Content Guy's Note: Scott Moses, in addition to being a good friend to me and MNB, is Managing Director and Head of Grocery, Pharmacy & Restaurants Investment Banking at investment banking firm Solomon Partners. He sent along a rumination about food retailing lessons that can be learned from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," that was absolutely perfect for MNB, where we delight in the use of metaphor to illustrate challenges and solutions available to food retailers.
I am happy to provide a link to the full piece, but let me offer an excerpt here:
One of the most impactful books I read as a boy was "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens. I was recently inspired to re-read the book. As many readers know, the classic story revolves around the life – and potential demise – of Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean, miserly counting house owner who only learns to appreciate the error of his ways when he is reminded of the past, sees the present from another angle and is given a horrifying glimpse into his future were he not to make amends. In this fictional world, Scrooge gets the opportunity to pivot, change his life and enhance not only his own future, but that of the good people around him, many of whom rely on him. There is bona fide wisdom in this story.
In a brilliant exposition of supermarkets’ past (though part of “Christmas present” in the 1843 book), Dickens demonstrates the wonder and delight of London’s grocers and the Christmas bounty they offered:
“The Grocers! Oh the Grocers!…the blended scents of tea and coffee…so grateful to the nose…raisins so plentiful and rare…almonds so extremely white…sticks of cinnamon so long and straight…other spices so delicious…candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious…[T]he Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own, worn outside for general inspection…”
Millions of teammates in our essential, irreplaceable grocery community of service have experienced that magnificent feeling in their stores over their years of customer engagement. Many thankfully still get to experience it today. The question is how long that can continue.
You can read Scott's entire piece here.