business news in context, analysis with attitude

We wrote yesterday about a Los Angeles Times column eviscerating Kroger and Ralphs for policies used during the lockout/strike that have resulted in a multi-count indictment against the company for illegal labor practices.

To which one MNB user responded:

What is new here?

Should Ralph's pull this stunt? No. They need to be punished hard for this attempt to go around the law.

However, when I read a story, I always try to consider the source, The Los Angeles Times is a strong Pro-Union paper. They reached a point in their "reporting" that I canceled the paper years ago. (When I did live in the area). Where is the balance in their reporting? Granted, there is little positive in this report for Ralph's, they should be hung out to dry. I just wish that the people in LA would understand that there is little fairness in the LA Times’ reports.

Fair enough.

But to be completely accurate, the piece we quoted yesterday was clearly marked as a column – which means that it is allowed to have an opinion and an attitude.

You may not like the columnist and his or her opinions. But they are clearly marked “opinion.”

Sort of like ours.

Another MNB user wrote about the companies’ argument that top managers “didn’t know” about the labor policies:

Kevin, regarding the Ralph's mess: the "I didn't know about it" defense is infuriating. The people at the top get paid the big bucks to know. From Ken Lay to the officers in charge of AbuGhrab to grocery store executives, how long are we going to let them say "I didn't know?"

We need more Harry Truman types who will say "The buck stops here."

Responding to the Albertsons mess, one MNB user wrote:

The Albertsons Board of Directors felt it wasn't important to have executives that knew how to sell groceries, it was more important to have managers who knew how to manage Wall Street expectations.

Isn't it ironic that they turn out to be incompetent at that as well?

Another MNB user wrote:

It's amazing that a "Toaster Salesman" has been allowed to essentially snuff the life out of this company!

We wouldn’t want to be an Albertsons employee facing the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with little or no confidence in upper management.

We wrote yesterday about the fact that online grocery shopping, because it requires the making of a list, actually can help save money in the long run. Which led one MNB user to disagree with the notion that people tend to waste money when they go to the brick-and-mortar store:

I view this article in a different way. I see this as customers being impulsive when they are shopping, not wasteful.

Low, fair prices are expected by consumers. But isn't it the job of the Super Marketer to get customers to spend more than they actually intend to once in the store? How many times have you bought grocery items as an "impulse buy", only to eventually toss them out because that seemed like a good value or a "must have" at the time. The impulse item is an important part of what supermarkets need to take more advantage of to help increase their appeal (and bottom line), whether it is in the grocery dept. or the general merchandise dept.

We agree that impulse purchases are important to supermarkets…but they may not be seen that way by consumers.

One man’s impulse is another man’s waste.

On the subject of the upcoming animated film “Foodfight!”, which takes place completely in a grocery store, one MNB user wrote:

I think there are some interesting issues surrounding this movie:

I wonder if this approach will have some ramifications to the private label business. With an entire store filled with branded products and the enemy being “generic” it might send the message to the younger generation that there is something wrong with a brand name they do not recognize. Which also begs the questions: With all the concern about advertising targeting children will be some backlash associated with a child oriented movie about brands?

Also, it will be interesting to see an entire movie centered on branded consumer packaged goods. With the invention of TiVo, businesses have looked for new ways to advertise their products where the consumer can’t/won’t fast forward through. Recently, we see more and more product placement within the context of our programming in an attempt to bring about new product awareness in the face of our ability to tune out conventional advertising.

All very good questions. It had better be a great movie, or the backlash about product placement will be enormous.

MNB user Kimberly Uecker wrote:

I honestly can't wait to see this, as I want my own brands to be "Brand X" in the real world. Taking on the big guys and making 'em quake; them losing sleep over my growing market share - I can't wait.
KC's View: