business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Michael Pappas:

Kevin, I really enjoyed your interview with Thomas and Andrew Parkinson.  I worked for them in the late 90's and opened one of their first wareroom locations located in New Hyde Park, Long Island.  They were and are cutting edge entrepreneurs and also more importantly nice people.  I remember going from printed paper picking sheets to downloading orders to be picked on Palm Pilots.  

Thanks for having them.

My pleasure.

We had a story yesterday about how a UK activist group, ShareAction, is pressuring Tesco to carry more healthy food.  Prompting one MNB reader to write:

Regarding ShareAction.  Stop wasting your time.  The retailer has the right and a responsibility to its company, to provide what sells.  If their customers are buying it, then so be it.  Let the consumer make the decision, since they are the ones with the obesity problem, not the retailer.  Stop trying to deflect the responsibility of consumers bad choices onto the retailer.  If you the consumer, choose to care about being obese, then actually read the labels and make good buying decisions.  Come on sheeple, take ownership for your own actions.

This isn't about not taking responsibility for your own actions.  It is just about trying to pressure a retailer to make more healthy food available.

On the scale of things that are acceptable vs. unacceptable, for me this ranks low on the list of what people shouldn't do.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

Thank you for covering the vanilla lawsuit story. I agree about the need for products to contain the ingredients they are claiming. Has anyone mentioned that castoreum from Beavers (yes, the large rodents) may be used as “natural vanilla flavor” in some products? While beaver secretions are not the most common “natural vanilla flavoring” in use, the term “natural flavoring” is widely distrusted by people who eat a vegan diet and wish to know whether any animal secretions are in their food. As someone who sells “natural” foods for a living, I’m well-aware of the lack of integrity in the natural label. Perhaps this lawsuit is an early step in laying out some rules around manufacturers’ use of the term. 

Okay, I'm officially grossed out.

I had to look up "castoreum," and found out that it is "a yellowish exudate from the castor sacs of mature beavers. Beavers use castoreum in combination with urine to scent mark their territory."


MNB reader Glenn Rosati wrote:

I couldn't help but tie your comment, " It is all about the gradual lessening of standards.  It is distressing", concerning the "Vanilla" situation to the changes in baseball this season. 

As my wife and I have noted, changes whether large, small, or seemingly insignificant, come to us on a drip, drip, drip basis to the point where we sometimes look back and are surprised at the result, be it positive or negative.

This “dripping” in baseball is a sure lessening of standards.  

Which leads me to post this email from another reader:

I too don’t like the 7 inning doubleheader rule or the runner on 2nd base in extra innings. I would like to see the DH in the National League but that’s because I don’t want to see my pitchers bat and maybe hurt themselves.  The one thing I’m not a fan of is the relief pitcher having to face 3 batters but I also don’t want to see a new pitcher after each batter. Maybe try 2 batter rule. I’m a Chicago White Sox fan and last year I thought our games were way too long. Game starts at 7:10pm and it wasn’t over until close to 10:30pm or later where in years past it would be done by 10pm. I think it’s because the reliever was struggling to get thru those 3 batters. I would like to see some research to see if that was the case.