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    Published on: May 8, 2013

    by Kevin Coupe

    Car manufacturer Audi wants to make the case that its products are the logical choice for people looking for a luxury automobile and who wish to live long and prosper.

    So who better to turn to than Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame?

    In fact, both of them.

    There's a two minute mini-movie playing on the Web that features Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, the two actors who have played Spock. (For the uninitiated - and I can hardly believe there are many - Nimoy played Spock in the original TV series and all the movies. Quinto is now playing a younger version of the same character - it is hard to explain how, but it has something to do with a rip in the space-time continuum - and will reprise the role in Star Trek Into Darkness, opening in about a week.)

    And I have to tell you - it's great. Witty. Pointed (not the ears). Effective. And you can watch it by clicking on the image at right.

    One recommendation: stick around to the Eye-Opener at the very end. It's worth it.

    And utterly logical.

    KC's View:

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    Belgium-based Delhaize Group announced this morning that Pierre-Olivier Beckers, president/CEO of the company, will retire before the end of the year, pending the naming of a successor. According to the announcement, Beckers will remain a non-executive director of the company even after his retirement.

    In the US, Delhaize owns the Food Lion, Hannaford Supermarkets and Sweetbay chains.

    Delhaize said that both internal and external candidates are being considered.

    Beckers joined the company in 1983, has been a director since 1995 and was appointed President and CEO in January 1999. In the official announcement, Delhaize describes his tenure this way:

    "In almost 15 years as CEO he has led Delhaize Group during a period of fast change in the global food retail environment. Under Mr Beckers' leadership, Delhaize transformed itself from a Belgian company with an international presence to an integrated group sharing the same vision and values. Since 1999, the number of stores has grown from 1,904 to 3,411 in ten countries on three continents, revenues grew from EUR12.9 to EUR22.6 billion. More recently, Delhaize Group has increased its growth profile with 30.7 % of the stores now located in growth markets, generating 14 % of the group's revenues compared to less than 5% when Mr Beckers took office."
    KC's View:

    My first thought when reading about Beckers' retirement was that he's way too young to be retiring - he's nine years younger than I am. (And, by the way, from my experience, an utter gentleman.)

    I have no credible internal intelligence to suggest that this retirement is anything other than voluntary, and certainly he's been doing the job for a long time. Plus, his stated attitude about wanting to make sure that the company is well-served by a succession plan seems admirable, especially since I've been critical of other companies for not doing this.

    That said, it has been challenging times for Delhaize, especially in the US, where there has been some turmoil and changes in leadership.

    I'm working under the assumption that Beckers may be retiring from Delhaize, but he's not just going off to play golf and serve on some boards. I don't know him well, but he seems like a young 50, with tons of vitality and intellectual energy. So maybe he just figures it is time to do something different.

    I would point out that the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is looking for a new managing director to replace the unmitigated disaster that they had to fire. Beckers always has been a highly engaged member of the CGF/CIES board, and maybe this would be interesting to him - taking a industry-wide and strategic role in an organization that can use mature and experienced leadership from someone who isn't a diva.

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    The New York Times has a front page piece about John A. Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain who also happens to be a candidate for the Republican nomination to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York.

    Before he can realize his political ambitions, the story says, "Mr. Catsimatidis must first confront the public’s often-strained relationship with the company for which he is best known: Gristedes, the unloved uncle of the New York City grocery scene.

    "Garishly lighted, expensively priced and home to a dusty décor that several Yelp users have labeled 'depressing,' Gristedes has suffered mightily in the face of flashier rivals like Whole Foods. Sales are down, stores have closed, and the company has paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits over allegations of unfair labor practices and consumer safety violations."

    The piece notes that Catsimatidis seems to have a love-hate relationship with the chain. He says he is deeply sentimental about the company and sometimes describes himself as a grocer, and yet prefers to emphasize his other business holdings - which account for the vast majority of his wealth - when discussing his qualifications for the mayor's job.

    The entire piece can be read here.
    KC's View:
    I must confess that I'm a day late in recommending this story to you; because I again was in Portland, Oregon, and had to catch an early plane back east, MNB got done very early and I missed the Catsimatidis piece.

    It is a very good story, and not just because I'm quoted in it. (I got off a pretty good line about Gristedes, I must admit.)

    If I were a New York City voter, I would want to consider what the Gristedes story says about how Catsimatidis feels about issues like competitiveness and investment ... because the chain is one of the least competitive specimens I've ever seen, with little evidence that ownership and management wanted to make it do anything other than occupy real estate. (Catsimatidis says he keeps the chain open in order to make sure that all of its employees keep their jobs, but I'm not sure he's really doing anybody any favors in the long run.)

    This is a guy, after all, whose idea of a bold initiative is to bring the World's Fair back to New York. (Really?)

    Remember the piece from earlier this week that differentiated between attackers (who want to change the world and upset the status quo) and defenders (who want to protect the way things are by hedging bets and minimizing risk)? Well, by this definition of things, Gristedes is defending a way of doing business that is well on its way to obsolescence.

    As for Catsimatidis ... well, that's not the way I'd want a company run if I had any money invested in it, and it is not how I'd want my city run if I were a resident.

    Then again ... he's worth $3 billion. My net worth is ... a little shy of that. So maybe I'm the wrong guy to be giving him business advice.

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) is out with a new study concluding that "despite radical changes in society, women still dominate the retail marketplace. Although women’s personal and professional advancements have grown significantly in recent decades, the time spent grocery shopping has not decreased.

    "According to the study, two-thirds of women say they still handle much of the grocery shopping and, furthermore, they still take the time to make the decisions with three quarters of them forming shopping lists and 53% taking time to clip coupons and search for specials. And 40% of women shoppers say they spend about an hour in the supermarket.

    "Women are also the rulers of the kitchen. Eighty-four percent of women still act as the sole preparer of meals in the household, with 61% of women stating they prepare meals at least five times per week. And the majority of these meals are not prepackaged meals that require a quick nuke in the microwave, 64% make most meals using fresh ingredients which generally take more time."

    The report goes on: "Aside from meal preparation and grocery shopping, women are also responsible for the other important household areas: Seven in ten women say cleaning the house is their job and three-fourths take on the majority of the laundry in the home. Since women are those making the purchases, they have become frequent store brand purchasers, with only three percent saying they never buy store brands."
    KC's View:
    I find this study to be troubling, in part because it seems to be at odds with so much of the other research that I've seen about how men are taking a greater role in the food shopping experience. The PLMA study seems to be harkening back to the days of June Cleaver; I almost expected that it was going to suggest that when women are doing the shopping, cleaning, laundry and cooking, they also like to wear pearls.

    But I think the broader problem with such research is that when marketers think about shoppers in a time of enormous change, they need the greatest possible specificity about who the shopper is, when and how he or she is shopping, what they are buying, and why they are making decisions.

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    The Nielsen Co. is out with its quarterly assessment of consumer confidence in the US, which it says shows "the biggest jump in Consumer Confidence since 2008."

    Highlights:

    • "The "biggest jump in Consumer Confidence since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008 – Consumer Confidence jumped six points to 83.

    • "49% of Americans said their personal financial prospects looked 'good to excellent,' up from 43% in the previous quarter and encouraged by signs of an improving labor market."

    • "42% said they plan to spend on discretionary items this year, a 6-point rise from Q4 2012 and a welcomed increase from the average of 33 percent over the past three years."

    • "23% of Americans said they intended to spend on home improvement and decorating projects (an increase of 6 points compared to Q4 2012) ... 22% of respondents plan on taking a vacation (an increase of 2 percentage points compared to Q4 2012) ... 22% of Americans plan on spending on out of home entertainment (an increase of 2 percentage points compared to Q4 2012) ... 25% of Americans plan on buying new clothes (a decline from 27% reported in Q4 2012)."

    However, a discordant note was sounded in the report, which says that "78% of Americans said they believed they were in a recession, a quarterly increase of 4 points, but demonstrated a cautious eagerness to spend."

    James Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen, suggests that this is because "more than three-quarters of Americans are still feeling the effects" of the recession, "with close to two-thirds of Americans living pay check to pay check."
    KC's View:
    There seems to be no question that the economy is improving, but this research confirms something that has been suspected - that the rebound is being felt a lot more by certain segments of society than it is by others. A rising tide that only raises some boats but swamps others also can be seen as a storm.

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    Bloomberg reports that Walmart's board of directors "has identified two internal candidates to succeed Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke, according to a person familiar with the situation.

    "The two leading contenders are international chief Doug McMillon, 46, and Bill Simon, 53, who runs the U.S. operations, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. While Duke, 63, isn’t expected to step down immediately, Wal-Mart may name his successor in the coming months, the person said."

    The story notes that McMillon "has worked at Wal-Mart since starting as a summer worker in 1984" and "is close to the Walton family." Simon joined Wal-Mart in 2006 after working for Brinker International, Diageo, and as secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services.

    Duke is seen as vulnerable because, while he is just the fourth CEO in the company's history since it became public, the company is under attack because of alleged bribery of foreign officials and continuing controversy about its labor practices at home.
    KC's View:

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    The National Grocers Association (NGA) and Balance Innovations have released the results of their joint 2013 Grocery Retailing Payments Study, which they say is "designed to create understanding of industry payment practices relative to cash, check, debit and credit management, payments automation and other payments related topics, such as coupons and e commerce."

    Among the key takeaways:

    • "Credit and debit now exceed 60 percent of dollar sales, followed by cash at 23.1 percent. While check usage in the grocery channel has fallen to single digits as a percentage of sales, they continue to have the highest average transaction value at $63.21. The average transaction size across all forms of payments stands at $27.65, with weekly transactions per store averaging 11,000."

    • "Two-thirds of grocery retailers do not yet image checks. Among those that do, check imaging in the back office is more common than in-lane."

    • "One-third of grocers have some kind of online ordering system in place. An additional 8 percent are planning on adding online ordering in the next two years."
    KC's View:

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    • In Cincinnati, the Business Courier reports that Kroger's decision in the market "to lower everyday prices and do away with double coupons must be working ... Kroger has decided to do the same thing at the 121 stores in its Mid-Atlantic division.

    "Kroger launched the program last week at stores in eastern Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The reduced prices on thousands of items took effect beginning April 28. Kroger said it will stop doubling the value of coupons in Mid-Atlantic stores beginning May 12."


    • In Florida, the Sun-Sentinel reports that "Publix has introduced a new coupon savings tool at Publix.com to help customers save more at its stores. The 'Coupon Savings Helper' automatically matches coupons published in SmartSource and Red Plum circulars that come in the Sunday Sun Sentinel to weekly BOGO sales at the store..."


    Advertising Age reports that there is "mounting speculation that Mondelez might join forces with PepsiCo to create a colossus with at least 15 global snack and candy brands each worth more than $1 billion, including Tostitos, Doritos, Lays, Trident, Oreo and Nabisco.

    "Although both companies are making strong plays in emerging markets, those businesses 'remain below-scale,' Bernstein Research stated in a recent report speculating on merger possibilities. 'As a result, to the extent that a combination could lead to accelerated growth and/or enhanced scale, it could be highly beneficial to both [companies]'."

    It was just year that Mondelez International was spun off from Kraft as a standalone candy and snack-food company.

    Neither company has commented on the speculation.


    • The Los Angeles Times reports that "proposed legislation to remove junk food and sugar-loaded drinks from vending machines at California state office buildings and on government property is intensifying debate about when the battle against obesity becomes a gateway to 'nanny state' tactics. Backers of the Assembly bill, AB 459, said California shouldn't condone the sale of fatty snacks and sodas in the workplace when taxpayers are already shelling out vast amounts to cover the healthcare costs of overweight government employees."
    KC's View:

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    • Ray Harryhausen, known for creating special effects and stop motion animation that brought to life otherworldly creatures in movies - such as “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” “Jason and the Argonauts," "One Million Years BC” (though it could be argued that Raquel Welch was the best special effect in that movie) and the original version of “Clash of the Titans" - long before computer-generated effects made such things possible, passed away yesterday. He was 92.

    Harryhausen was credited as an influence on such filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson and John Lasseter (of Pixar fame).
    KC's View:
    I thought that this story was worth noting because it speaks to the value of imagination - that while computers and modern technology make almost anything possible, sometimes magic can happen even people have far fewer tools at their disposal.

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    Responding to the story about Walmart's new campaign to emphasize "the real Walmart," one MNB user wrote:

    To me what I hear Bill Simons saying is, we have lost the trust of the customer due to all the changes and assortment cuts, and this lack of trust have cost us business. That you may have heard that some of our associates are not happy, have had benefits and hours cut, but we are proud to tell you that we want to hire returning Veterans (who we may not hire full time or pay benefits as they get Veterans benefits).

    Come on, they been wanting to do this… Walmart can do anything they want, whenever they want, there is a reason their laying this “pipe” now.


    Such cynicism.

    I like it.




    Love this line from an MNB user about JC Penney and the small fortune they've paid out to executives who have now been sent packing:

    Per the piece on Ron Johnson, Michael Francis et al, it occurs to me that while, from a merchandising philosophy they were committed to a change to EDLP, from an organizational comp perspective they were just fine keeping Hi-Lo.

    Boom!




    On another subject, MNB user Mike Sommers wrote:

    In response to the Rainforest Initiative fan that wrote in saying  non-GMO companies should form an organization to validate and certify non-GMOs.  It exists, it is call The Non-GMO Project, founded in 2008.  Grocery stores now even have Nom-GMO week where all these products are displayed and promoted.  At this point in time, it seems consumers would need to have their head in the sand if they aren't at least partially aware that this movement is happening....or maybe it's because I live in Boulder, CO.  I would just hope that people would educate themselves on this issue and support companies and products that are non-GMO.

    From another reader:

    You know what drives me wild about the GMO conversation? In a day and age where people are constantly complaining about “nanny state” intervention, there isn’t an outcry that Big Ag is basically making health decisions for the whole country. We did not elect them to an office where they should have that kind of ability, especially when their unquestioned loyalty comes first to their board and bottom line.

    Most frustrating to me, they clearly are also (1) confused and (2) missing a huge opportunity. (1) Confused because they seem to think that knowing a product contains GMOs will mean people won’t buy it, while I am quite sure that the majority of people will only use GMO content as one datapoint in making a purchase decision. We’ve all been eating GMOs for years, and only the wealthy and seriously discipline will actually cut them out completely. I mean, I would always prefer to eat organic food, but it’s simply too expensive for my budget to go all organic all the time. I research and decide on where I think I can get the biggest bang for the buck. (2) Missing an opportunity because if people find out something contains GMOs and are looking for alternative products, someone needs to develop alternatives - and test what people are willing to pay for the difference, which, if the impact of GMO labeling will be so big, seems like it would be considerable.





    We got some criticisms of Michael Sansolo's column yesterday. One MNB user wrote:

    Your summary of the future connect session encapsulates everything that is so frustrating about these sessions.

    Publix's Mark Irby suggests that the social web has forced companies to listen more, understand the changing nature of value and recognize that today shoppers, not marketers, are in control. The problem with this thinking is that forward leaning retailers have been doing these things since well before the advent of Facebook or Twitter. (i.e., Trader Joe's, Central Market, or Whole Foods). Heck, Trader Joe's built their brand on the premise of listening to their customers. And people have been discussing the whole "shopper is in control thing" for more than a decade.

    Whenever I hear that social media is changing blah blah I always challenge people to point to very specific things that have changed (what has happened, what have you done, and what was the outcome) and rarely do they have anything concrete to point to. 

    To be fair, these discussion are to be expected. Because there's not much else to speak to at a conference other than change, right? Which is why we get these zingers from Doug Stephens:
     
    "One study Stephens cited spoke of how most school-aged children will likely work in careers that don’t currently exist and that even college freshmen study a significant amount of material that is obsolete by the time they graduate four years later."
     
    Egads!!! How, I ask, is this any different than 40 years ago? Most of us older folks work in careers than never existed in the 50s, 60s or 70s. And much of what I learned in college was obsolete before 1900. Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought the point of education was two-fold--to socialize our kids and teach people how to think. But I guess I'm wrong, now it's time to train people for a world that doesn't even exist yet. Sure hope we guess correctly!


    And from another reader:

    I realize that you need to make bold statements in order to be heard above the crowd…but…you should really think about this statement, “shoppers, not marketers, are in control”  1) Social Media has given a louder voice to shoppers, but it takes marketers to interpret what they are saying to make changes, 2) please understand that many shoppers use exaggeration for the sake of emphasis, similar to you, in order to get likes…it takes marketers to extract the exaggeration to determine what they really want, 3) SM is still just a tool in a toolbox full of marketing tools…let’s not exaggerate its importance (have you ever tried to measure the impact of an SM strategy or tactic in any meaningful way that produces a quantifiable ROI???, 4.) Sure SM is important…but its true impact is yet to be discovered, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves by overstating its current importance… just yet! 5) SM managers think they have just discovered the shopper, yet a good marketer has always listened too, respected and provided shopper needs and wants…SM just makes it easier. Problem with many organizations is that they have been poor marketers in the past and SM is showing them much more quickly just how poor they are at understanding the shopper.

    OH, and by the way, even before SM, the shopper was in control…SM has just speeded up the conversation and ability of marketers to listen more clearly and more often.  So, yea…SM is changing everything…but marketers still need to be in control to protect the brand promise


    I asked Michael for his thoughts:

    Why don't I respond to both e-mails in one shot.

    First, the mea culpa: yes I made a bold statement (as did Mark Irby and Doug Stephens) and for what I would argue was a very good reason. You have to be bold to call attention to important changes. Both of these readers make great points, but I'd still stick with my main premise: the world is changing like never before. It's not all because of social media, but all technologies on top of a vastly shifting economic and demographic climate that challenges so many fundamentals that guide all of us. Those very successful companies mentioned by the readers are among those that are finding a way to progressively deal with these shifts.

    Second, let's deal with the two main points. Do I think this period of change is so vastly different than others we've faced? I'd argue yes. Even for an industry that is always in constant change, this new combination of forces packs a stunning punch. The power consumers wield today is like nothing we've seen before and it's only growing. Simply put the pace of change has picked up considerably. To the second point about what students learn that is quickly obsolete, I'd argue that it has never been more true. Certainly there are always lessons to be learned from the past as I mentioned in my column. Ethics, customer service and the basics of management don't change, even as the tools we employ do change.

    But the points Irby and Stephens made - on how new technologies have fundamentally changed so much of our world already - demand attention.  Again I'd support Stephens' point that we are comfortable changing incrementally, but that's not enough in a world changing exponentially. Change is hard, but understanding it and adapting to it are simply necessary today. So yes, my statement was bold. It was meant to be that and provocative.





    Got some email about the discussion of whether JC Penney's willingness to embrace gay culture - via Mothers Day and Fathers Day ads that showed same-gender parents - had fueled resentment and even some boycotting within the Christian community. My response to this assertion was that I'd heard little or nothing about this impacting JC Penney (which has plenty of real problems); my initial response was a little glib, which I felt bad about, though I argued that while I may have been less than thoughtful, I think I was right ... and that I find it hard to know how much to tolerate what I view as intolerance. (Not much, I think. But I'm a work in progress.)

    One MNB user responded:

    I just want to tell you how grateful I am to start my work day with a view that reflects my own beliefs.  Sometimes working in an environment that is, at best, tolerant of who I am, weighs heavy on my spirit.  I am a gay woman, and I work for a company that, in no uncertain terms, defines marriage as between one man and one woman (in our benefits package).  The amount of hate I see at work is small, but when it happens it is painful.  When confronted with such issues, the majority of my co-workers seem to believe that we should all tolerate the intolerance; we should tolerate hate.  The very idea that we should allow things just because they are legal (as suggested by one reader) seems far from what is right.  But I am off topic.  I wanted to thank you for bringing your political views into the business discussion.  You have brought the issue of gay rights to the attention of those that may not have otherwise been aware.  Thank you!

    Again, I don't think of my opinions in this regard as being political in nature. To me, it is about fairness and decency.

    From another reader:

    It is tricky terrain and while your gig seems very cool, I don't always envy the need to balance informing, opining and entertaining in a way that keeps most folks coming back.  I have a hard enough time trying to write a Holiday letter that will simultaneously amuse my friends but not offend my in-laws.

    As they say in The Godfather, this is the life I have chosen. Wouldn't have it any other way.

    Still another reader offered:

    Your response last week, while certainly flippant, did not cross the line. You only gave them a roadmap of places to avoid if they choose to live by a discriminatory creed.

    There are issues where reasonable minds can disagree. Abortion. Taxing v. spending. Gun laws.

    There are others where there is no reasonable debate. Earth isn’t flat. Tobacco Kills. Gays & Lesbians exist. Gay marriage doesn’t affect heterosexual marriage.   Climate change is real.

    While I have strong feelings on the first group, I respect that there can be reasoned debate from those with the opposing viewpoint.  The second list encompasses statements of fact; suggesting one needs to be tolerant of someone’s intolerance is baffling. Americans have First Amendment rights, both religion and speech, to preach and practice bigotry. When they believe that protection affords them the right to project their bigotry upon others, they are wrong, history will judge them as such, and they shall be called out for it.


    MNB user Tal Vance wrote:

    "Intolerance" in any form should ALWAYS be called out...keep it up.

    MNB user Glenn Cantor chimed in:

    After reading your “On Thoughtful Reflection” as well as your response to the comment about cannibalism in Jamestown, I thought of a bumper sticker I recent read.  It stated, “Sarcasm, The Body’s Natural Defense Against Stupidity.”

    MNB user Chuck Jolley wrote:

    I saw too much hate and intolerance in the readers' response that took you to task for your usual wit and sarcasm.  It's something that's becoming more frequent: a plea to allow the those people their free speech rights to express their intolerance.  Along with it comes a dismissal of political correctness.  I suppose the intolerant have their rights but I don't wish to hear their comments which often border on or cross over to hate speech.  Better that they keep it within their tight-knit community and not cloak it as permissible because it is nobly 'anti-politically correct.'

    Another reader wrote:

    With the current issues involving the LBGT community and how there are still groups that are working against them instead of trying to work with them I am reminded of what I have read in history books and viewed in movies based in the 50’s and 60’s about issues involving race.  There was a time in this country’s dark history that it was OK to hate African Americans, they were viewed as lesser human beings, and I’m not saying that people still don’t think that way but I will say that in most of this country that attitude is no longer tolerated.

    There was an early episode of "Mad Men" in which Pete was speaking with a television manufacturer about the fact that their product was bought by African Americans more than anyone else and they should develop a marketing campaign around that demographic.  The owner was very offended that there was even a suggestion that African Americans would purchase his equipment and stated in no uncertain terms that he would not try to sell to them.  I imagine that there are still companies today that feel this way about different segments of our population and I would guess that they will have difficulties surviving in a tolerant society.

    Evolution is a fact of life, all things evolve when survival is necessary, or they die.

    Customers may choose to stick with those companies that choose not to embrace everyone equally but only time will tell if those companies will still be around and thriving in the future.

    And ... Just to clarify: I'm not black, I'm not gay but I am a Christian whom tries to love and support all without seeing race, color, sexual orientation or whatever difference there may be.


    And MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:

    As for JC Penney and the gay references.  I’d forgotten about the commercials also.  But, to be honest, I don’t care what  your sexual  preferences are, doesn’t matter to me.  Whenever I read or hear gay  bashing I remember a passage from one of Robert B. Parkers Spenser novels, I think it was "Paper Doll," when the gay detective Lee Farrell finally figures out that his being gay really isn’t an issue for Spenser.  The conversation goes something like this.
     
    Farrell: "So it really doesn’t matter to you that I’m gay."

    Spenser: "Got nothing to do with me."

    Farrell: "So why does it matter so much to others?"

    Spenser: "Makes them feel important."
     
    I know the quotes aren’t exact, but the idea is there.  Whether or not someone is gay, has nothing to do with me, it doesn’t affect me.  In short, it’s none of my business, what they do and who they do it with, provided it’s with a consenting adult.

    Which brings up another favorite Spenser line: “I don’t care if you have carnal knowledge of a Chevy Tahoe, as long as that Tahoe is a consenting adult”.
     
    I understood what you were  trying to say last week.  Did you go over the line, maybe, but I’ve been reading you for a long time, I also remember that  you have relatives who are gay. I know that will color your thinking a bit, and I try to remember the total person when I read their writing.  It helps that for most part I get your cynicism and sarcasm and recognize them as such.

    I also get that your politics are a lot more complicated than most people think, I know that because mine are also.  I lean to the left, but am also a big proponent of people taking responsibility for themselves wherever possible.





    Finally, on a lighter note, yesterday I commented about the fact that Chinese food authorities have uncovered a conspiracy to sell rat but label it as lamb:

    What's Chinese for "Oy"? 

    Well, Dominic M. Hansa wrote:

    “A-ya”

    I learn something every day.

    And another MNB user wrote:

    While you're at it, what's English for "Oy"?

    There are lot of words that one can use instead of "oy." Most of them, however, cannot be posted on a family website.
    KC's View:

    Published on: May 8, 2013

    Internet Retailer reports that a new study from Forrester Research predicts that US-based e-commerce companies are likely to hire "100,000 more employees by 2017, increasing staff count by 25% from the current 400,000 to 500,000."

    The story goes on: "Forrester says across all companies, not just e-commerce companies, e-business teams grew by 20% from 2011 to 2012. E-business teams include such jobs as such web analytics analysts and information technology staffers ... The average e-business team has 96 staffers, according to Forrester’s research. Companies with worldwide annual revenue of more than $10 billion have an average of 189 e-business employees. Companies with sales of less than $1 billion have an average of 48. However, smaller companies grew their teams the most. Companies with less than $1 billion in sales grew their e-business teams by an average of 27%."

    And here's the kicker: "While businesses are hiring more for e-business roles, many say it is difficult to find employees that have the skills needed for some positions, particularly I.T., business analytics and customer experience jobs."
    KC's View:
    I've heard this before - that there is tons of opportunity out there in the e-commerce arena, and not enough Americans trained and skilled enough to fill those jobs. Which ought to be a message to college students considering their career options.