business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story yesterday about how Safeway is putting Amazon lockers in some of its stores, which prompted me to ask:

I cannot help but wonder about the advisability of Safeway providing easy access - not to mention the free advertising that comes from just having the lockers highly visible in the store lobbies - to an installation operated by a major competitor. I'm sure Safeway wouldn't put Kroger lockers in its stores. Or Bristol Farms lockers. So why Amazon?

One MNB user responded:

Maybe not, but Safeway sells Turkey Hill ice cream.  Kroger owns Turkey Hill Dairy.

Legitimate point. There's a little bit of a difference, since it isn't labeled as Kroger ice cream. But I think retailers need to look at places where they can avoid enriching the competition.

Regarding Amazon's overall expanding use of lockers, one MNB user wrote:

My friend and I are Prime members and big fans of these lockers.  We both work all day and prefer not to have stuff delivered to our homes where it is vulnerable to the possibility of package thieves.  I had been trying to get my packages delivered to a locker since they started but they were all located 20-30 miles away.  I was delighted to go do my grocery shopping and there in all its glory outside the Safeway was “Buster” a very large Amazon locker.  I immediately began using Buster and have been delighted.  When Amazon had their Prime day I shipped multiple packages to the locker and they were able to add more to than one package in the locker to conserve space even if they were not from the same order.  My friend and I were texting all day about our purchases and her locker “Betty” was full and she was given the opportunity to choose another locker and/or delivery address.  The code that opens the locker is sent via e-mail and all I have to do is bring up the barcode in the email and have Buster scans it and locker pops open.  The locker is open 24/7 so package retrieval can be done at any time. 

Oh, and we are Baby Boomers!





Regarding Sears CEO/chairman Eddie Lampert's assertion that Kmart will not be shut down, despite the trend lines being overwhelmingly negative, one MNB user wrote:

I remember when Fast Eddie figured that he could make a quick buck competing against Walmart, Kohl’s and Target. The rationale was that even if the stores didn’t make an operating profit, there was always the real estate. Now he is discovering that prime real estate selected 40 years ago, may not be so prime now. Neighborhoods change. That plus the bricks to clicks transition, may have him wishing that he stuck with hedge funds.

Another MNB reader compared Lampert to Donald Trump:

Kevin, he has a LT strategic plan.....it is just a secret!

And Jim Swoboda wrote:

Not only are they a dead company walking, I would suggest he’s a blind man leading.




On the subject of Amazon doing a better job at culling customer reviews to be sure that they are relevant, MNB user Tom Herman wrote:

I am a big purchaser on Amazon Prime.  I will probably have to delay my retirement because of it.  That said, I only look at reviews of verified purchases.




MNB also took note yesterday of a Columbus Business First report that Amazon "is laying the groundwork to add alcohol delivery to its Prime Now service in Columbus and Cincinnati," having filed for permits "to sell carryout beer, wine and pre-packaged low-proof mixed drinks in Franklin and Hamilton counties, according to applications with the Ohio Department of Commerce. Carryout licenses allow delivery."

Prompting one MNB user to write:

I love it! The evil Amazon, with its corporate greed and total disregard for job loss, could finally be stepping into an area that could take it down a notch or two. Delivering to college campus and even more questionable, tailgates, has lawsuit written all over it. Combine individual state liquor laws, underage drinking and our (unfortunate) litigious society won’t only cause disruption, but more likely, lawsuits.

So not only do you believe that Amazon is intrinsically evil, but you now are rooting for lawsuits against it.

Okay. I guess we know where you are coming from.




On another subject - baseball - this email from MNB reader Jim Huey:

Kevin, thank you for talking about your baseball memories. I am 46 and grew up about an hour from Milwaukee. When I was about 4 years old my mom and dad took my older brother and I to see the Brewers so we could say we saw Hank Aaron play. My eyes tear up even writing it all these years later. Sadly my parents divorced messily, but my mom continued to take us to baseball games.

When I was a kid the Brewers had a program where you got 6 tickets, to likely less desirable games, pretty cheap. In ’81 the strike cut out one of our games and we were reassigned one later in the season. Amazingly it ended up being the game the Brewers clinched the American League East against the Detroit Tigers, I believe. In the bottom of the ninth Rollie Fingers came on to try and close out the game. The entire stadium was on their feet, clapping and stopping their feet. If I close my eyes I can still feel the stadium shaking beneath me. He struck out the last 2 batters and seemingly an instant after the umpire called “strike” big Ted Simmons was jumping into Rollie’s chest. The stadium erupted and the fans began to pour onto the field.

My brother and I, 11 and 12 at the time, begged my mom to let us go onto the field but she prudently would not let us. It is one of the best memories of my childhood. I never went to a pro basketball or football game as a child but have many great memories of baseball. Thanks for helping me relive them!


My pleasure.

And from MNB reader Scott J. Proch, about my ballpark rankings:

Thanks for a great list!  Writing as it is nice to hear that Coors Field (where I root now) and KC (where I grew up) are in your top 10.  I think everyone likes the ones where they attended as kids and we often marvel at how great the ‘K’ is, having opened in 1973 during the period of ‘ugly’ ballparks with carpet.  Yet, they’ve kept it up so well it’s still great.  I also wish it was downtown.  Maybe someday.
 
Coors Field is actually a perceived issue with the Rockies.  The experience is so great, they draw 3M fans a year even when they’re terrible, so why bother increasing the payroll!

 
KC's View: