retail news in context, analysis with attitude

On Sunday's "Last Week Tonight" on HBO, John Oliver took aim at the meat business - not, as he said, to talk about "the grim conditions that animals face in factory farms," but rather to focus on "the grim conditions humans are facing working in meat-packing facilities."

It is tough stuff.  Example:  the story shows footage of a worker at a Smithfield plant who takes off his gloves, relieves himself under the production line where he is working, then puts his gloves back on and goes back to work.  (First of all, I guess we can all be glad he was wearing gloves.  Second, this is not an allegation.  Smithfield conceded that's what he did.  They suspended him.)

It is worth watching the "Last Week Tonight" segment even if you don't like John Oliver or disagree with his take on things, largely because this image of America's meat packing facilities is one that is gaining traction, and people who sell this stuff need to know it … if only to be prepared for when customers ask questions, or when the next industry scandal hits.  The industry likes to put out reports that explore "shopper perceptions, attitudes and behaviors regarding meat and poultry," but maybe it needs to focus more on some of the core issues raised in this segment.

It may be John Oliver … but there is very little funny about it.

Note:  As with all John Oliver/"Last Week Tonight" segments, profanity is used not just for punctuation, but also as nouns, verbs and the occasional adjective.  So be careful where and how you play it - this segment definitely NSFW.