retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our reference to a Taste article about the unique intimacy of the grocery shopping experience, one MNB reader wrote:

As part of our training approach we talk about the vulnerability factor, that our shoppers are showing us the items they are purchasing, and we gain a glimpse into their personal choices, and we need to honor, respect, and support this every step of the way.  And we need to take good care of these items, recognizing the time it has taken our shoppers to gather them, upon payment they own them, and we need to do all we can to protect their goods from the register to the destination.  

Grocery is a noble profession in all respects.  We are helping to feed the world.  We are also supporting our customers on a highly personal and intimate level.  The more our entry level Team Members understand that the more successful our business will be.  

Regarding the decision by CVS to pull out of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), one MNB reader wrote:

This is all about the conflict with the NACDS and their support of the FTC in reviewing the anti-trust nature of PBMs.  Independent pharmacies and grocer owned pharmacies have been taking it in the shorts for years with various contract provisions with their suppliers because of contracts their suppliers have with PBMs.  And remember, PMB don’t sell any tangible products like drugs or pharmacy related supplies.  But they do control reimbursements to pharmacies, and many times pharmacies get hit with bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars, YEARS after the pharmacies have dispensed the drugs to their customers just because of these PBMs.  This is what the FTC is exploring in the nature of anti-trust matters.  Its not a matter of whether trade associations are in support of the status quo and won’t support new business models, but more a question of whether trade associations will support anti-competitive behavior which harms the majority of their members as a result of this new business model.

Health care costs and reimbursements are one of the biggest shell games going in this country and its one of the main reasons why costs continue to escalate so much faster than general inflation.  The more people know about the details, the quicker they will see how abusive these practices are.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

The  report of a "27-year employee of a Burger King in the Las Vegas International Airport operated by HMSHost, whose years of service were recognized in a pathetic, insulting fashion by his employer" reminded me of a similar pathetic event during my time at the Borden (remember them)  Columbus, Ohio headquarters.

One year, probably 30 or so years ago, the HR department hired a "Santa Claus" to go floor to floor and hand out to each employee a Holiday Gift/Bonus - which consisted of a box of Cracker Jack and a $5 gift certificate redeemable at the company store.  Of course in today's dollars that might be equivalent to a ten.  Over the years I have enjoyed telling and retelling that story many times. 

After Walmart said it was going to fold its InHome delivery service into its Walmart+ program, and I continued to express skepticism about strangers coming into my house to stock the fridge, one MNB reader wrote:

That’s a hard NO for a stranger to come into my home uninvited. I see all kinds of unintended consequences occurring.

And from another reader:

On WM's INHome delivery, I've not used this service and won't until I've learned they've trained their employees a bit better.  I know I've told the story here of when I was home with Covid, sick as could be, weak as a kitten and had groceries delivered by WM, half gallon's of milk, OJ and grape juice, 10 pack of mini cokes, and other items all stacked right in front of my storm door, where I had to shove them away with the door.  Hardly what I'd call a good delivery, do you think I want them rummaging around in my fridge, they'd put the milk in the freezer, or in the oven.  Nope, I'll pass for now.

And finally, from another reader:

I agree with most assessments that we are now in a recession.  I’d explain the economic principles but as I remember I struggled to get C’s in all my Econ classes.  Not entirely my fault since they mostly started at 8 o’clock in the morning and there is only so much information that can be absorbed thru muffled ears and bloodshot eyes.  I personally think they were trying to keep it a secret but I could be wrong.

Here’s some definitions that stuck with me:

Recession – When you neighbor loses their job

Depression – When you lose your job

Panic – When you spouse loses their job