retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the observation that consumers may be to numb to data breaches, and therefore are neither worrying about nor doing anything about them, MNB reader Peter H. Grimlund wrote:

We aren’t numb.  We just don’t know what to do to prevent it from happening.  The solution that all of the retailers suggest is to monitor your bills to look for malicious charges or continually change your passwords.  That is not a solution – burdening the consumer to change the “locks” when they handed out the “keys” to our personal information.  Especially since we know that we will have to change the “locks” again in a month or day or weeks or whatever because some other company was broken into.  If JP Morgan Chase can be hacked, who is safe?  The whole electronic exchange needs to be completely redesigned so that we the consumer are not being forced to be both victim and cyber policeman.  Until that day comes, when a true solution is presented to me, I will remain “dazed and confused” – not numb.

The story only ran this morning, and I've already gotten email about the Walmart decision about insurance:

The medical costs will then shift to the taxpayers as the unpaid medical bills will be cost shifted to those with insurance or paid by Medicaid etc.   I really can't fault Walmart as I suspect their retail competitors do not offer health insurance to part time workers either.  And sadly, the retail workforce is largely part time to avoid paying for such benefits.  This is nothing new.  A friend was personnel manager at a Marshall Fields Dept. store 25 years ago and they played the same game.

Congress and even the President are concerned that too many people are being limited to 30 hours for purposes of avoiding Obamacare and their solution is to redefine full time as 40 hours. I guess 39 hours of work without insurance is better than 30 hours of work without insurance.

You and I have live/lived a charmed life in regard to medical insurance  - while self employed we were able to ride on our spouses' coverage.  I had to pay full boat for mine since I was the major household earner but the premium was not age dependent so it was still a bargain at $400 a month.    But spousal coverage is often not included - my daughter's husband teaches at a private school in NC.  He and the kids are covered, but she is on her own - has a limited policy that costs over $400 a month    Coverage under husband's policy would be over $600 a month.   He earns less than $50,000 even after almost 20 years of experience.

Got the following email responding to Michael Sansolo's column about leadership and generation gaps:

Love the lesson about the generational gap. As a 22 year old professional I see it happen all the time with older managers and the toll it takes on young professionals is usually hidden but can cause major issues. Like you said, we have been “trained” via texting, social media, and even the way school is now structured to receive immediate feedback, which often times is focused on the positive vs the negative. To capture the talent that the younger generation has I think it is extremely important for managers to understand that need for feedback. I think that really is all it can take to bring out the talent in young professionals.

Would love to hear more around this from you!

You will. This has been a major theme for MNB since we started, and it is one that we will return to again and again. (In fact, I'm thinking about doing tomorrow's FaceTime about it…)

Thanks. I can't tell you how gratifying it is for Michael, Kate and me to know that 22-year-old professionals are reading our stuff.

On another subject, MNB reader Kevin Hollenbeck wrote:

Have been away from your newsletter for a while ( for reasons that are not important right now) but glad to say that I have come back……

I noticed in your sport section that you referred to Washington Redskins…..I was wondering if you ever addressed your reasons for continuing to use that name in past newsletter?

….I can see both sides…but at the end of the day….If I was Snyder I would change the name…just not worth all the bad publicity and it my POV just the right thing to…..

But the point of the email is not to debate the issue was just curious if you ever addressed it and if you have let me know what day and I will go back and read it……I am curious what you would do if you were the Redskin’s owner?

I don't think I ever have.

To be honest, I never really thought about whether to use the word "Redskins" on MNB; it only really happens when the team plays on Thursday or Monday nights. But now I'll have to think about it.

If I owned the team, I would have changed the name a long time ago. I think a change probably is inevitable, and it would have been so much smarter to get ahead of the story and seem embracing of change, rather than be dragged into the solution kicking and screaming.

Yesterday, I apologized for the inadvertent use of a bad word (I misspelled "shut").

And I expressed gratitude that so many people were understanding about the mistake, saying, essentially, that shut happens. As one reader told me in an email that I cited yesterday, "Don't worry about it. If any of your competitors made that mistake, nobody would care. Or even notice."

Which led MNB reader Mark Boyer to write:

The only thing that struck me while reading this piece is that I didn’t know you had competitors.

I won’t bother to ask who they might be, since I haven’t been missing them anyway.

And from another:

Wait a minute… You have competitors?

Are they any good?

Could you send a link?

Only kidding Kevin.  Your site is unique, which says a whole lot.

Thanks. I'm blushing.

I've always believed that one of the things that makes MNB unique is the emotional and intellectual investment of the MNB community … it has been one of the great experiences of my professional life. I find it interesting that there are other sites out there that try to imitate it, by imposing structure, seeding it with the opinions of consultants, and hoping that they can create the illusion of community.

In so many ways, what we have here at MNB is unique because it has evolved organically. I wish I could say that I had a game plan, and that this was all by design. But mostly, it is because of all you folks.

And here's the other thing. I think we're all having a lot more fun doing this that the other guys. Which is another reason why they really aren't competition at all.
KC's View: