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    Published on: September 12, 2019




    This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.

    Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

    My daughter was shopping online the other day, and couldn’t find what she wanted at the kind of discount she was looking for on Amazon, and so we decided to check out walmart.com.

    Go figure, she found the items she wanted, at a cheaper price than on Amazon, and so she placed the order. But because I wanted to check out what is supposed to be one of Walmart’s differential advantages, I asked her to request in-store pickup, and I said I’d go get them for her at the nearest store, in Norwalk, Connecticut.

    Now, the good news for Walmart was that when I got there, it was almost impossible to find a parking space, so I went next door and parked at Home Depot and walked over. No problem, is wasn’t that far. But when I walked inside Walmart, there was a big “pickup” sign … telling me that the pickup location was at the back of the store. There was a map, showing me that the pickup counter was about as far from the front door as possible.

    So I walked into the store and, no surprise, the aisles were even more crowded than the parking lot. Again, good for Walmart … but I had to dodge shopping carts and people and more people and staffers stocking the shelves and little kids running around (apparently without supervision) to get to the pickup counter.

    When I finally got there, the package was ready. I signed for it … and then I had to run the gantlet again to get back to the parking lot so I could walk to Home Depot to get to my car and then drive home. (And there was traffic on I-95, which didn’t improve my mood.)

    Now, I have two questions:

    Were the savings worth all the trouble? For my daughter, sure, especially because I made the trip to Walmart.

    In all fairness, is this a typical Walmart pickup experience? I’m guessing not … I know I’ve been to other Walmarts around the country where the pickup counter is near the front door.

    But … I also would observe that like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a chain of stores is only really as strong as its least impressive store.

    I’ve had this conversation in different contexts a lot over the years. It is a pretty good bet that in many cases, a company’s most impressive and innovative stores tend to be within driving distance - sometimes spitting distance - of headquarters. Now, part of that is because proximity allows senior executives to keep an eye on their investments, which does make sense. But an unintended consequence, I think, is that because that’s where senior executives and their spouses - and, sometimes, their household help - do their shopping, the impression creeps in that this is what all the stores are like.

    Which they’re not. The Norwalk Walmart is kind of a crappy store at best, despite the fact that it also can be pretty busy. But Walmart does nothing to improve the situation by making pickup of online orders about as inconvenient as possible.

    These are the kinds of unforced errors that retailers have to avoid. I’m sure that Walmart could give me all sorts of reasons for why that counter is so far away from the front door, and many of them might even be legitimate. But here’s what I do know - when it made that decision, Walmart wasn’t thinking about the customer.

    Like I said, an unforced error.

    That’s what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    by Kevin Coupe

    Earlier this week we had a story about the return of vinyl records, and another about Polaroid seeking new life.

    Now, it is instant coffee.

    Here’s how Bloomberg makes the case:

    “Instant coffee, often relegated to brownie recipes and steak rubs, is making a comeback and even winning grudging approval from connoisseurs. A handful of startups including Waka, Sudden Coffee and Swift Cup Coffee have improved the taste and are attracting a new generation of convenience seekers who are too young to associate the product with the stuff their grandparents drank. They don’t mind paying up either: A Sudden four-pack sold at the Chicago-based coffee chain Intelligentsia goes for $13, or about $3.25 a serving.”

    The story goes on:

    “Instant remains a niche product, with just 6% of Americans drinking it, according to the National Coffee Association. But U.S. retail sales of the category rose in the year ended in June—the first gain following at least three years of declines, according to Nielsen data. Rising sales and instant’s popularity among 18- to 39-year-olds have prompted industry stalwarts Starbucks Corp. and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. to re-evaluate the category.”

    Now, when you think about it, isn’t the coffee made using Keurig machines actually just instant coffee, albeit using an expensive appliance rather than just a kettle and some water? I’ve never been a big Keurig fan … it never seems hot enough. And Starbucks tried to reinvigorate the category about a decade ago with its Via packets, which I always thought never seemed flavorful enough.

    But maybe this time the resurgence will work. That’d be an Eye-Opener … I’ll be able to sit around, listening to records on the turntable, looking at Polaroid photos and sipping on instant coffee.

    Yeah, right.
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    The Associated Press reports this morning that Walmart this fall will roll out “an unlimited grocery delivery subscription service … The service will charge an annual membership fee of $98 for subscribers to access unlimited same-day delivery, which will be offered in 1,400 stores in 200 markets. By year end, it will extend to a total of 1,600 stores — serving more than half the country.”

    According to the story “The grocery services will be fulfilled by local stores and require a minimum order of $30. With same-day delivery, there’s a four-hour minimum wait time between placing order and having it delivered. Walmart will also allow shoppers to order groceries online and pick them up at their local store or curbside for free. Curbside pickup is available at 3,000 stores and will expand to 100 more stores by the end of the year.

    “About 100,000 items, which include fresh food and pantry staples as well as select general merchandise like light bulbs and basic toys, qualify for both grocery pickup and delivery.”

    The AP says that “Walmart will also offer a monthly subscription option for $12.95; customers will still be able to pay a per-delivery fee of $7.95 or $9.95 for same-day delivery if they decide against the subscription service.”
    KC's View:
    My first reaction - What the hell took so long?

    I’ve been arguing almost from the moment that Amazon launched its Subscribe & Save service - a dozen years ago - that the notion of replenishment/subscription programs was enormously powerful and potentially disruptive to the mainstream grocery business. It has been a major driver of volume for Amazon and in many categories has provided reasons for people not to go to the store.

    This makes a ton of sense for Walmart, and I firmly believe that other retailers need to get into this segment sooner rather than later. There are options out there that allow companies to do it without having to reinvent the wheel and yet still own the customer experience - check it out at http://www.replenium.com.

    (Full disclosure - MNB’s own Tom Furphy, who launched Subscribe & Save at Amazon, is part of the braintrust behind Replenium. But I’d mention Replenium even if Tom were not part of it.)

    As noted in my FaceTime video this morning, Walmart does need to work on the pickup model in some locations. But I’m a total believer - in our household, we have maybe as dozen or so items that we used to buy in stores that now are part of the Subscribe & Save replenishment service. They are items for which there is no discernible advantage to going to the store … I can save the in-store experience for items where it actually does matter.

    This is likely to be the model for the future for many retailers. Embrace it.

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    Business Insider reports that Amazon “is now accepting returns for purchases made online in some of its cashierless Amazon Go stores,” a move that experts say has the potential of cutting logistics costs for the returns process, which can be high.

    According to the story, “Not all 15 stores are presently processing returns.” For the time being, it is just stores in San Francisco and New York. (Amazon Go stores also operate in Seattle and Chicago.)

    “To make a return,” the story says, “Amazon customers select the product they'd like to return in the Amazon app and select an Amazon Go store. It's free and doesn't require any packaging or boxes. Then, the customer receives a QR code in the app or via email. An Amazon Go employee scans the code and the return is processed.”

    The story notes that “Amazon accepts returns in its 19 Amazon Books locations and three Amazon 4-star stores. Amazon Hub Lockers and Kohl's 1,150-plus locations also accept returns. But as recently as June 2019, Amazon Go stores, which opened publicly in early 2018, couldn't process returns.”
    KC's View:
    Could the next step be taking Amazon returns at the hundreds of Whole Foods stores around the country that the company owns? Pretty good bet that this at least is on the drawing board, and likely inevitable if the Amazon Go initiative is successful.

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    Kroger this morning reported Q2 results that had online sales up 31 percent from the same period a year ago, private label sales up 3.1 percent, and same store sales up 2.2 percent.

    The story points out that “net earnings attributable to Kroger fell to $297 million, or 37 cents per share, in the in the second quarter ended Aug.17, from $508 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier, mainly due to losses stemming from its stake in online grocer Ocado.”

    Total company sales were $28.2 billion in the second quarter, compared to $28.0 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel, dispositions and merger transactions, sales grew 2.5%.
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    Bloomberg reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “has begun interviewing small businesses that sell products on Amazon.com Inc. to determine whether the e-commerce giant is using its market power to hurt competition.” The story says that people interviewed to this point “were asked what percentage of revenue their businesses derive from Amazon versus other online marketplaces like Walmart Inc. and EBay Inc., suggesting regulators are skeptical about Amazon’s claims that shoppers and suppliers have real alternatives to the Seattle-based company.”

    The story says that “the interviews indicate the agency is in the early stages of a sweeping probe to learn how Amazon works, spot practices that break the law and identify markets dominated by the company … A key early task for the FTC is defining Amazon’s competitive universe. The company has long argued that it should be considered a retailer that competes against rivals online and offline, a designation that Amazon says gives it a meager 4% share of the U.S. retail market. If Amazon’s market is narrowly defined as online shopping, its share rises to almost 40% - giving it significant leverage. Narrowing the market by product category, such as electronic books, gives Amazon even more dominance.”

    The Bloomberg piece notes that “the probe is part of a broader examination of the control companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook have over the U.S. economy. The FTC is also investigating Facebook while the Justice Department is probing Google. Separately, 50 state attorneys general have announced an antitrust probe of Google. The House Judiciary Committee is also probing big technology companies.”
    KC's View:
    It will be interesting to see how definitions are forged and, as a result, how companies are affected.

    It is a pretty good bet that at least some of these investigations will find areas in which Amazon’s behavior can be determined as being anti-competitive … in the same way that a lot of big, successful companies probably squelch competition through their policies and behaviors. How many brands found that they were doing an enormous percentage of their volume through Walmart, only to be squeezed on margins and eventually replaced by a private label over which Walmart had greater control? More than a few.

    There will be companies that were squeezed by Amazon that also would never have done nearly as much business if Amazon didn’t exist. They will have to decide whether the gain was worth the pain. And Amazon probably, as a result, will have to make adjustments to some of its procedures.

    Hard to know if the federal government will push for some sort of breakup. A lot of that may depend on how the 2020 elections turn out.

    What worries me about these probes - which, by the way, I think are necessary - is that they will be conducted with all the attention to nuance for which lawmakers and regulators are known.

    Let’s be clear. Vendors have choices. There’s a piece in Modern Retail about how Harry’s - the disruption-minded men’s grooming products company recently acquired by Schick - has made a decision not to sell on Amazon. To this point, company executive say, it has been able to maintain acceptable levels of growth via its own website, which allows it to own the customer experience - and also, they argue, avoid the counterfeits issue. (They also avoid having to compete directly on the same platform with an Amazon knock-off.)

    In other words, they’ve owned their business model. They’ve invested in their business model. And it seems to have worked, since Schick is shelling out a reported $1.37 billion for Harry’s.

    I know that not every vendor has the ability to take this approach. But I have to wonder how many simply don’t have the inclination to do so because Amazon can be a major driver of sales and profits. Until, of course, it’s not.

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    Fast Company reports on how researchers in the UK and Australia “are racing to find ways to save” the banana, which is at risk from a fungus “that destroyed some banana plantations in countries like the Philippines and India” and now has spread to Latin America. The story notes that “the fungus has no cure - and because the bananas available in U.S. stores are cloned and genetically identical, when the disease kills one plant, every other nearby plant is also at risk.”

    The Fast Company piece also provides some context:

    “It’s an echo of a challenge that the industry faced before. Until the 1950s, massive banana plantations grew a type of banana called the Gros Michel—reportedly sweeter and tastier than the standard banana available in grocery stores today—but a different version of the same fungus, a type of Panama disease, killed off crops. Banana companies scrambled to find an alternative, and started growing the Cavendish, a variety that was resistant to the first variant of the fungus. The Cavendish is ubiquitous now. But it’s at risk from the fungus that’s currently spreading, called Panama disease Tropical Race 4 or TR4, and now there’s no other variety that can easily replace it. While there are around 1,000 varieties of banana plants, the Cavendish is unique in its ability to grow quickly, and ship long distances—and it has the taste and appearance that consumers now expect.”
    KC's View:
    Here is the passage from the Fast Company piece that surprised me…

    Some might question whether it’s necessary to go to such lengths to save the banana in the first place. Corporations like United Fruit Company (which later morphed into Chiquita) stoked global demand for the fruit, but arguably, people living outside tropical areas could go back to life before the banana and eat local fruit instead. But in some developing countries, the fruit is a key source of nutrition. And, for better or worse, the crop has also become a cornerstone of many economies. Bananas are a $44 billion industry and a key source of jobs. In 2018, the U.S. imported $2.8 billion worth of bananas in 2018, more than any other country.

    I’m a little more worried now than I was … because I can’t imagine a world without bananas. In fact, I have trouble imagining breakfast without bananas.

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    The Miami Herald reports that Publix has joined the list of companies asking customers not to openly carry firearms when shopping in its stores.

    The story points out that while other retailers - including Walmart, Kroger, Walgreen, CVS, Aldi, Meijer and Wegmans - have reached similar points, “none of those have home base in Florida, where the state’s most powerful lobbyist pushes the NRA’s agenda and the NRA likes to use Florida as a testing ground for concepts it favors, i.e., Stand Your Ground.”

    But Florida also has been the center of the anti-gun movement. CNN writes about how “David Hogg, a student activist from the Parkland high school that was the site of a mass shooting that killed 17 and injured 17 more, called for a ‘die-in’ at the grocery store to protest its support for a Florida gubernatorial candidate backed by the National Rifle Association. After the protest, Publix said at the time it would suspend political contributions as it reevaluated its giving policy.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    …with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    • President Trump yesterday said that his administration is exploring “a ban on most flavors of e-cigarettes, the most popular brand being Juul,” Axios reports.

    In an Oval Office press conference, Trump said, “People are dying with vaping. We have to find out the extent of the problem. We can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected. ... They're coming home and they're saying, 'Mom, I want to vape!’”

    The Axios story says that “today's youth radiate promising statistics on public health — they're smoking less tobacco, using fewer drugs, experiencing lower rates of teenage pregnancy and consuming less alcohol — but vaping is a growing concern.”

    The New York Times writes that the move comes “at a time when hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious lung illnesses and teenage vaping continues to rise … Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, said that the Food and Drug Administration would outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market, excluding tobacco flavors. The ban would include mint and menthol, popular varieties that manufacturers have argued should not be considered flavors.”


    • Interesting piece from National Public Radio’s Marketplace, which reports that as companies staff up for the holidays - Target is looking for 130,000 people, while UPS needs 100,000 people - they “are offering different kinds of incentives, like Target’s 10% discount for employees.”

    For example, “UPS is offering to pay seasonal workers up to $1,300 in tuition reimbursement.” That’s in addition to higher pay - “UPS says its starting rate this year is $14 an hour, up from $10.10 an hour last year. Target will pay $13 an hour, after raising its overall minimum wage earlier this year.”


    • The Wall Street Journal reports that retailer Forever 21 plans to file for bankruptcy as it deals with “slow sales, online rivals and changing consumer habits.”

    However, the company disputed the report: “Our stores are open and it is our intention to continue to operate the vast majority of U.S. stores, as well as a smaller amount of international stores, providing customers with great service and the curated assortment of merchandise that they love and expect from Forever 21 … Please visit our store locator to find the most up to date store list.”

    We’ll know who was right in a few days. Me, I’m betting on the Journal
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    • Albertsons yesterday promoted Chad Coester, GVP of Sales and Marketing for the Own Brands team, to the role of SVP-Own Brands, succeeding Geoff White, who earlier this week was named the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer.
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    USA Today has a piece about how Procter & Gamble has been gambling on an approach to advertising that means taking on politically charged issues and “urging society to clean up its act.”

    Examples: “Early this year, P&G's Gillette urged men to stand up to "toxic masculinity" and intervene when they see bullying or sexism … Also by Gillette this spring, P&G produced an ad ‘First Shave’ depicting a transgender man learning to shave from his supportive, elderly father … In the summer of 2017, P&G released a two-minute film called ‘The Talk’ that didn't try to sell any of its products but simply depicted blunt conversations in African-American households struggling with everyday racism through the decades.”

    Critics argue that the ads are meant to score political points with specific societal and demographic without actually selling anything to mass audiences, but P&G says that “consumers want to know where they stand – nine out of 10 make their decisions now based in part on ‘shared beliefs’.”

    Interesting piece that you can read here.
    KC's View:
    It is tough for public companies like P&G to take this approach because it probably is a long-term play that may not show a lot of short-term ROI upside.

    But I do think that companies are right when they believe that more consumers than ever want to know about the values embraced by the companies with which they do business, not just the value offered by the brand.

    Let me refer you to an Eye-Opener we had here on MNB a few weeks ago about Trestle, a startup designed to make it easier for consumers to buy from companies who operate with ethical values, and can help companies establish their bona fides when it comes to values and matters of conscience. You can read it here.

    And keep in mind … it was just a few weeks ago that the Business Roundtable argued that values can and should mean as much as value when it comes to company operations, and that shareholder value can’t be the only or even primary motivator.

    It won’t be easy for companies taking this approach. But I think in the long run, it’ll be worth it not just to be on the right side of ethical discussions, but not to be on the wrong side.

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    • T. Boone Pickens, the legendary Texas oilman, passed away yesterday at age 91.

    The Dallas Morning News, which published a 22-page obituary for Pickens, notes that he “wasn't a billionaire when he died, with his last reported net worth standing at a mere $500 million. That's because he'd given away more than $1 billion to philanthropic and educational causes.”
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    I keep getting emails about the open carry issue and how it is being addressed by retailers.

    I have been watching the discussion on this topic and feel compelled to respond.

    Your contention seems to be that banning all weapons in stores will somehow make them safer, and that it may take more horrible mass-shooting incidents before retailers finally take action and draw a thicker line.

    Do you not see the false logic in this belief?  It is already illegal to go anywhere and just start shooting people at random…and no sane person would do it.  Having a sign on the window banning guns is not going to make some sicko turn around because they are asked not to bring their gun inside.  It may actually keep people out of the store that might otherwise be prepared to respond in such a situation…because they ARE law-abiding citizens and DO value life and respect the law.  You said you were surprised to see it was as easy as asking someone not to carry their gun in a store…it is exactly that easy for exactly that reason.  They may not come back but they will leave if you ask them to.

    People seem to think that those that carry a gun, whether openly or concealed, are just itching to use it and might “draw down” on someone at the slightest provocation.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Those that choose to carry do so in the hopes that they NEVER have to use their firearm…and most never do.  You don’t get car insurance so you can go out and ram the first guy that cuts you off yet people seem to think that having a gun on your hip means you are looking for an excuse to shoot someone.  As a statistical group, those that carry are the most law-abiding group of people in the US…any way you cut the numbers.  They take the responsibility very seriously and they are tired of being demonized and portrayed by the media as a bunch of toothless hicks in some backwoods militia that care more about the 2nd amendment than peoples’ lives.  It is disgusting, it propagates fear of anyone who carries a firearm and leads to the kind of comments we saw here recently (if I see a guy with a gun I call the cops…why?).  It is ignorance and leads to policies which are based on ignorance.

    These policies do nothing to make customers safer or prevent these types of incidents from happening…they may very well have the opposite effect.  I would love to see a retailer step up and take an educational approach….a CDC study shows that far more people are saved by firearms than killed by them every year.  I would love to see a retailer welcome those of us who choose to carry into their stores…to take a stand against this kind of violence and let the next potential mass shooter know that this will NOT happen in OUR store.  Some churches have done this, by encouraging their parishioners who carry to do so during services.  They probably already do anyway but it sends a message to those who would do harm: NOT HERE.

    Are there idiots out there who own guns?  Yes…but even most of them are not criminals with the intent to cause harm.  There are also idiots out there who drink and drive…some repeatedly…thousands are killed by them every year.  But we don’t put breathalyzers in every automobile in the US (or take beer, wine & liquor off the shelves) because you don’t punish 99% of the population because of a few idiots and sick people.

    I am a concealed carrier…you would probably never guess it if you saw me….just like most out there.  I am just an average guy who wants to take care of his family and save up for retirement.  I pray I never need to use my gun….but I also pray that I will have the courage if the time came.  There are tens of thousands like me out there.  We shop at these stores….we don’t steal or cheat…we put our shopping carts back in the corral when we are done with them….and when we see announcements like this we look for another place to shop.

    Thanks for letting me rant and for being willing to look at both sides of an issue.

    Been a reader since you started this project…I don’t always agree with you but I do think your heart is in the right place…keep doing what you are doing.


    And from another reader:

    Banning all weapons is not going to solve this either.  On a recent trip to New Zealand we befriended many Australians.  We talked about their country and ours.  I learned that Australia has rather strict gun laws, and as a result, stabbings are now a problem in that country.  So you see, banning all weapons (guns, knives, axes, etc) will not solve this.  So what is the answer?  I do not have a definitive answer to this problem.  I have many thoughts on this problem and believe we were to put our energy on trying to solve the problem rather than give our customers/society a false sense security by putting signs on our doors.

    Before I go into my thoughts, full disclosure, I am a gun owner, and believe in the 2nd amendment.  With that said:

    Background checks must be done on all purchases, gun shows included.

    Civilians should not be able to out gun our police and military.  This would result in making it illegal to own assault type weapons.  Where is the sport in hunting with an AK47?  I recall back in the 60’s/70’s you could not own such a weapon.

    Now for the much larger issue…Society.

    If we as retailers want to help, then we need to talk more about the mental health, family values etc.

    There are truly very sick people on the streets and in homes that need to be hospitalized. 

    We must find away to get these folks the care they need without upsetting the ACLU!

    Todays kids are way too coddled. When we where kids, our parents made us strong by sending us outside to play, eating peanuts, and exposing us to chicken pox ( my mom got me infected on purpose to get it over with).  Now kids are afraid of speech, critical thinking, going outside to play etc.  Look what is happening at many of the universities across the nation.  Kids are put in front of video games rather than playing outside.  Video games are now the norm, and becoming reality for many.  Remember when your parents did not want you watching the 3 stooges, or cartoons, because they were afraid you would smash a frying pan onto the heads of your siblings?  Where is the outrage on these video games? Today’s violence is becoming the new virtual reality game. 

    Where have the family values gone?  Many of the people currently in our jails come from homes with only one parent, or no parents.  Brought up with no values.  What happened to the teaching of right and wrong?

    Drugs.  The reason I have a gun, is because of this issue.  I live in a suburban area, however, our neighbors have been victimized by people breaking into homes looking for money to buy drugs, and they do not care who or what gets in their way.  This problem will not be resolved by lawsuits against the companies making the drugs. Doctors and the drug companies need to be put on notice. Case in point, my wife had very minor hand surgery.  The doctor prescribed for her 50 oxycontin!  All she need was an Advil.  It is easy to see why we have this problem.

    Kevin, I have gone on long enough.  As I have mentioned, putting a sign on our door is not going to solve this.  It only codifies us.  We need our current and future leadership to make the extremely difficult decisions needed to fix this!  No more lip service.




    On another subject - my feelings about some changes to baseball - MNB reader Howard Schneider wrote:

    I know where you’re coming from, Kevin. I’m still ticked off about the DH.



    Thanks to the MNB reader who thought my joke about the TetraPak casket was funny:

    When the founder of IKEA died, I read a joke that suggested undertakers were having difficulty assembling his coffin. Love it.

    Now, that’s funny.



    And finally, from another reader on an other subject:

    Just wanted to say that , I appreciated your RIP for Carol Lynley and your mention of Rat Patrolman Christopher George’s “The Immortal” television series which is now available on DVD.  Eddie’s hulking father Bill Bixby’s “The Magician” is also available!

    Your note prompts me to offer a bit of trivia here. In 1971, Christopher George (who died just a dozen years later, at age 53) did a TV movie called “Escape,” which was actually a pilot for a TV series for an escape artist named Cameron Steele. (It co-starred John Vernon of Animal House, Avery Schreiber of the old Burns & Schreiber comedy team, and - wait for it - Huntz Hall of the Bowery Boys. Yikes!) But while it was never picked up as a series, it actually was a thematic precursor of Bill Bixby’s “The Magician,” which ran for a single season just two years later. Two of the actresses who did episodes of “The Magician” - Lynda Day George (Chris George’s wife) and - wait for it - Carol Lynley.

    It is amazing how much useless knowledge I have in my head. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can vividly remember both the pre-credits and final action sequences for “Escape.”

    Plus, it distracts me so I don’t have to obsess about the gun debate.
    KC's View:

    Published on: September 12, 2019

    This special podcast, recorded in front of a live audience at the recent Retail Tomorrow Immersion conference in Boston, goes inside the evolving world of LL Bean, the iconic catalog business that has engineered a dramatic and highly successful shift into omnichannel retailing through transformational leadership and a willingness to disrupt from within.

    Our special guest is CEO Stephen Smith, the first outsider to ever run the company, who offered a unique perspective on how a legacy retailer - founded in 1912 - has been transformed into a model of 21st century marketing savvy.

    The host: Kevin Coupe, MorningNewsBeat’s “Content Guy.”

    You can listen to the podcast here , or on iTunes or GooglePlay.

    This edition of the Retail Tomorrow podcast is brought to you by the Global Market Development Center (GMDC), connecting people & companies to opportunities for growth.

    Pictured, left to right: Kevin Coupe, Stephen Smith






    KC's View: