business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's story about how CVS positioned its decision not to sell tobacco products as being purpose-driven branding related to its commitment to health issues, one MNB user wrote:

CVS may be paying attention to cigarettes, but apparently the transfat connection to heart disease and strokes is viewed as "mythical" given they sell/stock several PopSecret popcorn products which serve between 4.5 - 5.0g of transfat per serving, 3 servings per bag.

I check their stores regularly and most recently in September found these high transfat skus on their shelves. And on their website, you can even order some for home consumption.

I have a tough time applauding the "no cigarette selling" strategy in a company who knowingly is selling high transfat products.  If you want my undying loyalty, take on the food manufacturers especially for obviously unhealthy products like this.

Popcorn anyone?

On another subject, from another reader:

I sort of understood the government anti-competitive concerns with the Staples-Office Depot merger.  But it bothers me that the government is spending scarce resources challenging the Walgreens-Rite Aid combination.  Nearly every grocery chain has prescription departments and a "yuge" health and beauty aids selection, as does Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club etc.  Consumers would be better served if the government would direct those resources elsewhere, e.g illegal robo calls, snake oil dietary supplement advertising, etc.

Regarding the power of millennials, who spend more and more money eating out and buying food to-go, MNB reader Steve Methvin wrote:

Tracking the millennials is the new norm and I don’t think any group as ever been easier to follow and harder to predict. IF and WHEN they establish homes, it would seem that those “out” dollars could convert to “in” options – if the millennial even knew it existed! One scary thought – what if boomers start to follow this trend and use smartphones to order food and to go items?

We've had some discussion here lately about the protests being staged by some NFL players, and another MNB reader wanted to chime in:

I am one of those people who….“normally embrace the notion of freedom of speech but have a problem when folks with whom they disagree actually practice it”.

I firmly believe that everyone has a right to express themselves regardless of how polarizing any issue can be.  What I have a problem with can be simply described as appropriate time and place.  The community in which I live is loaded with military personnel from all branches of the military.  The pride that I see in their defense of the flag is meaningful on so many levels.  Had Colin Kaepernick and his followers selected another time and place to address their concerns (and I do agree that there are some relevant concerns!) and provided the proper respect to their Country, I don’t think there would be an uproar.  His choice is similar to the disgusting antics of the Westboro Baptist Church community to protest at funerals of our fallen service men and women.  Yes, they also have a right to voice their opinion no matter how vile, but I am vehemently against their doing so at the venues that they chose.  What exactly is the difference?

With respect to the NFL, the leadership can regularly punish a player for things such as “excessive celebration” with fines yet they otherwise chose to not ask their collection of multimillionaires to cease this particular act.   The disrespectful display against our flag and our anthem doesn’t make me want to support the cause nor do I have any desire to support the stage upon which they protested.

Point taken. I've always felt that love of country transcends how one reacts to flags and anthems ... and that sometimes, some people feel that in order to achieve one's higher aspirations for the nation one loves, one has to take drastic measures. It wouldn't necessarily be my approach, by i get it.

I've also always sort of believed in the EM Forster line: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”

Finally, also on the subject of the NFL and my reporting of game scores, one MNB user wrote:

Curious if you had ever considered referring to the NFL franchise in D.C. as Washington instead of the Redskins.  Since there is only one NFL franchise in Washington, I would know the team you are referring to.

As a white guy, I personally find the name inappropriate and demeaning to American Indians.  I was reminding of how much we have changed our language in both normal dialog and in  humor as I spent Friday evening watching “Blazing Saddles”, and was quite frankly turned off by the repetitive use of the “n-word” in attempts at humor.  And I was very surprised (and disappointed in myself)  that when I first saw the movie in the 70’s I never gave it a second thought…
Just wondering…

Good point about the Washington football team. I'll have to think about it. (I imagine there will be similar comments about the Cleveland Indians during the World Series.)

However ... I totally, completely disagree with you about Blazing Saddles. First of all, it isn't "attempts" at humor - it is one of the funniest movies ever made. Second, the movie was co-written by Richard Pryor ... and it uses the word to mock racism, not promote it.

Mel Brooks often says that he'd never be allowed to make Blazing Saddles today, and he's probably right. But I'm not sure that says a good thing about our culture.
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