business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email the other day about Whole Foods' attempts to shed its "whole paycheck" image:

Several months ago I picked up one of the Whole Foods in-store flyers, after hearing news about their efforts to change their ‘whole paycheck’ image.

The tone of the flyer was interesting. They said all the right words, but it felt like they were trying to do me a favor, and wanted to prove to me that they still are (and always will be) wonderful - because “we heard you!!” and…we even took the time to address you - the lowly average American who is boring enough to want to talk about prices. ‘Patronizing’ is definitely the word I am looking for here.

Not sure who wrote the text of the flyer, but the tone came through loud and clear. They may need an outside agency to write their verbiage, or a different one, because the tone pushed me away from the store – again. I am not surprised at the minimal impact of their TV ad campaign.

On the subject of whether fast food employees ought to be paid wages that are adequate enough to allow them to support themselves, one MNB user wrote:

I don't think most people believe that higher wages are bad for the economy.  I know that I do not believe this, however, I believe that higher wages that are not driven by the market are bad for the economy.  The story about Moo Cluck Moo is not really a good comparison of entry level low skill jobs, multiple jobs including baking is not the same a front counter person at McDonalds.

And yet … isn't McDonald's talking about a far greater emphasis on meal customization that, in fact, will require a more skilled employee?

And regarding McDonald's plan to eliminate some menu items as a way of improving its nutritional profile, one MNB reader wrote:

Not sure what McDonald’s could cut that would change the perception of them serving junk food. It’s not like people are going there for the salad.

Responding to last week's rant about Chase not accepting cash deposits for someone else's account, one MNB user wrote:

Their cash deposit policy seems to be based on the premise that their customers are "guilty until proven innocent." This leads to the conclusion that Chase (and an unfortunate number of other businesses) establishes such policies to protect themselves from their enemy, the customer.

Commenting on the story about a GMO labeling mandate narrowly failing in an Oregon referendum, and my comment that manufacturers ought to be concerned about the voters - almost half - who want GMO labeling, one MNB user wrote:

That is like asking; What do we do about the majority of people who now don't like this administration? We live to fight another day. But more importantly, the majority don't want labeling. Supporters should find out why they lost first before they just believe theirs is the only right way! Obviously it's not!

You miss my point.

If you don't like this administration, or any administration, you get to vote again in four years. you also get to vote in mid-term elections.

I think that the folks who lost this election know exactly why they lost. They got out-voted. In part, it may be the message, and in part, it may be all the money behind the anti-GMO labeling forces.

But my point has nothing to do with elections or referendums. If I am selling a product that almost half the population doesn't seem to trust, I think it is incumbent on me to figure out how to address that problem - through education, outreach, whatever. It seems to me that anti-GMO labeling forces' work has only just begun with the win in Oregon … this is an issue they have to continue to address.

Regarding the retirement of Kroger chairman Dave Dillon, one MNB user wrote:

I echo your sentiments regarding Dave Dillion of Kroger. Years ago I called on him for a short time when he was a District Manager in Phoenix and he was absolutely the same then. His retirement is well deserved, his example of how to conduct ourselves in business is priceless. Thank you Dave for your contribution to our industry and for your example to those lucky enough to work with you closely (on both sides of the desk).

And from MNB reader George Denman:

Dave Dillon is the real thing. I have had numerous opportunities to meet with Dave over the years and he is one of the brightest lights on this planet. He came for a plant tour a few years back at Graeter’s and he drove himself to the plant wearing jeans and a button down shirt. When our previous esteemed “mayor” of Cincinnati came in for a tour, he came with a stretch limo, driver, and body guard. What’s with that??

I saw Dave recently at the final game of the World Series as the TV panned the audience ( he is a Kansas fan…) and texted him. Later that evening after midnight and his flying to the game from Cincinnati, he texted me back. The guy never stops….

You're right. Pity the poor fish when he decided to start devoting his attention to that particular pursuit.
KC's View: