business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB had a story yesterday about how a federal grand jury has indicted eight current and former executives of the Kroger-owned Ralphs Grocery Co., charging them with being engaged “in a course of criminal conduct” and hiring “employees under false names, Social Security numbers and documentation” during the labor dispute that roiled the Southern California market five years ago. We commented that it is interesting to ponder the broader philosophical issues that these indictments raise – because the government is saying clearly that the “I was only taking orders” defense doesn’t fly … that people, and not just companies, have to take responsibility for their actions.

Ralphs as a company already has spent $70 million in fines and restitution in this case … but $70 million, apparently, wasn’t enough to make this case go away.

One MNB user wrote:

Now we will see where justice draws the line…at what management level do you get house arrest and millions in retirement package versus serving time in the big house if convicted…

MNB user David Livingston wrote:

What about all the store level employees? Should not they face the same fate? Why does government concern themselves with petty human resource errors in judgment? We turn a blind eye to millions of illegal immigrants who use false names and probably no social security numbers, yet we punish a business trying to survive while being tormented by labor union maniacs. I trust Kroger would have corrected the books after the strike was over. Criminals? Or perhaps good soldiers? If some extremist labor union was trying to keep me from working, I would be very grateful to a corporation that allowed me to continue to work, even in the underground. Kroger employees criminals? Or a modern day Oskar Schindler?

Well, that may be stretching the metaphor a little farther than it can legitimately go…

Chiming in on the ongoing discussion about the emergence of reusable canvas bags in a wide variety of retail venues, MNB user Kerley LeBoeuf wrote:

My wife and daughter-in-law give each other shopping bags from interesting places - essentially trading bags - a Wegmans for a Superquinn. Prediction: consumers trading canvas bags - at the supermarket - at the farmer's market - on line?

I’ve already had trading offers for the new MorningNewsBeat canvas bag that is coming soon. I’m sensing a real opportunity here.

And responding to our note that even the New England Patriots have a new canvas bag in their gear and memorabilia shops (an announcement that came immediately after the team got drubbed by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday), one MNB user wrote:

It was too soon to read anything about the Patriots today, regardless of whether it was good for the environment.

I feel your pain. I’m a Mets and Jets fan.

KC's View: