A Tour Around the Corporate World

Today’s lunchtime newschum brings together a collection of things, all having to do with the corporate world or the current economy:

  • Where Do You Buy Electronics? I might as well comment on this, as everyone and their brother is posting the Forbes article on why Best Buy is killing themselves. Here are my thoughts: First, I avoid Fry’s, due to bad experiences of their restocking returned products and not indicating them as such, and having poorer quality. I do shop at Best Buy. They have the advantage that I can actually go and see the item, and… in person… compare different looks and feels. That’s a hassle to do with an online retailer. They also have regular 0%-for-18 months promotions, and I’m more than willing to use cash flow instead of savings. They aren’t perfect (and I don’t fully trust Geek Squad, given my experiences). I just avoid their salescritters unless I need them.
  • Ch-ch-ch-changes. A number of articles relating changes in the corporate world. First, Orchard Supply has come out from under the thumb of Sears Holdings–this is a good thing, in general, as Sears was holding OSH back. Alas, you probably won’t be able to use your Sears card there anymore, and who knows about Craftsman tools. 3M is purchasing Avery Dennison’s office supply business (which, if you didn’t know, includes Hi-Lighters, binders, labels, filing and indexing products, and writing instruments as well as their pressure-sensitive labels and such). The Avery name will remain for those products. In the fashion world, Liz Claiborne is changing their name to Fifth & Pacific, reflecting the fact they sold Claiborne to JC Penny. Lastly, Macy’s is closing 5 Macy’s and 4 Bloomie’s stores, none in California.
  • Truly (Artifically) Scrumptious. The war to sell you fake sweetners is intensifying. The WSJ is reporting that Truvia (owned by Cargill) is readying another salvo in the war between white, pink, yellow, blue, and green packets. It’s a battle indeed, with Truvia trying to figure out how to prevent people from taking the pricy green packets, as well as battling for supremacy (it is currently #2) and knockoffs, such as Pepsi’s PureVia, which is also Stevia based.
  • Blue Diamonds Aren’t Just For Vinkus Royalty. The Sacramento Bee has an interesting article on the Blue Diamond Almond manufacturing plant near Sacramento. The plant operates for 20 to 22 hours a day, shutting down only for routine cleaning. Six-ounce cans are filled with almonds, labeled and packed at a rate of 250 to 260 a minute. What I found interesting was that almonds pass through X-ray equipment to pick out foreign objects like buckshot – sometimes the spray of pellets from a hunter’s shotgun can lodge inside an almond.
  • Borrowing from the Government. You may not realize this, but most people are dependent on government debt. They put their money in safe Treasury Bills (one of the safest investments around), and purchase Savings Bonds (as an aside: do you realize those would all go away is the US had no government debt–and that would be a bad thing). What you might not know is that the government did away with paper savings bonds. You can only purchase them electronically at treasurydirect.gov, and can’t really gift them. However, you can now buy more of them because the government has restored the previous savings bonds purchase limits. By the way, unlike paper bonds, which can be replaced if lost or stolen, if someone gains access to your TreasuryDirect account and steals your bonds, there is no guarantee the Treasury will replace them.