business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a piece yesterday about Aldi, to which one MNB user responded:

Note that Aldi in Europe is 2 entities: North and South, apparently split up several years ago by 2 Albrecht brothers who couldn't get along.

One of the entities owns Aldi in the U.S. and the other owns Trader Joe's. In other words, there is no connection between TJ's in the U.S. and Aldi in the U.S.

We knew that, as did the Business Week reporter who wrote the original piece that we referenced. We were simply not as specific as we should have been.

And another MNB user chimed in:

Aldi and Wal-Mart are both low-price retailers, but they're so different.

One reason we shop at Aldi is the speed with which we can get through our shopping list, the other reason is price. The limited selection means that we can get through the store in record time and with little deliberation. The shopping carts that use a quarter as collateral are a brilliant way to keep the parking lot uncluttered. I feel like they are on my side in helping me to save money and get what I need.

A recent trip to Wal-Mart for the first time in 4 years or so made me feel like a "consumer" in the cheapest and most sterile sense of the word. Yes, I can find more stuff there and I can shop 24 hrs a day. But the sound system blaring and displays stacked over my head for what seemed like miles just made me want to give up and leave before I ever started to shop.

Regarding Starbucks approach to creating a retail experience, one member of the MNB community wrote:

Starbucks is pretentious. It just is. I have been to at least twenty different Starbucks in two states, and I have only had a decent experience at one, a franchise owned by Magic Johnson and operated by a mostly African American staff. Maybe they see my black face coming and think the only thing I know about coffee is how to cultivate it...

We don’t know how to respond to this charge. It’s never happened to us, but we’re not black, and can’t imagine what it is like.

If this is happening, Starbucks has some serious work to do.

We expressed a lack of understanding of the new Coke C2 mid-calorie soft drink, which led one MNB user to write:

I have to disagree with you on this one. I love regular soda but the guilt is always there when I grab one. Diet soda I will drink in a pinch but it is certainly not my drink of choice. If this mid-calorie soda comes out and the taste is there, I think there are plenty of people like me out there that will happily fill in this segment of customers.

If you think of it there are two camps, the Diet Coke/water camp and everything else. Even fruit juice is "bad" for you now with all of the calories and carbs. I truly feel that this is a segment that has been quietly waiting for a drink that is neither chemically altered (Diet soda) nor loaded with sugar.

And in response to our listing of some of our heroes, MNB user Scott Horsfall wrote:

Monty Python, Mel Brooks and Jimmy Buffett! Just add P.G. Woodhouse for literature and I'd say you've identified the four pillars of modern humor, culture and entertainment.

No argument here. Though our list of personal heroes would be a lot longer…
KC's View: