business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's story about how some video stores are finding ways to be viable even in a world of video streaming, MNB reader Sara Freitag wrote:

Having made the trek from Cincinnati to northern Michigan over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was amazed to find video stores in almost every small town.  Small town USA is very different than urban USA – very different consumers with very different wants and needs and perhaps slow internet!

Two things.

First, I do a little trekking across middle America myself, and I've never noticed the video stores that you talk about. Next time I drive to Oregon, I'll try to pay more attention.

Second, I would simply argue that slow internet is nothing to feel nostalgic about.

From another reader, on the same subject but with a different perspective:

I have a comment on the video rental story. While I agree differentiation is the way for retailers to stay relevant, the WSJ made a misstep claiming that these unique video rental stores create a ‘browsing experience impossible online’.

Pre-2000s would they have said it would be impossible for an online retailer to push bookstores out of business, impossible to do your primary grocery shopping online, or impossible to replace DVDs with streaming videos? Someone must only create a better browsing UI, a more niche service, or offer more movies a la carte.

From Amazon I can buy almost any video I want that isn’t available on one of the subscription services. A targeted streaming platform called Crunchyroll already exists for Anime shows. Then examine how much more coherent Netflix has become since it was first released. Streaming services will only become more specific, better designed, and more fully stocked.

The past 10 years suggest nothing is impossible online.


A question from MNB reader Michael Stephan about how I do my football scores:

Why is it that you list every team name except for the Redskins?  For that team you list them as "Washington."

Because I got several emails from readers suggesting that "Redskins" was offensive. It seemed like a small thing to do in order to be sensitive to what seems to me to be an entirely legitimate complaint.

Got the following email from MNB reader Kevin Hollenbeck:

I received a delivery today from Amazon.

However, when I first went to the door, I saw a person that I first thought was a new neighbor that I had not met yet, because she was dress in regular clothes. When I asked how I could help her she handed me a package and asked me my name ( since she could she I was not my wife, who had ordered the package). I asked her where the Package came from, her response “Amazon”…I immediately looked for the brown truck and said what company are you with? She said she was with Amazon, then I saw she had a lanyard with Amazon written on it and an ID badge that I would see said Independent contractor… since I am a fairly loyal daily reader of your Blog, I remembered reading that Amazon was starting to use their own delivery services, so I quickly realized what happen.

I was thinking it would have been nice to know that someone else other than a usual delivery service would be used. We live outside of Philadelphia where the was just an incident where someone had a packaged delivered and it was an explosive.

Not that I was that concerned, but I did ask Alexa to track my packages and she told me that we just had a package delivered, so I knew that Amazon had delivered a package.

I still think if Amazon is going to expand this delivery method they might want to let their consumers know more about it?

Lastly I notice the person was driving what looked like a family van….how can Amazon afforded to pay a person enough to deliver packages in their own personal van and do it cheaper than UPS or FED EX?

Finally, responding to my brief comments about Fidel Castro's passing, one MNB user wrote:

It was the most perfect expression of what he was that I've read or heard. The hero who became the villain.

Thanks. You are very kind.
KC's View: