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We continue to get emails about author William H. Marquard, who we recently interviewed about his Wal-Mart book, and who has been roundly criticized by a number of MNB users as lacking credibility because of his role in Fleming’s demise.

One MNB user wrote:

Bill Marquard's main responsibilities at Fleming as I recall were the limited assortment chain - Yes!Less!, (What? You never heard of it either?) Flemings circa 1950’s MIS department and the Kmart relationship. No wonder Bill doesn’t mention Fleming in his vita.

Now I’m sure Bill is a fine father, husband, neighbor and is kind to small animals but when it comes to business advice, well if he advised a retailer to run out of a burning building, I’d suggest the retailer get a second opinion.

Another MNB user wrote:

Not only were he and the other 2 responsible for the Fleming employees and families circumstances, but also consider all the other tentacles of the business. There were an additional estimated 60,000 individuals, from the supplier and retailer base, also impacted.

MNB user Jason Tuffli had a different thought:

If I may weigh on the William Marquard situation in a different light. One of Friday’s respondents wrote about how he didn’t lose his home, wife or basically life in the Fleming fiasco. My point has more to do with CEOs and their salaries as this has come up from time to time in your articles. There always seems to be plenty of outrage when these CEOs make all this money, however these CEOs are responsible for making decisions that affect thousands of jobs (i.e. lives). If a poor decision is made and the company tanks, people do lose homes and lifestyles. Do I think some CEOs make way too much money? Sure, but I also think there are a lot of them out there that deserve every penny they make. Unless you are sitting in their shoes and trying to make decisions that affect thousands of lives you just don’t know the pressure they feel.

Not that I have ever felt that kind of pressure, but I am not sure that is a job I would want, regardless of the salary.

We wrote the other day about the medical establishment’s resistance to in-store health clinics, and said that it seems like some doctors are trying to protect their fee structure more than their patients.

MNB user Jason Brasher responded:

It sounds to me like the docs are falling victim to their own business models. It seems that I have been to a doctor's appt. only to be treated by a nurse practitioner with little to no oversight even with good insurance and a reputable doctor. So, for a large portion of visits, what is the difference? To me, it sounds like there will finally be some potential relief for the consumer, downward pressure on medical costs through competition and potentially some more scrutiny due to increased attention to what has been going on for some time.

MNB user Bob Anderson wrote:

I believe that you are right on about these in-store medical clinics as a way for retailer to be relevant to the consumer.

As to the naysayers, I say look at what the AMA is saying. When the caregivers operate as an extension of a Physician by following clearly define protocols of care and referral, the consumer is a clear winner. The US military has been using these "Physician Extenders" for well over 4 decades and the quality of care has not been an issue. Of course, it is always within well-defined protocols of care. Even today as a civilian, I see a Physician Assistant within a physicians' clinic. The care is high quality, prompt and affordable and the clinic is able to serve more people than the physician alone can see.

Another MNB user wrote:

Your piece was nice on the in-store clinic. I have been tracking this stuff, all of this prolific in-store clinic stuff, for a pharma account team we have here. You did not mentioned the biggest hit over head that I got out of the Duane Reade announcement of their in-store clinic entry - which was a physician-centric model (clearly to circumvent the issues) offered to consumers as an option (a physician vs. a nurse). That is great when a doctor may be best if presented with a need for a higher level of care from time to time. It will be interesting to watch their model and see if they dial it back based on cost (physician-based model vs. nurse practitioner) or if they dial it back because the option to select a doctor may be lending themselves to become a surrogate low-level emergency room and puts them at too high a liability based on the cases they attract.

Still another MNB user wrote:

In the eighties, there were a few 24 hour walk-in health clinics in New Jersey and they were a godsend. Yes, I had a regular doctor, but when food poisoning struck at 7:00 PM, it was the health clinic or the emergency room. The clinic saw me immediately, gave me the meds, and charged me a modest amount, only slightly more that my regular doctor would have charged for an office visit and then forwarded everything to my doctor. When I moved to Ohio, I was surprised to find another clinic. When I became very ill from swollen joints, I didn’t have a regular doctor, but I saw the clinic doctor within a short period of time and I was given a referral to a top-notch rheumatologist who saw me the next day.

Having recently moved to Florida and having another minor medical emergency, I ended up spending a day trying to find a doctor who would see me on short notice and, 12 hours later, still ended up in the emergency room. Personally, I’d love to see clinics pop up where you can easily and affordably see a doctor for minor ills, shots and emergencies that are “emergencies” but don’t require the services of an emergency room where the wait can be hours and the cost extraordinary. And, of course, there needs to be regulations, oversight and other controls.

We mentioned in our “OffBeat” piece about our trip to Amsterdam that we’d had a lovely wine called Chateau Musar, which led MNB user Linda Wish to write:


Chateau Musar, fabulous choice!

In your spare time check out the pedigree on that wine.

The vineyard sits in the center of a war zone. (No exaggeration.)

When Decanter magazine named Serge Hochar the first ever "Wine Man of the Year" for his "extraordinary achievements, determination and dedication to producing wines during the difficult years of the Lebanese Civil War", they showed bullet holes on the cover of the magazine!

Well done!

We took the advice and checked out the wine’s website, which reports:

Chateau Musar was established in Lebanon in 1930 by Gaston Hochar, and the winery is presently run by his two sons, Serge and Ronald. Serge studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux and has been the winemaker at Chateau Musar since 1959, successfully delivering nearly every vintage despite Lebanon's wartime difficulties. In1984, Decanter Magazine recognized Serge for his winemaking skill and his courage, naming him the magazine's inaugural Man of the Year.

Chateau Musar Red wines are made with a variable blend of Cinsault, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon. For each vintage, the varietals are fermented separately in concrete vats. The varietals then spend up to 24 months in French oak barriques at which point Serge creates his final blend, depending on the development of each varietal. The wines are then bottled and stored in the cellars at Chateau Musar until their release after about 5 years.

Chateau Musar White wines are refined, full-bodied, and truly unique. They are made from a blend of Obaideh (similar to Chardonnay) and Merwah (Semillon) grapes, and are aged in oak for up to 6 months.

This is one of the reasons we love our job…we get to learn this kind of stuff.

By the way, regarding our piece about Amsterdam, MNB user Scott Coleman wrote:

Thanks for the great narrative of Amsterdam. I enjoyed reading about the city, the food, the transportation, and even the red light district. You do a great job each day bringing us the news and your insights - keep it up!

And MNB user Anne Maas wrote:

I enjoy reading MNB every day and always find it very informative. I most look forward to Fridays, though, specifically because of your First Person Observations. And it's lines like this that create the anticipation: “I particularly enjoyed watching the ones who would wash their windows to make sure they could be seen clearly. That’s smart merchandising.”

You're very talented at uncovering a business lesson in everything you encounter in life! And that was indeed smart merchandising, however I'm guessing that you're one of very few men who would be focusing on that particular marketing aspect ...

That was fabulous.

Mrs. Content Guy was aghast when we wrote about the Red Light District, until she read about the Windex-wielding hookers…and then she decided if we were paying attention to that sort of stuff, she probably had nothing to worry about.

Of course, she was rolling her eyes when she said it.

We seem to be prompting that reaction in her more and more lately.
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