retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB user who wanted to comment on an email that ran here yesterday...

I’d like to weigh in on the following ramble:

Whether it be the "most useless among us" statement or other sentiments which conveyed that everyone under $20 per hour is basically a drain on society, one thing is clear - The same people who whine about "class warfare" and accountability simply have no interest in society, except for as it serves them.

If their statements in this space from last week aren't the best examples of class warfare, I don't know what else to tell you.

They cry for "free markets" (and "freedom") like an involuntary reflex, but their freedom has no real purpose.  They care neither about their fellow citizens or the rule of law.  Long ago, they began to ignore society and the voice of their own conscience.

But don't worry -- there are more of us than there are of them.


It’s hard to know where to begin.  Perhaps those of us who went to business school and studied economics have an advantage here, especially if you consider the majority of academic studies show that minimum wage increases do a lot of harm to those with less experience, education, skill, and circumstances.  So if you’re actually compassionate, you may want to re-think your position.

Free market capitalism is by far the most successful method of lifting people out of poverty, so it’s simply amazing to hear that economic freedom is for no real purpose. 

As for caring for our fellow citizens - I’m a business owner, with thirty employees.  Everyone earns more than minimum wage, and some earn six figures.  We provide a 401k, health insurance for anyone working 25 hours or more, free dental, free life insurance, free short-term and long-term disability, and flexible vacations.  I care about the front line, back room and everyone else, and we’ve lost very few employees over the years.  My charitable giving is above 20%, but I would like to do more. 

It is scary to think that your reader says there are more of you than those like me.  I think I am fairly compassionate, but I don’t wait for the government to provide for employees or others in society.  We’re called awful things because we don’t support the increase in minimum wage - we’d much rather provide real jobs and opportunities.  And we actually look into the results, not just the feel good mantra.

I don’t exploit employees, and I don’t need government intrusion on minimum pay rates to be a decent person and a good employer.  It’s a real shame that many in the country won’t do what they should to help others - and many of them simply want the gov to do it all, since they won’t do much themselves.


Maybe I should not speak for the reader who you criticize, but I honestly don't think that he was referring to people like you.

If every employer were like you, not only would we not need an increase in the minimum wage, but we might not need a lot of programs that the government creates.

I absolutely get the argument against an increase in the minimum wage. But I think there also is another argument for such an increase, and it can be seen in the diminishing levels of disposable income available to a lot of people at the lower end of the economic spectrum in this country - people who work one, two and sometimes three jobs and still have trouble keeping up because of the rising cost of meat, gasoline, clothing, and pretty much everything else.

For me, it is a complicated issue ... and I can see both sides of the argument.




Regarding the judge's decision to strike down the NYC rule that would have banned the sale of jumbo sugared soft drinks in certain venues, I said that I thought while the original rule was arbitrary, it was hardly capricious ... and perfectly in line with public health stances taken by the Bloomberg administration.

One MNB user wrote:

"Capricious" is a term of legal art -- not Webster's -- so let me ask you this: have you read the decision, so you offer informed, considered criticism?

If not, your uniformed judgments are a disservice to your readers.


Yes, I have read the decision. Though I won't for a moment argue that I understood the whole thing. If I were king for a day, I'd rule that all lawyers' briefs and judicial decisions would have to be rewritten by actual writers before being distributed to the public.

Unless I missed it, when the judge used the word "capricious," he did not add a footnote saying that he was using it as legal jargon as opposed to actual English. But I get your point.

If I understand the judgement correctly, it is essentially his argument that the Bloomberg administration overstepped its authority and that the ruling is mostly about the balance of power with the city government. I would tend to agree with the judge on this ... I've always thought that this ban was a bridge too far.




I used a Babe reference yesterday to talk about leadership, which led MNB user Bruce Law to write:

Baa Ram Ewe… Baa Ram Ewe!!

Babe knew how to lead the sheep because he knew how to talk to them in their own secret language and gain their respect - something he was also able to attain for the wolves (sheepdogs)!

And that’s my Babe reference for the day… 


And a great point. If I remember the film correctly, in order to lead the sheep, Babe was willing to speak their language ... not expect them to speak his.

That's called servant leadership. Not arrogance.
KC's View: