retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Lots of reaction to yesterday's"What's wrong with America" FaceTime video.  One MNB reader wrote:

You are right, people don’t care anymore; there is almost a pathetic pride in doing whatever pleases you and that SUV is a perfect example. That guy could care less or maybe it’s some spoiled kid who would go home and cry to Daddy if someone confronted them! Thanks again for some decency.

Another MNB reader wrote:

Great rant and well said!

From another MNB reader:

I am so with you about the entitlement mentality in our country and I would bet around the world too.  I get irritated when people who are physically able don’t put away shopping carts, drop their trash wherever they want, and the most irritating, people who park in handicapped spots and no parking spots like the large white SUV in the background of your video.  I regularly call people out who do these things (I don’t want my wife doing it) but I am a larger man and rarely has anyone wanted to physically challenge me.  What happened to common courtesies and looking out for your fellow human? 

I’m sure you’ll get a lot of “get off of my lawn” comments, but when we care only about ourselves and what’s convenient for me even if it causes you problems it reflects a much deeper mindset that has evolved.  Thank you.

And from another:

You are spot on!  The other day while flying out of the Chicago Midway Airport, I saw a TSA agent (she had her TSA uniform on) park her car in a handicap parking spot in the garage, which was close to the pick up area for the bus taking us to the terminal.

She proceeded to take her lunch box and backpack to the bus and board along with me.

Maybe she is deserving of it, but from what I saw, she was able to carry the large backpack and lunch box with no difficulty, taking away a parking spot for someone who may have had difficulty walking.

And another:

Absolutely  these people don’t give a fig snd there seems to be no accountability  just do whatever you want in almost every scenario in todays society  Very  few people are polite and respectful in everyday situations this has nothing to do with politics.

And still another reader wrote:

Here is another incident that occurred this morning that adds credence (unfortunately) to your video.

My wife was in our local Dunkin Donuts(sorry, we are Starbucks fans like yourself) getting coffee this morning, like she does every morning.  A person was sitting in their table area lounging with his feet up on another chair.  The owner kindly asked him to take his feet off the chair and the individual became abusive. He was yelling at the owner “to get a life” and proceeded to get nose to nose with the owner.  The patron continued his verbal assault. He briefly left DD, went out to his pick-up truck only to come back in and start yelling, AGAIN.  Fortunately, this did not escalate to any physical or worse confrontation.  

Maybe the guy had a little too much caffeine?  Well, that’s my contribution to What’s Wrong With America.  Sadly, we no longer have a society that has respect for each other.

Another MNB reader chimed in:

On point, Kevin! I was just talking about this with my daughter the other day.  Traffic laws seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur.  Where is law enforcement?  Where is personal accountability? I've made several comments about how driver's licenses must be coming out of Crackerjack boxes.  It's so frustrating.  Keep calling 'em out.

And one more MNB reader wrote:

I’m not sure if the sense of entitlement has grown or if we are just grumpy old men.

I'm not sure they are mutually exclusive.


I also got a number of comments reacting to my piece about Phil Lombardo, who is retiring from his role as COO at Lunds & Byerlys.

MNB reader Kevin Duffy wrote:

I was fortunate enough to have conducted the executive search that resulted in Phil joining Lunds as the Director of Grocery in 2002.  We’ve stayed in touch over the years and I’ve been amazed and frankly proud of his impact at LFHI and upward career progression at the company.  As I mentioned to Phil the last time we spoke, no one that I have placed in my 30+ years in executive search has moved vertically in one company from a Director of Grocery to Chief Operating Officer.  A shout out also appropriate to Tres Lund, who recognized Phil’s talent and fostered his career growth over the years. 

Phil’s had an amazing run, a Sinatra type run…Best to Phil as he enjoys the next stage of his life.      

MNB reader Rick Steigerwald wrote:

Having reported directly to Phil for 14 years, prior to my retirement,  I can say unequivocally that your description of Phil’s leadership skills are spot on. He is truly one of the best in the business.

MNB reader Henry Stein wrote:

Place me in the (very long, I am certain) line of industry veterans who will echo the nice words from Tres Lund and from you, Kevin, on the announcement of Phil Lombardo’s retirement. Not unusual to see Phil regularly in stores, at all grand openings, and never managing from the office only. He has treated suppliers with respect, been a huge supporter of local Twin City brands, and has helped contribute to the fine reputation Lunds & Byerlys has cultivated over the years. 

And another MNB reader wrote:

I had the pleasure  to work with Phil at American Stores in Salt Lake City as a part of the “Delta” project that brought folks from Lucky Stores, Jewel, Acme, Save On Drugs and later Shaws to Utah to create the future. It was a rare time where we got to think about the business minus the pressure of “the business”. Phil, myself and several others spent some of the best times of my career trying to figure out what’s next in 1995. It was some great leadership, Phil, Peter Whitsett (Meijer), Larry Biggerstaff, Tommy O’Boyle, and many others all went on the great things. I’ve kept in touch with Phil over the years and always enjoyed conversations at FMI Midwinter….and you are correct, he’s way to young to retire but best of luck my friend….


On the subject of Elon Musk's adventures/misadventures as the new owner of Twitter, one MNB reader wrote:

Quit Twitter when it was official that Musk purchased the company. Hope that every employee affected by the layoffs sues him due to breaking the California law. Now if we can get advertisers to dump Twitter……


Responding to my FaceTime video about how one person's "wine rut" can be another person's comfort wines, MNB fave Glen Terbeek wrote:

"Wine ruts" are a great opportunity for adding value to “loyalty programs”.  We have a great wine merchant in SD that had wine tastings, would order any wine we wanted, even if he didn’t carry it, and carried our favorite wines for when we needed them.  He was individual shopper focused.  In addition, his prices were very competitive, usually equal to or better than the chains.  We didn’t go anyplace else for wines.  Why can’t a food chain do the same?

MNB reader Kathy Means wrote:

Your FaceTime this morning resonated immediately. My (our) comfort wine is Ruffino Chianti. My partner’s brother recommended it when she and I were first dating in 1993. We drank a whole bottle (a lot for her, normal for me) one night, the night we knew we were forever partners. Always have a couple of bottles in the house because it does evoke memories – of that night for sure, but also the nearly 30 years of memories we’ve created together. It’s “our” wine.

And MNB reader Karen Labenz wrote:

One of my go-to favorite wines is Freakshow Cabernet.  I love the crazy label.


On another subject, one MNB reader wrote:

Interesting dialogue regarding the eat at home vs dining out for Thanksgiving.   I'm old enough to remember when you had no choice but to stay home for Thanksgiving because restaurants were closed that day.   For me it isn't about the cost.  I would feel guilty going out that my presence meant those employees at the restaurant weren't home with their families on Thanksgiving.   That is priceless.


Regarding the banning of plastic bags and the move in California to require bag manufacturers to document and prove claims that their products are recyclable, one MNB reader wrote:

Here in Panama plastic bags have been out of grocery stores for several years.  Just recently single use silverware in restaurants has been banned.  There is no outcry, nor chest beating or demonstrations. People go to shop with their canvas totes (advertising the store where they bought it for 39 cents).  There is more work to be done here but I am sure it will be done soon.  Being a country dependent on rain (the Panama Canal is the largest earner of money for the Government) they take the environment very seriously.  Panamanians are much more united than some people North of them.  And I. like you, have canvas bags in the car.


Some thoughts from an MNB reader about the Kroger-Albertsons merger:

In 1988, after KKR acquired Safeway (hostile takeover) and then dismantled it by selling off many of their locations, Kroger averted a similar KKR move against them, by issuing a one time $40/share dividend.  This additional debt made Kroger unattractive and allowed them to maintain ownership and control of their destiny. 

Fast forward to today, and it’s hard to not see this Albertsons dividend for what it is, a way to provide current investors with a huge windfall.  And, since they own the majority of Albertsons stock, they will get paid twice.

Oh…and a fun fact is that the current Kroger CEO, Rodney McMullen, worked on the Kroger dividend move in 1988, as an accountant working for the then CFO, Bill Sinkula.  Small world.


Finally … we reported yesterday that the Cincinnati Bengals said that Dayton, Ohio-based Dorothy Lane Markets' iconic Killer Brownie has been named the team's official brownie.

I commented:

I love the Mayne family.  Love Dorothy Lane Market.   Love the Killer Brownies.  (I'm a Jets fan … but three out of four ain't bad.)

I think this is terrific … I hope they sell a million Killer Brownies as a result.  As Norman Mayne would say, "It's a living."

And MNB reader Calvin Mayne responded:

Thanks for the kind words. We are big fans of you and MorningNewsBeat as well. And since I used to live in New York, I’ll trade you a “Jets, Jets, Jets!” For a “Who Dey!”