retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to this week's story about state attorneys general calling on major retailers with pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products, one MNB reader wrote:

Didn’t want to get into the tobacco dispute but want to point out that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

As a Pharmacist who practiced for 10 years prior to moving up through management and into the corporate leadership, I acknowledge and empathize with customers and their need to “deal” with the trials and tribulations of life.  Everyone has to pick their poison to cope with the issues of life, some smoke, some over-eat, some drink, some cope by avoiding life and being lazy, some over-work and some over-exercise etc.  Those that don’t find their venue to cope become hateful, nasty, unbearable people.  I disagree with the bandwagon that CVS and all health providers should eliminate tobacco.  Nicotine plays a vital role in the mental health of many; in many cases unknowingly self-treating their depression, anxiety, mania, or schizophrenia.  Nicotine is a potent drug that calms and has many positive physiological and mental effects.  Just ask anyone who has ever tried to stop smoking.

Now, I don’t believe that anyone has the right to intrude their smoke upon the lungs of others, anymore than I should have to pay for diabetes medication for a Medicaid obese person, prison for a drunk driver, or cover someone who injured themselves biking/jogging over the weekend, but I also don’t believe I should criticize others for their coping choice as long as it is legal.  After spending a decade helping patients, the last thing I would want to do is deny them their treatment and have a world full of individuals lacking their necessary mental treatment.  It would be equivalent to living the Walking Dead. If you think this is bold, research Nicotine on the web.  As for the politicians, Self-interest and most likely funding from self-interest groups is driving their desire to “help people”.  We all know how they cope.


From another reader:

In total, I’m not surprised that some states are taking it upon themselves to send letters to retailers they believe should not sell tobacco demanding that they stop! After all it is 1920 eh, 2014. We’re a progressive empathetic society, we now have socialized medicine named after our national leader. Who could question that it is completely within the government's right to regulate what should or should not be available for consumption, especially if said substance is deemed by our overseers to be dangerous or unhealthy. We believe so much in national oversight of health care that the federal government can fine a US citizen into submission if they choose not to purchase a healthcare plan deemed suitable and sufficient by said government. What business does the individual have in determining what they should or should not ingest, we have the government to take care of that. Jeez…what’s the problem?

One thing that puzzled me though was that Mississippi was on this list of enlightened states looking to save folks from the dangers of unhealthy lifestyle habits…makes me wonder…what will happen when they go after fat back and pig’s lips? (I can say that, I live in Alabama!)


From MNB reader LuRene Dille:

I’m not a smoker, but can’t help wondering if the next thing they will want is to take bakeries out of the stores that have a pharmacy…or maybe the candy, pop and chips.  Why don’t they focus on the millions of people who are homeless or starving in this country?




Regarding yesterday's rant about the irrelevance of phone books, MNB reader David White wrote:

Just the other day I opened my front door to find this year's edition of the local yellow pages.  As I have done for the past several years, I picked it up and walked straight to the recycle bin.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.  In my view, that book has been irrelevant for quite some time.

In fact, 7 or 8 years ago I was at a family gathering at my mother-in-law's home when we decided we wanted to order a pizza.  As she went off in search of the yellow pages, I went to the computer and pulled up the website for the local pizza place.  I had our dinner ordered and paid for before she even found the phone number.  And to think that now I can do all that from my phone.

The times are changing, and quite quickly!


From another reader:

With the push to go green, it amazes me that fat, never to be used phone books continue to arrive unsolicited on our doorsteps and driveways.

And another:

I wonder if the small business owner, driving past my house as I pick the phone books up off the driveway and deposit the plastic wrapper in my garbage container and the phone books into my recycle bin, slaps his forehead as he thinks about the money he just spent on advertising in the phone books???




We had a story the other day about 15-year-old Albert Gifford, who recently wrote to Tesco to complain that its own-label orange juice cartons described the juice as being made with the "most tastiest" fruit.

Which, no matter how good the juice is, happens to be a lousy use of English.

So he wrote to company management, but apparently did not get a reply until his complaints got an airing in the media. At which point, Tesco wrote back to him to say that it apologized for the lapse and would change the wording on future cartons.

I commented:

I think this is great - and I wish that more businesses would be called on their misuse of the English language. (I say this as someone who welcomes emails from people who point out my misspellings, and try to correct them as fast as I can.)

For example, I hate the sign in many stores that says "10 items or less." It ought to be, "10 items or fewer."

Can we start fixing things like this? Now?


One MNB user wrote:

Way to go, Gifford!

What drives me bonkers is the intentional misspelling of things that are marketed to, or meant for, children. I spent several years living in Phoenix, Arizona, and I lost track of how many daycares and preschools I saw with names like “Katie’s Kid Kare”. In a year or two, they’ll have points taken off their spelling test for using “kare” instead of “care” – and be thoroughly confused!  Especially, as your article points out, since they are bombarded by these careless infractions of spelling and grammar at every turn in their lives.


Adam Hobbs wrote:

Love this story – especially the wherewithal of a 15 yr. old to make it his crusade.

Funny thing is, given all your stated opinions on the general misuse of words and de-proliferation of proper grammar, your wife has likely been at the forefront of this trend in or society more so than you – the middle school and high school teachers I know have been telling me for the past few years that our e-messaging/text-culture of our youth has effectively set us back a generation in this specific area.  To hear that kids are legitimately using text-type abbreviations and vernacular in formal school writing assignments says a lot… and I don’t expect us to be able to stem that to any large degree.

So, in about 20 years we could definitely find ourselves walking around using ttyl and g2g, idk & np in everyday contexts…. And those are just acronyms, what about “love/luv” and so on?  It’s one of the biggest reasons I can’t stand Twitter.


Let's face it. We're watching the decline of western civilization.

Another reader chimed in:

Regarding grammar; I am not an English major, but  one of the phrases that bugs me is when newscasters say, “Up next, but first…”.   How does that happen?!  Oy.

MNB reader Bryan Silbermann wrote:

Loved your Tesco story this morning.  While on the subject of butchering our language here are two pet peeves related to pronunciation:

Realtor: How difficult is it to say "real" and "tor"?  Well, it seems like the majority of the American population, including friends of mine who used to work for the National Association of Realtors, insist on saying "reel" + "a" + "tor".  Is this phonetic dyslexia 🙂 ?

Isuzu:  How difficult is it to see that the the two consonants in this name are "s" followed by "z"?  Yet almost everyone says "E" + "zoo" + "sue".


And from another:

The Express Lane sign at the Kroger store nearby says "About 15 items".  Apparently an attempt to minimize confrontations when a "guest" with more than the limit is using that lane.

They didn't implement my suggestion to apply a $1 per item surcharge for items over 15.  That won't happen until they get a former airline executive as CEO.





Finally, reacting to yesterday's story about beer manufacturers getting into water conservation because of concerns that water shortages could turn into beer shortages, and my reaction that it is time to start hoarding, one MNB reader wrote:

Another Yikes!!! While it takes approximately 100 liters of water for each bottle of beer, it also takes approximately 250 liters of water for each bottle of wine.  So the teachable moment is…hoard wine instead and drink beer fresh!

I can get with this program…
KC's View: