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    Published on: March 6, 2014

    This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.

    Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

    Last week in this space I talked about, among other things, the demise of Moviefone, the service that allowed people to use their telephones to call a service and then use the keypad to find out when and where movies were playing near them.

    How quaint.

    The best memory that people seem to have of Moviefone is how it was the subject of a really funny "Seinfeld" episode.

    This week, I saw a new study that indicated to an even greater extent how technology has altered people's behavior. The report, from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and InMobi, says that:

    • 87 percent of moviegoers researched a movie on smartphones after seeing an ad for that movie in another medium.

    • 56 percent of moviegoers turn to mobile for entertainment research, second only to TV where 57 percent of respondents get their movie information.

    • Two out of three moviegoers use a movie-related app for activities like buying tickets, checking listings, and playing games based on the movies.

    • 41 percent of moviegoers have viewed trailers on smartphones.

    I know that reflects my experience. I'm always using Fandango on either my iPhone or iPad to find out what is playing and when, and I have a natural bias toward theaters that allow me to buy via Fandango, and even greater bias toward the AMC theater chain, which not only allows me to buy via my mobile, but also doesn't charge me for the service because I'm part of its frequent user club, and I get points redeemable for free tickets the more I do so. I'm always watching trailers on my iPad, and even watch movies on it when I'm traveling, which allows me to keep up with new stuff I haven't seen and old stuff I want to revisit.

    My sense is that I'm not alone.

    Yes, this is the entertainment segment, but the ways in which consumer behavior has changed in this area can't help but bleed over to other categories … and businesses that don't think this way, I think, run the risk of irrelevance and obsolescence.

    Resistance, as the Borg say, is futile.

    That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    The New York Times reports on the resignation, effective immediately, of Target CIO Beth M. Jacob, who "is the first high-level executive to depart after a series of computer hacking episodes that may have also affected more than half a dozen other retailers in recent months."

    The Times writes that "while it is unclear how involved Ms. Jacob was in day-to-day protection, online security officials at the company ultimately reported to her. Target has declined to provide details on her training, but according to the Target website, Ms. Jacob does not appear to have a computer science background. She holds a degree in retail merchandising and a master’s in business administration. She first joined Target in 1984 as an assistant buyer, left the company for a time and then returned in 2002 to run its call centers. She had been vice president of Target Technology Services and chief information officer since 2008."

    CEO Gregg Steinhafel said that an interim CIO would be named while a search for an external candidate is conducted - unusual for Target, a company that has preferred to promote internal candidates. And, he promised an overhaul of the company's security procedures. The company said that it would hire a new individual to focus on web security, a job that previously had been shared by several executives.

    “While we are still in the process of an ongoing investigation, we recognize that the information security environment is evolving rapidly,” Steinhafel said.
    KC's View:
    No question about it. Every company is going to have to raise its game in this area, because the technological advances will be made faster and more successfully by the bad guys. It is going to require the best possible people, constant investment, and a focus on innovative thinking that stays ahead of the curve, as opposed to just keeping up.

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Cerberus Capital Management is hoping to "sew up" a deal to acquire Safeway for about $9 billion within the week, though its efforts have been "complicated" by Kroger's apparent interest in buying at least parts of the company.

    "Cerberus is still seen as likelier to emerge with a deal for Safeway, in part because of antitrust risk associated with any proposed tie-up with Kroger," the story says, noting that "Cerberus also made a run for Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc., but lost out in that auction last summer to Kroger, which agreed to pay $2.4 billion for the southeastern grocery chain."

    Safeway said last month that it was engaged in discussions about a possible sale of the company.
    KC's View:
    Gee, is it possible that one of Kroger's goals could be to increase the price that Cerberus has to pay, by demonstrating some interest in Safeway's assets?

    Maybe that's not the end game. But if Cerberus wins the bidding war, it will not be bad for Kroger if it has managed to make the deal a little more expensive.

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    JD Power is out with a list of 50 companies that it has chosen as customer service "champions," based on performance "in five key areas identified as the JD Power 5 Ps: People, Presentation, Price, Process and Product," demonstrating what it calls "the highest levels of service excellence, not just compared with their direct competitors, but also across all facets of the customer experience."

    The only food retailer on the list is Publix. Other retailers making the grade are Amazon, Apple, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. And, other notable companies on the list include Cadillac, Drury Hotels, Four Seasons, Jaguar, JetBlue, Lexus, Ritz-Carlton, Southwest Airlines, and USAA.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    Delhaize-owned Food Lion said yesterday that it has implemented a "sustainable seafood policy that covers approximately 1,000 fresh, frozen, canned or packaged products sold across the store. Under the new policy:

    • "Food Lion's suppliers will provide full traceability back to the source fishery or seafood farm for seafood products sold."

    • "Wild-caught seafood will come from source fisheries that are governed by credible, enforceable and science-based management plans that respect the amount of harvest to ensure seafood populations will continue to be healthy in the future."

    • "Farm-raised seafood is certified and reviewed to ensure that production does not harm communities, workers, the environment or human health."

    • "The Gulf of Maine Research Institute will confirm fisheries that supply our seafood are responsibly managed."

    "Monitoring and compliance measures are in place to ensure harvest levels are maintained within appropriate limits."

    "At Food Lion, we believe that we have a responsibility to protect seafood species for generations to come," Karen Fernald, senior VP of Merchandising at Food Lion.  "Through our policy, customers can trust that the seafood products they buy in our stores today are responsibly harvested. Our seafood products have been documented as meeting important criteria around sustainability, adding Food Lion to an elite list of grocers in the U.S. to accomplish this goal."
    KC's View:
    Smart. And necessary. Because these kinds of initiatives, stressing both sustainability and transparency, will only become more important to consumers that believe in both.

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    The Economic Times reports that Walmart, which has scaled back its plans for a bricks-and-mortar chain in India, "is quietly readying a major e-retailing push in India with an electronic marketplace business model akin to that used by US-based Amazon and eBay Inc."

    The goal is initially to serve wholesale consumers by hosting a virtual store where numerous Indian companies can offer their products. The approach essentially circumvents Indian laws that make it difficult for non-Indian companies to do business there. The story says that the online marketplace approach does not entail "the reams of licences required for setting up brick-and-mortar stores. Walmart's Indian operations were engulfed by allegations of bribery in 2012, which put an unflattering spotlight on its business and culminated in senior-level sackings" and at least a temporary suspension of its plans for stores there. Late last year, Walmart broke up with Bharti, dissolving the joint venture originally set up so Walmart could have retail interests in India; Walmart currently has sole ownership of 20 wholesale stores in India, while Bharti has, among many other interests, a chain of Easy Day-brand convenience stores.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    The Wall Street Journal reports that one day after RadioShack announced that it was turning of the lights in some 1,100 stores, closing down about one-fifth of its stores as it chases relevance and profitability, it followed up with the news that it has authorized " up to $1.5 million in retention bonuses to its top executives, in an effort to maintain its leadership through a difficult turnaround."

    According to the story, "The retention payments will be provided if the executives stay at the company through March 2015. The company said it is offering the payments to give "due consideration of the skills and talent deemed critical to the company's business turnaround efforts currently underway.

    "Chief Executive Joseph Magnacca, who joined the company last year, stands to gain the largest retention payment at $500,000. He was also offered a one-time bonus payment of up to $600,000 to be paid in April 2015, if certain milestones being reached in the company's turnaround. Chief Financial Officer John Feray and Troy H. Risch, executive vice president of store operations, were each offered $275,000. Chief Human Resources Officer Telvin Jeffries is eligible for $250,000. Michael S. DeFazio, senior vice president of store concepts, was offered $187,500."
    KC's View:
    I normally hate retention bonuses, though these don't seem as high as some I've read about in the past. And at least they don't pay out for a year. But I always think that turning around the company is what they're being paid for to begin with.

    This would seem a lot more palatable to me if retention bonuses also were being offered to the people on the front lines, who have to make things work if RadioShack is to be successful.

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    Salon reports that San Francisco may soon become "the first major U.S. city to rid itself of the scourge of plastic water bottles," as the city's Board of Supervisors has "approved an ordinance to ban their sale at events held on public property" and prohibiting "the sale of drinking water in single-use bottles 21 ounces or less on city property, starting on Oct. 1 for indoor events and in 2016 for those held outdoors. The ban exempts footraces and other athletic events and gives food trucks and large nonprofits, such as the annual Gay Pride Parade, until 2018 to comply. It also allows some groups to apply for waivers and encourages the city to increase the number of water refilling stations in public spaces."

    San Francisco Supervisor David Chu says that "one goal of the legislation is to get people thinking about the waste, much like the city’s plastic bag ban, which has dramatically increased the number of consumers who use reusable bags."
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    • The Tampa Tribune reports on a new Walmart Supercenter being built there that is located in a so-called "food desert," which is "defined by the federal government as an area where most of the residents — predominantly low-income — have to travel more than one mile to get to the nearest market that sells fresh produce and other nutritious food."

    In this case, that neighborhood is home to more than 4,500 people and virtually no local competition … which make sit perfect for Walmart's strategic purchases since the company "pledged to build 275 to 300 stores in urban and rural food deserts throughout the country by 2016." So far, the story says, Walmart has bought 86 that fit that definition.


    • The International Business Times reports that Walmart has unveiled "the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE, a concept for a new, highly efficient big-rig truck. WAVE’s cab is made with advanced aerodynamics, the trailer is made almost entirely of carbon fiber and the WAVE is powered by a hybrid powertrain … The WAVE’s trailer also features a convex nose to reduce drag and increase cargo space, and the carbon fiber trailer is about 4,000 pounds lighter than conventional trailers, thus allowing WAVE to carry more cargo without sacrificing power or fuel consumption. Walmart said that the 53-foot side panels are largest single pieces of carbon fiber ever produced."

    The company said that it is unlikely that the WAVE will be seen on highways anytime soon, if ever, but is a way of testing concepts that may eventually find their way into the mainstream.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    Slate has an excerpt from a book entitled "The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business" by Christopher Leonard, which is a fascinating look at the power base that is the nation's industrial meat industry, which has successfully fought efforts to limit and regulate it.

    One passage:

    "The meat companies … had tremendous resources at their disposal. The biggest meat companies—Tyson Foods, Conagra Foods, Cargill, Smithfield and JBS—spent a combined $5.94 million on lobbying during 2010 alone, according to an analysis of disclosure reports. Tyson had the biggest lobbying operation by far, spending $2.59 million. The companies were joined by the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council, which together spent $1.85 million on lobbying during 2010."

    You can read the entire excerpt here.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

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

    • The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the United Fresh Produce Association yesterday announced a big "get" for their joint opening general session the the combined FMI Connect and United Fresh 2014 shows in Chicago: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, June 10.

    It is likely to be a pretty high profile speech - Clinton's new memoir, which is largely seen as helping to set the stage for a possible run for the presidency, will be published on June 1.


    • The Los Angeles Times reports that "Rancho Feeding Corp., the Bay Area slaughterhouse that recalled nearly 9 million pounds of beef products last month, sold some meat that came from cows with eye cancer, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act … Regulators said they found two cattle heads with cancer that had made it to market showing no signs they had been inspected."

    According to the story, "Meat processed by Rancho Feeding was sold to thousands of retail stores, including Kroger, Food 4 Less and Wal-Mart as well as smaller meat markets that cater to Latino customers. The Rancho Feeding recall has also led to a voluntary recall by Nestle of its Philly Steak and Cheese flavored Hot Pockets after it discovered a supplier had bought meat from Rancho Feeding."

    There have been no reported illnesses related to the infected beef.
    KC's View:

    Published on: March 6, 2014

    Well, let's get right to it…

    Yesterday, MNB took note of a CBS News story saying that Chipotle Mexican Grill, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is saying that "global climate change" is creating volatile weather conditions that could affect crops and product availability, leading to the possibility that it could have to temporarily suspend certain menu items. (Such as guacamole, for example, if lousy weather affected avocado crops.) And, the story said that the company's citing of global climate change within such a context was raising some eyebrows in some circles.

    Now, my comment on this story annoyed some MNB readers (and that may be understating it). But just so we're all on the same page here, and nobody accuses me of trying to weasel out of my comments, this is what I wrote:

    Give Chipotle credit for not worrying about how climate change deniers are going to respond to what most Americans believe is actually happening. (Sixty-three percent, according to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. But I don't particularly worry about the other 37 percent. After all, there is a Pew study saying that 18 percent of Americans think that the sun revolves around the Earth, and more Americans can name two of the Seven Dwarves and the Three Stooges than can name two Supreme Court Justices and the three branches of government.) Let's not use the terms "global warming" or "manmade," because those tend to create real debate. (People seem to think that if it snows a lot in the US, that means that global warming cannot be a reality … which means, I think, that they believe that the rest of the natural world revolves around the US.) I think it is only responsible - and not at all extraordinary - for companies to be thinking about how things like the polar vortex and a drought in California might affect them long-term. It says something that some people think that this is somehow a profile in courage.

    MNB reader Tom Herman responded:

    Keep worshiping at the altar of “global warming” and you might lose some readers.  Has the earth warmed in the last 100 years, yes.  Does man have anything to do with it, probably.  Does man have anything to do with the cold weather lately, NO!  With the drought in CA, NO.  With the decreases in hurricanes and tornados, NO.  Do the democrats want to make it an issue so they can control energy along with heathcare, YES.  Is the solution to increased CO2 to spend trillions of dollars and lower everyone’s standard of living, NO!

    From another reader:

    You cut right to the heart of the argument we "deniers" assert when it comes to climate change, global warming, meteorological transformation, or whatever it's being called this month. You steered around the use of certain words to avoid creating "real debate," Real debate is the cornerstone of the scientific method. By avoiding debate (as Al Gore—who has a bigger "carbon footprint" than ten average people combined--has done all along, by the way), and by declaring the cased closed because science has a consensus and anybody who doesn't buy in is simply an ignorant Flat Earther who should be ridiculed and silenced, the Chicken Littles display their concern that the other side of this argument might just have some merit.

    As the late Michael Crichton said, "Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had..... Consensus is the business of politics. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period."

    I'm surprised you can't see the difference between a crisis and a political money grab by people who stand to profit hugely from "saving the planet."


    And another:

    First let me say I’m a skeptic.  I guess mainly because I studied Geology and the origins of the earth that included plate tectonics, and the Ice Ages. 

    For me there are too many unanswered questions surrounding historical climate change to believe that this is nothing more than a normal cycle.  There have been times in our history that were they to happen today would certainly lead to immediate passage of legislation.  The Dust Bowl of the 1930’s comes to mind where Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas experienced almost 10 years of drought.  It was a natural occurrence in a relatively unindustrialized world where our human actions likely had no impact on that event, yet it happened.  Any study of the 3 cyclical Ice Ages will show that we are coming off of a period of Icing and that we are actually supposed to be getting warmer.  Then there was the temperature study that was done after 911 when all the planes got grounded.  Turns out that airplanes create condensation trails that are the beginnings of clouds that then grow causing shade and global cooling.  We got measurably warmer during the grounding.  Which got me to thinking about volcanic activity.  Could it be that we are in a period of reduced volcanic activity?  Fewer eruptions would have fewer emissions hence fewer clouds and less global cooling?

    I recently watched a story about the 4000 year old Bog Men found in Ireland in a peat bog and how they took core samples and found periods of extreme drought.  Droughts happen and the people of the Bronze age in Ireland chose human sacrifice as their answer.

    I get especially suspicious when I see politicians investing in the very green energy companies that directly benefit from the legislation they are pushing and supported by this “science”, when more likely it is only a scheme to line their own greedy pockets.  Ethanol comes to mind as both my Senators from Missouri were heavily invested.  Was it coincidental that Ethanol standards were created, I think not.  It all stinks of corruption to me.

    So until I hear a reasonable explanation for historical climate change, then all I hear is a bunch of chicken littles running around trying to make a buck off our own innocence.  To me this whole debate is as silly as sitting in a boat trying to stop the waves.


    And finally, MNB reader John Kopecky responded:

    I happen to be one of the 37 % who reads your newsletter (not much longer) and think global warming is a hoax.  I’m not an expert on global warming but I do know the three branches of government, Obama, Holder and Reid, and that there were actually more than Three stooges.  If you look back to the time where there were glaciers over most of North America and now there aren’t, then there is global warming.  However, this wasn’t man made.  If you are trying to get a Government grant to study the effects of global warming, you better agree there is global warming or you won’t get the grant.  How can you chart climate change by the weather records that only go back around 100 years on a planet that is a 100+ million years old.  Or, do you chart climate change by the size of Al Gore’s bank account?  Clean up the air, water and ground but stop fabricating something that just makes certain people wealthy.  And, you might want to start worrying about the 37% of your readership or it could drop 37%.  My dad always told me that a 10% drop in business is enough to run you out of business.  Your viewpoints are making it increasingly more clear that I must not be intelligent enough to continue reading your column.

    Let me see if I can address some of the issues raised in these emails.

    First of all, regarding the possibility that I might lose readers and am putting my business at risk because of my opinions….

    I work on the premise that at least 50 percent of the MNB readership is going to disagree with me at least half the time. In fact, I'm sort of proud of it.

    If I worried that my opinions might cost me readers, I'd probably have to find another line of work. That's sort of the premise behind MNB. I state my opinions, and people get to disagree with me, and I do my best to be be fair by posting those responses. As I've done here. I've always believed that MNB is a dialog, not a monolog … though, I must concede that I do get the last word. As I will here.

    I was not steering around the use of certain words to avoid debate. (If that was my intention, I failed. Miserably.) Rather, I believe that we should talk about "global climate change" rather than "global warming" and "manmade" because I recognize that the latter two terms tend to limit the debate in a way that I don't think is helpful, in part because they politicize the discussion.

    And by the way, I would be the first one to concede that Al Gore is a lousy spokesman for the whole climate change issue, in part because he adds to the politicization, and in part because he just seems like a fairly humorless stuffed shirt. I'm not sure I agree that he's promoting the issue just to make a buck, but this strikes me as a fairly unproductive debate in which to engage.

    I'm no scientist. I read a bit, and try to get a sense of things, and then try to reach reasonable conclusions. It seems to me that just by paying attention to changing weather patterns around the world, it seems reasonable to conclude that something is happening, that changes seem to be taking place at a faster and more dramatic rate than in the recent past. I have absolutely no idea the extent to which man has contributed to these changes, but again, it seems reasonable to conclude that since our increasingly industrialized society probably sent more crap into the atmosphere in the past 150 years than in thousand of previous years, it would be arrogant to suggest that we haven't had any impact at all. And, it seems reasonable to me that it is good public policy and both ethical and moral to try to figure out how we can take steps to be good stewards of the earth, to try to minimize any future damage we may do. In a phrase, it couldn't hurt.

    Maybe this is like sitting in a boat trying to stop the waves. But if you are worried about the boat being swamped and sinking, you try to do something. Because doing nothing gets you nowhere. Besides, to use a phrase from the movies, you has to be careful that you don't find yourself in a position where you look at your fellow passengers and say, "We're going to need a bigger boat."

    Now, I recognize that not everybody feels the same way. I do happen to think it is facile to suggest that the people promoting an aggressive response to what they perceive as a climate change problem only have an economic motivation, when it also could be argued that anyone opposing said aggressive responses also have an economic motivation. Again, if all we do is question each other's motives, it quickly becomes an unproductive debate.

    I cheerfully concede that I am not as smart nor as accomplished as Michael Crichton. Hell, he's been dead for more than five years and he's still smarter than me, and will probably sell more books today than I've sold in my entire career. But I have to admit that I am gobsmacked by the quote, "Consensus is the business of politics. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period."

    Really?

    I'll betcha I could get a consensus of scientists to say that the earth revolves around the sun, that gravity exists, that the moon is not made of green cheese, that obesity issues can cause a wide variety of health issues, or even that smoking cigarettes can lead to cancer and death. Because I could get a consensus of scientists to agree to those things, does that mean that they'd be wrong? Or being purely political?

    Are we now at the point where "consensus" has become as dirty a word in our culture as "compromise"?

    Crichton, who was a doctor, must've been in situations where a group of physicians were discussing how to treat a difficult, hard-to-diagnose case …. and it seems likely that in most cases, they would come to a consensus about how to proceed. Isn't that what we want from our scientists? Aren't we better off most of the time if we trust a consensus of opinion in such cases?

    Of course, if you are skeptical about climate change, and/or about whether industrialized man has had any role in it, you are not going to accept the consensus opinion. That's okay. That's your right. But at some point, it seems to me, one of the rules of a civilized society is that you act on consensus. (Everybody ought to accept that notion, because at some point the people who are anti-consensus are going to find themselves holding the majority opinion, and they're going to want the minority to accept their consensus.)

    Now, I'm trying to reasonable and civilized here. But, of course, if I'm honest I'll admit that I love the debate. I state my opinion, you state yours. It's fun.

    And, if I'm honest, I'll admit that I knew that by quoting the Pew Study - the one that said 18 percent of Americans think that the sun revolves around the Earth, and more Americans can name two of the Seven Dwarves and the Three Stooges than can name two Supreme Court Justices and the three branches of government - I'd probably rile some people up. I also was trying to make a point, while having a little fun.

    One final point, and I'm going to make this as gently and affectionately as I can.

    One of my readers said, "I’m not an expert on global warming but I do know the three branches of government, Obama, Holder and Reid, and that there were actually more than Three stooges."

    I also knew that there were more than three Three Stooges … there were six or seven: Moe, Larry and Curly, and then a bunch of guys who replaced Curly as the years passed. But … the three branches of government are not personified by Obama, Holder and Reid … because Eric Holder is Attorney General, and as such is head of the Justice Department, which is part of the Executive Branch of government, which is headed by Obama. Senator Reid is a member of the Legislative Branch, and the third branch is the Judicial Branch, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

    I'm not sure, but I'm reasonably sure we can get a consensus on this.




    Got the following email from MNB reader Joshua Herzig-Marx about the other reader who objected to Sunday deliveries of Amazon products, on the premise that Sunday ought to be a time for family and worship:

    My wife and I do understand the importance of having a day off for worship, family, and spiritual thought. It's just that our day is on Saturday. Having things delivered on Sunday only makes our lives (and our Sabbath!) easier.

    Good point.




    Regarding RadioShack's announcement about store closings, one MNB reader wrote:

    Shocker…. Radio Shack has decided to close 20% of their stores and renovate the rest – in 2014.

    If they made this announcement in 2008 it would have been more appropriate, and smart.

    To make it now is….. like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic – 1 hour after hitting the iceberg.





    Responding to Kate McMahon's column about the CVS decision to stop selling tobacco products, one MNB user wrote:

    I'm sure someone's said it, regarding the "detractors"  argument about CVS continuing to sell alcohol/candy/chips, but not cigarettes. The thing is, there is just no way, other than jamming them under a short table leg,  to use a pack of cigarettes "responsibly".




    On another, familiar subject, one MNB user wrote:

    While everyone is piling on with their tales of woe regarding the Titanic disaster that is waiting to happen with Sears, I might as well get my 2 cents in too. My wife and I built a home in the last 2 years and we purchased our appliances thru Sears. After about 6 months, we started to have issues with the dishwasher. After 3 service calls and having the technician replace every electronic piece in the dishwasher, we still had issues.

    After these issues, you would think that Sears would throw in the towel and just give us a new dishwasher. Heck, after seeing the receipts for the electronic parts they sent to us, the replacement parts cost more than the dishwasher originally cost us. But, Sears said that they had to come out three consecutive times for the same issue (one time it was standing water in the basin, the other two times was for a water drain error) before a replacement dishwasher would be provided to us.

    On the fourth (and last) visit by Sears, a different technician came and actually took the dishwasher apart to see what the issue was. Come to find out, it was a plastic screw cover that was lodged in the drain line. It probably had been lodged there since the beginning! The other techs did not take the time to take the dishwasher apart, they only wanted to plug in their computer and see what the error code said was wrong.

    Also, one other example of the cluster**** that is Sears, the techs could not communicate directly with the manufacturer, they could only communicate directly with Sears! Why wouldn't you call up the product's manufacturer and put the issue on them to tell you how to fix it after replacing every part in the machine!

    This is just another example of Fast Eddie and his crew trying to delay the problem as long as possible instead of jumping in and fixing the issue from day one. If they make it another three years, I'll be surprised.





    I, like a lot of folks, had some fun this week at the expense of John Travolta, who, when introducing singer Idina Menzel, who was about to sing "Let It Go" from Frozen (which would go on to win the Oscar for Best Song), mangled her name and called her "Adele Dazeem." The goof immediately went viral, and the business lesson, I said, is how fast this stuff happens, and how pervasive and sweeping the mockery can be.

    One MNB user wrote:

    That the Twittersphere (i.e., mob) did not take one look at John Travolta before he presented and see that he was an individual under some great personal duress does not say much for the Twittersphere. If Mr Travolta came out of the closet after the show I have no doubt that you and the mob would be waxing lyrical today over his great personal courage. Since Mr Travolta wishes to keep his private life private he exposes himself to ridicule.

    If the supremely untalented lesbian, Ms Degeneres, had butchered the same name do you think the mob would have reacted similarly? I wish I could say that the mob's reaction was an eye opener. It wasn't.


    In addition to the fact that this is one of the more distasteful emails I've received over the years, I'm fascinated by the absolute lack of logic.

    You had a case of a guy who goofed in front of millions of people, and who got made fun of. That's it. No more, no less. And yes, if Ellen DeGeneres had screwed up the pronunciation of a name, she would have been mocked. Deservedly so. These are people who are paid a lot of money to perform!)

    But somehow, you turned it into a matter of sexuality and politics and … well, I can't even begin to understand what the hell you are thinking and talking about.

    Except that it is offensive. And probably shared by more people than I'd like to admit.

    Though I hope not a consensus.
    KC's View: