Published on: March 10, 2022
On the subject of inflation, one MNB reader wrote:
I have been tracking wholesale list and deals costs for 20 years plus. The costs of goods are even higher than the industry reports . Because they track Every Day Costs and not deals. Deals are not available now because there is no reason to discount.
Fair point. Inflation may not begin to cover it.
MNB reader Bob McGehee had some thoughts about a likely rise in credit card fees:
I had my first encounter with credit card fees in 1992. The cost per transaction was $0.16 (using dial-up) and Visa/MC fee was about 1.25%. Fast forward 30 years and the cost per transaction is <$0.01 via internet and the AVERAGE Visa/MC fee is 2%+. For a lot of stores now the electronic payment costs exceed labor costs. Consumers are mostly unaware of these costs. Any store that doesn’t factor these costs in their pricing is doomed, foolish and/or living is a dream world.
On the good side, I invested in both Visa and MC when they went public. Worked out well.
MNB reader Stacy McCoy chimed in:
Hmmm… this might explain the increase in signs at local businesses offering a (pretty good!) discount for cash payments vs credit card. I might have to go try to find my checkbook at start carrying that with me again. (hello 1987!)
On another subject, one MNB reader wrote:
KC, I do not have the answer here, but I have not seen anyone talk about the pre pandemic resignation/job mobility numbers. In an economy as large as the US, “The Great Resignation” statistics, while higher, may not be all that unusual as the economy churns job seekers to look for new employment opportunities. Comparing the pre-pandemic numbers might lend more credence to the narrative or calm down everyone if the rise in job transition is only moderately higher. Some perspective might be nice to see to see the degree to which we have a problem or if there is one at all. It may be out there but I have not seen it yet.
I have not seen one, either … but I would be really surprised if the resignation rates were as high before the pandemic as they have been recently.
We reported yesterday about how Walmart is offering Walmart+ membership free to associates, which prompted one MNB reader to write:
One unmentioned benefit of doing this is to try to help keep and attract labor in areas that see higher turnover. It should be noted they are not extending this to Home Office associates. Not too worried about that labor pool. You brought out good points and time will tell.
We had a piece yesterday about Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer in which she talked about the company's increased focus on healthcare as a growth driver going forward.
One MNB reader responded:
If Walgreens truly wants to “increase focus on healthcare as a growth driver going forward” they should stop selling tobacco!
I would agree with that. Completely.
We had a piece the other day about gene-edited beef that has been cleared by the FDA for eventual sale - without being labeled - which led me to comment that while I'm agnostic about the technology, I'd prefer transparency.
One MNB reader challenged me on that, suggesting:
This is an interesting take coming from you considering your stance on the vaccines over the last year… wouldn’t you like to see the same transparency coming from Pfizer and Moderna? Informed consent regarding vaccines? Pfizer submitted to hide the data from their clinical trials for 75 years because “you don’t need to know something.”
Luckily the motion was denied, but I find it difficult for you to take two different stances on the same issue of transparency to the consumer.
I responded that I'm in favor of transparency by the pharmaceutical companies. Never said anything else. Plus, I think this seems like a case of "what-about-ism."
Another MNB reader decided to enlighten me:
I think the reader who is accusing you of double standards on transparency is referencing the fact that there was a FOIA submitted to the FDA for ALL documentation related to the approval of the vaccine. The FDA stated it could only process 500 pages of documentation per month and there are up to 450,000 pages of documentation. Therefore, it would take up to 75 years to process all of that information. The judge in the case has ordered the FDA to process at 55,000 pages/month.
Not sure how the agency will do that and answer all the other 400 FOIAs with only 10 people in that department…and how that might lead to other serious repercussions.
The agency must redact confidential business and trade secret information from Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as any private information on patients in the clinical trial.
So, you can imagine how much time it takes to do all of that.
BTW, I’m wondering - what group of qualified people are going to read through 55,000 pages of scientific reports each month. Highly trained medical experts aren’t exactly working for minimum wage, are they? So, who (specifically) is paying for that…and what are their motivations?
Or is the group that made the request just going to continue to post these online and let folks with no credentials read the documents and comment as if they are experts? Heaven help us all.
Agreed. I think there have been way too many people with no credentials and commenting as if they are experts.