business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our story – and our surprise – about organized retail theft, one MNB user wrote:

I'm surprised that you didn't know organized theft in "food retail" was such a big thing. In 1988 Publix opened a store close to Disney. We had so many out of country customers and business was so GREAT no-one thought that shop lifting was a Big thing.

However being a market manager accountable for sales, profits…I quickly realized that something was going on with the profit. We were and still are heavy in computer information. To make a long story short I pulled an item sales readout at 7 pm. The next morning I pulled another and compared movement against sales and found out quickly that I was missing a lot of high priced meat.

We had people coming in with ice chest in their buggy and when they went by the meat case they filled them up with meat. They went straight out the door and no one stopped them. Usually we had 2-to 4 tour busses stop at the store between 7 and 9 and we were so busy it was all we could do to provide service.

Well when I started checking into this problem we caught 5 people the same night. Of course it was their first time LOL, but we did find out that all the people took the product to a warehouse, they got 25 cents on the dollar and then the product was sold to others. The night the police went into action they rounded up 28 players. That slowed the organization down some. Back in 1994 in Ga. there was another ring that went over to the drug aisle as we called it and just wiped out a section.

Aspirins, razor blades, etc…it didn't matter what they got it was all sold to small independents’ gas stations.

Responding yesterday to our story about new revelations in the story about Wal-Mart using illegal immigrants to clean its stores, MNB user David Livingston wrote:

"Three Wal-Mart executives knew that its cleaning contractors hired illegal immigrants and paid them less than minimum wage in order to keep costs down."

What next, arrest every patron of a mom and pop Mexican restaurant? Every homeowner who hires domestic help? Perhaps every attorney that uses an office cleaning service? This is nothing but Wal-Mart bashing. We all use illegal immigrants. He who is without sin should cast the first stone.

So your position is that immigration laws are nonsense and should be either ignored or struck from the books?

We think that there are a lot of cases where the root motivation is Wal-Mart bashing. But we’re not sure this is one of them.

We wrote yesterday about Wal-Mart’s efforts to expand its presence in the financial services business, which prompted one MNB user to write:

Several weeks ago, MNB reported the lawsuits filed by merchants regarding high transaction fees. The thought of controlling bank transactions immediately leapt to mind. With Wal-Mart leading the way in this, the floodgates will be open for all food retailers … and for better or worse; Wal-Mart will usher in a new era in banking. All of the banking business bobble-heads will no longer be able to smugly sit on the sideline, and pontificate about retail trends - welcome to the world as we know it.

Since yesterday was Election Day, we recommended that MNB users take their kids into the voting booth with them and explain to them why casting a vote makes a difference – especially in local elections, which don’t get nearly as much press, but are incredibly important in terms of values and quality of life.

To which MNB user Denise Remark-Lundell responded:

Kevin, great idea to take the kids into the booth & explain the importance, responsibility & process. Three years ago in a local election, in my small township where everybody knows everybody else, a very young man stood in line to vote. Since the poll-worker didn't recognize him, she asked if was familiar with how to cast the ballot. He said that he did not, it was his first time voting. She congratulated & thanked him, basically announcing it to the entire assemblage, whereupon everyone clapped & congratulated him! Talk about positive reinforcement!

Mrs. Content Guy required the kids in her third grade class to go to the polls with their parents. She also had each of them write essays about whether casting a vote actually could make a difference (some of them said “no,” amazing cynicism from people so young, and we suspect a reflection of their parents’ attitudes), and held a series of mini-elections in the classroom to demonstrate the importance of a single vote.

Never too early.

When Winn-Dixie created a new position - vice president of store training and front end service, with a goal of improving the chain’s customer service levels and make front ends more “inviting, bright, and staffed with friendly and knowledgeable associates who let customers know Winn-Dixie truly appreciates their business." – we commented that this was like the Titanic hiring a new concierge to handle customer needs…when what it really needed was a swimming instructor. Or a lifeboat builder.

MNB user Mark Santoro responded:

Your analogy of Winn-Dixie & the Titanic is a good one; however, it should be noted that the Titanic had the benefit of an orchestra.

Actually, we know someone who was in a Winn-Dixie the other day, and she said she could’ve sworn that the music playing in the background was “Nearer My God To Thee…”
KC's View: