business news in context, analysis with attitude

We got the following email from a member of the MNB community about our story detailing the debate taking place in Mexico about Wal-Mart’s building of a supercenter adjacent to the ruins of Teotihuacan.

They just do not need a huge retail store built over the top of ancient ruins. There are always more places to put a store -- there are only a finite number of places where we can begin to understand our own history and therefore ourselves. A hotel and a crumbling sign simply are not on the same scale, nor are they comparable as an introduction to commerce.

Seems to us that there are different kinds of temples…and that sometimes we may get our priorities turned around a little bit.

”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

And another MNB user had a general Wal-Mart observation:

I am generally with you on the impact of Wal-Mart on the US economy. It looks like none of the presidential candidates are offering any solutions for well-paying jobs in America. They are themselves benefiting from the big
business wallets in big way.

It is hard to blame large businesses for exporting jobs to satisfy Wall Street bottom lines.

If a change will take place in the future, it will have to come from the
low and median income level people.

We had a piece last week about speculation that Target might make a bid to acquire the UK’s Sainsbury, but one MNB user was skeptical:

Think a Target deal for Sainsbury is unlikely at this time. Makes more sense for Target to focus their capital on maximizing their USA sales, particularly their Super Target format, before venturing overseas.

Sainsbury’s upscale positioning syncs well with Target’s client base. However, Sainsbury’s claim to fame is as a food retailer. Target’s competencies are in the non-food arena, especially apparel.

However, never rule anything out! Wal-Mart has achieved great success with their Asda acquisition and an auction of Sainsbury would be a unique opportunity for Target to get established in the UK.

We wrote last week that sometimes people make the decision to buy organic/natural foods for political as well as nutritional reasons, an observation disputed by MNB user James F. Curley:

The preference for organic foods is not really political in a strict sense, Kevin. Ecological, perhaps, but not political. I’ve been launching organic brands for a long time. I’ve seen all the LOHAS consumer research, and people who buy organic products clearly profess a consistent preference for products that are better for the environment, regardless of whether the product is more specifically nutritious or not.

In fact, no serious marketer of organic products makes superior nutrition claims in terms of vitamins, minerals, etc. The LOHAS consumer perception is that organic products are ‘healthier’ in the sense that they are less damaging to the ‘micro-ecology’ of the human body as well as the ‘macro-ecology’ of the planet in general. It’s not in any way a fad, but a deeply held ‘worldview’ that is shared by farmers, producers, distributors, retailers and consumers who eventually come to understand that the health of the soil and water are integral to the health of organisms that share those resources. It will continue to grow because people are getting better educated all the time about these ‘integral’ relationships and see both the logic and wisdom in the move towards sustainable soil, water and crops.

I share that worldview, and am committed to a clean, sustainable, profitable and plentiful food supply for the future. If that’s ‘political’, then so be it.

We’ve become addicted to “Hardball” on MSNBC lately…and that may be coloring our thinking that everything is political.

Responding to yesterday’s story about how there are new studies questioning the health impact of the Atkins Diet, one MNB user wrote:

Balance is the key - water, grains, fruits, veg, meats, oils, dairy; a good dose of exercise...and wine to wash it all down. Always has been, always will be.

And finally, MNB user Chris Riesback wrote a nice note responding to our mention of our eldest son going off to college.

My wife and I had those same sentimental feelings rolling through each year as we send our oldest off to college. It makes it a bit more challenging when they go to school a distance from home. He's in Ohio, we live in

This year, as he left to begin his Junior year, we were awaiting the day our washing machine could take a well-deserved break and his room could be cleaned, aired out and organized to Mom's standards. We love him and miss him when he's away and cherish the 1st break he has and we can see him and share time with him. It appears that there's some truth to the adage, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.”

After we dropped our son off and got him settled on Monday, we stopped nearby for lunch before driving home. There, we bumped into a nice couple from St. Louis that had dropped their son off as well…and in their case, they have four kids in college at the same time! (Which sounded tough until we got an email yesterday from an MNB user who has triplets all starting college this year!)

But this couple made the most interesting observation about college: “You send your kids there as teenagers, and they come back as people.”

Which is why you have to look at college tuition not as a cost, but as an investment.
KC's View: