Readers Respond

On customer safety

“One of the biggest issues I find with customer safety are customers that do not mind their children. Kids think hardware and home improvement stores are playgrounds, and parents think the store is the babysitter. As a responsible retailer, it is your job to educate the parents on the dangers of not supervising their own children, and that your staff can not be the babysitter, the nanny or the entertainer. Your employees have difficult jobs, selling to customers and the never-ending task lists that must be completed to maintain your business. This is hard enough without having to keep saying, ‘Johnny, don’t climb up on that’ and ‘Suzie don’t crawl in there’ every five minutes. My approach is simple and direct: I tell the parents that I am not the babysitter, and it is their responsibility to mind their kids.

“I have had customers leave their children in my store and go to another store, expecting my staff to watch them. This is an accident waiting to happen.”

— Rocco Arena

On bank card “swipe fees”

“The Washington lawmakers should allow retailers to add the swipe fee to their sale total. This would put consumer pressure on the banks to compete for which card the consumer will use and thereby create competition. As it is, the retailer is required to absorb the fee. And the retailer, of course, is going to accept whatever card the customer wants to use. There is no competitive pressure here on the banks because the decision is made by a consumer who has no skin in the game.

“There are simple solutions to most problems. And since the consumer is going to cover the cost anyway, it is best to have the banks fighting for the consumer’s preference.

“No bureaucracies, no government pricing forced on anyone. It’s amazing how well the free market can work.”

— Charles Hildreth


The Emery-Waterhouse Co.

Portland, Maine 

“Card companies are charging too much for swipe fees. They are also charging too much for credit through their card programs, including outrageous amounts if you happen to be late with a payment. The card industry deserves all the heat they get and more.”

— Al Drinkwater

Lowell, Ark.

“Why should a swipe fee even exist for a debit card? If a retailer is paid with a manual check, there is no fee to the consumer or the retailer when depositing the check in the retailer’s bank, or when the check is presented to the issuing bank for payment. Banks have much lower handling costs on an electronic transaction than on handling a manual check, which has no fees. And a debit card is simply an electronic check.”

— Jeff Barnes

On medical marijuana meets lawn-and-garden sales

“For many years, I believe that [the medical marijuana] market has not only been overlooked, but very lucrative. And for the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone could miss the opportunity for growth — pardon the pun — in this market.”

— Lynn Davis

Sebastopol, Calif. 

“I believe this is a dishonest way of making pot legal and circumventing the Feds.

“The states are tired of arresting pot smokers and sending them to jail. We tie up our court systems, which are really needed for higher crimes. We also tie up tax dollars that could be spent on something better. We have lost the war on drugs, and that is no joke. Billions have been spent to win this battle, or should I say this lost cause. It is not that I agree with this plan. I have never smoked pot, but I bet most of those in charge today have and still do.”

— John Stokes 

“I would love to investigate this as a new category. Historically you can watch the social, regulatory and legal trends begin in California and sweep across the nation. Getting on board now will only keep up with the market, but help form it as well.”

— Jennifer L. Andrew

VP business development

Cambridge Resources 

“It’s certainly an appropriate category. The stuff should be legalized anyway — and taxed to death.”

— Mark Peterson

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