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    Published on: November 12, 2012

    by Kevin Coupe

    The New York Times yesterday, as part of its excellent "Corner Office" series, had an interview with Jeff Weiner, chief executive of LinkedIn, who talked about what he called "the unofficial mantra" at his company: "Next play."

    "The person I borrowed it from," Weiner says, "is Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] of the Duke Blue Devils. Every time the basketball team goes up and down the court and they complete a sequence, offense or defense, Coach K yells out the exact same thing, every time. He yells out 'next play,' because he doesn’t want the team lingering too long on what just took place. He doesn’t want them celebrating that incredible alley-oop dunk, and he doesn’t want them lamenting the fact that the opposing team just stole the ball and had a fast break that led to an easy layup. You can take a moment to reflect on what just happened, and you probably should, but you shouldn’t linger too long on it, and then move on to the next play."

    That strikes me as a powerful business metaphor, especially in these fast-changing times - the need to keep moving, to always be moving on to the "next play," to never get to the point where you are believing your own press clippings or breathing your own exhaust.

    It's an Eye-Opener.
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    Reuters reports that US District Court Judge John Gleeson of Brooklyn, New York, has "granted preliminary approval to a proposed $7.2 billion settlement between merchants and Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc over credit card fees, despite objections from hundreds of retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc."

    If granted final approval, the story says, "it would be the largest federal antitrust settlement in U.S. history, offering nearly 8 million merchants $7.2 billion in cash and temporary reductions in the interchange, or swipe fees, they pay to process credit and debit transactions."

    The organizations objecting to the settlement - including a number of the original, named plaintiffs in the case, - say that it is meaningless and does little to restrict the card companies from increasing their swipe fees in the future, as well as indemnifying them against future lawsuits. The objections come from, among others, the National Grocers Association (NGA); three of its members, Coborn's Inc., D'Agostino Supermarkets, and Affiliated Foods Midwest; Jetro Holdings, Inc. and Jetro Cash & Carry Enterprises; and five other national associations on behalf of their members - the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, NATSO (travel plazas and truck stops). In addition, the plaintiffs said they have been joined in their objections by some 1200 other entities, including the American Booksellers Association, National Association of College Stores, National Retail Federation, and the Retailer Industry Leaders Association.

    Reuters writes that "lawyers for several dozen stores that support the pact - which include major grocery chains Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. - told Gleeson that these concerns were based on 'misinformation.'

    "It's a lot of smoke and there's very little fire," Richard Arnold, the lawyer representing some of the objectors, tells Reuters.

    The story says that the standard for a final approval is far greater than for preliminary approval, and both sides seem to agree that this is just the beginning of a long process.
    KC's View:
    I hope the final standard is higher. It is hard for a civilian to understand how a settlement that is objected to by so many of the participants can possibly be approved by the courts. It simply does not make sense.

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will "require periodic tests of organic food starting next year to help ensure producers aren't using prohibited pesticides, genetically modified organisms or other nonorganic substances.

    "Under existing USDA regulations, organic-food producers must get an initial inspection before being certified to produce organic food. But the agency hasn't required they get continued periodic testing to ensure their products remain free of nonorganic material."

    According to the Journal story, "The USDA is mandating that agents test annually a minimum of 5% of the farms or production facilities they are contracted to monitor. That is enough testing, the USDA said, to discourage use of prohibited substances without raising costs to the organic industry."
    KC's View:
    Works for me. Part of transparency and oversight is making sure that companies are living up to the promises they make.

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    The New York Times reports on how retailers and shipping companies are trying to figure out the same-day shipping model, trying to deal with what is perceived as one of the downsides of online shopping: "it takes mere seconds to find and buy goods on the Web, but often several days for them to arrive at the doorstep. Could the wait again be shortened to just an hour? That remains to be seen."

    According to the story, "The United States Postal Service will experiment with same-day delivery of online orders in San Francisco. It sees the new option, called Metro Post, as a way to put its delivery infrastructure to fuller use while developing a new source of revenue — a matter of pressing importance as the service’s finances go from bad to worse.

    "The Postal Service proposes once-a-day pickup of goods ordered online from participating retailers in the city before 2 p.m. and delivery to homes between 4 and 8 p.m.

    "John G. Friess, a Postal Service spokesman, says the packages won’t go through the normal processing centers, but will instead be passed directly between the Postal Service workers who pick them up and deliver them."

    With its fleets of trucks, United Parcel Service also has the delivery infrastructure for same-city, same-day service. But for now, the company is not set up to do both pickup and delivery in the same day, in the same city, at a modest price ... If UPS decided it wanted to enter the intracity delivery business in a serious way, it could no doubt offer much more attractive pricing. In fact, it would seem positioned to offer a lower price than the Postal Service, whose operational decisions must be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service’s filing with the commission to try out Metro Post is timorous in tone and lists self-applied hobbles. For example, the service says it will enlist 10 or fewer companies for the trial and limit the volume to 200 packages a day, at least until it can 'further test its operational capabilities'."

    The story goes on to talk about what retailers are doing in this arena: "Last month, Wal-Mart announced that it had begun same-day delivery of online orders in a handful of cities. A check last week of the price of two-hour delivery windows in San Francisco showed flat fees of $6 to $7. (The minimum order is $45.) Amazon also offers a same-day delivery option in 10 markets. In addition to a delivery charge of $8.99 for all orders other than gift cards, it adds a charge of 99 cents for each item in the order."
    KC's View:
    Glad to see that the USPS is getting into the act, albeit tentatively ... but the fact that the USPS cannot or will not engage fully to solve the same-day service riddle illustrates why it is not and may never be competitive.

    Somebody is going to figure this out, and probably make a lot of money doing so.

    And, by the way...bricks-and-mortar retailers that thought they had an instant gratification advantage may want to rethink that certainty...

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    The New York Times this morning reports that Coca-Cola "is refreshing its corporate Web site for a new century, adopting an approach and attitude more akin to a consumer magazine than a business portal ... The reorganized Web site will offer articles on subjects like entertainment, the environment, health and sports, including longer pieces given prominence in the same way that magazines play up cover pieces. Interviews, opinion columns, video and audio clips, photo galleries and blogs also will be featured."

    The move, according to the story, reflects a "growing interest among marketers in recasting their communications with consumers as storytelling rather than advertising. Just as attention is being paid to developing content to use for brand storytelling, an appetite also exists for corporate storytelling."

    Indeed, Coke says that it will accept outside contributions - even one from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who promoted limits on the sale of jumbo sugared soft drink sales there.

    "We have a belief here that not shying away from tough decisions is a good thing and gives us credibility," says Ashley Brown, director for digital communications and social media at the Coca-Cola Company, adding, "We have this belief in great, real content and creating content that can be spread through any medium as part of our ‘liquid and linked’ strategy."
    KC's View:
    The folks at Coke sound more like real publishers than some so-called journalists I know. So good for them.

    Anyone who has been paying attention to MNB knows that around here we believe fervently in the importance of story, that having a strong narrative can help employees, consumers and business partners understand a company's vision in fundamental and organic ways.

    So good for Coke.

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    Bloomberg reports that "confidence among U.S. consumers climbed to a five-year high in November, improving the prospects of bigger spending gains that will help spur the expansion.

    "The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index rose to 84.9, the fourth straight increase and the highest since July 2007, from 82.6 in October."
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    Reuters reports that Walmart has told its US employees that they "will pay between 8 and 36 percent more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013," attributing the increases to rising healthcare costs. The premium hikes, the story says, has prompted "some of the 1.4 million workers at the nation's largest private employer to say they will forego coverage altogether."

    According to the story, "Wal-Mart's example could be a blueprint for other employers trying to manage their costs while also preparing to meet the requirements of President Barack Obama's U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, and is widely referred to as Obamacare.

    "The law, the biggest reform to America's healthcare in decades, is intended to make healthcare less expensive but critics question if it will succeed and it will also take years to fully implement. In the meantime, Wal-Mart and other large companies are trying to control their healthcare costs, which have been rising an average of more than 6 percent per year.

    "Wal-Mart pays for preventive care such as routine checkups. However, workers must pay deductibles of at least $1,750 before Wal-Mart covers 80 percent of the cost of other care such as doctor visits and diagnostic tests."

    • In South Carolina, The State reports that Walmart is teaming up with MetLife to test the sale of one-year term life insurance on store shelves via the purchase of a pre-paid card that can cost as little as $69. According to the story, "MetLife and Walmart say qualifying for the coverage could take as little as 10 minutes by phone after the purchase."
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    The Los Angeles Times reports on a new study from Robert Half International saying that "managers spend nearly 17% of their working hours dealing with poor performers ... That's basically a full day a week that could have been spent being productive."

    And that doesn't even take into account the fact that laggards also "can bring down office spirits," creating a drain on "morale, productivity and time."
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports that researcher IHS is predicting that 100 million smartphones and mobile devices will be "enabled for wireless charging," up from just five million this year.

    According to the story, "Device makers are planning to sell charging stations along with their phones and hook up with partners to offer stations in stores, mobile carrier shops, sports grounds, bars and restaurants. Although demand is potentially huge, wireless charging hasn't taken off because of a lack of a common standard so enabled phones can work on all charging surfaces."
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    ...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

    • Target Corp. announced over the weekend that it will begin its Black Friday sales a few hours early this year, opening its doors at 9 pm on Thanksgiving. Last year, the Associated Press writes, Target opened its doors at midnight.

    Walmart made a similar announcement earlier this month.

    Again, I'm conflicted on this one. I hate that stores are opening on Thanksgiving, but I also get that they have to rethink traditional approaches since Amazon and other online retailers never close.

    This is not a trend without a backlash, by the way. says says that more than 20 new petitions have been created on its site "calling on retailers to allow families to spend Thanksgiving together and stick to Black Friday opening times."

    Good luck with that.

    • The Chicago Tribune reports that "Edward Hospital will open two new health clinics in Jewel-Osco pharmacies in the southwestern suburbs Monday, as the Naperville medical center seeks to expand its reach and draw new patients. The outposts, dubbed Quick Care Clinics, will be staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants and offer routine medical treatment, preventive care, vaccinations and health screenings."

    • The Associated Press reports that PepsiCo "plans to launch a version of its namesake soda with a fat-blocking fiber called dextrin in Japan. In an announcement on the company's Japanese website, PepsiCo explains how dextrin helps reduce fat levels in blood ... The drink, called Pepsi Special, isn't the first cola with fiber in Japan. The Japanese company Kirin also offers a sugar-free cola with dextrin. Kirin's website says the cola is targeted toward health-conscious men in their 30s and older."

    Bad enough that people my age have to limit how much soda they drink because, among other reasons, our bladders aren't what they used to be. Put fiber in our soda, and suddenly all sorts of other problems are going to emerge...

    • The San Francisco Business Times reports that Safeway "plans to hire at least 1,000 military veterans in 2013.

    "The new workers will join the other 1,300 vets hired to work at Safeway this year. The move is part of a longstanding effort by the Safeway Foundation to support the United States military. Over the past few years the foundation has donated and shipped over 2,000 care packages to soldiers overseas and raised money for a variety or charities helping vets."
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    We had a piece the other day that looked at some criticisms of how the Apple Store is doing business these days, suggesting misplaced priorities at the tech giant that may be affecting the division that is the face of the company.

    MNB user Rich Heiland wrote:

    I had the same experience at the Apple Store in the Woodlands (TX) mall. I cracked a corner of the screen on my iPad so drove 30 miles or so south to the store. I was told I needed an appointment with a genius. It was 11 a.m. or so and they said the next appointment was at 2:50 p.m. I explained I drove down from Huntsville and didn't want to burn three hours at the mall. All I wanted to know was the cost of the screen replacement so I could make a decision on doing that, or replacing it. Nope. Have to see a genius. Finally I found someone who told me it would be $249. I decided to fix so said "can I just leave it with you and you call me when it's done?" Nope, needed an appointment with a genius. Again, said I couldn't wait three hours "well you can make one for another time and come back down."

    I left. My thought? I need a tablet, but do I need an iPad tablet? When it comes time to replace it I now am open to considering other products, where before I was not.....

    Think this ties to the Apple shakeups of a week or so ago?

    Another MNB user wrote:

    I would echo that Apple has a larger issue with their retail stores and customer experience post product purchase than some would like to believe.

    I recently visited the Apple store, after making the required appointment, seeking help for two iPods that my daughter has purchased with her own savings.

    The store was less than compelling and did not have many of the goodies I would have been willing to pay for the iPads we have in the family.

    The associate helping us essentially destroyed the iPods by wiping the content with the only reply that we could recycle them for a discount on a newer model or visit another retailer that specialized in fixing what Apple could or would not fix.

    The end result, we went home and were able to restore the content ourselves enough to salvage what we needed. My daughter is now unwilling to own another Apple device. So much so that she would like to look at any smart phone but will not consider the iPhone as an option.

    Turning off future generations of shoppers did not even enter into the context of the staff at the store and frankly they politely showed apathy for a young lady with a device mere months out of warranty that had a known issue on the product.
    Sad, truly sad management of business by people on the front lines.
    Oh, forgot to mention that I did have the option of paying $20 for a person on the phone to tell me to go to the Apple store for this delightful treatment.

    And, from another MNB user:

    Have to add my voice ... on this one - and I've bought about 20 Mac products over the years (not counting iPods) starting in 1985.  Needed to repair an old Mac laptop; was given a too-high estimate for repair but was eagerly sold a new Air model (which is a great machine).  Then came time to transfer my data from old to new.  I was immediately sold the $100 service package that I was told was required to do this, and then given wrong DIY advice on the solution (after waiting 45 minutes, the Genius took about 1 minute with me; recommended a solution requiring a port that my old computer didn't have - which I only realized after I got home).  A call to Apple (and another wait) brought the suggestion that I just get a converter - - which after searching on the internet discovered doesn't exist.  I eventually gave up, and went to an independent Apple service consultant, who was happy to help me out.  This is in a highly populated suburb of Chicago.

    So…I still love Apple products but the bloom is starting to come off the rose for me.

    MNB user Lee Smith wrote:

    Very simply, I have the exact same problem at the store in Boca Raton, FL. It is a nightmare and you can plan on spending an entire afternoon for any problem, regardless of how simple the solution. The last time I was there, I was given an appointment two hours later and I was told I had to stay in the store in case they called me early. I explained I was going to lunch and they said they would e-mail me. We were finished, I got the e-mail and walked the 50 feet into the store and they told me since I wasn't there I'd have to schedule another appointment.
    However, another MNB user is a little skeptical of all the criticism:

    Yes, Kevin. Apple definitely needs advice from whining malcontents who have evidently never tried to get Microsoft to resolve a problem.

    I think I just laughed up a lung...

    I get your point.

    Not having owned a non-Apple product, other than a Kindle, for about two decades, it is hard for me to judge how other companies handle customer service, though it is certainly my sense that whatever its shortcomings, Apple leads the pack.

    But it would be an enormous mistake for Apple to get complacent about its achievements in this area.

    A reputation is what you earned yesterday. Today, you have to earn it all over again.

    Last week, I wrote about a business lesson to be learned from the elections. i wrote, in part:

    I heard a Republican strategist yesterday make the following comment: "To be frank, we are a 'Mad Men' party in a 'Modern Family' world."

    And another GOP strategist said that the Republican Party was going to continue to have problems in national elections as long as it is perceived as being anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-immigrant ... and at the very least, Republicans have to craft an approach to issues that seem rooted in the cultural and demographic realities of the 21st century. (A number of people seem to think that the clock is ticking ... that the GOP has to change at least as fast as the electorate does.) And I thought those were profound statements ... with a lot of business relevance. Think about it. You can't run a successful business if it seems like you are addressing modern problems with an out-of-touch mindset. Nostalgia has its place, but not if you are trying to run a relevant retailing business. There will be a lot of sturm und drang in the Republican party as it tries to figure out what went wrong in a year when it thought most things would go its way. Some will say that the party needs to get more conservative, while others will suggest that changing demographics means that a new approach to conservatism needs to be developed. I have no comment on the election other than to restate the obvious - that the Republican part seems to have a branding problem. And by the way ... the Democratic Party has its own problem, because it seems to be perceived as anti white male. I would argue while demographics are changing and white men are not as important as they used to be, Democrats cannot afford to just write them off. Both parties have plenty of work to do.

    MNB user Lisa Bosshard responded:

    Truer words have never been spoken.  Regardless of which side of the political line people fall on, if they don't start working together, our country will get no where and the backsliding will gain momentum.

    From another reader:

    I can’t agree more that you can pull real business lessons from this election.  My favorite quote from an article in the Washington Post this morning was this one from Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Republican lobbyist in Florida:

    “There are things we need to think about, things we need to talk about, and probably some things we need to change,” Stipanovich said. “We probably need to be less reflexively and dogmatically conservative and need to take a new look at the people we’d like to represent — what their needs are, what their aspirations are.”
    This is classic isn’t it?  Who are your customers and what do they need from you?  Where I work, we talk about this  a lot!  I am not one of those people who equates running a government with running a business, but I do think we can learn from each other.

    Another MNB user chimed in:

    The statement that gave me hope came from a Republican house leader (I think), he was asking for both sides to come together and work for the good of Americans. Maybe this election, instead of dividing the nation, will wake both sides up to the fact that for most Americans it isn’t about party it is about survival. Both sides lose when nothing changes. Kevin, I believe you are right. Both sides have branding issues. The election was close. Neither side can claim total victory.

    MNB user Ray England wrote:

    Successful retailers know who they are and stick to it. They live their brand promise in everything they do resulting in a solid brand equity and message that rings true with their customers in every visit. Think about these three successful, but very different supermarket retailers: Publix, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart. When these retailers go after new customers, or work to evolve with the marketplace, they do so in a way that stays true to their core brand promise and values. They may offer new items, integrate new programs, or even evolve their décor or logos, but they stay who they are. In my opinion, retailers of any type that try to be everything to everyone, constantly changing course looking for ways to capture new customers through the latest gimmick are in a continual state of flux because their foundation is constantly shifting.

    I believe the quote above crystalizes the issue Republicans face fairly well. Political parties don’t have customers, they have constituents, but they are the same really. Like retail customers, constituents respond to a consistent message, one they can identify with. I don’t think that anyone could argue the fact that Democrats have a consistent message, they are consistently liberal and it’s not as if anyone questions who their target audience is regarding ethnicity, gender, age, or in what socioeconomic class they reside. Democrats know their message and articulate it well. Republicans on the other hand allow themselves to be branded by Democrats and find themselves trying to be like the retailer that is always trying to figure out how to increase their customer base by always trying to speak to the next profitable group of consumers. We’ve all heard it the last few days. Republicans lost women, Latinos, blacks, young people, and can’t get the Jewish vote or gay vote. Okay, how do Republicans focus in on any one of these diverse groups without alienating another? Republicans have to figure out who they are and be consistent with their message to everyone all the time. In my opinion the Republican message should be one of Conservative values crafted not to target a particular demographic, but to all who believe in conservative values. Develop your brand promise, be consistent in living your brand promise…build brand equity.

    And, from still another reader:

    This must be a typo. You wrote:
    “On "Morning Joe" this morning, David Frum suggested that a primary goal of the book was to define the gap between the conservative political establishment and the conservative entertainment establishment; the latter, he suggests, has not served the former well, painting them into an ideological corner that makes it difficult to govern.”
    You must have meant liberal entertainment establishment.

    No, that is not a typo.  That is what Frum said.  And apparently what he wrote, in his new book, "Why Romney Lost," though I have not read the book yet.

    His point is that entertainment figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity do not do the conservative movement any favors because they paint the world in black-and-white terms, when almost all governing has to take place in gray areas.  (This would go for liberals as well…but he was specifically talking about the conservative movement.)  His says that their model is a business model - they take positions and position what they say in order to draw a crowd, get ratings and make more money.  But it is not a governance model.  Because the conservative entertainment establishment draws stark lines, he says, it does not give conservative elected officials room to maneuver … putting them in a position where they cannot negotiate to get 50 percent of what they want, because of fear that they will be roasted on Fox News or by conservative talk radio for not holding out for 60, 70, 80, 90 or 100 percent of what they wanted.

    This strikes me as a reasonable assessment, and a good object lesson for people on either side of the aisle.  (Keep in mind it comes from a former Bush speechwriter.)

    I also think that it is unreasonable to suggest that there is not a "conservative entertainment establishment," since Limbaugh has the highest rated radio program in the country, Fox News is the highest rated cable news network in the country, and there certainly seem to be more conservative radio talk show hosts than those of the liberal stripe.  Is there a liberal media establishment?  Of course.  But since Ronald Reagan got inaugurated in 1981, the GOP has held the White House for 20 years (Reagan for 8, Bush for 4, and Bush for 8), while Democrats have held it for 16 (Clinton for 8 and now Obama for 8).  So at least at the presidential level, the two sides seem to have fought pretty much to a tie, with a slight advantage to the GOP.

    And, we continue to get email on the subject of tattoos...

    One MNB user wrote:

    I wasn't going to weigh in (since I don't have kids) but I had to respond to this commenter...

    What I don't understand is people that use EBT and yet they are covered with tattoos.  This may be a minority of EBT users, but the question always comes to mind, "if there is a decision to be made between feeding my family, or getting a tattoo, who would ever choose to get a tattoo?" If a person qualifies for EBT, where is the money coming from for the tattoo?

    It's pretty obvious that I'm an old guy, with traditional values.  I'm not saying that people should not have tattoos. I'm just trying to figure out the rationale people have when they can afford a tattoo but have to rely on the government to feed his/her family.

    I see and hear people making these kinds of comments a lot and it bugs me. "People on SNAP are buying steak and lobster, they shouldn't be buying such expensive food" or "look at that person on welfare, they are driving a nice car/have an iPhone/have nice nails/tattoos".

    People please stop. Stop and think for a minute. Maybe these folks had these things BEFORE they had to go on public assistance. They got laid off from their jobs thanks to the economy and now rely on SNAP to help stretch their unemployment dollars. And if they are buying steak and lobster-or junk food for that matter, it isn't any of your business. They get an allotted amount each month to spend and when it runs out, that is it. No more until next month. You wouldn't think of looking at your next door neighbor and judging what they put in their grocery cart would you? (And if you do, stop that as well) I'd like to smack Reagan for starting that whole "Welfare Queen " myth.

    From another reader:

    I was very entertained reading about everyone’s tattoo stories, but I wanted to offer just one piece of advice to the reader who is now 35 and likened your story to her own experience with her father when she was young. The only part of the story that bothered me was fact that even today she hides the tattoo from him, even though the rest of her family knows she has it. She said that it was out of respect for his feelings, and I believe 100% that her heart is in the right place. It sounds to me like she loves him very much and clearly he cares enough about her to have given her the option of losing her car if she got a tattoo.

    Anyway, as the father of two girls, I wanted to say to her, please, please tell your father that you got that tattoo! I assume since you are 35 years old that your father no longer has any substantive control over you and that telling him will cost you nothing. But listen to me when I tell you that even though it might sting him a little to learn what you did, you will give him the deepest sense of satisfaction that his daughter (the woman he raised) had integrity and showed respect to him by being able to be honest with him about it. You don’t have to flaunt it or even show it to him at all. Just the fact that you were honest with him will matter now.
    He might not like the idea of a tattoo on his daughter, but he will gladly exchange it for the knowledge that he has a daughter who loves him enough to tell him about it. I don’t know you, but this sounds like an EASY win for you. A slam dunk in showing your father exactly how much you love and respect him.
    Please don’t let him find out about the tattoo the hard way.

    From MNB user Kari Mitchell:

    Glad to see a lot of parents in the same boat of the tat issue.  I have had the initial conversation with both my teenagers and I have ended with “if you have to have one put it in a spot not readily seen and DON’T tell your dad."

    MNB user Sue Seisler wrote:

    I am a professional sales person who at the age of 50 decided to get a tattoo on my birthday.  This was some years ago.  It is a tasteful, colorful, meaningful rendering of a beautiful flower above my right ankle.  It is a personal expression of what I hold dear in my heart – the beauty & wonder of nature. 

    But what I remember most about that day was the story the artist told me:  An 80 year old woman came in to the shop recently to get a tattoo.  She said her husband would never allow her to get one.  Since he had just recently passed away, she decided to finally get what she always wanted.  It was a small heart on the inside of her wrist. The young man was so touched, he was choking up telling me the story.  He said he was so honored that he was the one she chose to do the work.

    Still another reader chimed in:

    I’m about your age, love the band Yes.  At the end of the century some friends and I had chased the band Yes through Tulsa to Dallas.  After two fantastic back to back performances, a meet and greet with the band & autographs all around we left the Bronco Bowl and drove to Deep Ellum (the night was still young) and decided to get Tattoo’s of the bands familiar (to aging hipsters) YES logo.  Once inside the parlor, we all wussed out.  However, it was determined that if you’re going to get one, and concerned that the ink would look stale on flabby old codger skin when we are sprung from this mortal coil, age 50 is the right time!  The ink would still look good when we die.  PS – one of my buddies finally did take the plunge, and his upper bicep Yes logo looks fantastic!  Me, I’m skipping that deal….my two daughters have enough ink for the whole clan.
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 12, 2012

    In Week Ten of National Football League action...

    Baltimore 55
    Oakland 20

    Denver 36
    Carolina 14

    Cincinnati 31
    NY Giants 13

    Tennessee 37
    Miami 3

    Minnesota 34
    Detroit 24

    New England 37
    Buffalo 31

    New Orleans 31
    Atlanta 27

    Tampa Bay 34
    San Diego 24

    Seattle 28
    NY Jets 7

    Dallas 38
    Philadelphia 23

    St. Louis 24
    San Francisco 24

    Houston 13
    Chicago 6
    KC's View: