retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The other day, Reuters reported that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that "glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto Co herbicide Roundup, was 'classified as probably carcinogenic to humans'. It also said there was 'limited evidence' that glyphosate was carcinogenic in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma."

"The U.S. government has said that the herbicide is considered safe. And Monsanto responded that the science does not support them and called on the WHO to explain: "We don't know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe."

One MNB user wrote:

If there is ANY evidence of glyphosate is carcinogenic, why would any conscionable human, corporation, or governmental entity proceed with large scale plans for use on a food supply chain?  Isn’t human life and suffering and the species more important and not worth some risks

Err on the side of caution? I guess it depends on whose life that matters…   It is one thing to do what farmers have done for centuries, picking the best of plants to hybridize and grow a sweeter or plumper or mildew resistant, stronger food plant. That is just assisting natural selection processes.  It is quite another thing to engineer food crops with the express purpose to be able to have poisons applied on it.   Have we become sheep or so beaten down by the bullshit that we have given up our outrage?  How is it we all sit by mildly when it is suggested we find a way to freely spray our FOOD plants with a substance whose household garden label reads like a manual for dangerous toxic waste handling and we even CONSIDER applying this near, much less right ON our foods? Why do we not scream, NO WAY and are you insane? If it reads “poison” and “hazardous to humans and animals” and “do not reuse container” and “do not pour down drain” and it is prudent to wear gloves and a mask to handle the product, what makes eating it ok?  HELLO!  This GMO insanity to be free to apply ROUNDUP to food plants seems to me to be a case of money steering the brain and it has long left the pecker in the dust as imprudent judgements go.  I think this is this is a case of First class, highest order of greed and I might go as far as to say, true evil.

On another subject, an MNB user wrote:

While I agree that $9/hr is not enough to support a family, especially when these workers usually given less than 40 hours per week, this is a good step in the right direction.  The benefits from reduced turnover are huge.  However, we as customers have to put our money toward the things that we value.  If we value retail employees that are friendly, knowledgeable and focused on their job, then we need to make sure that they are paid in a way that allows them to support themselves.    If we value clean floors, if we value friendly service, if we value fully stocked shelves, then we have to understand that it will take more than $9/hr.  For stores like Target, their employees can buy most of their needs in the store, so higher employee wages, will likely mean more purchases in the stores and ultimately higher sales.  These are good first steps, but country needs to make more progress.  Retail employees are no longer high school kids working after school, or college kids home on break; these are people trying to support a family and they need to be paid in a way that allows them to do it.

On the subject of Louisville Slugger baseball bats now being owned and manufactured by a Finnish company, though the company says it will still manufacture bats, made from hardwood trees in Pennsylvania and New York, in its factory in downtown Louisville, MNB reader Jim Martin wrote:

This makes for great marketing, unfortunately, anything goes after the sale date…

Regarding fraud problems that may be connected to Apple Pay, MNB user Nick Arlt wrote:

The article you cited from the Washington Post talked about an issue with Apple Pay. You said it in your comments that this is a serious issue, but the attention is being paid to the wrong area. To say this is an Apple Pay issue is only addressing a small aspect of the problem. The primary issue is that thieves already have stolen credit card data. Without Apple Pay would they give up and not use the cards to buy things on the internet or other places? Apple and competing services, could do more to help protect stolen data, but the main issue is the weakness of the current system.

Also, the security analyst using percentages is taking advantage of the law of large numbers. 6% of Apple Pay transactions are from stolen cards, 60 times that of plastic swipe. Should we flip that and say that nearly 100% of stolen credit card data is from plastic swipe cards? Why isn’t that in the report?

These types of reports scare people away from a technology that is unquestionably better and more secure. The information portrayed may be accurate, but the way it is communicated blames Apple Pay for issues of our outdated system.

All fair points.

MNB reader Scott Burrill chimed in:

I have three cards set up in ApplePay.  Each respective bank put me through the grinder to activate them.  When I complete entry in ApplyPay a bank telephone number was provided for me to call to complete the activation.  Once on the phone they put me through the usual proof of identity questions.  So I feel like this article is pinning the blame on Apple unduly.  Apple clearly has created the mechanism for banks to require final authorization.  Ultimately it is up to the issuing bank whether a card can be cleared for use in ApplePay and clearly some have done there due diligence while others have not.
I have used the service and find it really convenient and it has actually increased my propensity to purchase things here at work.  Our vending machines are ApplePay enabled and often in the past I would never have cash or change to grab a seltzer water.  Now I simply swipe the phone by the reader and POOF!,  out comes my seltzer followed by a confirmation alert on my phone confirming the transaction within seconds.  Gives me geeky shivers…..

Me, too.

And on still another subject, MNB reader Jim DeJohn wrote:

I had to reply to your FaceTime while you were in Manhattan Beach about getting out and about while traveling.  I have the benefit of being able to travel for work, and have had the privilege of traveling to Australia.  Like yourself, I really enjoy getting out and seeing the area, meeting people, experiencing the local activities.  On my first trip to Melbourne, I planned a few activities outside of my working hours – one being a wine tour through the Yarra Valley.  On this tour, I met a lovely couple with a daughter that was my daughter’s age.  After the tour, they invited me to dinner with them, which I was happy to accept and had a wonderful time.

Through emails and skype, we became good friends, as well as our daughters.  On my next visit to Melbourne, they took me around and we spent the weekend after my week of work – really getting to see true Australian life.  They then visited us here in NY for a week, while on a US tour.  We were able to show them our local life, and visit places like Ben and Jerry's and Niagara Falls.  This extended to this past trip to Australia I took this past January – I was able to bring my daughter (who is 10) along and we spent time with our friends there (in fact my daughter stayed with them all through the time I was working).  We added a weekend on each end of the work week and visited so many areas within and outside of Melbourne.  Truly a wonderful experience for a 10 year old from upstate NY.  And all this started because I love to get out and about while traveling for work! 
As always – keep up the great work you do and I really enjoy reading MNB every day!


I envy your travels to Australia. I've been there once - for a speaking gig - several years ago, and I was only able to spend a few days in Sydney. But I have to tell you that climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge is one of the coolest things I've ever done in my entire life ... especially because heights terrify me. I hope it reflects a general willingness to embrace the world whenever I can, however I can.
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