business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Bob Vereen about all the activity taking place in the dollar store segment:

I recently drove nearly 300 miles through the Midwest on non-Interstate highways, and was amazed to see how many Dollar General stores there were in the small cities and towns I passed through.  In a surprising number of cases, they were the ONLY modern store.   Saw far fewer Family Dollar stores and no Dollar Tree units, which I think are mainly in urban centers or suburbs.

DG offered consumers in those communities a reasonable assortment of basics, and all seemed to have a number of cars in their parking lots.

In metro markets, DG is just another option.  In those towns, the ONLY option.

I had exactly the same experience recently, driving from Omaha to Norfolk, Nebraska ... other than McDonald's, Dollar General seemed to be the most ubiquitous retailing name. (There were no Starbucks, by the way.)

Following up on an exchange I had last week with s reader about GMO labeling, another MNB reader chimed in:

I recognize that your position on transparency is set in stone but I think Mr. Grimaldi's point at it's essence was that if GMOs are widely distrusted and need to be labeled then anything that over the year's has been crossbred for certain traits should also be mistrusted and labeled and that incorporates the vast majority of fresh food in the world as well as medicines, inoculations, and the pets we so often love. I read his point to be that it is NOT a distrust of companies but in fact a distrust of science and technology! Just my opinion!

Regarding the hiring of an Australian retailing executive to run Bi-Lo - either to turn it around or get it ready to be sold, I suppose - MNB reader Richard Lowe wrote:

I was very impressed wit the retail food stores in Australia and New Zealand. They are a step up for us! This should be an interesting good move!

I got criticized last week for showing interest in the new Red Velvet Oreos that are about to go into limited distribution, but an MNB reader came to my defense:

I, too, am an Oreo addict and will be searching for the new Red velvet flavor, I haven’t been so excited since they released chocolate chip cookie Oreos (not my favorite). To date my favorite LTO flavor is the one with strawberry flavored crème filling. I have tried most of the flavors and classic Oreos is hard to beat. It really doesn’t matter what is added Oreos are not meant to be health food, they are a nice indulgence, bring on the red 40 and more artificial flavor, I am ready.

And, an illuminating email from MNB reader Gary Loehr:

I had to call Delta today to rebook a return ticket.  When I first called, they asked me if I would be willing to take a one question survey.  I liked that they let me know it was only one question, so I said yes.  I had to wait a minute for the customer service person and it took a few minutes to get the changes to take in their system, but the service person was pleasant and kept me updated on what she was doing.  I got the flight I wanted and didn't have to pay any fees.  A pretty good experience as airline calls go.

The one question they asked in the survey was this: "If you owned a customer service business, would you hire the person you spoke to today?".

I thought it was a great question, because isn't that the ultimate test of how I viewed my experience today.  I am on the way to a client meeting this morning.  When it's over, I think I will ask myself if that client would hire me for a job based on the experience.  In many ways, every interaction is kind of like an interview.

Excellent point.
KC's View: