business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB user Dan Onishuk had some thoughts about the FTC’s objections to Whole Foods buying Wild Oats:

Isn't it the customer/shopper in the end that will decide the final outcome, after all they have the power and the money to decide where to buy their groceries. So if it is as the FTC claims - high prices, lower quality and services and less competition - excuse me, but can you direct me to these stores that operate like this.

I think those stores are called "Out of Business".


We have no problem with the FTC stepping in where necessary and appropriate to protect consumer interests. But this interference, we think, is absurd.

MNB user Mark Olivito wrote:

The FTC can find a way to block a merger and screw this up under the guise of “less competition, higher prices….”, but can’t find a way to deal with slotting allowances that serve as a significant barrier to entry for small manufacturers that try and bring product to market (by definition creating less competition). By many trusted industry sources, shelf allowances are a significant portion of “built in marketing budgets” and by definition get passed through to consumers in the form of higher prices. So in a nutshell, they have an issue of Whole Foods/Wild Oats that touches far less than 3% of the industry revenue (I’m guestimating) that they screw up and impose their authority on……and something that is MUCH larger than that they can’t seem to provide meaningful over-sight that would ensure MORE fair trade than what exists today.

Maybe they should actually hire somebody that has a clue about how the industry operates before imposing a ruling.

We think that would violate some sort of government mandate.

We renamed “The Balance Sheet” section of the site yesterday, to “The Department Of Permanent Financial Anxiety,” because we were looking for something more fun and less stolid. Plenty of people liked the change, thinking it in character…but no surprise, it took about three minutes for one MNB user to object.

MNB user Terry Pyles wrote:

The problem with clever lines is that to maintain that feeling of cleverness they must be repeated sparingly. And in proper context. OK, so maybe “The Balance Sheet” was a little dull, but at least it was accurate. Not so for the new Department of Permanent Financial Anxiety. I find it a little ironic that the very first entry under this new name was “Costco said this morning that its May sales climbed 11 percent to $5.14 billion from $4.63 billion in the prior year, on same-store sales that were up seven percent”. Wow, that’s the kind of anxiety I can live with.

I submit that the new name may have been a great replacement for the IRS, but not for a business financial news section that dispassionately reports the facts, whether they be good, bad, or ugly (hey why didn’t someone submit that one? . . . Oh, they did?).

Well, it’s your toy. You decide how to play with it.

Well, it’s not just our toy…

We actually liked the name because we figured that all financial reporting foments anxiety. But we also knew that not everyone would like it.

C’est la vie.
KC's View: