retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reader Dan Hamilton wanted to weigh in on my daily coronavirus pandemic assemblage of reports:

Enough already with the corona updates as you are just repeating yesterday’s news.  Do you really think you are remotely seen as a source for breaking news on the virus.  I enjoy your perspective on most subjects to include the impact of the corona virus but try being original and not a copycat.

Sorry you don't like them.  I will say that this is the opposite of what I've been hearing from other MNB readers, so I hope you'll be okay if we agree to disagree on this one.

For me, right now, there is no other story … or at least no other story of equal importance.


MNB reader Tim Korosec also wanted to take me to task for something:

I enjoy reading your insights and observations every morning.  Although I don’t always agree, at least it gets me thinking about other points of view.  Which brings me to an article you published today about the Lucky Devil Lounge.  To give “props” to a business that exploits women, to me, is irresponsible.  Use the column space to find a business that is supporting women in a positive way.  You usually do a great job of promoting women which really made the Lucky Devil Lounge shout-out that much odder.

I don't think I was approving of a business that exploits women as much as I was finding humor in how a business was finding a way to survive in the pandemic.

Plus, there was the great name:  Boober Eats.  

I'm sorry if you thought it offensive, but for the record, I did tell the story to my wife and daughter before I ran it.  Neither suggested to me that I not run it, so I felt pretty good about it.

Though, to be honest, with that name, I probably would've done it anyway.


From another reader, on an other subject:

We hear about all the people that our putting their lives on the line combatting this virus. I want to shout out my gratitude to all the food workers.

Thank you for getting up each day and providing food for all of us.  Thank you for stocking shelves.  Thank you for putting up with customers behaving badly.  Thank you for putting your life on the line.

We Americans take food for granted. Without it we don’t survive.

So when you are shopping tell all the employees thank you we appreciate you!

It is tough times for supermarket employees, as noted by this MNB reader:

For those making food and selling food we are working like it’s the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas and in some respects are glad we aren’t watching more movies or reading more books, or telecommuting, because we are gainfully employed.

I shared with the team here that up until just a couple weeks ago more than 50% of the food dollar was being captured by “food away from home.” I’m guessing that about 90% of the food dollar is now being spent at supermarkets/clubs/discounters, etc., and keeping up is really hard. Supermarkets/etc. are doing almost 2x the business with the same infrastructure. No rest for the weary.


Finally…commenting yesterday about new numbers suggesting that more young people are being hit by the pandemic than previously believed, I wrote about the young people who were partying on the beaches of Florida despite all the warnings:

I usually defend young people from accusations that they can be self-absorbed.

But in this case, the problem isn't self-absorption.  It is flat out stupidity.

What I don't understand is why the state hasn't closed the beaches.

Prompting one MNB reader to write:

If I were an employer, one of the questions I would add to my interviews of recent college graduates would be  “When was your spring break and what did you do?” The responses would be very telling about their team player skills and sense of responsibility.

Good point.

However … I'm actually going to argue with myself for just a moment.

It is true that those young people on the beaches were behaving irresponsibly.  Not just in terms of their own health, but the well-being of people they would run into in coming days.

But I found myself thinking about them yesterday, and wondered how many of them are around the age of 25 years old.  Plenty, I'd guess.  Those same people, when they were around five years old, experienced the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and live through the after-effects.  And now, as they are beginning their adulthood, they are dealing with a pandemic that threatens how they live their lives.

On the one hand, they need to grow up and act like responsible adults.  But maybe I need to cut them a bit of a break.  Just a bit.