Company Blog

Cake or death?

by Adam Zack — August 23, 2023

“They just don’t shop in the business model that we have maintained.”

When told that French citizens were dying of hunger in 1789 because of a great famine, Marie Antionette, wife of King Louis XVI, reportedly said “Let them eat cake!” Now that would be fine if she was actually giving them cake, but it was a comment that was so out of touch (there wasn’t even any bread to be had, much less cake) that it led to her being despised and eventually losing her head to the guillotine. Comedian Eddie Izzard did a very funny riff on the subject in one of his stand-up specials, where the tyrant King of England offered subjects the choice of “cake or death!?” which of course everyone chose cake – until there was no more cake and “my choice is … ‘or death?’”. Which leads me to the point of this story, where a grocer near my home was trying to sell his neighborhood grocery store that has been in business since 1959. His business has eroded so much over the recent years that even though he owns the property, he is losing a lot of money every month. He was quoted:

“I can’t even sell through a case of cake mix before it goes out of code. Besides, if people need cake now, they will go out and buy one.”

He complains about how shoppers today are “polar opposites” of what they used to be and in the most revealing statement said “They just don’t shop in the business model that we have maintained.” That says it all to me. Instead of offering cake, he chose death. (and the area where his store is, is booming) Who would voluntarily choose death over, well, anything? It’s kind of like when you put a frog in a pot of water and turn the heat on, he will soon die, because he just doesn’t think enough to move when things start to get warm. Sadly, there are conventional “mom & pop” type grocers all over the country that, by not actively pursuing cake (change) have inadvertently chosen death. Change is hard, but it’s sure better than the alternative.

Read More – Holy Moly

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