Market Forces

I once had a supermarket client whose marketing director had a confrontation with a local Black community organizer. Basically, the issue was this.

The chain had supermarkets in both the inner city and the suburbs — but had a different price structure for the two groups. The inner-city (majority Black customer base) stores’ prices were as much as 25% higher on various items than those same items were sold at the suburban (predominantly White customer base) stores.

Of course, “Barack Obama”* was furious because Black people were paying more for products in their local stores than White people were paying in the suburbs. When he demanded that the chain change their pricing policy, the marketing director (a flinty little Irish guy, “Danny O’Neill”, himself from Chicago’s South Side) flat-out told him that the chain wouldn’t budge. As for the racism charge, O’Neill pointed out to Obama that while most stores in the suburbs had a “shrink” (stock loss by theft) percentage of about 0.75%, the inner-city stores’ shrink ranged from 3-5%. (To make things worse, their sole store on the North Side — with a 90% White customer base — had a shrink factor of only 0.5%, a number I’d discovered while preparing the data for this meeting.)

Of course, the higher shrink factor meant that those stores were less profitable — and, as O’Neill reminded Obama, the chain was in business to make a profit: ergo, the profit margins had to be raised to overcome the shrink. The meeting ended thus:

“So you’re not going to lower your prices in your city stores?”
“No. If we do, we’ll have to close the stores because they won’t be profitable.”
“But what am I going to tell my people?”
O’Neill was merciless. “Tell ‘your people‘ to stop stealing from our stores.”

I’ve told you that story so I can tell you this one.

Apparently, some idiot is suing** Wal-Mart for keeping various “Black” beauty products locked up behind glass doors, while their “White” equivalents are stocked on open shelves. 

Would anyone care to guess why this is?

And if you answer “rayciss” or variant thereof then you have to go and stand in the corner wearing a DUNCE cap. And I don’t care if you find this punishment “hurtful”; you’re a dunce. As is the plaintiff, and as is the judge, if he doesn’t throw this silliness out of his court with a scornful laugh.

However, as Wal-Mart is no longer run by Sam Walton but by various lesser Waltons, the retail giant will probably cave lest they be accused of being Literally Worse Than Hitler or something.

And their profits will plunge, and I will utter a merry laugh because they’ll deserve it***.


*Yes it was in Chicago, but no, it wasn’t actually Future President Token.
**Note that “Shaniqua” has engaged the services of legal über-vulture Gloria Allred, whose presence is an infallible indicator that this lawsuit is a crock of shit.
***Irony Alert:  note what’s for sale at Wal-Mart. I can’t make this stuff up.

Stranger Than Fiction

Ripped from the headlines comes this beauty:

Ron Jeremy is BANNED from porn awards in Las Vegas amid sexual assault allegations

Wait a minute… in an industry which is the very manifestation of sexual exploitation of women, one of its leading performers is being castigated for groping?

No wonder The Onion is going out of business.


An aside: shows you how out of touch I am. I’m in Vegas right now, and never knew there was a porn convention going on. And in case you’re wondering: I’m sticking to the gun thing at SHOT.

Stupidity, Part 1

I could have died, twice, on my drive from Plano to Las Vegas — and both times were from my absolute and utter stupidity.

Day 1 — last Sunday — saw me leaving home at about 8am, day’s end destination TBD, looking forward to a drive through small-town America.

By late afternoon, I finally cleared West Texas. I won’t say it was a boring drive — I did hit a tumbleweed full-on somewhere outside Plainview; terrible mess, cleaning twigs and such from my front bumper and license plate — but it was when I got to New Mexico that the fun started.

Normally, I travel very carefully and with much preparation so that I don’t have to worry while on the road. This trip was a little different. Maybe my mind was still in Britishland, where no trip lasts longer than a couple of hours, and if it does, there are always villages and such where one can find gas and such — and even on the small byways, there’s traffic.

This was not the case on US Highway 60 in New Mexico. Whoa. I could drive for an hour without seeing anybody — couple of trains, but few cars and even fewer people. So when my gas gauge showed a quarter-tank, I looked at the map and saw that the next town was 30 miles away — easy, because even when my gas warning light comes on, I get 40-odd miles, as my car’s handy lil’ trip calculator showed. Except that the next town wasn’t a town, per se, but a few houses; and no gas station. Okay, the next town was only 15 miles away, so no problem, right?

By now night had fallen and the temperature had plummeted from Texas’s warm and friendly 56F to much less: about 28F with, as I was to discover, a biting wind which put the chill to about 15F.

As I got to the next town, I looked for a gas station, but nothing was visible. According to the calculator, I now had 20 miles’ gas left. Shit. There was also (surprise, surprise) no cell phone coverage along that stretch of road.

There was a motel on the east side of town, and I decided that if there was no gas station in town, I’d turn back and stay the night there, and deal with the fuel issue the next morning: in that kind of weather, sleeping in the car was right out.

Luckily, however, I turned a corner, went under a railway bridge, and there was the blessed sight of a 7-11. I dad to pop an aspirin tab, my heart was racing so fast by that point.

I stopped, filled up (nearly freezing to death in the process, because — idiot! — I had forgotten my gloves at home), and set off again. Right before I filled up, though, I checked the trip calculator one more time, and saw that I’d had 12 miles’ of gas left. Way too close for comfort.

Anyway, just as an intellectual exercise, I looked to see where the next gas station showed up — US 60 was about to join I-25 shortly, according to the map, and there had to be a gas station there, right?

Wrong. The next gas station anywhere came up a full 30 miles after I’d filled up. Without that 7-11, I would have run out of gas in the middle of Fuck Nowhere, NM. I wouldn’t even have made it to I-25.

And with no traffic to be seen anywhere, I would have had to stay in my car and wait till morning. Where I would have been found, probably as dead as a doornail and stiff as a board — even though I had a blanket and warm clothing.

But that was nothing, compared to what happened to me the next day. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

Dog Bites Man, So To Speak

We’re all busy people, so if you don’t have time to read this tragic tale, I’ll give you the executive summary:

Man keeps African Rock Python as a pet, raises it from infancy. Treats it like a pet: plays with it, kisses it and hugs it. One day the grown-up python hugs him back, with predictable consequences.
The End.

And somewhere out there, Charles Darwin smiles.

Just A Minute, Sparky

From our mole in Scandinavia comes this little gem:

Seriously? You mean just laughing at this bullshit would send me to jail?

…and:

And who is this priceless little feministical?

So all that study in the hard sciences, and young Ashleigh is analyzing the  implications of gender differential in flatulence?

Send me to jail now, Judge Sotomayor. Because I’m never going to quit making fun of these spoiled First-World fuckups and their loony little “philosophy”, ever.