...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Grub Street column in New York magazine has a story about how a Starbucks in Brookhaven, Georgia, had to be closed down after a Facebook posting accused one of the employees there - an African American named Shanell Rivers - of doing “vile things” to coffee ordered by white customers.

In this case, “vile” means things like spitting and mixing human excrement into people’s orders.

Starbucks did its best to fight the accusations in social media, even pointing out that there is no employee named Shanell Rivers working at the store.

However, Grub Street reports, “The post was reported as an actual scandal anyway by conservative blogs and Reddit groups, complete with a made-up pic of this ‘Rivers’ person.”

The store has been temporarily closed, the story says, out of concern for employees’ safety; the company and authorities are said to be investigating the source of the rumors.

One thing they don’t have to work very hard to figure out, it seems to me, is the rationale behind the rumors. It’s racism, pure and simple. And disgusting.

CNBC reports that “Kohl's plans to partner with retailers like grocery stores or convenience stores to lease the white space left by the roughly 300 stores it has ‘right-sized’ over the past several years.”

CEO Kevin Mansell says that “the department store has created operationally smaller, more profitable stores within its roughly 87,000-square-foot boxes. That downsizing leaves unused footage, which … would benefit from traffic-generating retailers like those that sell food.”