I see the word "Borg" refering to Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. here... I'm
wondering how the term originated. I'm guessing that it refers to the Borg
cube from "Star Wars, the Next Generation" being compared to the large
square buildings of above mentioned stores??
BTW, I do enjoy the warped sense of humor that seems to be yet another
common factor among WWer's here.
I have read a lot of grumbling about the giants coming in and running the
small lumber yards out of business. I don't see much evidence of that
happening in south central Kansas. What little hardwood they sell is well
above local hardwood dealers.
Even more telling is their dealing with contractors. I built one of the
first homes in a development that has since added about 80 houses. On the
very few occasions that I have seen a big-box delivery out here (I am home
during the day) they are dropping off appliances. The lumber and other
materials are being delivered by local lumber yards - many are from smaller
When we built we decided to buy lighting from Lowe's because their prices
were much better than the local lighting houses. Our contractor was a
little hesitant because he didn't know much about their quality. We did the
legwork on getting his account set up, bought the lights ourselves, and he
ended up being very pleased with the quality we selected. BUT - getting him
a contractor's account with Lowe's was absolutely ridiculous. Their
contractor rep was one of the rudest people I have dealt with and he even
told a couple of outright lies. If they treat contractors the way they
treated us it is no wonder they don't deliver into developments. I still
own Lowe's stock but I deal with the locals or big orange more these days.
My son is a superintendent with a heavy construction company. They told
Lowe's to pound sand about a year ago because they were impossible to deal
with. Their payment terms and penalties do not fit most business cycles -
Bottom line - this should be good business for the smaller guys. You can
compete if you treat customers and contractors like customers.
Definitely seen it in SW KS/SE CO/OK panhandle, however, where there
isn't the population density of even central KS.
It's possible to compete in larger markets but very tough in
smaller...trasportation costs are a prime killer as the volume problem
is exacerbated by rising fuel costs and the distance from suppliers.
Consolidation of distributors also is a difficulty.
Mead Best Buy did build a new store here last year but the smaller
surrounding communities which had nice little lumber yards have just
gone away since the HD in Garden opened as well two in Garden itself.
This was a trend in place before the HD opened, but it has been
accelerated...what is really move observable in the Wally-World and
other retail as the HD hasn't been around quite long enough to really
judge its long term effect, but imo it isn't all positive even now.
Star in Wichita, for example, has pulled all their western KS stores.
Truthfully, I don't much care about the size of the distributor per se,
if purchasing weren't so biased by their practices of "browbeating"
distributors who then (somewhat like in the case of medical services who
make up for uninsured and Medicare/Medicaid charges by higher costs to
the fully-insured) don't provide similar costs to independents.
Service can make up for some w/ some customers but not all and certainly
in smaller markets w/ lesser average income levels, the tendency to buy
cheap is overwhelming to most.
cheap prices that they do for quality service and products.
I don't know about that.
I've found that, by and large, the Borg has high-quality products.
You can buy cheap goods just as easily at a Mom & Pop.
I do, however, mourn the demise of Mom & Pop stores.
The opposite of "cheap" is not necessarily "quality" nor is good
quality obligatorily expensive.
McDonalds for example produce excellent french fries, better than
anything you can make, and better than anything the top-rated
restaurants can produce. A few years ago the New Yorker, a journal not
renowned for its support of fast food, ran a long in-depth article on
the subject detailing the steps taken to ensure that McDs fries are
without parallel. At the time the top-rated restaurant in the US was
"Daniel" in NYC owned by Daniel Bouloud and in an interview even he
admitted to indulging in the occasional "large fries" pointing out
that while most of McDs food was suitable only for the dumpster, their
fries were sublime and well beyond what he could produce.
If you're interested, the reason is that the making of good fries is a
function highly contingent upon the industrialized processes at which
McDs excels. The potatoes have to be of a particular variety and
harvested at a time of low water content. Since they're usually sold
by weight the farmer has the opposite interest; McDs solves the
problem by having exclusive contracts, supervising the growing and
harvesting, and ensuring they're harvested at the appropriate time.
Even then they go through a long drying process in vast hangers until
they reach the optimum level. The cutting and then pre-cooking and
freezing for delivery are minutely controlled and finally at the
franchisee end those deep fryers maintain exactly the right
temperature for the second cooking and notify the grunts by buzzer of
the exact moment to remove the ideal french fry.
And no, contrary to rumor, they don't add sugar to the fries.
Well, what you've described is how McDonald's <controls> consistency.
Whether they're "unparalleled" is a matter of personal taste. You
apparently like their model--while I recognize I can <usually> get the
same thing at any Mickey-D's, I don't find them nearly as appetizing as
a "home-grown" version. But my taste apparently doesn't match yours.
My preference is for my Mom's fries, which I've been unable to
Second is Wendy's, followed by McD's. Burger King keeps changing their
fries, so it's hard to say.
But if I want the best fast food in my area, it's time for a pilgrimage
to Hot Dog Johnny on Butzville. Good dogs, good fries. Two with
ketchuponionpickle -- "To the left" iirc, fries, and a buttermilk.
Not quite. You could have consistently soggy, oily fries as you get in
most restaurants, fast food and otherwise, or you can select, process
and cook the potatoes correctly to produce the desired superlative
I quoted indirectly an acknowledged expert in food taste. I presume
you'd say an evaluation by Robert Parker of a wine at 99 was simply
"his taste" and by implication no different than yours.
But it's still controlling <consistency> ... same thing as any other
industrial process. Just like any other "six-sigma" process (although I
don't know that M-D's uses the formal process, it's the same idea).
I grant the target is one which is palatable to the mass market they're
targetting, and more so than some, but it's still simply a matter of
personal taste as to whether the target is or isn't one's own favorite.
Well, I'll grant I wouldn't rank as anything of an expert by anyone who
was a wine expert--I have some things I enjoy and others I don't. Some
of what I enjoy I know is rated moderately well, some of what I have had
that has been highly rated I don't care for at all...that is personal
preference. I could care less on a <personal> choice as to what
<anybody> elses's opinion is---I may consider other recommendations for
choices on occasion, but I don't feel at all obligated to cater to their
choices if their "educated" or "sophisticated" palate doesn't match
As noted, I stand by my contention that it is all personal preference
and for me my preference is far more significant than all the "experts"
whose judgement is in large part a support for exclusiveness and elitism
designed primarily to justify the financial returns.
On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 04:25:57 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@NoGoodISP.gov wrote:
RP is an "expert" on wine. But from the point of view of me
enjoying a wine, it is in fact the case that his preferences are
no more important than mine. For me, the primary utility of
his ratings are that they help narrow down the choices among
wines I have never tried (cheap wines, since that is all that
I buy). But I do know by now that I am much more likely to
enjoy the dry wines that he has recommended and to stay
away from those where the word "fruit" is emphasized in his
description. He rated the 2000(?) Vitiano higher than the
following year's; I liked the latter better personally, but I
"agreed" that both were quite good for the money.
Actually, most restaurants make them too crisp and dry for my taste. Wendys
fries used to be exactly to my taste but they're now insufficiently soggy
Given the choice between an expert's opinion and my own concerning food I'll
take my own thank you. There is no universal standard. The fact that some
overpaid commentator likes something is no guarantee that anybody else
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