business news in context, analysis with attitude

A few emails regarding issues covered before we went off on vacation…

One MNB user offered the following thoughts on an issue we cover a lot in this space:

While I believe we should increase awareness of the obesity issue, and in particular childhood obesity, we need to also be mindful of the increase in eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. The cause of eating disorders is a complicated business to sort out with societal pressures, genetics, family-issues and media influences being the main suspects.

My 12-year old daughter recently completed a 10-day intensive stay at a clinic for eating disorders. I can say with a fair degree of certainty one of the triggers of her illness was an over-zealous health education class. The material presented in this class was so focused on the "evils" of saturated fats and junk food that my health-conscious, perfectionist little girl processed the information in what became an obsessive and harmful spiral. I certainly don't lay all of the blame on this health class; there are just too many unknowns with this affliction. My only hope is the media, public health officials and educators will temper their approach to the obesity issue by emphasizing a balanced diet which includes fats and carbs and, yes, dessert.

This is actually something that I’ve mentioned from time to time, because I have some family experience with anorexia and bulimia, and it is worth reiterating. It is one of the reasons that we all have to be careful about how we address the obesity issue, making sure that we come down on the side of moderation.

I have a teenaged daughter, and because of the family history, I am very sensitive to the moments where she says things like “I’m fat.” (She’s not.) That parental sensitivity has to be extended to how we comport ourselves in our professional lives.

We had a piece about how Burgerville is creating a drive-through lane for bicycles after one Oregon customer – a woman who eschews the use of a car and travels on a specially made bicycle with seats for all her children – used the Internet to object when a Burgerville employee wouldn’t serve her in the drive-through lane.

MNB user Rusty Findlay wrote:

I understand that I will be at odds with your belief on this issue, but I believe every business has a primary responsibility to protect…shareholders, employees, customers even those who are only visiting. Without creating a Bicycle only lane, which I note was not already in existence in this store; it was dangerous for a bike to be admitted to the drive thru lane. Cars do not yield to bicycles all the time. Over 50% of bike accidents are in response to auto drivers not seeing or expecting bicycle riders to be where they were. I am dumbfounded that a mother would endanger her children in such a reckless manner. I do not care how socially responsible this woman is, she needs to be more responsible about her children. Get off the bike, park it in an appropriate space and dismount with your children, keeping them safe at all times. My wife and I drive an automobile that research has shown is one of the safest on the road and we utilize car seats, for our grandchildren, that are as safe as we could find. Are they cumbersome? Yes, but our children and then our grandchildren are the most important part of the environment to us. Let’s show some intellect and stay out of the drive thru lane.

I may be wrong here, but I’m working under the premise that the woman is a good mom not putting her kids at risk…and Burgerville’s move seems to be a way of assuring everybody’s safety. In the modern world, where more people ought to be riding bikes instead of driving cars, we may have to adjust all our attitudes on these issues.

And finally, I recommended the new DVD set featuring the first season of “thirtysomething,” which led one MNB user to write:

I remember one episode that contained a rather valuable management lesson, drawn from some turmoil taking place at Miles Drentell’s ad agency, DAA. I forget the details, but something happening in the internal politics of the agency was really troubling Miles, as if there was a possible palace coup in the works, behind his back, as retribution for his generally heavy-handed management style. After due consideration, Miles' judgment was to proceed with a debriefing of all company employees, seeking to uncover who was really with him, and who was against him, once and for all, chips fall where they may. In the end, Michael (Ken Olin) was able to persuade Miles that this was a "win the battle, lose the war" proposition for himself and the firm because it would forever convey the message that the associates employed there really weren't trusted when the rubber met the road; Miles eventually saw it Michael's way & climbed down off the ledge. A timeless message in employee relations, I have always thought.

True. Of course, later in the show, if I recall correctly, Michael and Elliot tried to engineer their own takeover of the company. Which is its own timeless message.
KC's View: