business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Columbus Dispatch reports that "Wal-Mart will bring its online grocery pickup service to four Columbus-area stores on May 25, enabling customers to order groceries online and pick them up at one of those four stores without leaving their cars ... Wal-Mart is making 30,000 items available through this service."

The story notes that Walmart is joining "other supermarkets in offering online ordering and at-store pickup. Giant Eagle's Curbside Express made its debut in some Columbus stores last year. Kroger's service, called ClickList, is due to launch this year in Columbus and is already offered at more than a dozen Kroger stores spread across the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Lexington, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., markets."

• In a follow up to the Tampa Bay Times story last weekend about how Walmart stores in that area essentially use local police forces to provide store security, an approach that costs taxpayers money and eliminates the amount of time that police can spend on crime prevention and other law enforcement activities, the paper is now reporting that Tampa Bay officials "are calling on Walmart to meet with community leaders and to reduce the burden that the nation's largest retailer places on local law enforcement."

A number of officials have called for the government to address the problem, noting that Walmart competitors, such as Target, are far less dependent on local police to handle problems that fall into the "general disorder" category but rarely result in arrests.
KC's View: