business news in context, analysis with attitude

I got many, many notes from folks this week who liked my "MNB @ 20/In Conversation" segment with Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran, and I thank your for that.

But there was one email that I thought I should share because the MNB reader took a contrarian position:

These guys have no idea what is going on at store level. They're shielded from reality by the leadership at each banner's corporate level.  Every time there is a "visit" these understaffed stores run around like chickens with their heads cut off to make sure there is enough lipstick on the pig. Don't even mention staffing issues because they don't want to hear it.   

I would disagree with the notion that Vivek doesn't know what is going on, and doesn't want to hear about the critical issues.  That was not at all my sense of the man.



Got a fair amount of feedback after my original piece about Better.com CEO and co-founder Vishal Garg and his horrible treatment of employees;  the defining word in the criticism was "asshole."

MNB reader Tony Bartys wrote:

I absolutely concur. Who’s checking or should have checked his fitness for management.

He's a founder.  I suspect the board's reaction will be minimal, since they're probably all hand-picked.

From another reader:

LOL! Call them like you see them! Appropriate description. 

And another:

Good mangers, CEO’s, presidents, etc. lead by example.  Clearly in this case this person is doing the complete opposite and he gets what he deserves.  This also seems somewhat illegal claiming employees “stole from him” by only working a few hours out of the 8 hour work day and lashing out and terminating them on a zoom call.  I’m wondering were there warnings?  Write ups?  No prior communication to address alleged poor work performance?  This is yet another example of why there is a worker shortage in our country right now.  Plain and simple people want to, and deserve to be treated with respect at the work place.  I agree, what an asshole.

MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

I couldn't agree more, KC. And if I was one of those not fired, I would be looking for a new job immediately, knowing how he treated my coworkers.

And still another:

I once had a CEO that told his senior staff he wanted them to “Work like he had a gun to their heads”.  He didn’t last long….

I once had a boss who, every time he said, "Things are finally turning around," we'd all get our resumes together because there was about to be another round of layoffs.



One MNB wanted to chime in about the new Marc Lore food truck business that is about to be rolled out:

Initially I found this idea intriguing but then started wondering about chasing trucks back and forth across town for individual orders. There seems to be potential for a lot of wasted time and effort when not pursuing the primary mission of the enterprise.

Why not just do scheduled food trucks in neighborhoods instead?

My Dad lives in a retirement community and that's what they do and it seems to be successful.

As long as the truck owner can make a living, guessing they would be in favor of that so they could focus on their core mission of cooking and not driving around.



Yesterday we took note of an Axios story about how "JPMorgan Chase Global Research says in a forecast to clients: '2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic, and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.'

One MNB reader responded:

In a related story, The Conference Board’s latest wage survey of 240 companies of 10,000+ employees, forecasts a 2022 base average wage increase of 3.9%, which is huge movement.  Going along with the JPM Chase outlook you also cited, could it be setting us up for over-heated acceleration of our economy?  As long as somebody is really watching at the Fed, it will be a generationally exciting moment to see.



The Associated Press reported yesterday that "Italy’s anti-trust authority on Thursday fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($1.3 billion), accusing the company of exploiting its dominant position against independent sellers on its website in violation of European Union competition rules."

One MNB reader observed:

Guilty or not? Not for me to say. But fining them big money is actually the only way to get them to change bad behavior, let's face it no one goes to jail. Many times the fines are so much smaller than the profit they actually made from the bad deed, the fines will be happily paid. In the good ole USA we tend to under fine bad corporate behavior for a multitude of reasons. Mostly the argument goes, that it affects shareholders. If the shareholders are affected they may hold the board of directors accountable which in turn may hold the executives accountable. But I digress, just a pipedream to expect a board of directors to hold the executives responsible. After all, they sit on each other's board. Sounds kind of cranky doesn't it! 



And finally, I did a piece yesterday - albeit reluctantly, since I am a NY Jets fan - that pointed to how the New England Patriots and their coach, Bill Belichick, scored some serious business lessons during Monday Night Football this week.

Prompting one MNB reader to write:

As a Bills fan, it pained me even more.

I feel you.