Published on: March 12, 2018
Last Thursday I took note of International Women’s Day, but also featured - in a completely different story - a FaceTime video that was shot at Eataly in Chicago. Which prompted the following email:On International Women’s Day you choose to highlight a story about a retailer that’s owned by Mario Batali? As someone who seems to support your wife and daughter, I’m surprised with your timing and where you show your support. It is not just the experience, it’s also who created it.
This raises an important point - that we all have to think this stuff through, examining even unintended consequences and messages, in a climate that has become far more sensitized to missteps and egregious behavior.
To be honest, I never made the connection. I obviously know about the Batali situation, and know that he is an owner of Eataly. But I didn’t connect the two. Frankly, the Eataly video was the one ready to go last Thursday … I shot it a couple of weeks ago, and wasn’t thinking about International Women’s Day.
Two things, though. First of all, Mrs. Content Guy held the camera while we were there. We talked a bit about how all evidence of Batali has been erased from the store, but it never occurred to either of us that I should not do the piece.
Second, it is worth pointing out that one of the other owners of Eataly is Lydia Bastianich … so, looked at from another angle, I actually was highlighting a woman-owned business.
But your essential point remains a good one, and worth thinking about.
On the subject of Toys R Us’s apparent impending demise, MNB reader Glenn Cantor wrote:I thought about Gordon Gekko when I read the article about Toys R Us. Greed killed this company, and is about to take away the jobs from the people who work in their stores. Also, it is taking away the joy children have from shopping in a toy store with their parents. (Walmart is just not the same.)
The thing is, there is nothing anyone in operations or marketing could have done to improve the actual operations of Toys R Us to make it a viable company. Most of their stores are vibrant, fun, and updated. The investors loaded the company with debt in order to suck the cash value out of the business, without any consideration for other stakeholders or the overall public good. While this is sadly legal, it is certainly immoral.
Hard for me to imagine Toys R Us being “vibrant, fun, and updated.” Sorry.
From another reader:My very young son received a Toys R Us gift card for Christmas so went to go spend it today before the doors shut. Walking into the store saw a young girl walking out very happy and proud of her new toy, was pretty cool to see. Somewhat depressing that children will no longer have a easily accessible store dedicated to just toys available. Going to Target or Walmart just isn’t the same experience for a kid.
Maybe I was a bad father, but I kept my kids as far away from Toys R Us as I could.
On another subject, from an MNB reader:Had to share this Kevin, full disclosure I am an Amazon fan. My computer monitor died this afternoon(Saturday). I thought I would get a cheap one as I don't use my desktop as much anymore. I opted for a $59 Sceptre model, just fine with me. Checked Walmart site first, I could pick up in store by Wednesday the 14th, or get it 2 day shipping, also by the same date! Apparently weekends don't count in the 2 day shipping, as the order would not have been acted upon until Monday. So I ordered it late in the afternoon Saturday from Amazon, and it will be delivered Monday.
Where do you think I will buy my next item on short notice? 'Nuff said!
The other day we took note of a Boston Globe
report on Daily Table, a two-store nonprofit “designed to bring healthy, affordable food to inner-city neighborhoods with limited grocery options.” The store’s mission: stock food that has passed its sell-by date, salvaging still perfectly good food from the landfill and getting it to people who need it.”
MNB reader Philip Herr responded:This is a fascinating story. Since retiring I have been volunteering at our local food pantry. The bulk of the meat and bread we stock is day-old donations from our local stores (Thanks Stop & Shop and Panera!). This model may help our mission become redundant — which is not a bad thing.
Regarding the decision by some companies, facing a tight labor market, to eliminate drug testing, one MNB reader wrote:Forgoing drug tests also reduces the cost of hire by $95 - $125 each. And with industry turnover above 50% you can see the financial implications. Dropping them also
reduces “time to hire” and gets new hires in the job sooner.
Got the following email from MNB reader Bob Vereen:At my local Walmart in Avon, IN, yesterday, I noticed a huge painted PICKUP on the building exterior where customers could pickup web purchases. Previously, signing was much more modest. This big sign might help stimulate even more pickup business by alerting people to its features and availability.
Finally, thanks to all the MNB readers who, after reading the obit for Russ Solomon, the founder of Tower Records, suggested that I watch a documentary about the store entitled, All Things Must Pass – The Rise and Fall of Tower Records
I’ve not seen it, but it is now on my list.