Published on: February 21, 2023
Got the following email from MNB reader Steven Ritchey:
The term "Rightsizing" implies that it's a good thing, a healthy thing, and in some cases, no doubt it is needed. But as George Carlin used to say, "We use jargon, buzzwords to cover up a lot of pain sometimes."
I'm not saying it's your fault, but, I think it behooves us to remember the human cost behind the jargon.
Regarding the antitrust scrutiny to which Apple is being subjected, one MNB reader wrote:
I guess I’m missing something here. Apple developed their phones and App Store, they charge third party to use/sell on the App Store and yet they are investigated because they favor their own products over third party? It’s their company, why wouldn’t they push their own products. Third party companies are free to utilize other app stores as they see fit. How is this different than a supermarket pushing their own brand over National brands.
Last week, we took note of a Providence Journal report that a bill has been introduced in the Rhode Island legislature that would "limit the number of self-checkout lanes at any grocery store in Rhode Island to eight and mandate that grocers provide a 10% discount to customers who use self-checkout for 10 or more items."
Rep. Megan Cotter, who introduced the bill, explained it this way: “Self-checkout is a way grocery stores are avoiding paying employees by getting customers to do cashiers’ jobs for free. It seems only fair that if they are going to take on cashiers’ work, the customer should get something in return."
This legislation is a crock. First of all, stores can't find enough employees. Second, customers like self-checkout because it gives them a sense of control and speed (though the latter can be illusory).
I have no problem with legitimate public policy, but this is protecting special interests in a way that is both obvious and misguided.
Like I said, a crock.
One MNB reader responded:
Ok. So how does this legislative attempt differ from forced minimum wage legislature?? One is attempting to legislate job protection, while the other is legislating wage protection. One you like, the other you don’t?
I see a double standard here. Both are governmental overreach. I have felt all along, the best way to regulate wages and jobs is let the business and competition guide these practices and keep the greedy fingers of government out of business.
I'm not sure that minimum wage legislation qualifies as "the greedy fingers of government." I do think that these two issues are entirely different, and government has the right, even the responsibility, to assure that workers are not exploited. Which, let's face it, some employers will do when given the chance.
MNB reader Steve Burbridge wrote:
As a Rhode Island resident, I agree with your assessment that this legislation is a crock. The representative knows nothing about business and the challenges with finding labor. She also ignores that there are Food stores - Dave's, a local chain - that have no self-checkouts that people can "vote with their dollars" to support.
Lastly, the legislation also calls for retailers to give a 10% discount if you use self-checkout more than 10 times. How is that going to be monitored?
PS - The representative was endorsed by the AFL/CIO and UAW...although most Democrats in Rhode Island are (she is a Progressive endorsed by Bernie Sanders).
From another reader:
I do like the discount idea. Should not be mandated by gov overreach, but rather an opportunity for the retailer to differentiate. This could easily be built into a rewards program. If I’m going to check myself out, bag my own groceries and (in NY) bring my own bag, hell yeah, give me discount!
We had a piece last week about how few kids are eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which prompted one MNB reader to write:
Kevin, I am dismayed at your blasé attitude about this study. It is shocking. It doesn’t say that kids don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, it says they don’t eat any. No bananas on their cereal, no pasta with red sauce, not even canned pears or frozen peas, NOTHING.
I really don’t think you can blame this on the pandemic. Also, we all know kids do what their parents do (especially the under 5 crowd), so if the kids are not eating any fruits and vegetables, I suspect the parents aren’t either. This is tragic for their long term health and our taxpayer money going to healthcare. It should be treated as a national emergency, not a shrug and an “oh well”.
I know politics prevents it, but it is so unfortunate that people are not told the truth: that poor nutrition causes many of the so-called “diseases” they suffer from. They could alleviate or eliminate many of them by eating as many (canned, frozen, fresh or dried) fruits and vegetables as possible (especially beans), eating less cheese and meat (especially cured meats), and cutting back on sugar and salt. That’s the message – simple, but oh so difficult.
And finally, one more email regarding Michael Sansolo dismissing "Somebody Feed Phil" as "mediocre:"
We’ve been following this show since it began on PBS as “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”. If you haven’t seen it, the show is produced by Phil’s brother Richard and the cinematography (is that an appropriate term for this show?) demonstrated in many of the travel shots is outstanding. Contrary to Michael’s comments, there actually have been episodes where Phil has refused to eat something and he has explained why he turned it down. His joie de vivre during his travels and interactions with others is absolutely wonderful-----and a great contrast to some of the darker food/travel fare produced by people like Anthony Bourdain.
“Somebody Feed Phil” appears to have been renewed for another season by Netflix, which justifies our subscription costs all by itself. If my wife and I were standing in for Siskel and Ebert, we would heartily give it “two thumbs up”!