business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of why foreign companies invest in US retailers, but we rarely see US retailers investing in companies outside the US, one MNB reader wrote:

I spent over 20 years marketing food products in outside the US and have a very clear understanding of why US Retailers do not look to foreign markets for expansion.  US retailers are blessed with FREEDOM to an extent that exists nowhere else in the world for business. The US market is the most attractive place in the world to operate a business and US retailers struggle to find a reason to expand outside the US as long as there are growth prospects here.  

The only countries in the world with a single market size that compares to the US are India and China and access to those countries are significantly controlled by the government.  Every other country for a US company to expand to, adds currency risk and complications, regulatory issues that protect the entrenched local retailers and social differences between the populations even within smaller countries,  and the size of the opportunity is smaller than expanding to an adjacent US market.

Retailers in other countries view entry to the US market as the opportunity to enter a market several times larger than their home market with a single currency, simpler regulatory environments and therefore worth any risk they foresee.  We are fortunate to be in the best place in the world for business and for all the problems that we obsess over, should never forget that FREEDOM overcomes all issues.

I'm glad to hear that.  Listen to some folks talk about the business climate in the US, and they talk less about FREEDOM than they do about REGULATION and TAXES, saying there is way too much of each.  The fact that an American business person would say that "the US market is the most attractive place in the world to operate a business" makes me feel better about that whole schmegegge.

Responding to yesterday's story about companies retraining some employees in things like computer coding as a way of solving some labor woes, one MNB reader wrote:

OMG.  What a novel idea!!!  Snicker.  Hire from within has always been the best way to maintain the culture of your company.  Now if your company is in trouble, then go outside for talent.  But, if things are going in the desired direction, promote and retrain current loyal employees.  The company creates loyalty, career paths, and reduces costs for hiring and training new, reduces turnover.  I cannot believe that there are companies that actually think this is just now, a great idea.  Sad.

I think this is a little different than promoting from within;  it is more like making a significant investment in the re-education of employees in areas with which they may not have been familiar.  It may not be reinventing the wheel, but let's give credit for companies who are finding workable solutions to difficult problems.

Regarding Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen's $22.4-million pay package for 2020, one MNB reader wrote:

The extravagant corporate bonus for CEO’s is the fault of companies in general.  I look at it like “slotting”.  It only took one to start it and now you all must to pay to play. The companies have to be the ones to stop it.  As long as someone does, then all have to.  If you want the “best” candidate.

Yesterday we took note of a story about how the recent defeat of a unionization vote at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, could be in question with reports that Amazon had access to a mailbox the premises used to collect ballots.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Friday heard testimony that Amazon security guards used keys to open the mailbox, which was located near the entrance of the facility in Bessemer, Alabama.

One MNB reader wrote:

Concur that IF Amazon management opened a USPS drop box the behavior was both criminal and stupid.

That said, pretty sure votes could be dropped into any USPS Dropbox and/or handed to their residential mail carrier for introduction into the mail system.

And, several emails about the current state of the pandemic.

One MNB reader wrote:

Kevin I agree with your views on this completely. I know and work with more than a few people who have no intention of ever getting the vaccine. They apparently only care about themselves, and not at all for their fellow man... it's sad that they can't or won't see the big picture. I'm also back on the front lines, and we have no idea whether somebody has been vaccinated or not.

I went to a local meat market in Salem NH last week, a small chain of 3 stores, that has a hot foods bar. Same as before with the sneeze guards, masks still required, and now disposable gloves you have to wear before picking up the tongs. It seemed to be doing well, I'm just not sure I'm 100 percent there yet, and I'm fully vaccinated. 

And from another reader:

Is everyone now on the “Honor System” to wear a mask?  Not going to happen!  We will continue to have confusion until someone sues because they “caught covid because someone wasn’t wearing a mask".