business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story the other about a shortage of truck drivers, which prompted the following email from an MNB reader:

The looming transportation driver shortage is going to hit and hit hard in less than 2 months.  Currently drivers must log the number of hours they drive manually using paper log books.  A new mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states carriers have until December 17, 2017 to implement electronic logging devices to track drivers hours.  While the rules of how many hours a driver can legally drive will not change, how they are tracked and the ease of which violations can be detected will change.

It’s an open secret that today drivers drive (and get paid to drive) for more hours than they are legally allowed.  The electronic logging devices should put an end to that practice but those extra hours will still need to be filled.  A significant number of carriers have delayed the implementation of electronic device in the hopes of a last minute reprieve from the new rules but as of now there is no hint that the mandate will be delayed.  The concern is those waiting to implement will not allow sufficient time to order, install, test and train in time to be complaint by the deadline. 

Got the following email from MNB reader Chris Utz:

I recently read that Amazon would deliver to your car trunk, with a one-time access code.  Might be okay, unless someone witnessed the delivery and decided to break into the car.  The cost and headache of vehicle repairs might cost more than the item delivered.  I read that Walmart was considering home delivery using employees and even direct-to-fridge delivery without customers having to be home.  What could possibly go wrong with that scenario?

I have always lived nice neighborhoods and have been friendly with and trusted my neighbors.  Sometimes, however there’s an occasional story about thieves following delivery trucks; especially this time of year.

Recently, I requested that a high-dollar shipment, not from Amazon, be held for pickup at delivery company’s distribution center.  The container appeared to have been damaged , but had been re-taped with clear packing tape.  (The box had been originally sealed with tan tape).  When opened, the box was missing 20% of the product, worth about $50.  I’ve been a bit apprehensive about ordering online ever since, even though the seller replaced the missing items, without question or hesitation.

I would never allow a stranger to enter my home when I wasn’t there, for any number of reasons.  Nor would I want a delivery person drawing attention to one of my vehicles.  I occasionally order items for front porch delivery, but usually only things I could afford to lose.   Some decision points for shopping online vs. bricks and mortar retailers involve time and hassle combined perhaps with a previous negative, onerous or even an uninspiring shopping experience.  I enjoy shopping with retailers, whose locations and employees provide compelling reasons to return.

On another subject, from MNB reader Gary Loehr:

I went by the Sears in Willowbrook Mall (NJ) last week.  A lot of construction underway.  Looks they are turning about 1/3 of the store into a Dave & Busters.  The automotive center is closed.  Dead man crawling.

No kidding.

On the subject of e-commerce, one MNB reader wrote:

With the occasional purchase from Amazon and e-books, I rarely  shop on line. However, times are changing. Recently, I found out a dear friend in another city was having trouble making ends meet and she didn’t have a any food in the house. I called a local grocery store and asked if I could set up an account for her to use, but I was told I could only do that in person.

Then I found another grocer who had online purchasing. I must admit it was the easiest shopping I’ve done in a long time. It took me about 15 minutes to set up the account and place an order. I had a choice of times with a 2-hour window and my friend had her groceries in about two hours. It changed my mind completely and now I’m looking locally.

But another MNB reader has a problem with my priorities:

Cannot believe how much daily free advertising you give the expense of mom & Pop…

First of all, it isn’t advertising. It is coverage … and I think it is warranted because of all the innovations that Amazon is pursuing.

However, when I think an independent is creating a compelling format, I try to draw attention it it. (I’d submit last week’s story about Westborn Market in Detroit as just one example.)

We had a story yesterday about the impact that global warming is having on olive crops, and the implications for the olive oil industry. One MNB reader responded:

One olive tree in Israel is 3000 years old and still produces fruit.  I think we will survive.

Maybe … but maybe you want to consider Jeremiah 2:7…

And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.

Just because a tree survives for 3,000 years doesn’t guarantee that it is going to survive for 3,001.
KC's View: