business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week I did a FaceTime video in which I was critical of Subway for running a promotion in which it offered "free lifetime sandwiches" for someone willing to legally change their given name to "Subway."  I thought this was the very essence of moronic, lowest-common-denominator marketing (and, of course, more than 10,000 people are vying for the prize).

MNB reader Larry Elias wrote:

Regarding Subway’s promotion that you call “moronic” and “profoundly stupid,” you asked, “what’s the deal here?” The deal is $50,000, and the fame that comes with it. We live in a world where lots of people do stupid things for seemingly no reason, so I’m surprised that you’re actually surprised. Kevin, inspirational and aspirational may be your triggers, but some people actually like Subway. I won’t go into the reasons, because as you say ”I have a problem with Subway to begin with.”

I know why people are doing it - $50,000 worth of sandwiches, plus "fame" (though your definition of "fame" and mine would appear to be different).

Personally, I think anyone who would do this ought to have their right to vote taken away, but I don't have that kind of power.

From another MNB reader:

On the Subway naming contest, I am right with you …BUT…. Are you more surprised that the marketing company  would try this or that they have ten thousand people who are desperate to change their own name ? Give them credit even bad PR these days are good….. Free advertising !!! We are in a sad time when everything is for sale …… Even the Billion Dollar  New York Yankees put an advertising  patch on the authentic Pinstripes for $25 million….. Look at Hollywood, they protest against gun violence all the time but every other movie has a shootings or some killing….I don’t even want to think about  the two sides of our government…… Amazing how with the salaries they are paid which is not bad but how they all become  multi millionaires … I guess they are just good investors….. or will do anything for money !!!  Like so many in our society…. Such a sad lesson for our young adults and kids in todays world…

You went a little farther with this than even I was prepared to go, but hey, everybody has an opinion.

And MNB reader Bob Thomas wrote:

I think it is ASSpirational.


I said last week that retailers not paying attention to the potential impact of climate change on their business are "whistling past the graveyard."

MNB reader Kevin Konkel responded:

I love the phrase “whistling past the graveyard”.  We do it everyday by denying or forgetting the reality of our eternal soul. There is an answer to our terminal condition, His name is Jesus. For some reason I had to go there. I guess it’s because I love the people in the food industry and I know how widely read MNB is. I also know how hard everyone works and it’s easy to forget the most important things in life. So it’s love that compels my comment and the hope that my view is shared. Climate change is one thing. Eternity and where we spend it, is a whole other level of importance.  Let’s be good stewards of the earth absolutely, and at the same time not neglect what’s above all else. Thanks for the platform KC. Appreciate you and what you do. 

My pleasure.

On another subject, this email from MNB reader Wayne Pulford:

I have to admit I don't understand why people are against DEI (Diversity, equity, and inclusion) and the lawsuit Target has going on. There was an article I read years ago, Ford was redesigning the F150 and had noticed they were starting to sell more pickups to women. They went out and survived women to see what they would like to see in the new pickup, and they gave them plenty of feedback that Ford used in the new truck design. Guess what, Ford built a better pickup, men appreciated the changes, and Ford sold more trucks. DEI helps companies to produce better products for everyone.

Regarding Aldi's move to acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys, one MNB reader expressed some skepticism:

No one will ever write a book about, or make a movie about, Aldi.

That's a deep cut, referencing the Kate DiCamillo novel.  But if I'm not mistaken, isn't the book really about a dog?

Another MNB reader had a thought about whether the change in ownership will make the chain more competitive with Publix:

Shoppers in Florida and here in Atlanta shop with Publix for clean stores, fair prices, lots of BOGO, and consistently the nicest people in the service industry. “Where shopping is a pleasure”. In other words, completely opposite the experience of Aldi and Winn you say Competition is a verb……. We will see… but do not think that “Al Dixie” will game change

I wrote a bit on Friday about my learning from appreciate the pleasures of rum, prompting one MNB reader to write:

Last night I attended the Panama Rum Fest with over 50 exhibitors (PanamaRumFest).  My takeaways were:  Flor De Caña (Nicaragua), Botran (Guatemala), Abuelo (Panamá), Brugal (Dominican Republic) and Diplomático (Venezuela).  They were at least 7 years old.  I did try a couple of 21 year olds, but the price for very very special occasions.  I’ll tell you the next time it happens.

And from another reader:

Where else can I go for recommendations for two of my favorite topics:  Food & Beverage ( Rum!)?

As a charter reader of MNB, I am also aging gracefully and gravitating more to spirits, as our recycling company no longer accepts all the glass wine bottles !

My wife and I have now celebrate Taco & Tequila Tuesday sampling Tequila’s suggested by our 23 year old daughter, and many Rums including Barcelo and Bacardi 8., just to list the ones starting with B!

Also worthy of mention is a salute to the south with Woodford Reserve Double Oak Bourbon and the fact that we call our in-home water cooler the “Tito’s” machine.