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Daily Glean: No parties, tea or otherwise, at Best Buy

“Right-sizing” in the retail world, scattershot rage at “Tea Party” protests and urban angst over Trader Joe’s.

The Strib’s Chris Serres anticipates Best Buy’s formal announcement of a, uh, “right-sizing” move that will, among other things, move as many as 8000 higher-level company employees back on to the sales floor at much lower salaries. Best Buy has yet to confirm all the details of this move, which has been anticipated for a while and is made possible, Serres quotes industry watchers, by the collapse of Circuit City earlier this year. The line from a Best Buy spokesman about how “This is not about cost-savings, it’s about positioning ourselves for now and in the future” will get some votes for the annual year-in-review “Management-Speak Gobbledygook” awards.  The PiPress uses a wire service story, which uses similar blather from a spokeswoman explaining the move — which backfired on Circuit City — as a move “that places greater emphasis on customer-facing employees”. (You just know a committee wrote that.) The PiPress piece also mentions the move possibly will produce a 25 cent-per-share improvement in value.

Wednesday’s “Tea Party” protests drew good if not spectacular numbers of people angry about — well, as Marlon Brando once said, “Whattaya got?” The PiPress’s Bill Salisbury provides dutiful coverage and quotes from protesters of various age ranges, and toward the bottom, gets in the part about the “AstroTurf” (fake “grass roots”) nature of the movement, mentioning the involvement of well-heeled donors and the hyping the event has received on FoxNews. Salisbury politely notes that the event was “promoted by some FoxNews hosts.” The shorter list would be those hosts who didn’t.  For the Strib, Mike Kaszuba drew the short straw, and produced a similar piece, nicely capturing the scattershot nature of the rage. The only thing not being protested, it seems, were zebra mussels. As you might expect by dawn today the comment boards were metastasizing.

You know you’re not in the suburbs anymore when a neighborhood has any misgivings about a new Trader Joe’s store. West of Highway 100, there are people who consider the trendy, vaguely hip L.A. supermarket chain an absolute necessity, like air and water. But in Whittier (roughly Lyndale and Franklin in south Minneapolis), the Strib’s Susan Feyder finds friction between a condo-developer who wants to slide a Trader Joe’s into the bottom floor of his project. One issue is Trader Joe’s ability to sell booze, something longtime neighborhood anchor The Wedge Co-op can not because … well, because there is a city statute about two off-sale establishments within 2,000 feet of each other, which the co-op is to Hum’s Liquor. (“2,000 feet”. Who knew?) As anyone who has blundered into the rush-hour-in-Lagos traffic nightmare that is the parking lot at the Trader Joe’s in St. Louis Park, the congestion issue with a Joe’s store is nothing to ignore.

The case of Stillwater spring breaker, Josh Gunderson, who died less than 24 hours after arriving in Puerto Vallarta last month, had three of the four local TV outlets interviewing the deceased’s mother and uncle Wednesday. WCCO’s James Schugel spends a bit too much time with the usual TV-style bedside manners — a tour of the young man’s trophies, etc. — as he lays out the conflict, which has the Gundersons upset that the two traveling companions have thus far refused/declined to discuss what happened leading up to the young man’s death. Say what? Schugel does get what his competitors do not — one of the companion’s lawyer — warning bells, anyone? — saying that the Gundersons demanded “odd or inappropriate conditions” for a conversation. KSTP’s Colleen Mahoney’s story is a bit less disjointed, and she gets in the details about one of the companions leaving Mexico with Gunderson’s passport and his wallet and camera being missing. But Fox9’s Bill Keller is the most cut-to-the-chase of the bunch. (The tragedy of Gunderson’s death was well covered in March.) Keller reports on an independent autopsy here in the States with a preliminary finding that Gunderson died of a head injury and “likely choked on blood or vomit.” The two companions have spoken to no one in the press. Overall, this one is a good example of the near impossibility of telling a story like this in two breathless TV minutes.

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While you’re checking out Keller’s piece, click on Fox9’s Rob Olson’s ditty on Susan Boyle, the frumpy Scottish gal who stunned Simon Cowell and the British version of “American Idol” with a performance that has lit up the Internet. Yeah, yeah, half of Fox9’s mission is wringing every possible drop of hype out of anything “Idol,” but Olson goes over to Nye’s Polonaise for a chat with the classic bar’s piano player, the guy who has to accompany whoever picks up the mike. It’s funny — and a minute longer than the Gunderson mysterious death story. (Also, nicely shot.)

Every time you wonder why Michele Bachmann says the things she does — and why she’s on national TV saying the stuff she does — remember the good old American profit motive. Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko reports that Bachmann’s antics have … certainly not hurt … her ability to pull in more than $300,000 this past quarter. You know she’d be nowhere close to that sticking to garden-variety Republican patois.