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Got the following email from an MNB reader:

Your story about Millennials and Gen Z (expecting) pay increases occurs often and we've tried to manage expectations by identifying a clear performance plan the employee can self-manage, to make the compensation discussion more fact-based.

One particular experience brought back a memory I've tried to forget regarding expectations about pay and promotions. My story differs slightly in that its about a (meddling) Parent's expectations for their child, who fit into this younger worker category.

To recap: I was handed a message by my assistant who advised I needed to call one of our employee’s parents. I thought something had happened to them so picked up the phone and called immediately, only to be asked about how pay increases were determined, because the parent didn't think their child was earning enough.  I asked what was informing their opinion and was told by the parent they had spent far to much on their child's education, only to earn as little as we were paying them. The parent went on to say that their child (our employee) enjoyed working at the company, felt that they were learning a lot, and being challenged to grow.... but.... (the parent informed me) they were going to need to be paid more to stay with us.

Reeling from this comment, I asked if the parent would like to know how we manage compensation. "Yes, I'd love to know", I was told. I laid out that we had job profiles, reviews and then identified that raise/s were based on job grades for that particular role. Nothing concrete was shared numerically. The parent then asked where their child ranked and their performance, to which I replied that I couldn't share that with them - they would have to get that information from their child. "Your approach seems fair" the parent said, adding that their child would likely resign soon for a job making more money. I told the parent that it was our policy to take a resignation letter from our employees directly, not through their parents. Again, the parent said that this was a reasonable request, then thanked me for calling them back.

In over 30 years of internationally-based management roles, I'd never encountered that one. I learned not to underestimate the parents influence with younger workers.  

PS. In case you're wondering how the story ended... the employee resigned about 8 weeks later. During the discussion, the employee asked me if I had received a call from their parents, to which I replied "Yes, because you weren't in the office the day the call came in, I called because we were concerned about your safety."  The reply was "Oh, I wish my Mother would quit meddling in my business.”

You spent a lot more time with that parent than I would’ve, but maybe it was like watching a car wreck - it was awful, but hard to turn away from.

On the subject of restaurateur Danny Meyer’s comments about not taking cash in some of his establishments, one MNB reader wrote:

I remember reading a few years ago that welfare, food stamps, rent subsidies etc. were being paid with debit cards primarily for safety. I believe California was doing it and was surprised that the cards were being used in the top casinos in Las Vegas as well as the Four Seasons Resort on the Big Island of HI. I guess the point is, very few folks don’t have access to plastic. And even the recently bankrupt can get loaded debit cards ( OK they have to do the loading). And Danny is right . In certain neighborhoods flashing a lot of cash is an invitation to disaster. Maybe the jurisdictions mandating cash should use plastic for their benefit payments.

MNB reader Howard Schneider chimed in:

I agree with your view re: embracing rather than resisting the future. But cashless stores in the U.S. could be one more driver of inequality. Not EVERY customer has a smart phone wallet or payment app; many less affluent customers still rely on the cash or coins in their pocket.

Regarding Amazon’s ambitions to be a third-part shipping provider, MNB reader Adam Koenigsberg wrote:

Here in Columbus, about 100 miles from Amazon Air’s main hub near Cincinnati, I think the future for Amazon’s shipping is already here. There are Amazon semis and delivery vehicles everywhere, at least half the packages I get from Amazon are actually fulfilled by Amazon, and when they are, it’s very often next day – Product “ships” in the AM and I get it by bedtime. Even my Subscribe and Save stuff is arriving the day it ships, delivered via Amazon.

Got several emails regarding Kate McMahon’s column yesterday dissecting the new Whole Foods discounts promotion.

One MNB reader wrote:

The timing of your piece was funny as I just had my bubble popped on this also.  I am looking into opportunities at Whole Foods and I just learned that all of these “Prime Discounts” are all funded by suppliers and are no different than running a scan or TPR promotion at another retailer.   As a Prime member I felt let down and disappointed in learning this -  I feel like Amazon is taking credit for the membership discount (and taking the money for it) but having it paid by manufacturers.    The perception is that it’s on the entire shopping trip, so many people are feeling let down at the register.
Interesting to see how they adapt and change over the next couple of years.

MNB reader Ron Coleman added:

I liked your article and I share your sentiments.

Whole Foods, under Amazon leadership, is losing its way.

The natural and organic food movement (industry) is built on new, exciting
breakthrough products and selection. Ever gone to the natural expo in Anaheim?
Thousands of products; beautiful, tasty products and new approaches to merchandising. Whole Foods no longer leads the way in moving those items into their stores.

Amazon/Whole Foods has slashed the number of SKU offerings probably by about 30 to 40%.

I now go to the local area independents to get these products.

Combine that with your point of pathetic discounts (ya, I am a Prime member too), very slow checkout lines (they cut labor at the front end); unimaginative and tasteless bakery and deli items, uninformed peripheral team members who stand around and talk to each other and check out each others latest tattoos, and I am going less and less to Whole Foods.

KC's View: