business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the ongoing layoffs that seem to be plaguing the food retailing business, one MNB user wrote:

I think it unfair to blame the unemployment on the government. We should look at Wal-Mart, and how they are forcing more and more companies to relocate out of the country, or how they are driving more and more companies out of business.

I am all for free enterprise, but it comes at a cost.

We've never blamed the government for unemployment. But it does have a responsibility to deal with the factors that cause it.

And regarding the possibility of job cuts at Kraft, an MNB user wrote:

My view: What does the CEO make? does he really bring that much profitability to the company? Why doesn't he take a pay cut?

In response to a story yesterday about the government opposing any sort of "fat tax," one member of the MNB community wrote:

Shouldn't we as a adults be responsible for not over eating. We tax people who smoke because it is unhealthy. drunks and people over weight by more than 15% should pay more tax for the products such as cookies and cakes.

You can get fat eating diet food if you eat enough of it! Is anyone responsible for themselves anymore? Does anyone know what accountability is anymore?

In response to an email from an MNB user who wrote in about the advantages of shopping at Meijer, MNB user Joe Verhagen wrote:

Interesting the comment on savings three cents a gallon. Industry averages of gas purchases is eight gallons. So many people make the point of saving twenty-five cents on the total purchase that they change stores???

Despite all we can offer in the area of service, variety, cleanliness, value, convenience, trained and friendly employees, the American consumer switches to some other provider for a quarter. With that type of consumer behavior, no wonder supermarkets as we know them are in their last generation of existence.

We wrote yesterday that while "we hate frivolous lawsuits as much as the next guy, we are even more opposed to legislation that prevents the justice system from doing its job." This was in regard to a state legislature trying to ban obesity lawsuits. But MNB user Mike Ferguson had a different approach:

I do not think any legislature should consider compensating people lavishly for the previous lifestyle choices that they have made. There are no good or bad foods, just good choices and bad choices. A healthy diet can include snacks, candy, ice cream, fast food, or anything else in moderation. The obesity issue is the most extreme case of lawyers looking for lucrative work. Seminars are taking place as we speak to train lawyers on how to use learnings from the tobacco experience to successfully sue food companies. I applaud the Ohio legislature for saying enough to these misguided initiatives.

In a commentary about a cow found in Idaho linked to the cow infected with mad cow disease, we wrote that "if cows from that herd keep popping up in more and more states, it certainly is going to create issues and questions about what else is out there." Which prompted MNB user Rosemary Fifield to respond:

Actually, I'll be more concerned if they don't pop up, and in which states, at this point, doesn't really matter. If the Washington state cow was truly infected while a member of the original Canadian herd, that means all 81 were likely fed contaminated feed at that point in their lives. Since the disease is not contagious from cow to cow, wherever they all ended up, they didn't bring mad cow into their surroundings. But if we don't know where each one went, we'll never know how many of them developed the disease or what the likelihood is that they and their offspring have or will enter our food supply. So I hope they do keep popping up. In the meantime, I hope our government develops a tracking system as good as that in Canada so we don't have to wonder about this sort of thing when the next mad cow raises its head, because it will. We've been too slovenly about keeping the disease out and it's only a matter of time.

And this note from an MNB user in Southern California:

Last week I had to go look at some items in our local Wal-Mart. I was shocked to see the whole store was being reset and my first thought was expansion into more grocery. In southern California we don't have any superstores...yet.

Yesterday my wife and I went back to the store (they do carry some items others don't) and while she was in the store I walked around the back to see if I could see anything "interesting." There were lots of shelving units and heavy machinery. Returning to the front of the store I saw a clerk outside on a break and asked if they were going to expand on the vacant land next to them. He said they weren't but were tightening things up inside. When I asked if they were putting in groceries, he confirmed that there is a big cooler in the back and he knew for sure they were putting in liquor (maybe only beer and wine) and frozen foods.

Considering the strike here in So Cal I'm sure this "additional item selection" will be a boom to the store, no matter when the strike ends. Some of your readers may not like this, and I don't know how many other existing stores here are doing the same thing, but they are providing their shoppers with an alternative, a no striker hassle-free location in a super store environment.

Target stores out here are also expanding their food selections.

I don't propose any answers, just food for thought.
KC's View: