Published on: April 1, 2013From the MNB Newsroom....
• Walmart, which has been looking for new ways in recent weeks to shrink or adjust the so-called last mile between the store and the shopper - announcing a program that will test the use of lockers in six stores that will allow consumers to pick up online orders, and considering a delivery system that will actually compensate customers for dropping off products to other shoppers who live in their neighborhoods or on the way home - said over the weekend that it has developed a new delivery initiative that will offer unique environmental and economic advantages to the company.
"In certain rural markets, we plan to use horses rather than trucks to deliver products to the customer," said Wilbur Post, the company's newly hired VP- equine strategies. "This will offer us all sorts of competitive advantages. For one thing, the price of gasoline has gotten out of hand, and when we did a competitive analysis, we discovered that hay and carrots are far less costly. Second, this pushes us father along in terms of meeting some of our environmental goals of cutting down on truck and car related exhaust, though there is some concern that federal regulators may force us to install monitors to track horse flatulence and the impact on the ozone layer.
"And finally," Post said, "we believe that this will help us with the NGOs that constantly are pushing us to be more environmentally responsible, though we are hearing rumors of picketing by PETA. However, we're pretty sure that we can assuage animal rights activists on this, since while we may be using horses to deliver goods, other companies and countries are using horses as filler in meatloaf and meatballs."
• The US Postal Service, seeking ways to cut labor costs at a time when it has been informed by federal regulators that it cannot unilaterally eliminate Saturday deliveries, said yesterday that it will instead save money by eliminating 50 percent of its workforce, replacing them with drones that will be charged with delivering mail across the country.
According to the story, the move was inspired by the French post office, which has contracted with a drone manufacturer named Parrot to develop quadricopter drones capable of delivering mail in the French province of Auvergne, beginning this summer. Indeed, there have been reports that FedEx also wants to be able to use drones to transport packages, rather than having to rely on passenger planes.
However, there already has been some pushback on this concept from the US Congress, with one lawmaker quoted as saying that "I'm not crazy about drones flying in the US to begin with, but to put drones in the hands of postal workers ... well, let's just say that this strikes me as a recipe for disaster."
- KC's View:
Let me be as clear as I can be about these stories without using neon lights...
Today is April 1, 2013. Please take this into consideration while reading.
One other thing. One of these two pieces has its roots in an actual story. It is up to you to figure out which one.