business news in context, analysis with attitude

Gotta love this email from MNB reader Alex Drew:

The more and more that I think about these recent articles of massive retail giants running into troubles like Tesco and Walmart and even Target I think of Jurassic Park.  The scene that comes to mind each time is when Richard Attenborough and Laura Dern are sitting at the table in the cafeteria eating the melting ice cream as the world around them is collapsing.  They begin to talk about the flea circus that Attenborough started his empire with, and how it was all an illusion.  At that point, Dern alerts Attenborough to the fact that the new park was the same thing, all an illusion of control.

I wonder, do these massive retailers get it into their heads that they have control, of the consumer or the market?  They never do, but when they get that idea in their heads, that's when the power goes out and the dinosaurs (or consumers/market) overrun the place.

Perfect metaphor … and extra credit for using a movie.

It is, in fact, so perfect that I used it in class last night, and the students totally got it.

So thanks for that.

Regarding the tumult at Market Basket, one reader wrote:

Brilliant move by the management team to resign. By doing so, they effectively wiped out the leadership ranks and with it, all the business decision making history. It also presents a massive challenge to maintaining key supplier relationships.  The rank and file are unlikely to do what it will take to keep the business running as well as it has been for the new CEO and COO, both of whom will be considered traitors before they’ve even had a chance to prove their mettle. Talk about destroying business value overnight. The only people who can be truly pleased with the changes are Arthur S and all of Market Basket’s competitors.  Market Basket has built a formidable business model and Arthur S’s ego clearly has clouded his ability to see this.  This family feud seems to know no end.

Expect lawsuits. And lawyers getting rich, while the business loses equity with every passing day.

From reader Brian Blank:

In response to the reader who had doubts about insurance coverage should there be a mishap during an Uber trip (and also to counter a major point of mis-information constantly thrown out there by taxi operators), the following text comes directly from the Uber website:

From the moment you get into any Uber product (e.g. uberX, UberBLACK) to the moment you’re dropped off, your ride is covered by commercial liability insurance. That goes for every trip in every city around the world. In the U.S. specifically, ridesharing has become a popular choice — and Uber is the first company to ensure true end-to-end insurance coverage for ridesharing, with drivers on uberX protected by liability coverage even between trips.

So there.

On the subject of fast food, MNB reader Lisa Malmarowski wrote:

Fast food falling…

There are so, so many more options for better, quick meals. Gee, I dunno, grocery stores come to mind. From Whole Foods to Wegmans, to mom and pop's to food co-ops, we're all on the fast feeder bandwagon and many of us do it better than old Mickey D's and their ilk, using real foods and personalized service.

I conceded the other day that maybe I'm a snob about fast food, which led reader Bryan Nichols to write:

Not liking McDonald’s does not make you a food snob.  You just have a different definition of value than some people, and that is what creates variety and choice in the marketplace.

And, from another reader:

I sure wouldn't call you a snob Kevin, but I will ask you this question: If you were a mom with 2-3 or 4 kids and you needed a lunch break every so often where would you suggest a place to take the kids them for lunch ?

Hey, I'm a dad with three kids, and when they were young we used to eat at McDonald's - especially during Little League season when a fast meal after a late game was a definite necessity.

But I hate myself for it.
KC's View: