You lose, Balducci’s

Dear John, … oops, I mean, Dear Balducci’s,

Sorry, it’s just my frame of mind. You see, Balducci’s, I have changed, and you have not. The thrill is gone. Whole Foods has more than 30 different kinds of goat cheese, not counting goat cheese crumbles, goat cheese slices in individual wrappers, and goat cheese ravioli. When I looked a couple days ago, you had only three kinds of goat cheese. You don’t meet my needs anymore.

Even when I looked for spelt bread, nada. I told you about this years ago, but you wouldn’t listen.

And Whole Foods, well, 14 different kinds of cold-pressed veggie and fruit juices! Your soy-based Odwella is so, well, yesterday.

Oh, and your lack of tofu. OMG, Balducci’s, one kind? Whole Foods has nine kinds of tofu – count ’em, nine. How am I going to make perfect smoothies with “firm” tofu? I need “soft” tofu. Got that? Soft, I’m into soft.

It was lovely while it lasted and thrilling at the beginning but now I need more. I need different goat cheeses, and non-gluten breads, and … and, oh, yes, what is that about, having only one brand of coconut water and then only in some dinky small size? Don’t you know me better than that?

This is a different era, Balducci’s. Whipper-snappers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s may, like you, be expensive to maintain, but they know what I like.


. . . .

Amateur (and over-simplified, but true) treatise on Capitalism with a focus on the good part:

The best part of capitalism is that it speeds up evolution of products that improve (real or imagined) our lives through health, enjoyment, science, and more. Great ideas, well executed, survive and thrive. The life blood of capitalism is innovation.

The worst part of capitalism is that it cannot be depended upon by itself to provide for people who have few or no resources to begin with. The trickle down concept is an balm for those who have a lot and want to keep it. There’s no trickle to those who really need it.

This is why affordable care for all is imperative for a healthy nation, including a nation that wants to be economically healthy. We’re getting there, despite resistance.

Now, if the US only provided education for all. What’s up with not having affordable education at the university level for people with moderate and low incomes? Oh, right, we’re shortsighted. I’m sorry, probably that should be, “Oh, Right, you’re shortsighted.”

While we’re at it, couldn’t we invest in people before they’re incarcerated? Think how much money it would save. Ounce of prevention, and all that, not to mention caring for your brother and sister.

But let’s get back to the good part of capitalism, because there is one, and it is innovative, value-based products that drive progress and economies.

Two simultaneous and countervailing forces are at work – greater and greater complexities and more and more simplicities. The most common example is: computers are infinitely more complex and, even for older people, easier to use.

The ex-husband of mine who was an entrepreneur spoke of “efficiencies.” That is, to be successful in the marketplace you needed to offer a product comparable to your competitor’s at a lower price or offer a better product without pricing yourself out of the market. (Balducci’s is doing neither of these and the customers were few and the employees grouchy. Balducci’s has lost business efficiency. Let’s hope it changes fast. Capitalism is about survival of the fittest.)

The most fun of these two “efficiencies” is introducing a new product that hits the world with impact. Rajiv Salimath, founder and CEO of Haggle, speaks of this as “perturbation.” He believes that to be outrageously successful you need to “perturb” the status quo, to offer people something that will change their lives in ways they want even if they never thought of it before. You need to inspire them, to reconfigure their imaginations and desires, which influences how they spend their money – which, in turn, can change the marketplace. Haggle, a young start-up originating in New York, may just change the marketplace.

Haggle gives consumers the power to instantaneously and seamlessly negotiate discounts based on what they bring to the seller. Example: participating restaurants compete to give you discounts custom-made to factors such as how often you eat out, the kinds of food you eat, what you usually spend, and how many people you bring with you. Your discount comes within seconds of your clicking into your app that you want, say, Indian food within a ten block radius.

The trajectory is envisioned to extend soon beyond New York, and to incorporate businesses such as gyms and clothing stores. The app is available for your iPhone or iPad through Apple store now. Check ’em out!

There is a balance – an efficiency, if you will – for capitalism that needs to be achieved, where survival of the fittest is not applied to humans but to products and goods. Being nice to everyone makes for healthy societies where all citizens have what is needed to participate in a viable economy – and be pleasantly perturbed, whether by an array of goat cheese or by having the personal power to get custom-made discounts because of how important you are to the seller.