business news in context, analysis with attitude

We've had some discussion here in recent days about how certain companies have responded to the immigration ban, and the emails continue.

One MNB reader wrote:

I want to share my experience over the weekend regarding the whole immigration ban and associated protests.

My wife has been in San Diego for most of the last month helping her sister who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  She was finally heading back home to Seattle, misses a connecting flight on San Fran because of baggage issues and then lands in Seattle at 10pm Saturday night.  I am waiting in the cell phone waiting lot when she calls and lets me know it may be a while because of a protest that is blocking access to baggage claim.  Another traveler told her she had been attempting to get her bags for the last 2 hours.  At that point I was not aware of why there was a protest.  Normally I am very aware as I follow politics very closely but had 2 kids sick with the flu.  Eventually I am able to pickup my wife, who is very much anti Trump, and the first thing she said is I can not tell you how pissed off the people who were on the plane are at the protestors.

Here is something I am not sure was clear to the protestors, those travelers whose right to freely move about was being denied, another phrase that could be used to describe them is future potential voters.  I say this as someone who for the first time in my 30+ years of voting, in 2016 did not vote for either major party presidential candidate.

Regarding Starbucks, I really wish corporations would have a blanket statement that said we do not comment on political issues otherwise you are assured of angering some group.  In Seattle, anytime there is a protest, it does not matter what the issue, the joke is the only group that ever profits is the company that gets paid to replace windows at Starbucks.  I say this as someone who has owned stock in Starbucks for 25 years and has mutual friends with the incoming CEO.

From another reader:

It strikes me that Howard Schultz knows what is important to Starbucks’ employees and customers.  He could have perceived that there was more risk in being silent on these issues than taking a position on them. 

MNB reader Ben Ball wrote:

Just one observation, nay prediction.

Howard Schultz will declare for the Democratic primary in 2020. Or at least form an exploratory committee at the very minimum.

And MNB reader Rich Heiland wrote:

My guess is Starbucks probably already employs a lot of immigrants so in a way Schultz is making a point of expanding something he already is doing. Why? I think because he is making a moral statement and also, as you noted in your comments this morning he is playing a global game. I am amazed at how the Trump Administration seems to completely ignore global economic realities. There is no turning back the clock on the global economy and I for one am glad.

Regarding Walmart's change of strategy in how it competes with Amazon Prime, one MNB reader wrote:

Other retailers have been offering Free 2 Day Shipping with $35+ for quite a while. Rockler Woodworking comes to mind for example. What this does is remove the barrier to buying from the subject retailer and prevent (to some extent) guys like me from cruising over to Amazon to see if I can buy the same item on Prime first when I get a Rockler email or mailer. What it does not do is stop me from immediately opening my Amazon app first anytime I am looking for practically anything I need. I don’t think Walmart will see much difference.

From another reader:

Challenge I see with Walmart’s version of 2 day prime is the minimum order. The benefit I have is jumping on Amazon and grabbing whatever it is regardless of price for free 2 day shipping provided it’s prime. Last week it was a speed jump jump-rope for my daughter for $4.79. While Walmart may also have a similar jump-rope available, I am not going to up my basket to get to $35… nor will I jump ship when this is how most of my Amazon shopping is done – as something is needed, on the fly.
KC's View: