business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday’s piece about Costco’s first location in Australia, one MNB user from Down Under, Andrew Hartnett, wrote:

When I heard about the location chosen by Costco I was amazed as it doesn't appear that they have chosen a site where their target market resides.

From reading your columns for the past 2 1/2 years, I've built a picture of Costco being a "Cheaper in Bulk" retailer. Why they have chosen to place their first Australian store in Melbourne's CBD seems strange. The majority of people who are moving into the Docklands precinct, have substantial incomes, and no need to drive as everything is accessible by public transport. Those that work in the Docklands, are more likely to take public transport due to limited and expensive parking, not to mention fuel costs. Costco would, in my opinion, have been better off setting up in an area that is more of a "mortgage belt", with more families on limited income who are looking for better prices and would have the transportation to take bulk purchases home.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Costco goes, as we have very little choice of retailers here (75% of the market is controlled by 2 players), but it looks as if they have made their first mistake by choosing to open in a trendy new environment rather than areas that contain working families who need some relief from the continued increases of day to day life.

Traditionally, Costco parking lots are filled with expensive luxury cars – it tends to do very well with the well-off. Not sure about the public transportation component, but don't underestimate the impact that Costco can have in a trendy new environment. But we’ll see how it plays out in Australia…I hope I have a chance to come down and see in person.

More comment on the Ikan system that allows people to scan items at home and create an online shopping list that allows for automatic fulfillment of regularly bought products:

Although I don’t see Ikan as something that would work for me in the current form…the comments on MNB are getting dangerously close to “Old Farts Law.” With technology changing at such a rapid pace, retailers should be more concerned about what Ikan 2.0 and 3.0 might look like…then beat them to the punch.


Got several emails about the passing of George Carlin, noted yesterday on MNB.

MNB user Joe Fraioli wrote:

One of the greatest comic minds of all time has passed. He was relevant from the beginning of his career right to the very end. He shocked us, made us laugh, but most importantly he made us think. I made the extra effort (I knew he was 70+ and had some heart / health issues) and saw him in person last summer and boy I am glad I did!

Another MNB user wrote:

From his "hippy dippy weather man" routine which I enjoyed as a kid on our 13 inch black and white TV to his side-splitting "F@#$ the Children" bit (which my husband and I saw at the Rosemont Theatre about 5 years ago)--George Carlin always delivered by pointing out the total hypocrisy of everything from self-help books to Uncle Sam.

He will be missed but thank goodness for the body of work he leaves behind.

Irreverent, energetic, politically incorrect and hysterical. George, RIP.

MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:

My two favorite comedians have long been at opposite ends of the spectrum, George Carlin and Jeff Foxworthy. I’ve long held the belief that beneath the profanity of Carlin was a first rate mind, possibly a genius level intellect, and every joke or monologue he use in his act, no matter how outrageous it was, had a grain of truth at its core.

While I loved his “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television”, my favorite routine of his was “A Place for My Stuff”. I can still hear him saying, “That’s what a house is for, it’s a place to lock up your stuff, wouldn’t want someone to take some of your stuff, you ever notice they always take the shiny stuff, they never bother with that crap your saving. So, you lock up your stuff in your house while you go out and get……more stuff. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.” He goes on to talk about traveling and packing some of your stuff to take with you, the second version of your house, and goes on about the third and fourth versions and how supply lines are getting longer and harder to maintain.

Great stuff, great comedian, really smart guy. I will miss him.

And another MNB user decided to comment on one specific aspect of Carlin’s personality:

For some reason, you overlooked his status as perhaps the most-brilliant religious thinker of our time--a man who fearlessly characterized belief in "an invisible little man living in the clouds" as childish nonsense.

Okay…that ought to generate some responses…

KC's View: