got the following email from MNB user Jeff Folloder:The foundations of excellent customer service are ubiquitous and easily translate into other industries and verticals. Case in point: a few weeks ago I had the need to secure a quantity of a very specific type of firearm ammunition for a demonstration that I had scheduled. This is not run of the mill stuff and availability is scattered. Additionally, it is worth noting that the price for identical product is quite varied with no apparent reason for high versus low pricing. I wielded my "Google-fu" search skills and came up with a low cost option. I inquired directly, had an email and voice conversation with a sales rep, decided on a quantity and placed my order.
As expected, the order arrived without ceremony or fuss and I did the demonstration without incident. Last week I received an email from the sales rep. "I just wanted to follow up with you on your recent purchase to be sure the order was processed properly and the product you received was acceptable. Have you had the opportunity to use the ammo you ordered and did it meet your expectations? Your input is greatly appreciated in order to better serve our customers. " I was floored! Let me count the number of times this has happened to me before in the firearms business... NEVER! I absolutely responded to him in the positive. I can assure you that he has a customer for life. And I can also assure you that *I* now have learned from the experience and will be sending out such requests for feedback on the stuff that I make. When folks are grading you on price alone, a great customer experience can make you stand out.
On the subject of healthier food at McDonald's, one MNB user wrote:After we tried to get my son, a huge Subway fan, to order a salad from McDonalds, on a recent road trip, he sent us a quote he found somewhere online. This article reminded me of it. “Going to McDonalds for a salad is like going to a prostitute for a hug.”
Kids say the darndest things, don't they?
I love emails like this one, from MNB user Sue Seisler:By the way….loved “Longmire”, adored “Newsroom,” and can’t wait till “Homeland” and “Sons of Anarchy” (my dark side guilty pleasure) start up. Love your column and actually missed you last week! Hope your time off was relaxing and memorable!
Mostly it was doing things like cleaning the garage and reading. But sometimes that can be the perfect vacation.
I'm with you on "Longmire" and "The Newsroom," and I am a recent convert to "Homeland." (We just added Showtime to our package, and are totally addicted to it ... we're nine episodes into the 12-segment first season, and it is fabulous.) One of my sons is a big 'Sons of Anarchy" fan, and the other loves "Breaking Bad."
Thank goodness for DVDs and On-Demand...