business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to one of our stories from last week, MNB reader Jack Di Salvo wrote:

IMHO, a Dollar General in a convenience format will be an incredible success, providing they bring the same pricing they have in their rural stores.  Saw the on line photos of the layout and they look very up class.

On another subject, from MNB reader Jerome Schindler:

Transparency.  What a concept.  Buyer beware.  The means taken to avoid such transparency reminds me of the song "50 ways to leave your lover".

Opening up a package of two luscious looking prepackaged thick pork chops this evening I was again made aware that what you see is often not what you get.  The good side of the cut is face up, the bad side is face down.  And the label is often positioned to hide significantly less than desirable factors.  My nearby Kroger store is a master of this deceit, though it happens elsewhere as well, including at Sam's Club and Costco.  This all leads to a them versus us mentality eroding trust in the retailer.  Some years ago our local Big Bear
chain (since bought out by Penn Traffic and closed as part of their bankruptcy) had a brief policy of "bad side up". Transparent meat trays instead of opaque white styrofoam would be a welcomed middle ground. I try to buy my meat from the butcher's case so I can examine it front and back but that is often not an option.

Got the following email responding to Michael Sansolo's column last week about Sprint's new ad campaign about how there is only one percent difference separating most cell phone systems ... and how that one percent can be extraordinarily important depending on where you want to use your phone:

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Sprint.  A couple of years ago I signed up with Sprint because it was “cheaper.”  I soon found out why with all of the dropped calls (even in the LA area) and cancelled the service.  It cost me $350 to cancel because I had kept the phone and service beyond the trial period.  It was a great reminder that (I am totally paraphrasing) that I think a notable American said, “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”  When you sign up for cell phone service you expect it to work.  A lesson learned the hard way by me.

One MNB user had a thought about the plastic bag ban voted in by California residents:

I'm an avid MNB reader and a California resident that's been living the ban for the last 6 months or so. I manage a grocery store and am in a county that has been restricting plastic bags for a while.

My takeaway: it works to reduce plastic. After the initial public grumbling, sales of reusable bags are off the charts and we no longer burn through a full pallet of plastic bags in a few days. We should definitely put this in the win column.

One of the things that came up last week within the context of the California bag ban was how the Golden State in so many ways seemed to be going in the opposite direction from much of the rest of the country. Some are even calling it the "Rebel State."

From MNB reader Ray England:

Rebel State? Well, I guess one could call it that since the rest of the country came to its senses Tuesday and California did not! I moved to the Central Valley of California three years ago and if anyone was wondering what a third term of Obama would look like, just come on out and find out for yourself. Talk about Crony Capitalism, supermarkets and other retailers got together with environmentalists on this plastic bag ban creating an unholy alliance. Californians now have to pay retailers $.10 for each and every plastic bag they use…..and just where does this revenue go? Back to the retailer. That’s right, what once was a supply expense is now a revenue stream; pretty smooth move. I guess I can’t blame them with a $15.00 minimum wage staring down their throats. It’s amazing that a state this large and diverse is held hostage by what folks in two major population centers; San Francisco and L.A. want…They rule the roost.

That's what major population centers do. It is called democracy.
KC's View: