business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of climbing executive compensation, which is rising a lot faster than pay for people on the front lines, MNB user Steve Sullivan wrote:

All executives interested in receiving these bonuses have to submit their names.  These names are then put into a hat and drawn.  Half of the executives are awarded the bonuses.  The other half are placed in front of a firing squad in the city square and summarily executed. 

Or does that seem too much?  OK, only 25% received bonuses.

Maybe that’s a little harsh...

Regarding nutritional labeling rules being established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one MNB user wrote:

Even before I ready your comments about including the movie theaters I was struck by the notion that theaters are "... not primarily in the food business."  Given that theaters likely make nearly all of their profit on food, that notion misses the mark by a mile.  Airlines, on the other hand, are definitely not in the food business... it is hard to tell what they serve, but it is definitely not food.

I do agree that informing someone about calorie content is not telling them what to eat.  Taxing people on what they eat is another story.

And an other MNB user chimed in:

I agree. The more information the better. When the doctor suggested I lose weight in an effort to bring down my numbers, we stopped eating out as much because trying to figure out how many calories I was consuming was a pain. To eat out, I would have to know where we were going, check the website for nutritional information and decide from there, but local stores will have different specials or the menus won’t be exactly the same and what if we decide to go elsewhere. Easier to stay home and eat what I know. Will it change how I eat, maybe, then again it could allow me to make choices allowing for extra calories or a small dessert.

Yesterday’s Eye-Opener was about the “myth of the unassailable advantage,” and addressed projections that smart phones run on a Microsoft platform eventually could be hotter than the iPhone because of new alliances. MNB user Lou Scudere responded:

My only comment is this, I have used an IPhone for 3 years now and continue to be amazed at its intuitive resilience. I do not own another Apple, so I am not a wild eyed Apple acolyte. However, having used the Windows smart phone prior to the Apple (an HTC touch as I recall) I can tell you that MS will have to improve their operating system a bunch to be competitive with Apple. It was a POS and I'm not talking point of sale.

Got it.

Got a few more emails about our April Fools prank that I think ought to be posted.

One MNB user wrote:

I just caught up with your April Fool's antics - and I think that your flippant defense of any criticism was pathetic. You took on easy targets that it is apparent you wish to fail - I imagine so that you can say: "I told you so." Your "jokes" weren't even creative. Why didn't you pick on one of those great companies that you suck up to so often. Maybe you could have said that Tesco was finally going to give up on it's unsuccessful Fresh&Easy stores in the US. You could have said that they were selling them all to Walmart because in the end Tesco just didn't speak "American." (...or something like that...)

I thought of a lot of unflattering names for you - but I will hold back. Let's just say that you have lost perspective, are rehashing the same old stuff, are behind the times - and maybe you're just too "over the hill" for this stuff.

Sure, you say you’re going to hold back ... and then you call me “old.”

Talk about knowing what buttons to push!

Let’s be clear on one thing. I don’t “wish” for companies like Supervalu or A&P to fail. Far from it. Do I think that some of their recent moves are ripe for criticism and/or satire? Sure ... but I also recognize that not everybody is going to agree with me, or find me funny. (Even my wife and kids think I’m only about half as funny as I think I am.) Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Yesterday I noted that one MNB user suggested that my satire “demeaned” my usual efforts, and I disagreed. This same reader then got back to me:

Kevin , after reading the after view portion I feel I must write and say I am sorry. I did not intend to say you were ( demeaned ) I am just one of these  people out in the world that loves what he does and I am very passionate about it. I guess when  a person like me reads your stories everyday and hears your passion on different subjects I feel you are above and beyond making such jokes. Sometimes we forget we are all Human and sometimes we all should just relax a little before setting down and writing our words on paper. So with that again I am sorry for what I wrote. I read your stories everyday and find them to help me understand our business in different lights and different points of view. I hope you will accept my apology...
I am what you call and old school kind of guy and this is my life not just a job that pays the bills.

No apology necessary. Far from it.

Listen, the sad truth is that I will make a joke about almost anything.

I don’t think that there is anything “old school” about loving your job, feeling passionate about your mission and goals, and feeling ownership about the company where you work and the customers you look to serve everyday. I think that is wonderful ... and I’d like to think I feel the same way about MNB.

The problem with satire is that it almost always is going to hurt someone’s feelings - and probably will be most hurtful to the people who feel the most passionately about what they do.

I don’t think it is bad to remind me of that. It does not mean that I’m going to stop, or that I won’t try to use humor or satire to illustrate a greater truth whenever it seems appropriate, or just whenever I feel like it. After all, if we didn’t laugh, we’d all go insane.

But this isn’t just an academic exercise. It also is about real people. And I’m glad you wrote again.
KC's View: