One MNB reader had this observation about antitrust actions by the federal government against companies like Amazon and Apple:
At some point, shouldn’t consumer convenience, value and satisfaction enter into equation?
Companies that offer superior value propositions that lead to marketplace success shouldn’t be punished just because they are best at what they do.
I think the opposite argument would be that if companies use illegal means to achieve those superior value propositions, or engage in improper competitive actions, then consumer convenience and satisfaction have a lower priority.
Which is why it all comes down to how we define competition in a 21st century environment.
Reacting to our piece about White Castle offering what it calls a "fining dining experience" - if not fine dining-level food - on Valentine's Day, MNB reader Howard Schneider wrote:
I’m old enough – and I think you are too – to remember McDonalds’ 1970s promotion, The Big Mac Supper Club. The ads featured Mr. Moon, the lounge pianist, singing, “Mac Tonite.” The associates dressed in some approximation of sophisticated clothes, and some stores allowed local bands to perform at the dinner hour. My friends had a garage band at the time, and jumped at the chance to perform at a Mickey D in the San Fernando Valley. Somewhere I have a pic of the poor young manager in a long dress, with her head in her hands. She was not lovin’ it, and neither were the guests and their families.
Responding to my piece about Netflix's decision to crack down on password sharing, which has been good for its bottom line but maybe bad for its brand image, one MNB reader wrote:
It's a sad commentary when people are upset because someone tells them to quit stealing.
Keep in mind that until recently, Netflix wanted people to share passwords. So maybe "stealing" is a little harsh.
Read this email:
What I don’t get about Netflix decision is why should my children that are in college, basically living in temporary housing, need to have a separate Netflix account. Their permanent address is still my home. However, the way that they are tracking households excludes them from my household. It would cost me an additional $7.99 a month to add one person to my account that lives temporarily out of my home and they limit it to only one person. Most other services offer a student plan or allow you to share your household plan.
They haven’t thought this through enough.
What he said.
Responding to my FaceTime about the "bourgeois virtues," one MNB reader wrote:
The bourgeois virtues mirror, exactly the Four Cardinal Virtues and three Principles we learn in Freemasonry. The four cardinal virtues are prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. Our three primary principles are Faith, Hope, and Charity (also known as Love). I am letting you in on part of the “secrets” of Freemasonry. That is, we seek to become better men by living by these same, bourgeois values.
Good to know. Especially because everything I know about the Freemasons I leaned in "The Man Who Would Be King."