Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fewer restaurants out there

WICHITA — Recession has taken its toll on the restaurant industry nationwide as people have cut back on going out to eat.

Ewww yuck, dirty bathrooms customers biggest gripe

And from the Duh Department comes this Harris Interactive survey on what turns off retail customers:

Unclean restrooms     95 percent
Unpleasant odor     92 percent
Poor customer service    90 percent
Dirty floors     86 percent
Dirty shopping carts    84 percent
Poor staff appearance     83 percent
Spills or stains    81 percent
Wet floors with no signage    76 percent
Dusty surfaces        74 percent
Dirty glass and windows    68 percent

Cost of our national weight problem: $450 billion

The direct and indirect cost of being overweight is staggering, according to this chart from McKinsey, the international business consulting company.

To put it in perspective, the $450 billion estimate is about same size as the federal deficit in 2008.

How to fix the foreclosure mess

The foreclosure crisis has frustrated and puzzled everybody, especially the homeowners who wonder why the banks often appear to be acting against their own best interest in pushing foreclosure when a settlement with the homeowner would be cheaper and faster.

Well, the head of the FDIC — Independence Kan.’s, own Sheila Bair — said the problem is, as always, a matter of screwed up incentives. Here’s her recommendation on how to fix it.

Busy time in the unemployment line

The annual after-Christmas layoff season has hit. The number of new people in Kansas seeking unemployment after New Years doubled to 10,000  from December levels. It lasts a week or two and then heads back down to a lower level.

I don’t know exactly how many people are timing out of unemployment benefits — the state and feds award a maximum of 84 weeks — but the overall number of people on unemployment in Kansas was a lot lower in 2010 than in 2009, in the low 30,000s every week instead of the 40,000-60,000 of 2009.

Products that should be re-released

One of my pals – despite what you hear from one side of the aisle, there actually are people who like journalists – was ruminating the other day about products from our youth that we’d like to see re-released.

She was talking about a skin cream; I, on the other hand, have loftier ambitions.

My choice: It’s time for Tudor to come back to life and re-release the Super Bowl electric football game.

The why is harder to explain, since I have to admit that was the one toy from my youth that had absolutely no practical application whatsoever.

Since childhood, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the Xs and Os of football, so much that I collect authentic playbooks to this day. So I guess the appeal of electric football grows from that.

But the darn thing didn’t work. Even though Tudor invented turning bases for the offensive linemen, God help you if you tried to get your guys to run a power sweep or a trap. Try as I might, they always rattled over to the sidelines.

But I loved the kickers. You were ALWAYS in range for a field goal. My career best was an estimated 650 yards, estimated only because the attempt in question split the uprights and sailed across the living room – into the floor furnace.

The smell of burning felt isn’t a pretty thing.

I loved that electric football game. And skin cream’s not going to help this face.

More big numbers from the IMAX

Now, I know there’s a legitimate community discussion to be had about public incentives for private business, and about the Wichita City Council’s Mario Mendoza-like batting average on those partnerships.

But if the first month is any indication, the council picked a winner when it approved an industrial revenue bond issue last year for Bill Warren’s IMAX at 21st and Tyler.