Published on: February 25, 2013
Got the following email from Lauren E. Hefner of the National Grocers Association (NGA):Thanks for the great coverage of our press release re: Visa/MC settlement.
Curious, would you be willing to link to our page on the settlement options? We want grocers to be able to have access to their options (and of course, our reasoning for why they should choose opting out/objecting so that they understand why the settlement is so limiting.)The site is www.nationalgrocers.org/settlementoptions
Done. My pleasure.
We had a piece last week about how Tesco is forcing employees to "wear electronic armbands that managers can use to grade how hard they are working ... The armbands are worn by warehouse staff and forklift drivers, who use them to scan the stock they collect from supermarket distribution points and send it out for delivery."
I suggested that one person's efficiency is another person's intrusive behavior, and suggested:What is interesting to me about this story is that it really is about one of those issues that are a product of our 21st century, technology-driven culture. People can wax rhapsodic about the notion of wearable technology - I've done it myself, most recently about the concept of an iWatch - that will allow us all to be more connected, more effective, more efficient, breezing through life as if with an EZ-Pass strapped to our foreheads, an iPod implanted behind our ears and a computer/TV screen wired into our eyeballs. No muss, no fuss.Except that being so wired does mean that not only do we move through life with greater ease, but people and organizations are able to track us with greater facility. Fact of life. And we have to think about whether these trade-offs are worth it.
One MNB user responded:These days it's common to place devices on employees and/or equipment that communicate work assignments and manage labor and report on productivity. Those that have the most success using this technology are the ones who offer their associates a win-win reward system. Typically it establishes a reasonable expectation and then rewards those that exceed that expectation in proportion to their efficiency. In this way a company can share with employees the productivity increases they generate. The best of these programs are voluntary.
If approached correctly, employees like the technology because there is something in it for them. This does not take the place of leadership (influencing people based on your personal relationship). Appreciation for work, being "in the know" and caring and responding to an employee's personal issues are still the "big 3".
MNB user Peter H. Grimlund wrote:The occasional use of electronic wristbands to collect accurate data for use in improving operations seems like a modern replacement for the stop watch and clip board used in earlier times for time and motion studies by industrial engineers. That is a good use of the technology, but as an everyday tracking tool for individual employees – ugh, another few feet down the slippery slope to total surveillance. Besides employers don’t need to monitor the people, they can “tag” the equipment being used by the employees to get at the information they need.
And from another reader:Concerning your most recent post about how we are being tracked - it came just after the news Disney plans to give us all bracelets with chips that will track our every move within a park, even allowing the car parkers to call us by name. I think we are reaching the "whoa" point. When does the quest for personalization and customer service get just plain creepy.
To me, it will all be about how relevant and useful the tracking seems to be. I am reinforced in this opinion by the parents who actually like the Disney concept because they feel like their kids will be safer, not more exposed.
Though I certainly don't want to end up living in a village where we all have numbers instead of names, and where we report to some called "Number Two." Which seems like a possibility...
I referenced the other day a New York Times
piece on the science of making junk food addictive, which prompted one MNB user to write:I believe that what is really behind this problem is the continuous growth model that all corporations have espoused. Once your marketing department has seen to it that every man, woman, and child on earth is eating/drinking your product, the only way to make the TONS more profit that your vultures/vampires/bloodsuckers/shareholders demand is to make everyone drink or eat TWO bags or bottles a day...and then THREE..and then FOUR. Of course you scour the earth for new communities (linear expansion), but once you have them hooked, the only way to get double digit profits is to get them to eat/drink more and more - while cutting the costs of production. Too bad the robots that have displaced human workers can't be programmed to eat and drink the products, too.
I see this philosophy in action every single day. And you said it a long time ago, when talking about what CEO Indra Nooyi needs to do to satisfy the Analysts and Sharesuckers.
We continue to get email about the Maker's Mark brand equity blunder:I am not a whiskey (or whisky) drinker, let alone Maker's Mark, but was surprised to see a Maker's Mark TV :30, I believe this past Sunday or Monday. High production values, no mention of the recent scandal (just a commitment-to-quality message), so my guess is they pulled this one from storage and started airing in an attempt to support the brand. At some point, though, the Company might reach a point where they doth protest too much, methinks.
On another subject, MNB user Christina Harrison wrote:LOL when I read your article about Amazon’s virtual currency work. Good for them, but let’s be honest about where they got the idea from…movie fans should get this…it’s from the “Mom Bucks” idea in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules movie where Mrs. Heffley gives her sons, Roderick and Greg, this type of virtual/quasi-money to spend more quality time together. You have to love how they get an advance on the money and then blow it on slurpies at a convenience store!
Regarding the possibility of clothing that will become transparent when people get aroused, MNB user Debra Topham wrote:Couple thoughts on transparency clothing—What if people wore these at the airport security lines? Or the bank? Or Shoplifters?
Would we catch more criminals because of their elevated BPM?
Depends, I suppose, on what turns them on.
In the piece, I commented:I was interested, by the way, to see that while the company is focusing for now on women's frocks, there is at least the possibility that the company could design a suit for men made out of such materials and computer chips.
Of course, if I wore one, it'd be really embarrassing. Because it probably would go transparent whenever I looked at a container of Graeter's Black Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream. Because that's one of the things that get me aroused these days...
Which led MNB user George Denman - who happens to be the VP of sales & marketing at Graeter's - to write:That and a bottle of 2003 Duckhorn merlot and who needs the dress...
I wrote the other day about how, if found guilty, the guys responsible for knowingly distributing tainted peanut butter - because they were more concerned with making numbers than selling safe food - ought to be forced as part of their punishment to eat said peanut butter.
Which led one MNB user to write:I completely agree that people who taint the food supply need to go to jail, and "oops" should not be a defense. Under the current approach, the victim is to blame -- for eating raw cookie dough, or not cooking meat to whatever temperature kills the lethal bacteria that the producer has allowed to infect the food. The producer shrugs and walks away.
We impose strict liability on people who handle dangerous and hazardous materials -- "accidental" release of toxins and "inadvertent" dynamite explosions are not tolerated. If you cause either, and you go to jail. We should impose the same standard to those involved in food production and distribution. Sentence a few of these guys to jail terms, and see how fast salmonella disappears from the food supply.
And another MNB user sent in this line from "The Mikado":My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time
To make the Punishment fit the Crime.
Just amazing how relevant Gilbert & Sullivan remain!
And finally, from MNB user Mark Raddant:Your Oscar reviews had some of your most astute and profound writing that I have read.
The best was your comment about the torture scene in Zero Dark Thirty: "What it did was make us face the fact that sometimes we make ethically questionable decisions for the right reasons, and ask ourselves whether that is good enough."
I think that as long as we DO continue to air our debates and question our ethically challenged decisions, there is hope for us as a society and world. Well said!
That, coupled with your related comments about Judi Dench’s role in Skyfall and her status as perhaps the ultimate Bond Woman, made this one of my favorite postings of all.
Thanks. This means more than you know.