business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reader Rich Heiland had some thoughts about the Boxed bankruptcy:

I was speaking with a friend this morning about an organization we are both involved with and some issues we are having. The common denominator seemed to be the journey through the depths of all that was COVID and then trying to adjustment to the aftermath. Kind of like coming out of a dark building and shielding your eyes from the sun while you get your bearings. I commented to her that I wonder if we will ever really understand all the impacts that COVID had on us all, large and small.

I thought of that this morning when I read your daily post, which included the bankruptcy or shrinking of businesses that either were created in response to COVID or grew in response to it.

Now that we have come back into the light and are moving around it strikes me that our movements may have forever changed; or, if we are going to go back to old behaviors, it will be slow and hit or miss. I have to wonder what this means for business leaders, and consumers, as we move into the next few years. What do markets want?  In fact, what are markets? Are they lasting or more transient than ever. I suspect the future for decision makers and leaders will be both frightening and invigorating.

Buckle up.

Responding to our piece about Walmart laying off thousands of people from its e-commerce units, one MNB reader wrote:

Lots of e-commerce lay offs, yet stores are still woefully understaffed, at least in the Northeast.

Every day is still a struggle, as it has been since Covid started 3 years ago. The large chains do not want to pay more to attract good help, despite the fact that they are very profitable right now. Add that to the truck driver shortage, and the in stock levels are still not good.

Responding to yesterday's comments about Dom's Kitchen & Market in Chicago, one MNB reader wrote:

To elaborate on your comment on Rotisserie Chicken about product being out of code @ 10am… price was $12.49. Costco sells their product for $4.99 for 3 1/2 pounds. Makes me wonder about retail pricing in this format…

It ain't priced like Costco.

On the other hand, the closest Costco is about three miles away, and the young professionals who seem to be patronizing Dom's would not be able to get a decent Dirty Chai Draft Latte at Costco.

MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

Looks like a great store KC, but one thing I would change is add some color, there is way too much grey - the walls, produce display cases, etc.

Not sure I would agree - I like the color scheme.

By the way, Tom Furphy and I spend a bit of time in today's Innovation Conversation doing a deeper dive into Dom's approach to technology.   Check it out.

Regarding our piece about pickleball courts being built over Wollman Rink in Central Park, where they'll be in operation until the weather gets cold again, charging between $180 and $120 an hour for court time, one MNB reader wrote:

Charging for pickle ball in NYC.  Typical NYC.   Who paid for this cost?  Answer: the taxpayers of the city.  196 hrs x just $80 per hour, that works out to $15,680 a day!  For a 3 month season it’s $1,411,200!  I am sure that the mayor has a great plan to use the proceeds for the benefit of ALL NYer’s.  They could also set up free tent housing on the courts during the off time so the new term “unhoused” can stay overnight.  Then hire people, union of course, to come in and do the take down and set up for them as well.  Not to worry about the daytime, all the people using the tents could then sit in stands around the courts and cheer everyone on.  While the mayor pays for meals to be brought in, so all the “fans” never have to leave.    Draws a great picture doesn’t it.  We will see how long this last.

Wow.  Nice to see that you came to this story with an open mind and not a single chip on your shoulder.

I'm pretty sure you don't actually know who paid for the court conversion, because I don't know - and I've called City Pickle, the organization that is administering the courts.  They haven't called me back, so I haven't yet gotten an answer.

This also means you don't know where the proceeds will go and how they will be used.  But that doesn't really matter, since you have such an attitude toward New York City.

I'm. certainly not defending what strikes me as an excessive court fee.  Though, when you think about it, this means that if people are playing doubles, they're really only dropping $20 an hour apiece during non-peak times, and $30 an hour during peak times.  This strikes me as not entirely unreasonable when parsed that way.  (I pay more than that to go to a three-hour Broadway show, or get decent seats at a Mets game, or enjoy a couple of hours of Chinese food at Shun Lee Cafe.  It all depends on what you value, and how much you value it.)

Now, if NYC is able to take money from people who can afford to pay those fees, and actually use it to help folks who can use the help, I'm not sure this is such an awful approach to public policy.

Again, I don't know that this is happening this way.  But it is a possibility.  It also is possible that some of the money is being used to fund the police, or hire more teachers, or for some other appropriate purpose.

I'm still going to find out, and I'll let you know when I do.

We did a story last week about how MIT was conducting a study about why, when people twist an Oreo apart, the creme always remains on one side or another - not both sides.  Which led to a discussion of how people like to eat Oreos. (I prefer not to twist them at all, but rather dunk them in a glass of cold milk.)

MNB reader Marv Imus wrote:

You should have done a survey about how many viewers went out and got an Oreo and did the twist part several times to check the status of the creme, and then did the dunk in milk test ……. Bet sales for Oreo’s got a blip up!  Now somewhere in Oreo corp office is a discussion going on about the sales bump.  

And another MNB reader wrote:

You are wrong on eating Oreos.  Freeze 'em.  That's the best way.

Tried it.  Pretty good.  Even better when frozen Oreos get dipped in milk.