And Tomorrow’s Forecast Is …

By  Mitch Morrison, Vice President & Group Editor

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Last year we had some fun predicting the future, from the absurd to the rational. Looking back, who’d have thought that Congress would become even more dysfunctional and actually shut down the government? Or that Obamacare, after all the hype and promise, would debut like an AMC Pacer blowing a tire right out of the dealership lot?

For us c-store folks, we enjoyed our share of Tom Foolery. We said goodbye to Tesco, the revered U.K. brand that promised to teach Americans about retailing. Thank you, Tesco, for the rich education. (And thank you, beloved Englishman Gerald Lewis, for calling this one three years ago.)

We also said goodbye to some wonderful people, including brilliant retail innovator Bill Krause and tell-it-like-it-is Cheyenne International CEO Bill Greiwe.

And of course, at CSP, we thanked and hugged Paul Reuter for giving so many of us not only employment opportunities but also a forum for growing and expanding our minds and creativity.

Now onto 2014. As I stare into both my crystal ball and Magic 8 Ball, I see much behind the fog and uncertainty that I shall now reveal:

  • Diane McCarty will found a church, adopting the sacred vows of sarcasm.
  • “Vape” will be Merriam-Webster’s new word for 2014. In that vein, Tea Party revolutionaries will unite in a million-person march on D.C., declaring liberty for their e-cigarettes and puffing the night away.
  • In the middle of the night, Chet Cadieux will quietly unveil a new prototype called On the QT.
  • Pope Francis attends CSP’s Retail Leader of the Year dinner and declares John MacDougall the first living person to be canonized as St. John of Nice N Easy.
  • Obamacare does not lead to the destruction of what we know and love. But conspiracy theorists blame a particularly harsh winter on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • An Uncle Sam poster comes out with a new face, sending a message to all midlevel executives and category managers: Greg Parker Wants You!
  • Breaking news: Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is caught binging on Oreos, a supersize burger and a Slurpee.
  • Sonja Hubbard confides that she’s not really from Texas and was faking that sweet y’all drawl all these years. (She’s really from Buffalo.)
  • Hillary Clinton stuns the political establishment. Not because she’s not running for prez; of course she is. But that she’s running as an Elephant, crediting Brad Call’s GOP exhortation at The NACS Show.
  • Speaking of NACS’ new chairman, Call and past chairman Dave Carpenter--aka The Dudes--take their stage act to Vegas, only to be canceled a week later and replaced by Sheena Easton.
  • Seeking a magic bullet, Texas c-stores start selling arms and ammo. One publicly traded chain reports increased sales of 5 trillion percent.
  • One inventive operator gives new meaning to drive-thru, creating a 15-footwide store entrance for Humvee clientele.
  • Ari Haseotes and Arie Kotler are the only Ari(e) execs in the industry, though they’re not related. (Disclaimer: My older son’s name is Ari, which means lion in Hebrew.) Expect some healthy roaring from GPM and Cumberland Farms.
  • Lynn Wallis is named general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and immediately appoints Joe Vonder Haar as skipper. Melissa volunteers as ball girl. (You still need to file your stories on time, Mel.)
  • Jacoby Ellsbury sustains a seven-year injury in preseason warm-ups, leaving New York Yankee fans to wonder whether giving an injury-plagued singles hitter a $153 million guaranteed contract was a bad idea.
  • Dick Meyer and Jim Fisher hold a news conference announcing they are supporting House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for president.
  • New Jersey-based QuickChek rolls out a new item for voluminous Gov. Chris Christie: the Smashburger. (Like-named burger chain threatens suit before Christie whacks ’em with a humorous french fry in a reprisal of “The Sopranos.”)
  • The New England Patriots stun the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

Happy New Year!

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