business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to Michael Sansolo’s column yesterday about hockey star Stan Mikita, MNB reader Joe Jurich wrote:

It is also worth noting that Stan Mikita was a “humble captain” for the Blackhawks.  Watching him as a kid, I never sensed that his achievements were about him.  He was always striving to make those around him better and to celebrate their achievements.  His smile was infectious (another thing we can all learn from him).  The fact that he had his “eyes open,” looked for ways to improve things and was willing to “break molds” (wearing a helmet at a time when it was considered that only “sissies” wore them) effectively changed the future of his industry.  We need more, Stan “the Man” Mikitas!

From another reader:

Chicago native here. I’ll give Mike a pass for referring to the “Black Hawks” (now it’s one word, and being shortened to the “Hawks” in many instances)…
Other than that, thank you for the homage... and the business lesson!

Yesterday, we took note of a Bloomberg report that Walmart is facing the same challenge of rising costs as other retailers, and its size may not provide it with shelter from the storm. “Soaring costs for transportation and raw materials -- some related to tariffs -- have prompted” a number of manufacturers to raise their prices, the story said.

One MNB reader responded:

You nailed it on trucking costs ……..key question facing the industry is whether the big guys like Walmart,Amazon, and Costco will accept price increases and pass them on.

The supermarket retailers tend to agree to price increases, once the’ve seen Walmart move at store level. The Economist magazine reported last week that USA trucking wages are up nearly 10 % this year with the cost of road freight contracts surging 18 % while freight booked on spot market increased 28 %. Add in tariff’s for some.

All increased costs that manufacturers will desperately try to pass on. The labor shortage and restrictive immigration policies are beginning to hit the pocketbook.

We had a story yesterday about how Kroger is suspending its use of eggs from the Mahard Egg Farm facility near Sulphur, Oklahoma, since an investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) “found the farm was torturing and brutally killing unwanted hens. PETA posted a video on its website and on social media showing Mahard workers beating hens’ heads against metal boxes and keeping them in sheds where temperatures reached 106 degrees. The workers also bludgeoned hens with a board and gassed many hens with carbon dioxide, which PETA says caused extreme pain.”

My comment:

I don’t think there ought to be much of a question about how to punish people who treat animals this way. It would start with metal boxes where the temperature reaches 106 degrees…

One MNB reader wrote:

I agree KC, and I've always thought that people that could hurt animals and think it's funny will at some point hurt a human being…sad.

Finally, we had a story yesterday about big retailers beginning to invest in small stores, prompting one MNB reader to write:

Makes me wonder when Wegmans will try a smaller store format? They are too smart not to, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
KC's View: