business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, MNB took note of a report that at least 40 warehouse employees at the Fresh Direct e-grocery service in New York City quit or were suspended this week after the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency informed the company that it “planned to inspect the records of every employee and asked them to update their information and provide documents, like Social Security cards, to prove employment eligibility.”

I commented that I feel bad for the Fresh Direct workers, whether they are illegal or not. This is a tough time of year to lose a job…no matter what your citizenship status.

One MNB user wrote:

In response to your bleeding heart comment … As long as you, first, feel badly for the legal guests or citizens who either don't have a job or whose wages are depressed because of these illegals.

Another MNB user wrote:

I’m sure you’re going to get raked over the coals with your comment: “This is a tough time of year to lose a job…no matter what your citizenship status.”

If they had a job, and were here illegally, they can jolly well find work in their country of citizenship. You and I and all the hardworking taxpaying LEGAL citizens are paying for those illegal aliens’ emergency health care, the roads they drive on but don’t pay taxes for, the bi-lingual signs and messages on voice mails that we have ‘press 2 for English” for - and many other things that they don’t support by flying below the radar and not supporting the system the way the rest of us do!! I’m one of the billions with grandparents who came here legally and learned English, absorbed the American culture and way of life, and were appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to do so. I have not a single issue with anyone who comes into this country legally, and appreciates the form of government that allows them to do this. But don’t try to tell us that we need to “diversify” and take on your ways of life, and culture – there’s a reason why people don’t “defect” from America the way they do from many other countries, instead are trying with all their might to get here. It still is very much a land of opportunity and options, and supports the sovereignty of the individual.

In all honesty, I only got there two emails that were critical of my “bleeding heart” position.

Another MNB user wrote:

Regarding Fresh Direct's immigration probe, my question is:

If the feds find workers that cannot verify their employment eligibility, what happens next? Other than causing serious disruption to a viable business and hard working people to lose their jobs at the holidays? In the past, this type of investigation has not resulted in a reduction of illegal immigrants in America ….only an increase to the number that are looking for another employer that will accept their documentation, while their previous employer struggles to maintain day-to-day operations. What exactly is the ultimate goal of this government agency?

MNB had a story yesterday about Weight Watchers products being sold in 7-Eleven stores, which I thought was a petty good idea. Not everybody agreed.

One MNB user wrote:

Diet cookies in 7-Eleven?! I can't imagine that the target consumer for a C-store overlaps with a Weight Watcher. So that leaves us depending on conversion (as in religious). Hmmm, I'll have a Big Gulp, a hot dog, chips and a diet cookie. Yeah, right. Only if the consumer isn't thinking clearly because the fatty deposits in his veins have resulted in cranial oxygen deprivation.

Another MNB user wrote:

I'm having such a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept of Weight Watchers marketing their products at the epicenter of unhealthy stuff - each time I begin to think about mind goes BOING!!! I know there is opportunity to make a buck...but what will it do to the brand in the long-term??? Did I miss the latest marketing buzzword strategy called "oxymoron marketing"???

I actually disagree with the notion that healthier cookies in a 7-Eleven are oxymoronic. Customers everywhere are looking for healthier options, and that has to include people who shop at c-stores. At the same time, many convenience stores are more and more becoming convenient stores…

7-Eleven would only be making a mistake if it didn’t shift appropriately. Weight Watchers would only be making a mistake if it didn’t look for new venues in which to sell its products.

I said nice things about the Ridgefield, Connecticut, Starbucks yesterday…which med MNB user Tom Devlin to write:

I was glad you were able to enjoy the Ridgefield CT Starbucks. Welcome to my town. It does have a great group of employees who enjoy themselves while they work there. I was at that same store last winter when I was asked if I was interested in trying a new Strawberry whip cream in my café Mocha?... I said you make a a strawberry whip cream??? The response was ... No I wanted to experiment and see how it would come out. While this does not seem anything earth shattering, I found it refreshing that a 19-22 year old would do that and offer it to a customer... This is why there is a huge difference between Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts !!

This is not really that important to most of your readers but it was nice to see my local Starbucks make national news and wanted to share my story with that same store!! Sadly in that same store a few months ago one of the regular workers died in a car crash at the age of 19. His wake was packed with many customers who were touched by his kindness and stories of his music. Enjoy the Holidays...

MNB reported on the eight finalists for IGA Retailer of the Year yesterday, which med MNB user David Whitesel to write about one of them - Bill Price’s McMaken's IGA, Brookville. Ohio:

My lovely bride occasionally shops at this store and when I mentioned that it was up for “Retailer of the Year” she quickly quipped. That is a great store, when you enter the cashiers great you with a smile and a cheerful welcoming hello. Store employees are cleaning shelves, dusting floors, straightening shelves, refacing products, the service counter help greets you with a smile offering samples, the 80 year old baggers ask you if you found everything you were looking for and they will not allow her to carry groceries out to the car. Her impression is they care about their store and really appreciate her business. Isn’t it funny how executing the basics well creates such a positive shopping experience?

Finally, MNB ran an email yesterday from a reader who had a very unhappy experience at his local Home Depot, and detailed it for our readers, aisle-by-aisle.

Which led MNB user Bob Vereen to respond:

Your reader, having troubles at a Home Depot, should have visited a local hardware store, where he would have been able to find a broad selection of everything he wanted, I am quite sure, together with concerned, informed employees.

The sad reality in some communities is that Home Depot has put many of these independent hardware stores out of business. When I moved to Connecticut 24 years ago, my town had maybe five or six hardware stores within a few miles of downtown…but since Home Depot opened a few miles away, most of them have closed.

And MNB user Lisa Malmarowski made an excellent point:

And now an unhappy customer has shared their shopping woes with a whole Internet world. A good lesson and reminder to all of us in retail that a bad experience by a shopper gets repeated and told over and over again. I know I'm going to use this with our staff to illustrate how we continually need to be on top of trends – the weather, the seasons and our shoppers needs and wants. Not to mention that our merchandising needs to be top notch!

KC's View: