business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our stories about retailers offering special discounts on school supplies to teachers, MNB reader Chris Weisert wrote:

I think it is great that companies are supporting teachers in this way. Now if the parents of the children they teach would step up. The teachers, with their salaries, should not have to purchase these kind of supplies from their pocket.
On the other hand, they could coordinate a purchase for their classroom via e-mail communication to the parents….

The sad reality is that a lot of teachers - even in affluent school districts, but especially in poorer neighborhoods - end up spending their own money on school supplies to supplement what the schools provide. Trust me on this - I am the husband of an elementary school teacher. (And the father of a daughter going back to school to get her Masters in special education.) I once bought a globe for Mrs. Content Guy’s classroom because there was none, and no money in the budget to have one.

Yesterday, MNB took note of a CNet report that Walmart has been awarded “a US patent for a new listening system for its stores that could raise serious privacy concerns from its shoppers and workers. According to the filing, the system would capture a variety of sounds in the store to figure out employees' performance and effectiveness at checkout … the system can be used to capture beeps produced by a scanner and the rustling of bags at checkout to find out the number of items in a transaction or even the number of bags used. More alarmingly, the patent mentions that the system could be used to listen to guests' conversations to determine the lengths of checkout lines.”

One MNB reader responded:

Yikes! No wonder why their turnover is so high! The job is hard enough without having to worry about being listened in on - I mean they are already watching the associates on camera.

Regarding Albertsons’ strong e-commerce numbers, one MNB reader wrote:

I like it too KC, but they still lost money for the quarter. Can't inspire too much confidence in the Rite Aid shareholders voting next month.

And finally, from MNB reader Monte Stowell:

Amazon Prime Day reminds me of a sign that I saw in a buyer’s office when I started my sales career with Georgia-Pacific in 1971. That sign read “There is no magic in advertising that will overcome the absence of merchandising at the retail level.” Obviously, Amazon’s execution, or lack thereof, on their website or at Whole Foods really missed the mark of perfect execution on Prime Day. Amazon needs to evaluate all aspects of what went wrong and how they will correct the things that went wrong. They need to keep their loyal customer base happy and satisfied and demonstrate the problems will not occur again.
KC's View: