retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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.

Just a couple of random things on my mind this week, having nothing specifically to do with the industries I spend most of my time writing about ... and yet, I think they both provide valuable lessons.

I'm sure that, like me, you've noticed that the price of fuel has been going down lately. I'd gotten used to paying $3.50 per gallon or more, and now there are stations near me charging less than $2.50 a gallon. That's an enormous savings.

I thought about this the other day when I was booking a flight, and it occurred to me, like I'm sure it has to a lot of people, that pretty much all of the airlines raised their prices over the past few years as fuel costs were going up, and they said they had to compensate for it. And I thought about it the other day when I was in the supermarket, and noticed that prices for certain things continue to be pretty high, and I seem to remember that part of the rationale for increased prices was the cost of transportation.

Now, I don't want to seem unreasonable ... but I know when I'm being taken advantage of. or maybe I'm not being taken advantage of, but it just seems that way.

Here's my point. I think companies that had to adjust their pricing models because of extenuating circumstances during the Great Recession owe it to their customers to at least think about whether they are in some way abusing the trust that people feel in them. The airlines probably don't care because there aren't a lot of options if you want to fly to Europe or across country or wherever .... but captive customers rarely are captive forever. The competitive woods are littered with the bodies of companies that thought they had a captive customer base, only to find out themselves competing with competition that they didn't even see coming, and that figured out a way to appeal to these shoppers. Be afraid. Be very afraid. It could happen to you.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is last weekend's football playoffs, most specifically the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks game. I have a strong affinity for most things in the Pacific Northwest, so I was rooting for the Seahawks. (Don't hate me. My other team is the Jets. I deserve a little happiness.) I was a little giddy when I wrote about the Seahawks' improbable comeback for Monday's MNB, and got a number of emails suggesting that the Seahawks hadn't won as much as the Packers had lost, with some folks even suggesting they'd managed to give the game away.

I don't think the latter is true - I think the Packers are a team of enormous pride and talent, and I can't imagine that they simply gave up. I just think that the Seahawks proved that in sports, as in business and life, when you never give up and keep believing and working and trying, good things can happen. Pick your cliche - "it ain't over till the fat lady sings," "it ain't over till its over." The thing is, they aren't really cliches.

Two of my favorite people in the world are traveling through Europe, and they saw a sign the other day that they said made them think of me. They took a picture and emailed it to me, and it made me think of the Packers-Seahawks game.

"The road to success is always under construction," the sign said. The key word there, I think, is "always."

Sometimes, the minute you think you're done, you're done for.

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

KC's View: