business news in context, analysis with attitude

A note from MNB reader Craig Espelien about Michael Sansolo's column yesterday:

A somewhat fascinating thing (at least to me) that is being left out of the Electric Car conversation is the inefficiency of our current electrical grid. I am not an expert - but when we lived in San Diego I did a bit of research on how power moved (we had a serious blackout that is a somewhat funny story of poor timing, automation and monumental ignorance) from point of generation to substations to the consumer. In broad terms, what I found was that for every three units of power (sorry - I always thing in GigaWatts thanks to Doc Brown) only one actually is available to be used by the consumer. One is lost in moving from point of generation to substation and the other is lost through distribution from substation to the consumer.

While I understand these figures may not be accurate, our power grid is not aging well and is also a bit vulnerable as my blackout story will identify. If we are hell bent on moving from fossil fuel cars to electric cars, I am okay with that. However, I would like to see two pieces of analysis…

#1 - what is the real cost of recharging if the model I think I know is the actual distribution model?

#2 - what is the cost of recycling all of those batteries once they no longer hold a charge?

Perhaps a tertiary question here would be how can we prevent Apple from being the battery provider of choice (I have an older iPhone with a relatively new battery and I often make it until Noon before I have to recharge and I am not a mega-user of a smart phone).

Be well - and thank Michael for a thoughtful piece!  

On the subject of antitrust actions being considered against big tech companies, one MNB reader wrote:

I know I'm in the minority on this one, but where is Walmart on this list? I could name many chains they've put out of business, and last time I checked they still lead Amazon in total retail sales.

On the subject of Albertsons' new deal with DoorDash, one MNB reader wrote:

If I were Albertsons I would not want this sentence in my announcement:

"Consumers can shop right on the DoorDash app to fulfill all of their grocery needs … In addition, in select markets, customers can order groceries through their local Albertsons Cos. store’s website for same-day delivery powered through DoorDash Drive, DoorDash’s white-label fulfillment platform that powers direct delivery for any business."

Because now the consumer associates their grocery shopping to be at DoorDash not Albertsons.

Another email from an MNB reader about the cultural shifts taking place at Victoria's Secret:

So Victoria’s Secret, a decades-old brand premised on sexy fun, is looking to deliberately destroying itself by appointing — lol — the humorless and brittle Megan Rapinoe as its new spokeswoman.

The humorless and brittle Rapinoe will not be alone in what can only be a producers-style conspiracy to sabotage Victoria’s Secret from within. Among others, joining Rapinoe will be Valentina Sampaio, a male model who identifies as a woman, and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser.

What you have here is not a corporate move meant to expand a thriving business, but one meant to smooch the backside of this country’s left-wing elite, to pander to the Woke Gestapo. Newsflash: These are not the people who purchase expensive lingerie. Instead, all their money goes towards narcotics, bail, rubber women, tattoos, video games, strap-ons, and D-batteries.

There is no poll anywhere in the world, not even from the fake media, that backs up the idea the general public is anywhere close to embracing this anti-human nature woke horse&*@#. Outside of a tiny group of fetishists, no one finds obesity attractive, no one wants to see a guy in a dress, and no one wants to hear from Megan Rapinoe — whose only claim-to-fame is perfecting the art of sounding like your first wife as she Luxury Whines. And allow me to add this…

NO ONE wants to think of any of this when they’re thinking about sex, and that’s what Victoria’s Secret is supposed to be about, SEX.

Sex is supposed to be sexy! Sex is supposed to be fun! Sex is supposed to be carefree

Is it Opposite Day at Victoria’s Secret? Because cross-dressing, obesity, bitterness, and humorless have as much to do with sexy and fun as CNNLOL does with the news.

I have two responses to this.

One is to quote from a recent Bloomberg story about Victoria's Secret, which, it said, "took plenty of gut punches over the past several years. There’s been ongoing criticism that its marketing objectified women. And then former Chief Executive Officer Les Wexner’s ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein further damaged the brand.

"But despite all that, the major issue for the biggest unit of L Brands Inc., which also owns Bath & Body Works, wasn’t big declines in revenue as its customers mostly stuck with it. The bigger problem proved to be relying on a lot of discounting to sell items. That weighed on profitability as its parent company’s overall gross margin narrowed by about 8 percentage points from 2016 to 2019."

In other words, it wasn't a thriving brand.  Customers weren't really sticking with the brand if they required discounts to do so.  It was a troubled brand that needed to figure out a way to expand its reach and appeal - and re-establish a value proposition.

To be sure, this change may not work.  But what it was doing wasn't working, either.

My second response to this email is to note that the writer seems to have a problem with Megan Rapinoe (who I find to be a breath of fresh air), among other things and people … and has real chip on his shoulder, which he verbalizes in terms that I think are hardly uplifting.

I sometimes struggle with whether or not I should post emails like this.

On the one hand, I believe in the Brandeis principle, which is that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

But on the other hand, sometimes sunlight allows certain things to grow, like weeds and poison ivy and hemlock.