business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reader Steven Ritchey emailed us about two different Friday stories:

I'm thinking Walmart could take those 1,458 jobs they are cutting in their warehouse and put those people to work in their stores.  The stores I go to desperately need front end help, and store stocking is a joke.  Back when I was retail we used to be told, "The customer can only buy the product that is on the shelf, not what is in the backroom."

Then I get to the front end and only the self check registers are open, with a line of 5-6 customers at each one, not one manned check stand was open.  Now, I'm not someone who dumps on self check stations, I use them, but, they still need some manned checkstands open as some people take seemingly forever to check themselves out.

The story about Wegman's moving to CT to open stores resonates here in Dallas, TX, as HEB has begun opening stores here.  The established stores are all doing resets, freshening up their stores and some are even building new stores for the first time in several years.

It's going to get interesting down here.

Also writing in about our story regarding stores making changes now to compete with a Wegmans scheduled to open several years down the road, MNB reader Mike Sommers wrote:

These stores should have been competing and working hard to earn their customer's dollar's long before Wegman's announced they were coming to town.  They had an opportunity to create an environment that Wegman's would never have dared enter for lack of failing.  However it sounds like these stores took their customers for granted and are now trying to play catchup.  Should have been competing proactively rather than reactively.  Run your business in a way where you are competing every day and force your competitors to think long and hard before entering your market.  

Another MNB reader wrote:

You could save them a lot of money remodeling telling them if they just offer self-checkout self-scan, the customers will flock to the store. Done!

I don't have to.  You just did.

But you may be over-simplifying what need to be done.

On another subject, MNB reader Thomas Parkinson wrote:

Congratulations to John Lert who sold his Alert Innovations automated warehouse technology to Walmart.  I first met John in the late '90s when he presented his vision of an automated grocery store to me at Peapod.  It was a bit of a stretch for Peapod back then.  Since then,  he has reinvented his technology at least three times over the years.  John's vision has become a reality. Way to go John!

Got the following email from an MNB reader about our conversation regarding Major League Baseball:

I unequivocally agree with the reader suggestion that MLB's biggest problem is a lack of a salary cap and floor.  True, not every team that makes the playoffs has a high payroll ... but consider this year where 9 of top 12 payrolls are in the playoffs (75%), while only 3 of the remaining 18 teams qualified (17%).  That's a significant difference.  

But what about the teams noted, Seattle (21st in payroll) and Cleveland (28th)?   Well this is Seattle's first playoff appearance in 21 years.  Thinking that Seattle epitomizes the reader's point  regarding Kansas City of "catching lightning in a bottle every 20 years or so".  As for Cleveland, although they made the playoffs this year and last, they have only been in the playoffs 15 times in their 118 years in major league baseball ... yikes!

I'm not suggesting that the historical correlation coefficient between getting into the playoffs and a high payroll is 1.0, but it is undeniable that the two are highly correlated.  

BTW … kudos to the MNB reader who correctly identified my location based on pictures I posed - Citi Field, where Mrs. Content Guy and I attended the last regular season game. And yes, that was a brick we did for our dad in the Citi Field Fan Walk.  (There's a double meaning in the inscription - my dad was born in the Bronx, and his heart was in Queens - home of the Mets, but also where my mom was from.)

And finally, we posted an email from MNB reader Jeff Gartner on Friday that responded to a critical email posted earlier in the week:

Wow Kevin, I was surprised (but not really) at the negative vehemence of a couple of your commenters in today's MNB. I didn't realize you were forcing them to read MNB. If a person doesn't like what you're  reporting and commenting on, my goodness, just don't read it. And it's free! So no worries about stopping and not getting what you paid for.

BTW, you said you might be getting "older and crankier."  Is that the onset of transitioning into a "curmudgeon" (I always loved that word)?

I wrote back:

Maybe.  Though I'd like to think of myself as a lovable curmudgeon.

But I love it when people disagree with me and express their views. That's what I signed up for.

MNB reader John Kemp chimed in:

Mr. Gartner summed up my thoughts perfectly!

Please tell him thanks from at least one MNB reader and I would guess there are others.

Keep fighting the good fight and I look forward to your update every morning.

I don't have to tell him.  You just did.