business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday we wrote that much has been made in recent months of the degree to which the pendulum has swung in labor's direction, with workers - organized or not - able to demand and/or negotiate for higher wages at a time of low unemployments and millions of unfilled jobs.

But the Boston Globe had a story suggesting that despite the higher ages, workers may not in fact be satisfied - since inflation in many cases has wiped out whatever financial giants they may have made.

One MNB reader responded:

I think it is amazing that the media is finally seeing this.  I have been having this same conversation with people since the push for $15hr jobs has begun.  $15hr is now the base and that is not a good thing for inflation or our economy.  It is the small businesses that will ultimately be hurt the most.  Sure, wages go up, but only for a short time because the economy will find the new level and wipeout any or more then the gains that have been achieved.  So then, people want more.

The upward spiral continues.  For all of those that were/are on the living wage band wagon, your vision needs to be focused further out and what truly is the effect of this mandate.  I will say this.  The real reason for all this mess is rooted in one thing.  Higher taxes.  That is the end game.  Higher wages, more tax dollars.  High cost of goods, more sales tax.  Higher home costs, more property taxes. Higher transportation costs, more taxes.  Business will never lose money.  Therefore it is the consumer that ultimately pays for it all.

On the other hand, are workers being paid what they deserve? Interesting that the first thing you go to is the folks traditionally at the bottom of the food chain, the front line workers often finding it tough to survive. Why is that always the first place folks want to cut costs?

It may be radical to suggest this, but is it possible that inflation - painful as it is for all of us, and especially for people who can least afford it - also is serving as a means of telling us what things actually cost?  I concede that "actually" may be the wrong word to use here, but I think it is fair to say that most people have no idea what things really cost, and why.

Yesterday I did a FaceTime video from the shopper's point of view about what retailers can and should be doing to mitigate supply chain issues that are creating empty shelves - and, he suggests, even challenging brand loyalty and established habits - and staffing issues that result in long lines at checkout.

I agree that the current supply chain interruptions, although challenging, offer a unique opportunity to enhance communications with customers.  This could be as simple as encouraging managers to walk around the store during peak hours and engage with their customers as they encounter empty shelves.   The issue may be as simple as there being more of the needed product merchandised off-shelf, or easily accessible in the backroom.

We took note of a story in the New York Times about how CVS Health CEO Karen S. Lynch wants to make the retailer more central to people's lives …. and, of course, their health care needs.

To which MNB reader Tim Callahan responded:

CVS has a lot of issues:  out of stocks … do they care about the front end? … does their coupons/receipt program really reward shoppers? … will I ever walk out of of CVS happy?

The basic “blocking and tackling of retailing” doesn’t seem to be a priority.

What’s next?

All excellent points.