business news in context, analysis with attitude

One MNB user wrote:

I strongly agree with you regarding your comment on Monday, that all executives need to get into the stores and do the actual food shopping on a regular basis.  I would also add that they need to try to accomplish this on a budget, like their average customer's do everyday.

I worked for a company that began requiring their executives to not only do the shopping but do so with a pre-planned budget.  It was amazing the amount of feedback we would receive from them once they began to do the actual shopping - especially on the average consumers budget.  Needless to say, there were often major modifications made to labor/pricing/programs after they began to experience reality!   And it's probably no surprise this company is by far the market leader in their region.

I'm a long time grocery/CPG employee that has held positions on both sides of the equation in everything from store operations, to buying and selling products.  Too often I've dealt with executives whose only insights are through pre-planned store visits or test environments, and almost never viewed with the reality of the average consumers budget.  I wonder how well these companies will survive in the tough environment going forward?

And another MNB user wrote:

Regarding your commentary on food executives doing the weekly shopping, I had a conversation with a customer of mine who had been challenged by his manager to go out with his assistant and shop for a family of five with $30 as their budget for food for a week. He said it was quite an eye opening experiment. I thought it was a brilliant idea and have shared it with quite a few of my accounts.

Great ideas.

MNB user Gary Maxworthy thought I missed something the other day:

The best article in the NY Times Magazine Food Issue was one you did not comment on.

It tells how California’s” Farm to Family” program will distribute over 85 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables this year to Californians in need at no cost to those receiving. The program supported by California farmers packers and growers distributes fresh produce through California Food Banks. It has changed the face of Food Banking in the State from distributing dented cans and beat up boxes to where many Food Banks now distribute over 50% fresh.

Thanks for sharing.

It is interesting how some of the outlier stories on MNB generate so many emails. Take yesterday, when we reported on a lawsuit filed by Carly Simon against Starbucks, charging that the company’s Hear Music division dropped the ball on an album of hers that it produced; Simon is upset because she apparently needed the album to do well in order to retire, and now she has to make another album. (I commented that I couldn’t believe that she wanted to retire at age 64, that if i had the ability to write songs and sing them I;d never quit, and that I admire Bob Dylan, who is out singing at country fairs and likely will have to be dragged off the stage kicking and screaming.)

MNB user Jenefer Angell wrote:

Of course a person in a contractual relationship should expect fair treatment and fulfillment of terms, but I couldn’t help feel a little snarky about the angle that her handlers have decided to spin, claiming Carly won’t be able to afford to retire due to poor sales of this one album. I find it a little hard to feel the bleed for Carly Simon, daughter of the founder of the Simon & Schuster publishing empire, living in her house on Martha’s Vineyard, who presumably still gets royalties and residuals for her published songs, scores, and books. Maybe she could rent her house out in July while she’s out on tour.

Actually, the Times story suggests that like a lot of baby boomers, Carly Simon’s finances have taken a real hit and while far from destitute, she’s not in the kind of shape one would expect.

MNB user Donna Evans wrote:

What I don’t get is why Starbucks would start their own music division.  That’s thinking a bit too far out of the box.  I know they play music in their stores, but to illustrate my point, I use pens at work, and you don’t see me competing with Bic or Montblanc.

There as a time a long while ago - about 24 months when it was hard to think too far out of the box. This was part of Starbucks’ ambition to be a lifestyle company...which looked a lot better in the not too distant past.

Another MNB user went right to my Dylan reference:

Not only is he still touring extensively at a wide variety of venues (add minor-league baseball parks to the list as well...and pairing up from time-to-time with the likes of Willie Nelson, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Elvis Costello, to name just a few), he also plays DJ on his Sirius/XM radio show "Theme Time Radio Hour" and is releasing new albums (lately, at a rapid pace...his new studio album "Together Through Life" was released this past spring, and today is the release date of his first...are you ready for this...Christmas album called "Christmas In the Heart").  Moreover ... royalties from sales of “Christmas In The Heart” will be donated in perpetuity to Feeding America, guaranteeing that more than four million meals will be provided to over 1.4 million people in need in this country during this year's holiday season.

On the other hand, another MNB user feels differently:

Have you been to a Dylan concert in the last few years? His voice is almost inaudible, worse than it ever was and it was never very good.

My wife and I went to my first ever Dylan show several years ago. I figured it was a chance to see a living legend.

Instead it turned out to be the worst concert that I have ever seen. We left before it was over and I can’t remember ever doing that. It wasn’t inexpensive and it was a terrible waste of money.

Yes his talent was legendary, especially his storytelling and lyrics. He wrote some of the best lines of our times. But it’s time he stopped taking people’s money for performing. Or, better yet, he should donate all the profits to charity. Then I might understand the reason for not dragging him off the stage…kicking or screaming (which was basically what he was doing…he wasn’t singing).

I love Dylan’s voice, and always have. But I have to admit I’ve never been to a Dylan concert ... though I’d like to.

(I’ve also never been to a Springsteen concert, which I was lamenting to Mrs. Content Guy the other evening, only to have her tell me that she’d actually been offered a pair of ducats to his final concert at Giants Stadium last week and hadn’t even thought to take them. Which just goes to show that there can be surprises even after 26 years of marriage...)
KC's View: