retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, we posted an email from an MNB reader about the continuing debate about whether a florist must provide flowers for a same-sex wedding that she disagrees with on religious grounds. While religious freedom is a foundational value in our country, a Washington court ruled that sexual orientation is a protected class, and that discrimination cannot be justified using religious belief as a defense.

The notion of tolerance always takes center stage in this discussion, and that's what this reader wanted to address, and he wrote, in part:

Religious freedom is misdirected to serve as an excuse to persecute and discriminate. It makes me want to join the Pastafarians in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster … is it really any more ridiculous...?

One MNB reader found this to be offensive:

I am astounded that you would allow this person to vent such bigoted statements towards Evangelical Christians.  To allow one of your readers to clearly equate quote “their prejudice against gays, blacks, Asians, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, etc.”  “persecute and discriminate”  “Pastafarians of the Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster”.  This guy is an overt bigot and allowing him to vent is appalling.  Equating an evangelical Christians views on celebrating same sex marriage to this is clearly an ad hominem attack on someone’s deeply held religious beliefs.

I don't think this person is a bigot. I think that he was simply trying to make a point about how religion can be used to justify a wide variety of behaviors, some of them not so admirable.

Not everybody shared this view of the email, as MNB reader Mary Schroeder wrote:

I, too, wish to become a Pastafarian.  I can noodle on the liturgy while I eat it too.  It’s a win-win.

I applauded the decision by Walgreen to make some of their pharmacies specialists in dealing with cancer patients, but noted that it is ironic since Walgreen is the only one of the two major national drugstore chains that sells tobacco products.

One MNB reader responded:

Good for Walgreen's training selected staff to provide more information to cancer patients, but perhaps it's not irony that they still sell tobacco products but just a long-term customer acquisition model. In the latter vein, they can add bottled water from the streams where coal mines are now allowed to dump their mining waste … this could be cross-promoted with cigarettes.

But really, how does Walgreen's with a tag line "at the corner of happy & healthy" rationalize tobacco products in that mission?

I sense a little sarcasm here.

From another reader:

Kevin, regarding the article on Walgreens (below), I thought exactly the same thing that you did, in fact, I find it a bit strange when we walk out of the local Walgreens by our house, and the clerk at the front counter tells us to “Be Well”, while they’re standing in front of the cigarette and cigar display……  It’s likely time for Walgreens to start “walking the talk” in that area, IMHO….


Regarding our story about the resurgent milk man industry, one MNB reader wrote:

I have used home milk delivery going on 20 years here in the Seattle area.  We get both milk and eggs delivered once a week, the product is simply better than what you can get at a retail store.  When I got that knock on the door asking if I would be interested in starting the service, I asked how do they track their deliveries.  I was told it was a manual paper and pencil process but they were looking for a mobile app.  I told them I had a mobile app that was used by direct store delivery drivers who service grocery stores and I am sure it could be modified to work for home milk delivery.  Sure enough we made the needed modifications and the real benefit of the new app was the time savings in the billing process.  The milkman, who was an independent owner operator, would typically hand enter in all of the deliveries at the end of the month and now those same deliveries could be electronically posted.  This new electronic process took the entire billing process from a full weekend to an hour, where most of that hour was the printer printing statements.  While we still have users of the application, we no longer actively sell it as the effort it takes to install, train and support for 1 route companies is not a good use of our time and resources.

And finally, one MNB reader reacted to our brief piece yesterday about how scientists have identified seven Earth-size planets orbiting a dwarf star named Trappist-1, about 40 light-years, or 235 trillion miles, from our planet ... One or more of the exoplanets in this new system could be at the right temperature to be awash in oceans of water, astronomers said, based on the distance of the planets from the dwarf star."

April 5, 2063 has just come another step closer to reality!

Thanks for reminding us of Gene Roddenberry’s positive hope for the future.

My pleasure. Of course, if Star Trek got it right, we'll also have to go through World War III and the "post-Atomic horror" before we get there. So we may be in for a rough 46 years.
KC's View: