business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of people leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons, one MNB reader offered this anecdote:

I'm seeing quite a few department and store managers leaving Shaw's as of late.

Micromanaging from Albertsons seems to be a major issue, but the real issue is lack of any real training program for department heads and assistant department managers. People getting promoted who are nowhere near ready, many departments running without assistant managers, and the good managers, many are burnt out from the stress of the last year and a half. Changes must be made.


On another subject, MNB reader Kim Marsh wrote:

I had to respond to your idea about health insurance companies developing a policy not to cover costs related to Covid for those who chose not to be vaccinated.   

That sounds like a great idea until you apply it to other health related issues, such as obesity or smoking which result in all kinds of health related issues.  You could make the argument that smoking, for instance, is a choice, and the major health issues that can result from smoking should not be covered by insurance.  Obviously,  people afflicted with cancer due to smoking are not expected to bare the cost of treatment without insurance, and in fact, with many cancer treatments running into the hundreds of thousands, the burden would be untenable.  

The thing that is hard to accept with the anti-vaxxers is the heath risk they pose to others and society in general with their disregard for the severity and possible long term effects of Covid. Other than being harmed by second hand smoke, the risk of which has been largely eliminated by the laws against public smoking, a smoker isn’t going to spread their cancer to the rest of society.

Fair points.  But speaking as someone whose mother died in her mid-sixties of lung cancer after 40 years of smoking, I'm actually sympathetic to the argument that maybe people who smoke today ought to be faced with a quit-or-pay-your-own-medical-costs option.  When my mom started smoking, people thought it was cool and not much was known about health effects.  But anybody who smokes now cannot make that claim - the health impact of smoking has been well-established.

MNB reader Christian Busse wrote:

I’m curious.  If it’s true that over 99% of Covid admissions are for individuals who are not vaccinated, is vaccination then a part of their in-hospital treatment prior to discharge?  Should it be?   Would any patient choose not  to be vaccinated?

If it makes medical sense to give those folks a vaccination, I'd be perfectly happy to make ti a condition of treatment.

I'll admit it.  I'm a total hard-ass on the subject of vaccinations - and not just for Covid-19.


The other day we took note of a Wall Street Journal  report that McDonald's franchisees "are adding emergency child care and other benefits, as many U.S. restaurants are struggling to hire enough workers to run their businesses."

The plan is to "boost hourly pay, give workers paid time off and help cover tuition costs to draw enough workers and improve the Golden Arches’ image as an employer. McDonald’s corporate parent said it is making a multimillion-dollar investment to back the franchisee efforts."  A new employee program "aims to “fundamentally change what it means to work at a McDonald’s restaurant."

I commented:

It isn't just restaurants and fast food joints, of course - there are all sort of businesses competing for workers.  As I pointed out in my FaceTime this morning, retailers have a choice - they can create worker-centric businesses, knowing that prioritized workers then will make customers their priority.  Or, they can do things the old way, which I'm not sure is up to the task of being relevant in 2021 and beyond.

One MNB reader responded:

I guess we must pay everyone a “living wage” just so they can afford a hamburger.  But you could get loyalty rewards so maybe after your 10th one you will get one free.  No thank you.  I think I’ll make my own.

No, people need to be paid a decent wage so they can pay their rent, feed their families, put clothes on their backs, put gas in their cars, and maybe even buy school books for their kids.


We reported the other day that Hy-Vee has hired Dr. Daniel Fick to be its new Chief Medical Officer, who "comes to Hy-Vee from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, where he is a clinical professor of family medicine and part of the provider group for the Executive Health Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, positions he will continue to hold alongside his new role at Hy-Vee."

One MNB reader responded:

This sounds like a medical students nightmare from 20 years ago – flunking out and finding yourself working for a grocer… These times they are a changing.

Sounds ripe for a remake of the old "Northern Exposure" TV series…


On a couple of subjects, MNB reader Steven Ritchey wrote:

I'm turning into an old guy, old school to a degree.  I know autonomous vehicles are on the way.  There's nothing I could do to stop it, even if I was of a mind to.  But, imagine the havoc some hacker could cause should they hack into the computers operating these delivery vehicles.  They could cause accidents on purpose, make deliveries to the wrong addresses, which happens now as it is with humans, I don't need a machine I can't talk to delivering me things I didn't order.  I know the change is coming, and someday the technology will be seamless and a part of dally life, but the interim could well be pretty ugly.

Just some thoughts from an old guy who still, by choice drives a 30 year old truck with a manual transmission.  It's not my daily driver, but I want to know what my daily driver is doing for me, and hang onto some of my youth.

I enjoyed the All Star game as well.  I felt like I was seeing some of tomorrows superstars now.  I liked miking up players as they were on the field, and kudos to the players who agreed to do that, I know it was a distraction, and I'm sure some of them had to watch their language just a bit.  Yes, the uniform jerseys were a bit off putting and I'm glad to see that the 7inning double header rule and the extra inning rule may go away.  But, the game is trying to evolved and remain relevant, yet still remain "America's Pastime."  Some changes will work, some won't, and there's always going to be people who complain no matter what.

Now if we can decide what to do with the designated hitter rule.  I personally like to see the pitchers bat, it adds to the managers decision making and strategy for the game.

For the record, I drive a Mustang convertible with a manual transmission, which, I've joked, I will give up when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

I may not be able to stop the advance of autonomous cars, but I'm going to avoid using them until I don't have a choice.

As for the All-Star game, here's an email from MNB reader Monte Stowell:

I agree with all 3 of your comments about the BB All Star game, especially the uniforms. 

Baseball has some real pressing problems to address: the average game is too long 3 1/2 hours, get rid of of the shift. Second, too many relief pitchers 4-5 per game, lastly, keep the damn batters in the box, etc. Today’s younger sports fans are finding BB too boring. For the record, I am mid 70’s and a lifelong Dodger fan, going back to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I'm a Mets fan, but if, when I started becoming aware of the world the Dodgers had still been in Brooklyn, I would've been a Dodgers fan, too.  (And they are a team for which I continue to have a soft spot in my heart.  Except when they're playing the Mets.  Which they weren't when the pic below was taken.)