Monthly Archives: April 2014

Walmart vs. Whole Foods Market

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/10/us-walmart-wildoats-idUSBREA3909I20140410

Walmart is partnering with Wild Oats and introducing inexpensive organic goods to its stores.  This move is supposed to be a threat to organic foods king Whole Foods Market.  I don’t see this move being successful at all for Walmart and I doubt that the folks over WFM are worried about this development.

WFM’s primary competitive advantage lies not with its product mix, but in its store environment.  Walmart, in comparison, does poorly in store environment.  Its low cost business model contributes to its poor store environment.

A key aspect of store environment that often is ignored because of its sensitive nature is the customer factor.  The customer factor of store environment, unlike fixtures or lighting, is not under the direct control of the store.  What type of people are shopping at the store and how does this influence who decides to shop at the store?

People who shop at Walmart, well, there is a whole website site devoted to mocking them.  Here is a short list of possibly very offensive nouns and adjectives describing the Peoples of Walmart (POWs):

  • Geriatric
  • Prole
  • Obese
  • Immigrant
  • Ugly
  • Dalit
  • Black
  • Mexican
  • Food stamps
  • Blue collar
  • Unemployed
  • Welfare

These are the people who shop at Walmart. They occupy the lowest rungs of our society and higher class people often look upon them with disdain.

Many enlightened people, rich people, brahmins, SWPLs, yuppies, etc, etc, avoid shopping at Walmart because shopping at Walmart requires them to interact with undesireables.  Few of them will admit this, and some may even be unaware of their own unconcisous biases, but I think it is true to some extent.  Standing in line behind the overweight black single mother, her brood, her basket full of fatty foods, and her fat ass in pants much too tight, is, to put it nicely, disconcerting for your average brahmin, no matter how liberal.  Not to mention the fact that she’s trying to use coupons AND food stamps which makes the brahmin in question quite uncomfortable indeed.  The fact of the matter is, the peoples of Walmart, are ICKY.  ICKY.

The marginal benefit of shopping at Walmart for organic foods(lower price) cannot overcome the marginal cost of a poor store environment.  People would rather pay more money and shop at WFM than pay less money and have to look at icky POWs at Walmart.

a person of Walmart :K

The only way that Walmart could be successful in organic foods is if somehow POWs become interested in purchasing organic foods, because I don’t think they’ll be able to convince cool people who buy organic foods to come to their stores as long as POWs keep shopping at Walmart.  I find it unlikely that POWs will ever want to buy organic foods because POWs don’t much care about their health.

Now on to WFM, where I wrote the first half of this blog post from the balcony overlooking the store sipping an iced coffee made from a Japanese Oji Machine (super neat and makes quite a tasty iced coffee).

photo1

WFM has transformed some of their stores into ¨social destinations” where one can not only shop, but hang out as well.  It has turned into a place, much like some famous clubs in NYC and LA, to ¨be seen¨.  Cool people shop and hang out at WFM and you gain  social credibility if you are seen shopping at WFM, even if you are just buying bread, milk, and peanut butter.  Most people don’t buy the obscure items that you could buy at WFM, they probably just buy the same stuff they could buy at Walmart or the local grocery store.  I’d guess that WFM operates  close to the 80/20 Pareto Principle.

WFM, in its past, appealed mostly to granolas, but has managed to transform its image and market itself successfully to rich people from both the left and the right.  The healthy living trend of the last decade has contributed to their success.

Nowadays, while you see lots of granolas working at WFM, they no longer compromise the majority of the customers.  It is a good thing too, since granolas don’t make a lot of money(because they work at WFM and are writers/artists/musicians on the side), and therefore do not generate a lot of revenue for WFM. Instead, the typical customer is an attractive white woman between the ages of 22 and 45, who wears yoga pants from Lululemon.  WFM is a hotspot for ¨MILFs¨.

Shopping at WFM is a lot more appealing for many people than shopping at Walmart because the people are significantly more attractive and of a higher social class.

WFM customer Jessica Alba

If I were the CEO of Wild Oats, I would choose to partner with Target rather than with Walmart.  People who shop at WFM probably shop at Target too for stuff they don’t get at WFM (such as tampons, because only super devoted granolas buy organic cotton tampons from WFM).

I shop at both WFM and Walmart so I theoretically I am well qualified to blog on this topic.

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Black guy acts Asian, gets into all 8 Ivy League Schools

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/31/ivy-league-admissions-college-university/7119531/

This story from USA Today has been all over major and minor media channels.  I don’t know what is wrong with media these days–what are they trying to accomplish by posting this story?  The story itself is almost satirical in nature if you take it as a commentary on affirmative action.  

USA Today discusses the gender aspect of college admissions, suggesting that the young man benefited from his gender, but wisely ignores race, even though that is the first thing that comes to any reasonable person’s mind when reading this article.  

There are a couple of things that stand out to me from this story:

1. The kid Kwasi, is a first generation American from Ghana.  Presumably, he was born in the US.   His parents are nurses and he probably grew up in a middle class neighborhood.  He is not from ¨the ghetto¨ and most likely does not speak in ebonics.  Most of the smart blacks in universities have African African backgrounds.  On a similar note, most smart Hispanics at universities don’t look like anything the people who mow your lawns, build your houses, and pick your fruit.  They are, as someone once put it to me, Conquistadors.  I would guess that more than 80% of Hispanics at the top 50 schools in the US are white.  Why the hell should Conquistadors benefit from affirmative action?  If anything, they should be punished for the Conquistador sins their ancestors committed.  

2. Kwasi plays viola and wants to be a doctor, just like your stereotypical Asian kid.  When admission officers see an Asian kid who has good test scores, plays violin, and wants to be doctor, they yawn and shrug, because, well, it is just so stereotypical.  Boring.  Next.  But a black kid?  That has admission officers salivating.  An Asian kid applying with a similar profile would probably have an OK chance at a few of the ¨lower ivy’s¨, but no real chance at HYP.  

3. 2250 on the SAT is pretty solid score, especially for a black.  While he will not be a top performer at any of these schools by any means, he will, based on his SAT score, and unlike your typical under-qualified minority, be able to handle the work and most likely make his way into a top medical school, again, by way of affirmative action.  

I don’t think abolishing affirmative action at universities is politically feasible at the moment.  There is too much opposition.  I think schools should be mandated to publish admissions data by race if they wish to practice affirmative action.  While everyone knows that blacks and Hispanics get in with lower scores than whites or Asians, the universities are pretending that the disparities really aren’t that large.  

Public data on admissions by race would be embarrassing for both schools and minorities.  I think it would be so embarrassing for pro-affirmative action parties that eventually they would begin to oppose affirmative action.  

 

 

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Race, Height, and Basketball Development

When I was younger (10?), I played on an AAU basketball team.  Everyone on my team was white, except for me and a half-black kid.  Our very first game, we played an all black team.  They pressed us relentlessly and the end result was not pretty.

Blacks mature faster than whites, who mature faster than Asians, so at this level of basketball, black kids have a physical maturity advantage.  The playing field is much more level in high school, because the maturity advantage of blacks has mostly disappeared.  Of course, blacks, on average, still hold an advantage in overall athletic ability, but it is not insurmountable by any means.  In high school, our all white+me team did manage to beat some very black teams by playing a disciplined brand of basketball.

Most people who have been exposed to competitive basketball understand that “black” does not always equal “good at basketball”.  A good percentage of adults who like to play pick-up basketball who did not grow up in a basketball environment are extremely gullible and believe “black”=”good at basketball”, so they pick black people first, even if the black person in question sucks.  Asians are especially prone to this kind of discriminatory behavior as most Asians spent more time at Kumon math class than at gyms in their youth.  FOBs  are even more prone to this behavior as their exposure to black people prior to arriving in the states is pretty much limited to watching the NBA which is dominated by black people who can jump really high.

Several of the post players on my AAU team never ended up being much good in high school, even though they were pretty good at a younger age.  The reason?  While they were considered “tall” when they were young, they ended up peaking in height at less than 6-3, which is not tall enough to play down low in competitive high school basketball, especially if you are white and can’t really jump all that high.  They were relatively slow, weren’t much good at handling or shooting the ball, but had great post moves, which unfortunately doesn’t really help when the defender is several inches taller.

The lesson here is that if you are training your kids to play basketball, teach them guard skills, no matter how tall they may seem to be.  It is easier to learn post skills than guard skills at a later age.  This has become a trend–many professional forwards and centers these days were trained as guards when they were younger.  You no longer see too many traditional post players–coaches want forwards who can shoot and handle the ball a bit.

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