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We had a story last week about how Wal-Mart is trying to trademark the acronym EDLP, an industry term that stands for “Every Day Low Prices.” The retailer has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that would allow it the exclusive use of “EDLP,” as well as of the term “rollback,” which it uses to denote permanent price reductions n specific items.

One MNB user was outraged.

In late '85 or early '86, Skaggs Alpha-Beta went to an EDLP format in central New Mexico. I know, because I worked for their supplier and generated the computer printed shelf talkers for their grand announcement.

These talkers had, in bold letters, EDLP across the top, with the item information, the old price with a line through it and the new price with a down arrow next to it. I probably have a sample in my archives somewhere.

For Wal-Mart to even attempt to trademark EDLP is either ludicrous, or the pinnacle of arrogance.

MNB user Richard Lowe wrote:

It should not even be considered as an application they are way too late! A trademark must be initiated in the beginning not as an afterthought.

And another MNB user wrote:

Meijer has used the Every Day Low Prices slogan in this market in the past. I would expect they would object.

MNB user Al Neumann had some thoughts about Wal-Mart’s decision to encourage the use of “Merry Christmas” this year, compared to last year’s more generic approach to the holidays.

I just wanted to comment on the story about Wal-Mart using the word Christmas this year instead of just plain old Happy Holidays. This issue has been unsettling to me for the past couple of years that saying, "Merry Christmas" has somehow become taboo. I understand that not all religions celebrate this holiday in the religious sense, which is all fine and good, but America has essentially taken the religious meaning out of the holiday. We have made it be a calendar holiday just like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving. Yet, no one ever complained about someone saying, "Happy 4th" or "Happy Thanksgiving."

I personally love Christmas and have always wished people a merry Christmas. It is just good to see that at least one institution feels the same way.

We reported last week that the Massachusetts state referendum proposing that Massachusetts supermarkets and c-stores be allowed to sell wine – an issue that generated more than $11 million in campaign spending by both sides – was rejected by 56 percent of voters on Tuesday. It was said to be the most expensive ballot campaign in state history. Opponents were primarily independent liquor store owners, who were desperate to keep supermarkets from infringing on their long-held monopoly. They argued that teenagers would be to obtain liquor more easily from supermarkets and convenience stores.

We commented that this is “a load of nonsense. This was about protecting sales, nothing else, and the result simply reinforces the notion that a level of Puritanism is alive and well and living in New England.”

One MNB user responded:

As a Massachusetts resident I voted no on Question 1, and I take exception to your veering off track from the real issue to sling words like "Puritan" around - were you asleep for the election results? As an occasional wine drinker, I see a benefit but more of a downside to the sale of wine in grocery stores. Having worked for years in a grocery store - I believe that grocery stores are every bit as capable as liquor stores of checking ID's, assuring that only those who are of age buy alcohol - so no issue there. I also believe the sale of wine in grocery stores would make wine consumption less of a decision and more of a habit - but since that would be a Puritanical micro-management of other peoples alcohol consumption - I based my vote in support of small business owners whose livelihood depends on their sale of wine. Everyone moans (myself included) about Wal-Mart - and soon Tesco- annihilating almost every small business in every area they choose. What's different here?

Another MNB user wrote:

While it is very true that liquor store associations spent a lot of money to get this proposal defeated (to protect their sales-you are correct), it is equally true that convenience stores are easy prey for underage customers looking to acquire tobacco or beer. There are countless incidents in this state where minors have purchased tobacco and beer at convenience stores where low wage and under-trained help are easy marks.

As the father of two pre-teenage daughters, I voted against this proposal to help keep controls in place and not increase the amount of places where minors can go to purchase.

If the proposal was just for grocery stores, and did not include all the convenience stores (on every corner), I might think twice about the vote.

And speaking of Puritanism, as one who grew up in Southport CT, near you, where capitalism and conservatism reign, just remember that after these elections, I am stuck in the most liberal, left-wing state in the country Puritans are only found in Sturbridge Village and Plymouth Plantation now!

And another MNB user wrote:

Supermarkets do sell wine and beer in Massachusetts. There is a limit of three licenses per ownership. I do not know the history of the limitations, but, it was probably to protect competition and against monopolies. For me it was about unfair business advantage. How would a three location liquor only store compete against instant giants? All retail Mom & Pop stores have had to compete against giants, but their growth wasn’t mandated to stop at three outlets. The little guys used what works best politics; scare you into thinking the worst even if the alternative is better for you. The big box stores should regroup and tried to slowly increase the number of licenses for everyone. Hey, nothing business, it’s just politics.
KC's View: