retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's story about the transition to chip-enabled cards, and how the banks seem to be getting all the breaks and retailers seem to be getting one of them, one MNB user wrote:

This just proves that when Banks are made the scapegoat from the Obama administration, they will find other income streams to fill the void. It’s called Capitalism.

Really? You see no difference between capitalism and spending enough lobbying money to get the system rigged in your favor, harming consumers and retailers?

And by the way, from my perspective, the banks haven't been targeted for anti-consumer transgressions nearly enough.

Got the following email from MNB reader John Domino about our piece yesterday about a speech given by retired Kroger CEO Dave Dillon:

David Dillon is so very right and you do not have to look very far to see how many examples of how profits before sales/customers brought down some very good retailers.  Fairway is the latest example, but A&P and my old company SUPERVALU are also prime examples.  Before the 2006 Albertsons acquisition, SUPERVALU had a culture throughout the organization of serving customers better than our competitors, and in general, it held true, although there were a few instances (Scott's Ft. Wayne & Cub Chicago) where we had to relearn it.   However, after the acquisition, we listened too closely to  Wall Street and the management consultants and streamlined the company, cut employee benefits (even though we had all of these programs that were trying to increase employee engagement), increased home office control at the expense of empowering the employees in the field and ultimately drove the company into the ground. 
The industry needs more David Dillons and Jim Sinegals (Costco.)


We had a piece yesterday about food labeling lawsuits, which prompted one MNB user to write:

It was said that John Edwards, the infamous running mate of John Kerry, was responsible for driving up the cost of every prescription in the US by $1.00. His ambulance chasing tactics and ultimate lawsuits were simply added to the cost of doing business. Americans have long been consuming wood chips, chemicals, fillers, rat feces, bugs, dirt, hair and many other tastefully sounding things in their food for years. I for one could care less what additives are in our food, if I like it I will eat it. There is no denying that we have the safest food supply in the world and the lawyers will not be happy until it’s the most expensive.

I want to be clear about something here. While the reader who sent this email signed his name, and I could've used it, I've decided not to ...because this person works in the bakery business. I didn't think it would do him - or his company - any good if he gets quoted as saying that he doesn't care what's in his food - including "wood chips, chemicals, fillers, rat feces, bugs, dirt, hair" - as long as it taste good. (I suspect that his company's official position may be somewhat different.)

I actually think that list of additives - both deliberate and, I assume, accidental - is sort of disgusting. I also don't think we can attribute the nation's litigiousness just to John Edwards, though I'd also note that this particular reader is willing to blame any and all Democrats for everything and anything that he deems wrong with society.

I'm think that some sort of legal reform absolutely is necessary to prevent and/or discourage frivolous lawsuits, but I'm not sure that filing suit over inaccurate labeling, or rat feces in products, falls into that category.

Call me crazy.
KC's View: