retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email following up on our story about how some critics say that dollar stores in poor areas may actually help sustain poverty, not alleviate it:

I am the store manager of a high volume grocery store, we operate in a more rural area. Dollar stores have popped up like mushrooms after a rain. In the small towns that surround the community we operate I have seen many small family owned stores fold up and leave. Simply because dollar stores sell the dry goods so cheap they can't compete. I do believe if some of them would have competed in fresh food better they may have survived.

Dollar stores are also Amazon proof. Need Ibuprofen, 2.00 for a bottle, need cereal small box 2.00, cheap paper products they have it. People who shop them get a little everyday. They operate in more fringe areas, no city limits as a rule, so they can ignore pesky building codes that add cost. They throw up a metal sided building, stand alone coolers, little to no staffing great buying habits. They know their rules and they stay in between the lines. They are becoming giants, while selling a little bit everyday. Add up 15,000 stores just for Dollar General (not counting the other companies) adds up quickly to tremendous buying power. Just because they aren't pretty, don't have much foo foo, and aren't always the cleanest or most organized, (after all that takes money) they shouldn't be over looked. They are pretty damn tough operators.




Responding to our story about how how some cities may ban stores that refuse to take cash, MNB reader John Rand wrote:

Speaking entirely as a consumer, I like cash. Cash doesn’t expose me to security risks. Cash lets me see and interact with a person, not a machine. Cash doesn’t make me wait for approval. Cash lets me tip easily and sometimes leave a small act of kindness behind (“keep the change!”).
 
For a big purchase, sure, I use plastic or some secondary version of it, like everyone else. For small stuff? I like cash. Am I weird for insisting that physical money is still a valuable alternative?
 
It is also still at least officially, legal and required to be accepted “for all debts, public and private”. 
 
And yet I don’t see the point of legislating a requirement for it – like so many things these days, there is no reason to insist on an “either/or” mandate. I would prefer “and”.  Some stores may not accept cash. Some consumers may avoid them. Some will – consumers who wish to use cash may seek them out.
 
I would think Amazon Go stores would have a difficult time with cash. I also think the 7-11 down the street might want to put up a sign “we also take cash” in response.

 


And, regarding our obituary for the great Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe - he was the first truly outstanding black pitcher in Major League Baseball, the National league Rookie of the Year in 1949, and subsequently was a four-time All-Star, a Cy Young winner, and the league’s MVP in 1956 - MNB reader Chris Breen wrote:

I’m 49. Living in Maine. I have never heard of him. I used to collect baseball cards as a kid.

Maybe it is just that you’re too young. I’m older than you are by 15 years, and I have no memory of having seen him play, even though I was six years old when his career ended.

I’m glad I was able to bring Newcombe to your attention. I’ve read enough books about the Dodgers - and especially about players like Newcombe and Roy Campanella and especially Jackie Robinson, not to mention Branch Rickey, who made it all possible - to have some sense of Newcombe’s importance, not just to the game, but to our history as as culture.

As James Earl Jones, as writer Terence Mann, says in Field of Dreams, “The one constant through all the years … has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past … It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”  
KC's View: