business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from MNB reader Kirk Altmanshofer:

I cannot speak to the home-improvement skills of author of the Business Insider article regarding why D-I-Y stores are weathering the online retailing storm, but his or her argument missed a few important factors:  urgency and the immersive experience.

Home projects rarely go as planned, at least mine don't, and if I need something I need it NOW.  How often have you or any of your readers done that opening trip to your local home improvement store to buy everything you need for a project and then find yourself back there again in the same day?  If I crack a pipe and have one of those "son of a...!" moments (usually it's more expletive) I don't have time for online shopping even if delivery is free.  I don't even think one-hour drone delivery service is going to be much help when I need a 10' piece of 2" PVC pipe. 

It certainly wouldn't go over well at home if I had to argue "Sorry there's no water for 2-3 days, but on the bright side I did get free shipping!”

For those who are into home improvement sometimes it's just fun to go walk around a Lowe's, Home Depot or Ace for inspiration or simply to get away from it all.  I am sure those places have a higher incidence of impulse purchases because of just that.  Home improvement is a highly tactile event.  It's difficult to create that perfect mix of tile patterns on a computer screen.  You can't get a feel for a that new saw you didn't know you needed unless you can hold it in your hand.  Service is great, which is why I pick certain locations depending on what I need.  Often my only interaction is with the cashier on the way out.  Sometimes a quick trip to a D-I-Y store for one item can turn into a fun, lengthy and, well, expensive event.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

Read on several blogs that were about Walmart catching up with Amazon on Self Service.  The article purported that Walmart had converted a group of stores to self service where you could scan on your phone and pay that way or you can pick up a scanner in the front of the store and scan that way.  Aren’t they missing the whole point.  Amazon concept is that you walk in the store and just pick up the products and you don’t  have to scan the products; the charge automatically gets sent to your phone and you walk out of the store.  In my opinion, the ultimate convenience. 
In the end though,  this rapidly escalating trend does not bode well for the tens of thousands cashiers.

Also got this email from MNB reader Bill Welch, about our piece regarding the importance of story as illustrated by the great Robert Shaw speech about the fate of the USS Indianapolis from Jaws:

I agree, whenever I hear about the USS Indianapolis I play back the words of Robert Shaw in Jaws.   It says a lot about the power of monologues in movies and story telling.
Here are some of my other favorites:
• Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: “You want me on that wall you need me on that wall…”

• James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams: “People will come…”

• George C. Scott in Patton: “No poor bastard every won a war by dying for his country…”

• Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross: “The good news is you are fired…”
What are your favorites?

Gosh, there are so many of them.

But I’ll tell you a few.

I love the scene in which Anthony Hopkins analyzes Jody Foster in Silence of the Lambs: “You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste…”

Robert Duvall, in Apocalypse Now: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…”

Morgan Freeman, at the end of The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living or get busy dying … I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams..”

Peter Finch in Network: “I’m mad as hell…”

And two more…

There’s the wonderful scene in A Man For All Seasons, by Robert Bolt, in which Paul Scofield as Thomas More explains why he has to make the moral ands ethical choice, and not the politically expedient one:

““If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we'd live like animals or angels in the happy land that /needs/ no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all... why then perhaps we /must/ stand fast a little --even at the risk of being heroes.”

And finally, one I’m sure you’ve never seen. It is from one of my favorite movies of all time, Robin & Marian, in which Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn played Robin Hood and Maid Marian in middle age. In this scene, having returned from the Crusades, Robin answers Marian’s question about whether he is sick of war:

“On the twelfth of July, 1191, the mighty fortress that was Acre fell to Richard, his one great victory in the Holy Land. He was sick in bed and never struck a blow. On the eighth of August, John and I stood outside watching while every Muslim left alive was marched out in chains. King Richard spared the rich for ransoms, took the strong for slaves, then he took the children- all the children-and had them chopped apart. Then he had their mothers killed. When they were all dead, three thousand bodies on the plain, he had them all opened up so their guts could be explored for gold and precious stones. Our churchmen on the scene - and there were many - took it for a triumph! One bishop put on his mitre and led us all in prayer. And you ask me if I'm sick of it.”

Go watch Robin & Marian if you haven’t. It is one of the great under-appreciated movies, in my opinion.
KC's View: