business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB reader, about ways in which the US Postal Service (USPS) is expanding its delivery services:

USPS delivering food?  I say nay-nay.
Yes they have a tremendous network in place, thanks to the government.  But their customer service, in my experience, is extremely lacking.  I have seen too many times the attitude that “we are USPS and you need us.”
I cannot count the number of times I have dealt with ripped packages, crushed boxes and things generally stuffed into my mail box, because the driver does not want to get out of the truck.
I will say, this may not apply to all USPS workers and I am sure it varies, like any business, from location to location.  However, until USPS can prove to me that they care about their customers, I will not even think of using that service.  Plus it would deter me from patronizing any supermarket delivery service that contracts with USPS.
So no.  I am not going postal.

I’ve had great mailmen who care, and lousy ones who don’t seem to give a damn. Go figure - the USPS is like every other business in that it depends on the people on the front lines for the crafting of the consumer experience.

Got the following email from MNB reader Brian Blank:

The “myCheckout” program at Target sounds good.  It’s not quite innovative—I’ve seen variations of this in action at numerous higher-end department and specialty stores for a while.  The thing is, I know how long it takes to track down a Target employee who is both willing and able to bring stock from the back to fill the gaping holes on the shelves, so I really can’t imagine the execution being positive.  In fact, I can clearly imagine the opposite:  after an extended search for an employee with the device, a further wait while the employee tries to figure out how to use the device (or, the employee has to track down someone else because their device isn’t functioning), the transaction cannot be authorized because the item is NOT out of stock, so it all has to start over to find someone willing and able to bring the stock out of the back and put it on the shelf.
One spleen, vented.

Got several responses to my FaceTime commentary yesterday about sexual harassment.

One MNB reader wrote:

You mentioned, “It isn’t 48 percent of women in the media and entertainment businesses who say they’ve been sexually harassed … it is 48 percent of all women in the workplace.”  And I don’t believe those 48% have only experienced harassment as a one-time happening.  I imagine you’ll find an alarming number of those women have been harassed multiple times.

I was a student at my local university in the late 70s.  I had a professor, who was also my academic advisor, who told me I couldn’t major in music composition or pursue a career as a film-score composer because I was a woman and needed to be a teacher so I would be home in the summers to raise my children.  This same professor gave me this “advice” while trying to hold my hand and get me to go to lunch with him.  After a couple semesters of this continued harassment, I changed my major.  (I did later go back, stand up to him, and finished my music degree.)

Years later, I went to work for this same university.  Three of my employees witnessed our director harassing our 17-year-old, female, student employee.  I reported it.  Later when this same director retaliated, we reported it.  My department was slated to be transferred to a new college. (We had a meeting in front of nine witnesses where the dean assured us this was a transfer, no jobs would be reposted, and everyone’s job would remain the same.)   After we reported the retaliation, I was called into the dean’s office and told that because neither his college nor the new college wanted to deal with “this mess,” as he put it, we would no longer be transferred.  Our department was to be closed and all our positions reposted.  He called me back into his office a day later and told me that he hadn’t meant what he said, and that the department had been slated to be closed all along.  I took our situation up the ladder.  No one took the time to do a thorough investigation.  Everyone I talked to made excuses.  When I finally took it to the president, he refused a meeting with me via a letter from the university attorney that was so full of misinformation, it was laughable.  As a result, six of us lost our jobs.

Those are the two most prominent examples.  That doesn’t include the rude jokes, comments about  body shape, comments about being too smart for my shape, etc.  My opinion is that only 48 percent were brave enough to come forward on the survey.  I’m afraid that the real number is probably much higher.

MNB reader David Spawn wrote:

Thank you for using your forum to keep this at the top of readers’ minds.  I don’t always agree with you on all topics retail, but I stand with you fully on this one.

But, from another reader:

Women need to open up to men and tell them when they feel uncomfortable about something.  A lot of women welcome the attention but then pull the harassment card when it suits them.  Men obviously do the most offending.  I am concerned that if men get too paranoid about sexual harassment it will hurt women's opportunities.  To avoid sexual harassment in the workplace, don't hire women.

You folks in the USA really do a much better job than you get credit for regarding sexual harassment.  You have all these stories in the press everyday about another accusation.  Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, the mistreatment of women is more severe, accepted as normal behavior, and not newsworthy.

Mr Coupe, sometimes I don't understand your obsession with sexual harassment when in reality the USA is one of the best places for women to work and thrive.  You complain about it so much but instead I believe you should be grateful for how well your society treats women.  Women can work, vote, drive a car, divorce their husbands, take custody of their children, smoke cigarettes, be alone with men who are not their relatives.  We send our daughters to the USA to go to college.  Then they stay and work in the USA because they tell us how well they are treated at work.

We had a story the other day about how the sales of light beers are in decline, which prompted one MNB reader to write:

I may alienate some people with this, but I know not you!!  Bud-Light, Coors Light and Miller-Lite are not beer…they are caramel water.  For me, drinking one is the last step before drinking from a puddle!  Bring on the microbrews, especially the ambers and porters!!

And from MNB reader Jeff Reinartz:

To anyone who enjoys celebrating the art of good craft beer making, this is anything but shocking. Life's too short to drink beer flavored
carbonated water.

Finally, about the World Series, MNB reader Tom Murphy wrote:

I am really not much of a baseball fan…grew up in CO when the only thing around was the Broncos.  Over the years, I have occasionally watched a couple of WS games.  This year, I started watching because my son and daughter-in-law live in Houston where the city is rebuilding and the excitement is through the roof.  That said, what I find most exciting about this Series is that you can get both a pitcher’s duel and a slugfest in the same game, depending on when you tune in!

And, from MNB reader Tom Robbins:

You are "spot on" with today's comment. I'm a die hard Cinn Reds fan but we have had nothing to cheer about in years. At 73 years young, I'm voting this the best WS I have seen.

From MNB reader Sara Freitag:

I am a huge Astros fan – always have been.  I’ve been a little tired at work the past week! Like you, I believe there is a bigger message here that perhaps the NFL could learn from.  Yes there was an unfortunate inappropriate gesture by an Astros player in the series, but it was dealt with.  The player apologized, the other player accepted his apology, the league handed down a swift ruling for his suspension.

Step back and look at baseball – maybe the most diverse sport we have in America (except maybe soccer).  Players from across the world and fans from all backgrounds are truly “all in” for the good of the team and the city they represent and the love of the game.

My money is on the Astros in the 2018 series!

KC's View: