business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email responding to my FaceTime video about the importance of understanding and communicating history from MNB reader Gary Harris:

My, my, how very timely. I just turned 70 at the end of June, and that meant, for me at least, it was time to retire after 44 years with Wegmans. Interestingly enough, my dear friends at Wegmans had other ideas, and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse; stay on as a part-time employee and help us get our arms around the vast cache of historical assets we have. As you can imagine, a 100+ year-old, four (or is it five?) generation family owned company has a lot of cultural resources; pictures, videos, signage, displays, print materials, and many apocryphal stories that create a tapestry of our history. The effort to find, identify, categorize, preserve, display, and make accessible is a bit daunting to say the least, but as you said, history is important along with the stories that bring it to life. I’m in the learning mode again, sometimes I think I never left, but it’s an exciting ride, for sure.

Last week we quoted from an LA Times opinion piece about how the writer felt that supermarkets no longer were her "happy place" because of how they've changed.  She wrote:

"Locked glass cabinets safeguarding merchandise are now ubiquitous in chains like Target, Walmart and Walgreens. Asking clerks to retrieve detergent and baby formula is demoralizing enough, but businesses are implementing more severe security measures that erode customers’ spirits and our social fabric, even though it’s unclear whether shoplifting has become the national crisis that some retailers claim."

She went on:

"Grocery stores feed our bodies but should also nourish sociability, not strip our dignity. Companies claim the new security measures make customers feel safer, but they risk molding us into more anxious, suspicious people. This psychic weight has unequal consequences — those with money and tech savvy can just shop online. Others who rely on in-person shopping face disproportionate dehumanization."

One MNB reader responded:

This story did hit home.  I agree,  supermarkets and stores used to be my happy place.  I never thought about it that way, but it is true.  I used to enjoy going into the stores and shopping.  My wife used to turn that chore over to me on a weekend and I would get lost in the Walmart Supercenter for a couple of hours.  She could never figure out why I enjoyed it so much since I was always in the stores anyway checking them for products and trends and I couldn’t explain it to her.  With this bit you shared,  I understand why they were too my happy place.  Now I don’t enjoy it as much for a lot of the reasons listed and sadly I’m turning more to pick-up than ever before.  Maybe I can hold out hope the happy place will return . . . .

And from another reader:

I find the paragraph that you referenced to be quite disturbing as the author suggests that it is the retailer that is creating anxious, suspicious people.  I would venture that most people who are victims of crime or present when crimes are committed are likely more anxious and suspicious.  While the addition of security measures is unfortunate, it must also be a reminder that those that pay for their goods and services are the ones that also pay for criminal activity as margins have to be increased to offset losses.  Security measures are a CONSEQUENCE of the real problem here and it’s a shame that the author glosses over that reality.

Last week, when writing about the passing of The Band's Robbie Robertson, I mentioned that one of my favorite albums - ever - is "Before The Flood," which featured a live performance by Bob Dylan and The Band.

MNB reader Jon Berg wrote:

I agree with you 100% KC.  I also listen to "Before the Flood" at least a couple of times a year in its entirety, which is the only way to hear it.  I have "Bob Dylan Live at Budokan" on the same rotation, as well as making sure I rewatch The Last Waltz from time to time.  Great call out!

And from another reader:

KC…you have great taste in music and just happen to be listening to Bob Dylan’s "Tangled up in Blue" album.  It’s nice to know that someone else likes listening to complete albums rather than a mix on Pandora.  I’m also surprised that a movie hasn’t been made from the title song, the entire movie screenplay is already written, you just need to find the “red head” to play the part and make the audience a “little uneasy!”