retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Over the years, MNB has usually celebrated April Fool's Day by offering some sort of fake news story that I thought seemed just credible enough to take people in for a few minutes. Sometimes, it got too close for comfort.

One year, I wrote that Walmart had decided to completely change its selection of laundry detergents and would begin carrying only Tide and a single bargain brand, each in just two sizes and two "flavors." The company had decided that nobody would stop shopping at Walmart because it didn't carry dozens of sizes and brands, and that this was the best way to curate its product selection. Got a lot of email from people suggesting that I should keep my mouth shut and not give Walmart any ideas...

Another year, I wrote that Ahold USA had decided to complete its strategy of integration and centralization by rebranding its Stop & Shop and Giant stores as Super Giant Stop & Shop, "except at stores where the physical location is such that this is too long a name to put on the building and sign."

And, I wrote, Ahold USA executives said that, having been frustrated by charges that moving Giant’s operational center to Stop & Shop headquarters in Massachusetts has made its staff out of touch with the Baltimore-DC market, they now plan to move the headquarters for both chains to Boise, Idaho, where the state has offered tax breaks and infrastructure improvements to lure Ahold’s operational center. “Being local is overrated,” said one Ahold USA source. “We can do everything from a remote location two thousand miles away and be just as effective as we’ve been over the past few years.” I got a call from Ahold that morning ... they were upset because they were getting calls not just from Boston-area realtors looking to rent or sell its space there, but also from Boise realtors looking to sell or rent them space in that market. I must admit that I was sort of proud of myself...

I have to be honest, though. It gets harder and harder to write this stuff each year, simply because the world gets crazier ... stuff that I might have included in previous April 1 stories now gets reported - for real - every other day of the year. (And I'm often making fun of these items, when appropriate (and sometimes when inappropriate) in MNB's daily "Eye-Opener" pieces.)

So this year, I'm going to turn the soapbox over to John Oliver. he did a web-only "Last Week Tonight" segment about the folly of April Fool's Day, which you can see above. (Keep in mind that, as usual, there is a certain amount of profanity ... so be careful if your office door is open or you are in a place where kids might be nearby.)


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