business news in context, analysis with attitude

I mentioned this on FaceTime this morning - two emails that decried the cuts in SNAP payments that will take place as the pandemic comes to an end, affecting both the people who use food stamps and the stores that serve them.

MNB reader Robert Pulda wrote:

Kevin, It is a disgrace that this wealthy country cannot afford to feed our population.

Through no fault of their own, many people had to make choices. Some had to stay home to take care of a sick parent or children at home and they lost their source of income.

The need is still there even though we have declared an “end” to the Covid Pandemic.

For those of us who can afford our groceries, I urge you to support those retailers who are not raising prices due to inflation or targeting this vulnerable population.

My next stops will be: Price Rite and Market Basket.

I also urge us all to support local Food Banks and Food Pantries that are filling the gaps for those in need.

And, from MNB reader Karl Graff:

I work for a state government and supervise a team of social workers who work with SNAP recipients every day- determining eligibility, etc.

The misconceptions about households who receive SNAP benefits astound me- but what bothers me most is what the actions taken towards the least able - the working poor, the disabled and elderly, say about our values as a nation.

Doesn’t every human deserve enough food to maintain health?

When I was a pastor I ran a very small food pantry. I remember family after family who were a little ashamed to need the help, who didn’t want to take too much, and who didn’t want any “treats” (like sugared cereal, a pack of cookies).

Many of the SNAP recipients I have spoken directly with express similar sentiments- they don’t want to be dependent  on the government or their neighbors, they’d rather be in a position to help.

Most of the people who work with me, including me, have received some type of public assistance at some point in their lives- but even with that, it is easy for them to become cynical and give in to the propaganda about the poor.

SNAP takes less than 2% of the federal budget to fund (Center for Economic and Policy Research) - cutting it won’t get anyone very far in trying to “balance the budget” or reduce it in any meaningful way.

“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”  Hubert Humphrey

Who are we really?

And grocers, pay attention…

Got this email from MNB reader David Spawn, responding to yesterday's FaceTime about not necessarily taking the most direct route:

Completely agree with you on this (and very glad that you make the time to see your siblings!).

From a similar perspective, for the past 6 (give or take a few off years) summers, my husband & I go to Provincetown, MA for a week (or two).  We live in Jackson Heights, NY, but we choose to drive to Cape Cod rather than take the train/ferry or plane/ferry, etc. so that we can have a car while we’re up there.  This is a bit unnecessary given that P’town is very much a walking destination.  But as non-car owners, I find it a “nice-to-have” and it gives us more flexibility getting to the beach or to other locations up and down the cape.

My point (that finally I’m getting to) is that after too many 7+ hour trips slogging it out in I-95 beach/weekend traffic, that just drives me nuts and does not make for a pleasant drive, I figured there had to be a better alternative.  We now avoid I-95 altogether, and while it is out of the way and ends up not saving much time at all, we arrive in P’town in SUCH a better frame of mind and are immediately ready to enjoy a week off at the beach.  We’ve used this new “secret” route for two years and there’s no way I’m getting back on I-95 on a July or August Saturday!  Bonus is that we’ve found new places to stop (Lavender Pond Farm), get a good dose of nostalgia passing towns I last saw when my father was alive, see some far lovelier vistas than I-95’s, and just be able to enjoy the journey.

Here’s to the “less” efficient route and the road less traveled – you never know what you can find if you don’t look!

Next time, stop at Lobster Landing, in Clinton, Connecticut - best lobster roll I've ever had.

Reacting to my comments about retail theft, MNB reader Mark Kramer wrote:

I believe your comment regarding tolerance for retail theft is ‘spot on’.  Always an issue in retail I watched it explode over the last several years.  Senior leaders in many companies took the position that ‘hands off’ was the proper method for dealing with external theft.  In some companies the focus intensified on their associates likely because the leaders did not know how to deal with the escalating external theft.  I can only speculate as to  the motives of senior leaders implementing a ‘stand down’ position but clearly the results have been devastating……hundreds of retail locations already closed and likely many more to follow. The sad irony here is that the folks who needed these stores the most….the truly underserved….are the people hurt the most.

On another subject, one MNB reader wrote:

About certain car manufacturers deciding not to offer AM radio in their electric vehicles – correct me if I’m wrong, but having an AM receiver in the vehicle itself only means that you are able to listen to the AM broadcasts that will exist and travel over the airwaves whether or not you can receive and listen to them. So, if the AM signals affect the cars’ performance, wouldn’t that happen anywhere that an AM signal COULD be received, whether or not it is actually received and heard by the driver?

I have no idea.  Maybe another MNB reader will know.  Folks?

And finally, responding to the story about Walmart's strong e-commerce growth in the last quarter, MNB reader Andy Casey wrote:

Ironically, e-commerce is tailor made for Walmart as it lets me enjoy the lower prices while avoiding the hassle of actually shopping in their stores. Faint praise indeed.