business news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Bloomberg reports that Citigroup CEO Mike Corbat said in an analyst conference call last week that the bank "has deployed 'a lot of resources' to ease the deluge of inquiries and complaints from Costco Wholesale Corp. customers after taking over as the retailer’s exclusive credit-card issuer last month."

"Questions around card activation, questions around statements, questions around where to send payments, and so we’re working through that," he said. "We’re gaining on it. We’re very focused on it ... It’s something we think we can fix in short order.”

Better get to it, then. Costco generally gets very high rankings in terms of customer service, and it took the calculated risk of jumping into bed - metaphorically - with a financial institution that generally gets crappy ratings from consumers. I cannot imagine that they're very happy about this up in Issaquah...but then again, they didn't just jump into bed with Citi. They also made the bed, and now they have to lie in it.

• Multiple press reports say that both Starbucks and McDonald's are installing filters that will prevent patrons using their free wifi from accessing pornography, a move that seems to be a result of consistent and persistent criticism of anti-porn activists.

Starbucks and McDonald's together account for some 21,000 US locations, and the vast majority of them offer free internet access.

I thought some people had that glazed look in their eyes because they liked the lattes or the french fries. Little did I know ... it honestly never would have occurred to me that people would access this stuff from public places. Yuck.

• The New York Times reports that a new study, originally published in Pediatrics, indicates that "the same marketing techniques used to convince children to eat junk food are highly effective in promoting fruits and vegetables."

Really? This was a surprise? This strikes me as just common sense ... plus, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) clearly has this all figured out when it developed an alliance a couple of years ago with the folks at Sesame Street to promote fresh produce to kids.

MarketWatch reports on a new Mintel study saying that as people eat more "avocados, kale, and quinoa," they're also more likely to serve healthier products to their pets. Which means spending more money in the pet store, as they invest in expensive items that feature ingredients such as “fresh free-run poultry,” “whole nest-laid eggs,” and “whole wild-caught fish.” And the irony is that household income doesn't seem to have an enormous connection to this trend - people are spending more money on their pets even if they don;t necessarily have a lot more money to spend.

Sounds like the basis of a new web series to me. We'll call it"Petlandia."
KC's View: