business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story yesterday about how Amazon's Echo Show now will be able to scan product bar codes and compile a shopping list, which prompted MNB reader Tom Murphy to write:

You just blew past an interesting comment without making a point: “Alexa may have some problems recognizing some private label products…”.  Really, in this day and age?

I am sure Alexa is powered by access to multiple industry databases that manage barcode to product relationships.  Back in the 1990’s, CPG companies were terrible at keeping accurate barcodes on products, especially with all the line-extensions and “new improved” version of stuff they dropped regularly to see what would stick on the consumer.  They tried to “game” the UPC number.

In order to bypass POS restrictions, their lack of capability or just lack of discipline, for years retailers “gamed” they system on barcodes/UPCs…and accuracy, at best, was deplorable.  Now in the day of digital sales and consumer attitudes, allowing your business teams to game or fail to act quickly to register new private label products…could be part of the “slow death syndrome”!

Come on retailers...wake up!

Regarding the problems with skating rinks that use plastic instead of real ice, one MNB reader observed:

Totally agree with the comment about the fake skating rinks being less than desirable.  On the one we tried, you don't 'slide' as much as you walk around it.  My teenagers mock me still, over a year later, for taking them there!!

On another subject, from another reader:

Regarding the MNB Culture Desk article about "Hamilton" coming to the movies … Very exciting news for those of us who need to get our culture at the movies. Broadway should take a page from the Met Opera and broadcast to the movie theaters. Although I love Opera now, I never saw myself as a opera fan or even thought about going to the Opera. But the Met  gave that opportunity to those of us who will never get to New York. Seeing Operas like La Boheme, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, most recently Porgy and Bess and so many more  broadcasts at the movie theaters has been a phenomenal and very affordable ($25.00 !!) experience. Broadway should do the same! I can hardly wait to see "Hamilton"!

I actually saw the live "Porgy and Bess" broadcast in a movie theater last weekend … and am saving my comments about it for OffBeat on Friday.  But I agree with you about live streaming plays and musicals to movie theaters.

And finally, yesterday I used a Jeff Goldblum quote from The Big Chill yesterday.  You know, this one:

"I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex … Ever gone a week without a rationalization?"

One MNB reader wrote:

<b>Kevin, I used the Jeff Goldblum quote here in the office last fall, no one in the conversation knew the movie! It was painful.</b>

It does hurt.