retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of a New York Times story about how millennials, popularly perceived as favoring "a new national consensus" toward gender equality, may in fact have different and divergent views of the subject. The fact is that they don't think alike

One of the reasons is that millennials are a large group, made up of people from aged 17 to 34, "a group varied by race, ethnicity, religion, income, education and life experience." They don't all think alike, and younger millennials are trending in the direction where they feel that "the best family was one where the man was the main income earner and the woman took care of the home." (Males feel that way more than females, it should be noted.

The Times story went on:

"It’s not just the youngest millennials who seem resistant to continuing the gender revolution. Overall, Americans aged 18 to 34 are less comfortable than their elders with the idea of women holding roles historically held by men. And millennial men are significantly more likely than Gen X or baby boomer men to say that society has already made all the changes needed to create equality in the workplace."

I commented, in part:

Here's what I think. (It also is what my daughter thinks, and I believe, if I've done my job right, it is what my millennial sons think.) Equality means that no matter what your gender (or anything else for that matter), you ought to be able to decide how you want to live your life. You want to work full-time, do it. You want to have kids and stay home with them, fine. If you want to get married and find some sort of mutually agreeable hybrid, no problem. Everybody has the right to seek fulfillment however they want to, and everybody has the right to make sacrifices - or decide not to - as related to their personal and professional lives.

I do think that it is instructive that millennial women seem a lot less inclined to move toward what might be thought of traditional gender roles. And I find it laughable that anyone would think that "society has already made all the changes needed to create equality in the workplace."

I read pieces like this, and I get worried that somehow we're moving backward. This strikes me as unacceptable.


One MNB user responded:

Kevin, I could not help but notice you final sentence in your commentary.

"I read pieces like this, and I get worried that somehow we're moving backward. This strikes me as unacceptable."

I'm actually appalled that you think having a Mother and Father in the same household is unacceptable. I simply cannot see why you think this was moving backwards? I also think the "gender revolution" has run it's course and millennials are starting to realize what was once a hip thing to support is destroying the traditional family format.


It pains me to point out that you misunderstood what I was saying. I did not say that having a mother and father in the same household is unacceptable. In fact, I didn't even address the idea of having a mother and father "in the same household." (I assume one of them has to work...so they can't always both be in the same household at the same time.)

What I was saying was - and I guess I was not as clear as I thought - that men and women ought to have the same opportunities and the ability to make choices from the same range of options.

Let me repeat:

Equality means that no matter what your gender (or anything else for that matter), you ought to be able to decide how you want to live your life. You want to work full-time, do it. You want to have kids and stay home with them, fine. If you want to get married and find some sort of mutually agreeable hybrid, no problem. Everybody has the right to seek fulfillment however they want to, and everybody has the right to make sacrifices - or decide not to - as related to their personal and professional lives.

I'm happy to double down on this. Any other social/cultural construct is, in my view, unacceptable.

Y'know what kind of appalls me? The suggestion that "the gender revolution has run it's course" and that it was just some sort of "hip thing."

The revolution of which you are speaking is about nothing so much as equality of opportunity and aspiration. If there is anything to be ashamed of in this, it is that it takes a revolution to achieve it.

If my sons or daughter felt any other way, I would think that somehow I failed as a parent.

I feel better that at least one MNB reader agreed with me:

Preach, Kevin! Your commentary is somewhat of an antidote to the crap more frequently assaulting my ears these days. I wish more people would raise their kids with your mindset.

Thanks.

(For the record, I've probably screwed up my kids in all sorts of other ways.)




Regarding McDonald's foray into fresh rather than frozen beef, one MNB reader wrote:

A little annoying only switch one burger. Why not all or none. It's to me like being sort of pregnant.  I like McDonald's for what they are. I'm not saying it can't be better. I hope this isn't a veiled attempt to just raise prices.

I think the one-burger test is just a way to see how it works before going menu-wide.

MNB reader Brian Carpentier wrote:

On McDonalds using fresh beef, an interesting note is that while Wendy’s uses fresh beef, all the ones I have visited in the northeast use frozen buns, go figure!
 



We had a story yesterday about a guy in Massachusetts who sued Dunkin' Donuts for putting a butter substitute on his bagel when he ordered butter, which prompted the following email:

If they are looking at the “butter” on a bagel at Dunkin Donuts, when do they look at movie theater “butter” on popcorn?

When someone sues.



Regarding Publix reinvesting in its GreenWise format, one MNB reader wrote:

I love shopping at Publix, Kevin.  They carry a pretty extensive array of Greenwise items.  The quality is excellent and the prices are very competitive.  I'm hopeful that they will continue to expand that line.  It saves me a 60+ mile round trip to Whole Foods in Naples FL.  Publix stores are always spotless, well organized and staffed with friendly, knowledgeable people.



Finally, the following email from MNB reader Joe Davis:

Kevin, thanks for sharing the news about IKEA’s foray into smart home solutions.  I’m excited about it – if for nothing else than the anticipated affordability of it. 

But here is an observation (and speaking as a Millennial so we cannot blame crotchety-ness):  much like there are people who are book smart vs. street smart, I have come to find the same to be true for the smart home technology.  We have found smart lighting to be gimmicky and more “book smart” than it is useful – maybe we don’t have enough lights to run around turning off/on.  Smart thermostats are a bit better.  Smart fridges seem redundant (your phone can do the same and is probably in your pocket) and exaggerated in their capabilities, but again, cooler in theory than in practice.  Alexa is street smart because the experience is great and super useful.  She does stuff for me that actually saves significant time.  The others, not so much.

We have embraced this kind of thinking in our business – just because we can do something digitally doesn’t mean we should.  What actually enhances the experience?  In an environment where it seems like everything is being pushed to go online, it’s important to prioritize what should.  It’s helped us be more targeted and realize a better ROI.

One smart home device we have found to be something hard to imagine living without now?  Our wifi-connected oven.  Turning that sucker on remotely to preheat so when you get home you can just pop in whatever you need to cook is a big win.  Or peace of mind knowing that it’s off or being able to turn it off remotely.  Very cool.

KC's View: