business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story last week about the brain-damaged Walmart employee fired just short of his 20-year anniversary with the company, allegedly because he lowered the price of an item to match the competition's without sufficient proof; there are suggestions that he may actually have been fired because he liked to hug customers. One MNB user responded:

You are correct, there could be more history then we are aware of, but on its face, 20 days short of his 20 year anniversary is the story here.   To my thinking, I am certain he did nothing different then he has done in the past.  Same with the hugging.  My guess is he has been hugging people for 20 days short of 20 years and now they decide to let him go.  Sounds suspicious.  I applaud the community for standing up for him and hope they follow through.  If we all stood together on issues that affect our communities and the people in them, changes would begin to occur on a very large scale.  Companies, organizations and politicians would have no choice but to listen.  One can hope.

Regarding our piece about the off-the-field customer service efforts of the St. Louis Cardinals, MNB user William Saldivar wrote:

I will take the SF Giants experience over the Cards, the Giants sell out every game in an area that has a ton of other experiences to offer, Napa, Tahoe and the Monterey – Carmel area.

I suspect most of us could argue for our home teams, but that sort of misses the point - that the Cardinals are a paradigm of organizational excellence that translates into how they perform both on and off the field.

Regarding the controversial legislation in North Carolina that is perceived as discriminatory against the LGBT community and has been protested by many businesses as being contrary to their values, one MNB user wrote:

I’m still trying to figure out why any business would want to alienate a potential customer. I can respect an opinion but I’m certain that going to the far left or far right isn’t a good business decision. I do agree it’s sad the Carolina list isn’t longer but it’s the South. However, I do not agree with the implication if you are not on the opposing list you are supporting discrimination. If being on either side of the list means you could lose a potential customer then it’s a smart business decision to remain silent.  As progressive as we think our country is we still have a wealth of racism, bigotry and ignorance.

On the other hand, one could cite Edmund Burke: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

My comments about the North Carolina law last week led to accusations that not only was I being a "lefty," but was even being disingenuous about my politics.

MNB user Bill Gregory responded:

I do not always agree with your positions.  

But I do appreciate the way you avoid the use of overused labels like "left", "right", "conservative" and "liberal" when you express your opinions.   I can overdose on those labels anytime on cable TV, talk radio, and most other media in this election year.

Such labels usually define the shooter better than the target.

Please continue to share your honest analysis and I will continue to read, enjoy, and learn.

I try to avoid being an ideologue ... mostly because I try to keep in mind the line from the great Pete Hamill, who said that ideology largely is a substitute for actual thought.

Sometimes, though, I apparently am guilty of undue bias, as one reader explained:

Since the trend on this blog lately has been for the reader to tell the writer how, they the reader, prefers to have their news reported to them. I felt I had to write in to express my concern for your rather blatant bias.

To continue the trend, I thought you should know that I ONLY read this blog for your unbiased sports coverage. On occasion I read some of the posts about Walmart and Amazon since I work in the industry and am curious about what new trends could be headed our way. But, I mainly rely on your "unbiased" sports reporting to know who won the important games in the major sports.
Its about time someone called you out on your Mets bias. It's one thing to root for your team but quite another when you only report on your team and ignore the rest of the league. It puts your reader at a major disadvantage when they are making small talk with co-workers and they don't know that other teams even exist.

To be frank, I don't think I will be able to continue to subscribe to this blog unless you take drastic steps to correct this bias.

Guilty as charged. But you may be asking more than I can deliver/

It wasn't about the same issue, but MNB user Chuck Jolley had some thoughts that seemed to be along the same lines:

Interesting emails from some of your friends with a severe case of conservative bias, a mental state where people think it’s OK for a CEO to be paid several million dollars per month but it’s a job buster for employees who have become 80% more productive in the past quarter century to be paid even a penny more and corporate welfare is a good thing.  May I suggest that a liberal bias is morality based and a conservative bias is financially based?

You can suggest it, but I don't think I'd agree. I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that conservative ethics are by their very nature immoral, or less moral that those of liberals. (And I certainly don't think that a liberal bias is by definition more morality-based than a conservative bias.)

I'd like to think that one can be both fiscally wise and morally correct at the same time. (That's not to say that I don't take your highly legitimate point about CEO pay vs. minimum wage arguments.)

Mostly what I think is that the extremes on both sides of the aisle tend to be hopelessly mired in ideological and electoral quicksand from which it is really hard to escape.

Here's an idea. Put Barack Obama and Paul Ryan in a room and tell them that they have to come up with a plan to deal with the immigration issue which which they both can live ... and the one thing they cannot take into consideration is how it will play with their separate bases. They have to find common ground, and then negotiate compromises in the areas where they disagree. Having done that, they would then be sent back into the room to talk about other major issues, such as tax reform. My bet is that they could do that, and it wouldn't even take much time ... but the ugly reality is that whatever they negotiated probably couldn't get through the Congress.

Responding to last week's piece about Kroger's Main & Vine experiment in Gig Harbor, Washington, one MNB user wrote:

I’m sure you are right that the Main & Vine store is being tested as an answer to New Seasons expansion.  When asked approximately 5 years ago, a Fred Meyer executive said that New Seasons was the retailer that concerned them the most.

On another subject, I got the following email from MNB reader Lance Hollis McMillan:

While it might sound clever to denigrate a Palm Pilot, Blockbuster, Borders, or even the dusty library, let us not forget that without those pioneers there would be no Twitter, Smart phones, live streaming,, Spotify,  etc…for someday soon  the “latest and greatest” will also be relegated to the ash heap of days gone by. Guaranteed.

I was not denigrating their roles as pioneers. I was pointing out that they did not do the things necessary to not be relegated to the list of irrelevant business. And they could have survived and thrived, if they realized that they needed to evolve and change.

That was the point. That was the lesson. No apologies for that one.
KC's View: