retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to one of yesterday's stories, one MNB reader wrote:

Americans selecting Trader Joe's as their favorite grocery store is exactly what's wrong with America.  I refer to TJs as the store for people who don't cook.  I cook 80% of my food from scratch and I could not shop at TJs.  They mostly have pre-made sandwiches, salads, frozen foods and snacks.  Don't even get me started on their sweets and salty snacks.....  A lot of people rely on others (restaurants and fast food) for their meals.  People need to take responsibility for themselves, go to the normal grocery store and spend some time in the kitchen.  Our country's health and health care costs are not going to improve until this happens.

And another:

Wegman’s not in the top 3?  Seems they are geared to private label where both Trader Joe's and Aldi are strong.  Should be their own category. Publix will always be near the top in any category.  This skews and relevance to the survey.

MNB user Alex Jackson wrote:

After reading the article on TJ’s being the favorite retailer, I am very interested to know who your favorite retailers are, nationwide. What factors do you include when deciding? Price, quality, service, speed of checkout? I consider myself a retail snob, but I don’t shop at a store because of their prices. I am interested to know your rankings…

I'll have to think this one through. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and I don;t want to leave anyone out.

Regarding the possibility that Walgreen could move its HQ overseas to reduce its tax liability, one MNB user wrote:

I hear people say the will stop shopping at a retailer if they do this or if they do that. If Walgreens moves their headquarters overseas they will be fine. Americans will quickly forget the topic! After all BP is surviving in the US along with many other international companies.

I like the concept of making them feel the ramifications of the move; but in the big picture of things they will be better off financially.

I don't know about that. There are people who still refuse to buy gasoline from a BP station, or eat at Chick-fil-A, or patronize other establishments for political, economic or cultural reasons.

I spoke out the other day in favor of Chipotle shareholders who spoke out against what they view as outlandish salaries being paid to top execs there, which prompted one MNB reader to write:

I would be interested in how you think about the same scenario as a baseball fan.  I personally don't have any problem with these guys making the most they can get for their talents any less than I think Ryan Howard or Zack Grienke should be compensated for theirs. The debate, I suppose (in both Chipotle and baseball) would be in how much they actually add value to the organization - often a very grey area.

My gut says their should be a "PC" tolerable high end pay level, but I like that the top management  talent of our country can be that well compensated and that I can look up to the C-suite with the same level of admiration and drive to get there myself as I did when I was a clumsy 11yr old wanting to be the next Joe DiMaggio.

Listen, I have no problem with people making money. I like doing so myself.

But I'm not sure about a CEO or an pitcher making $25 million … though I do think that some context is necessary. If a CEO is making big bucks but is looking to cut costs on the front lines, I sort of have a problem with that. If he or she shares the wealth, less so.

As for a baseball player, I think the economics of the game have gotten way out of whack. Though, frankly, if the Mets paid real money for a star outfielder who could hit 50 home runs a year, I'd probably be willing to overlook it. (I was happy that the Mariners got Robinson Canoe, for example … because I think he'll be good for the time in the long run, and because it had the added benefit of making Yankees fans irritable. That's what I call added value.)
KC's View: