business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding Ahold Delhaize CEO Dick Boer’s contention that his company’s stores have to be “more exciting” and “more entertaining” in order to compete, MNB reader Brian Blank wrote:

I don’t need Stop & Shop to be exciting, and certainly have no interest in a restaurant or meeting place there.  I just want a supermarket where I can buy the food I’m looking for, and do it easily, and maybe even at a good price.  My local (literally just around the corner) Stop & Shop seems to go out of its way to infuriate me by discontinuing items I buy regularly, by not having other items in stock, by blocking the aisles with huge gondolas of stock that should have been put on the shelves overnight, and, of course, by NEVER having sufficient cashiers on duty/lanes open.

I was very critical of Stop & Shop’s stores, prompting another reader to write:

In reading your Ahold-Delhaize article, I wondered if you had been to one of the new Hannaford concept stores? I believe their first one may have been Bedford, NH. More prepared food @ fair prices, Hannaford To Go and more makes this an improved and flexible shopping trip. I think one of them is worth your visit. Much better experience then Stop & Shop, whom by the way is in the middle of making office cut backs.

I have not been to that store, but I would agree that pretty much every Hannaford store I’ve been to is superior to my local Stop & Shop stores.

On the subject of the shrinking US magazine industry, one MNB reader wrote:

I hadn’t really given much thought to how real this is until last week. My son is a senior at a local university and needed to clip some ads from a print magazine for an assignment. That seemed a little strange to me and I don’t know what the assignment was about, but it was interesting to realize that we do not have a single issue of any magazine anywhere in our house. I guess that’s probably pretty common.

MNB reader Tom Redwine wrote:

I cancelled my decades-long subscription to Rolling Stone magazine in October of 2002. I'd disagreed with aspects of their music and culture coverage over the years, but what put me over the edge was their "Women In Rock" issue, which featured Shakira, Britney Spears, and Mary J. Blige on the cover. Say what you want about these ladies (I'm quite fond of Mary J. and Shakira myself), however, neither of the three were "in rock.”

I'm actually looking forward to the sale of Wenner's stock, because some bright buyer just might make Rolling Stone not suck again.

FYI: my wife and I subscribe to about 3 magazines and a couple of newspapers, both to have access online (there are also some physical print copies included) and to support good journalism, which is crucial now more than ever.

In my sports segment yesterday, I noted that “politics seemed to get a lot more attention than the fields of play” over the weekend, which prompted MNB reader Jerome Schindler to write:

Sticks and stones may break my bones but a professional athlete kneeling when the National Anthem is played will never hurt me.

And from MNB reader Jim Gaylord:

The NFL is in a tough spot on this one.  While I can appreciate team owners (employers) supporting their players (employees), they can’t afford to alienate fans (customers) on either side without a potentially significant impact to revenue.  If your fan/customer base reflects the general population, which the NFL’s probably does, it’s always best for business to remain neutral…at least publicly.

I’m sure they’d like to stay neutral, but the majority of the owners seem to feel that they don’t really have that choice right now. They lose the players and they lose the games, and if they lose the games, they lose a lot of revenue. And I think it is remarkable the degree to which all sides of the league seemed to be unified this weekend.

I kept thinking about the lines from EM Forster, with which I always have agreed:

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

These folks stood - or knelt - with their friends last weekend, and I would expect they’ll do the same next weekend.
KC's View: