business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB user commentary continues to flow in about the Safeway-Dominick’s situations…

One member of the MNB community wrote:

“As a former resident of the Chicago area, I know plenty of people who are dissatisfied with both Dominick's (Safeway) and Jewel (Albertson's). Both of them have turned off previously loyal customers. I just think Dominick's has fallen much further. When I have spoken with Dominick's employees, they didn't like the changes either. If the union was truly looking out for their members (instead of just insuring a continued source of union dues), wouldn't they prefer a new owner looking to re-build the chain to its former proud self?”

Of course they would. Unfortunately, companies like Ahold that might have been strong contenders to buy Dominick’s also have been hurt by the horrible economic climate, and may be hamstrung in their efforts for the moment.

Another MNB user wrote:

“For some reason everyone seems to taking one thing very lightly and that is the price Safeway paid for Dominick’s. Wasn't it 2 billion dollars or close to it? I just laugh when I read Safeway will just close the stores or sell them off. Is Safeway really going to walk from a couple of billion dollars or better yet is someone going to pay them a couple of billion dollars for a company they have run very poorly. It is hard to believe a company with the magnitude of Safeway fails when it ventures outside of California. Look at the stupidity of the decisions with regards to Genuardi's. They took an upscale chain and eliminated Boars Heads products, went from a choice grade of meat to select and now they want to apologize to the customers for letting them down. Give me a break. I always respected the corporate executive for their ability but I am starting to wonder how much ability they have to make good decisions. Safeway will work out a deal with the unions but Dominick’s will be sold in a couple of years.

On the subject of the GMO labeling vote in Oregon, one MNB user wrote:

“I think there has not been a lot of clarification of this issue for the public. Many times I see the word GMO being used in a case where it is really selective cross-breeding in a lab. That has been happening for years in corn and other produce and should not be an issue. The one of concern to me is taking the genetic material from one species and inserting it in the DNA sequence of another species (like Starlink corn). This is much different than selective cross-breeding. There are not only potential safety/allergy concerns, but issues for me with regards to the sanctity of life.”

Fair enough. We respect your opinion…even if we disagree.

On the subject of integrating vs. segregating natural products, as explored in Friday’s HartBeat column:

“The most odd scenario I've seen of this as it relates to natural products (foods) is Larry's Markets in Seattle/Bellevue. They have a small bio section that features some, but not all of the products that are available in their store. I was there the other day looking for a complete selection of their specialty food/cooking oils, and they had maybe 60-100 in the oil aisle and another 15 or so in the bio section, yet some of Spectrum's oils were in both sections, and there were organic choices in both...even one or two specific bottles of oils that were in both??? It was very confusing.”

And not they we’d expect most retailers to do it…though we have a lot of respect for the Larry’s operation…

We wrote Friday about a union push to unionize Wal-Mart. One MNB user responded:

“We all have a better chance of getting struck by lightening than seeing the day that Wal-Mart is unionized…”

And another user wrote:

“Maybe one of the best ways to compete with Wal-Mart is to help the UFCW organize it.”

Chains competing with Wal-Mart would like to see it unionized…but not enough, we suspect, to aid and abet the UFCW.

And, in a response to our piece last week about why it makes sense for supermarkets to put stores in airports, MNB user Lorraine Jenkins wrote:

“There's a supermarket in Amsterdam airport.

Thanks, Lorraine…that’s an airport we haven’t gotten to – yet.
KC's View: