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No. of Recommendations: 5
Hi Jim,

As a guy who spends his days in sales and marketing, and therefore recognizes a "sales job" when he sees it, we arrive at the core of my discomfort with both BPI and WWAV.

My own approach to sales is that what is important to me should only be what is important to the end user. Just because I have something to sell doesn't mean I should sell as may as I can to whoever I can. In the final analysis, that is not really in my (or anybody's) best interest.

BPI and WWAV both are predicated upon a contrary premise; everybody needs what we are selling. Furthermore, the specific qualities of the product are not intrinsically important to the company; what they really want is the most saleable product. Management views their job as selling as much as they can ( "increase shareholder value"...uh-huhn); what they have to sell is largely based upon emotional arguments, rather than rational arguments.

You know way more about BPI than I do, and I'm sure you can see where my thesis fits recent history. I am more familiar with WWAV because we have long been in the same industry. I am in dairy distribution (as DF is; Engels was of course DF incarnate) and I spend quite a lot of my time tramping through the world of "natural foods." My first experience with Horizon was at the Navy farm in Maryland. It's been all down hill since then. Horizon is the face of what's not natural in the "natural" foods business.

The ultimate question is "who cares?" In the case of BPI, with public funds at risk via un-repayable loans and more money to "The Man" and less left that can be saved for current or future needs, we all should care. If we can't save for retirement because we're paying off student loans, somebody is gonna get taxed.

In the case of WWAV where we have a choice of Horizon organic milk or Organic Valley milk, I can simply make a personal choice; what WWAV does has little impact on my future. There is a case to be made that even as marginally beneficial as mega-corp organic is, it's still marginally better. So long as they don't crowd out "real" organic, I have no problem with WWAV being who they are. Those of us who really care are fully aware of where the truth lies. I will root to the end of my days for "real" organic to put WWAV out of business, but it ain't gonna happen. But I can use my stock market gains on WWAV to buy local food from local producers...and frankly, that's good enough.

Lastly, I am no fan of Engels. I think he's greedy and selfish. And I think the stock is overpriced by a factor of three. But to your recent "Buffett" post, WWAV is one of those that is simply not worth trading. I have no idea what the end game will be; I'm 75% sure we'll be able to buy more at 50% off today's price for some reason, but when all is said and done, I am as certain as I can be that the payoff will be higher than today's trading price. Beside, if I only bought what I thought morally defensible, I wouldn't be in the stock market at all.

Have a nice locally produced veggie casserole as you brush up on your differential calculus at the (free on-line) Kahn Academy.

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