business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reader Bob Thomas had a thought about the coronavirus debate:

To those people at Stanford (really the Hoover Institute at Stanford) that are espousing herd immunity:  What pandemic has herd immunity eliminated?  They will probably try to claim SARS even though there were just 8,000 cases worldwide and 29 cases in the US.  Quarantines and Public Health initiatives were responsible for the quick eradication of SARS.


On the subject of free shipping of online orders, MNB reader Jerome Schindler wrote:

The inconvenient truth is that the shipping is not "free", the cost has to be paid for by someone.  Also, the cost of employees scampering around the store or warehouse aisles filling online orders is also not free.  My complaint is that,  especially in the case of brick and mortar retailers, to a significant measure that someone is the person who expends the cost and time to drive to the store and shop in person.  Adding insult to injury, many of these retailers are now even forcing us to check out ourselves.  Those customers are subsidizing the shipping and other costs of on-line shoppers. 


On the subject of more people apparently using SNAP program funds to buy healthier foods, such as fresh produce, one MNB reader wrote:

For the record this mismanaged program, that just deposits money into the recipient’s EBT card account, allows these cards to be use at the following fast food chains to name a few. 

McD’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, Denny’s Church’s Chicken, Burger King, etc.

Wow! To me this is not “moving in the right direction”.  This is a program, that we pay for,  that allows people to eat anything they want.  It is NOT focused on healthy nutrition.

So, for this article to tout how wonderful it is that produce consumption is up, is very misleading and a total “left” spin on a program that has been rife with fraud since its inception.

Typical government program.  No accountability, no back checking, not performing to the objective and just giving away money.  I remember working a register during the food stamp times, when I checked out a very well-dressed woman (full length mink coat) that paid with food stamps. 

Nothing has changed, except the name.

But another MNB reader wrote:

Surprisingly, a report released by IRI earlier this year confirmed that SNAP recipients spent a disproportionate amount of dollars on brands vs. private brands.  There is certainly an opportunity for those in need to be able to stretch those food dollars.


On another subject, from MNB reader John Holter:

The story about UPS renting trucks was interesting.  But here in Gresham, Oregon, in my neighborhood we have a Prius with UPS stickers on the doors delivering packages.  Small ones of course. 


Responding to my video commentary about Barnes & Noble embracing a localized approach, MNB reader Dr. Allen F. Wysocki wrote:

Loved the FaceTime today. Your comments on Barnes and Noble, sounds a lot like the way Wegman’s allows autonomy for their stores when it comes to things like produce.


On the subject of a positive customer service experience, MNB reader Paul Schlossberg wrote:

Our Thanksgiving dinner was just the two of us this year - a first without family in our lives. 

One item we purchased and prepared was disappointing. It was a new (to us) product and we followed the instructions very carefully. 

Not long after my wife contacted the company through their website. She recapped what we did and wanted to know if there were other suggestions we might have added to our prep and cooking. We did not expect anything more than some hints and tips for the future. 

The reply we received is an object lesson for all of us who sell food products. Our "customer service representative" was the company's founder, whose name is on the label. 

We were very surprised when she requested that we send a copy of our receipt so that she could send us a full refund. The dollar amount was significant. What a powerful way to stand behind the brand and the company's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. 

This is a small company in a category with huge players. Next year we will buy their brand. 


And finally, MNB reader Stephanie Steiner wrote in to correct what she saw as a lapse in our sports coverage:

The Seattle Sounders won the Western Conference Championship last night, and are headed to MLS Cup Finals in Columbus for the fourth time in five years. The match will be Saturday 12/12 at 5:30 pm PST (late night for the east coast folks, but I’ve traveled for that twice, let’s hope it doesn’t go to PKs again! For the Midwest, it’s normal).

Seattle hasn’t played in front of a crowd for a long time. Columbus will likely have a small one as rules are different there.

Seattle will be lit up blue and green this week, zoo animals will play with soccer balls, flags have been flying already for a week. If people were out and about, jerseys would be everywhere.

Thanks for the update.