business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's note that Bashas has decided to eliminate its home delivery service because of economic pressures and changing shopper priorities, one MNB user wrote:

Seems rather counter-intuitive at a time when people are cutting back on shopping trips to save gas.

Good point.

Contributing to the ongoing coffee debate, MNB user Susan Scurlock Theiler wrote:

I've roamed around to many McDonald's outlets in search of this so-called premiere coffee that is driving down the price of my Starbuck's stock, but I have not found it. I guess your test market report was the reason. I would need to go to Kansas City. My friend tells me the McDonald's in her town of Durham, North Carolina (home of Duke University) has an espresso bar. Forget it, I'm in Virginia. At least I discovered in my travels that McDonald's offers coffee to seniors (age indeterminate) for $0.42. That's 42 cents. And it's delicious. The staff is not sure what the age is to be considered a senior, but they assured me, "nobody's going to card you!"

I'm probably sort-sighted about this, but I dread the day when I start looking for senior discounts…the same way that I throw out the AARP solicitations without opening them…and plan to "rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light."

On the subject of the battle against credit card companies and high interchange fees, MNB user Jerome Schindler wrote:

Perhaps the simple solution is to pass legislation that prohibits credit card companies from restricting the right of retailers to offer discounts for other forms of payment (cash/check/retailer own card), and/or impose their own surcharge for credit card use. The cost of using a credit card would then be very transparent to consumers.

Competition would even be possible - the discount/surcharge might depend on the card used so a card that has lower expenses to the retailer would have a lower discount/surcharge.

Under the current system a consumer, particularly one who does not carry a balance, is a sucker to pay cash and forgo the rewards being offered.

MNB user Andy Ruff wrote:

As a Loyalty Marketer, I really feel for the merchant who pays a high interchange fee on my credit card where I earn miles. Capitol One gets all the credit for the miles I earn by using their card (and therefore my loyalty to use it), but it is the merchant who paid for it! As far as transparency goes, Capitol One, et al, should have to say “be sure to thank your local retailer for the miles you earn!”, or better yet, “these miles aren’t really free, your local store had to pass the outrageously high fees on to you anyway”. Didn’t a bunch of tea wind up in Boston harbor over this kind of thing? Rewards without representation!

MNB noted yesterday that pledged foreign food aid may also serve to promote the interests of companies developing genetically modified crops; I wrote: "What I would hate to see is what should be an act of charity turn into a political hairball."

This led one MNB user to write:

I care about the starving people around certain parts of the world as much as the next person...BUT...

Are you kidding me! Monsanto sees an opportunity to spread their seed without opposition ...are the third world farmers going to get annual seed contributions from Monsanto...or will Monsanto allow the farmer to replant next year using some holdback seed...Oh! wait a minute, some of their seed doesn't sprout the next year! Monsanto needs to beef up its team of attorneys to be able to sue the small farmers in poverty areas for replanting their GMO seeds, or sue those farmers next to the GMO fields where drift has taken some GMO pollen...of course this will be a political hairball.

KC's View: