“I’d give it a B+”

August 10, 2015. 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. National Public Radio (NPR). The segment is Marketplace. 

Stating that many students (pupils from elementary to high school) are returning to school, the announcer reports that school-related consumer shopping – supplies, clothes and electronics – is down 5% or more.

An expert is interviewed briefly. He is asked to give a grade for the disappointing results thusfar. His voice is low, unanimated, sounding a bit depressed: “I’d give it a B+.”

B+ is only half a grade from an A. And an A is considered to be excellent.