retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB yesterday took note of a CNBC report that "General Motors is partnering with Amazon to enable the tech company’s Alexa voice assistant in millions of its vehicles … the popular voice technology will be available on model year 2018 and newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles with compatible infotainment systems in the first half of next year."

MNB reader Howard Schneider responded:

…and another way for Amazon acquire more data on where and how you drive, where you work, shop, eat and relax.

And, from MNB reader Monte Stowell:

Great idea GM and Amazon getting together to add Alexa into my car next year. I do have a 2019 Impala that will be ready for me to use Alexa. I also have subscribed to Sirius XM radio. Assuming I will be able to have access to Amazons music, I will be discontinuing Sirius XM. “Another Bites the Dust.”

Excellent point.

On another subject, MNB reader Tim Heyman:

Malls in America are dying no doubt, and it’s typical throughout the USA as of the county, in PA, that I grew up in outside of Pittsburgh.

In Beaver County there are 3 Walmart’s that combined, probably do in excess of 5 million in sales weekly.

If this amount of consumer spending was done at the Mall(s), they would be thriving. Amazon is a factor, sure but look at the big “W” for the demise of retail and the middle class in America.

The Poughkeepsie Journal yesterday had a story about the Applestone Meat Company there, which "has created a whole new way of shopping for freshly butchered local meat, with high-end, gleaming-clean retail shops that are open 24/7. They offer serve-yourself vending machines stocked with vacuum-sealed packages of everything from Porterhouse steaks, short ribs and rack of lamb to hamburger meat and homemade sausages … You just swipe your credit card, push a button, slide open the door and retrieve your sustainably raised meat selection. Fire up the grill at home and you’re good to go."


MNB reader Jeff Lenard wrote:

Nice story today on the new vending machines.

I was born in Poughkeepsie, grew up in Poughkeepsie and still have family there and will visit that place over the next month and send back a report.

It’s certainly an interesting concept for how to differentiate from the dominant player there, Adams, which is a bit like Wegmans and Stew Leonard’s combined.

Also, from my sister in Kingston:

Other farms in our area do the same thing. Similar process for dairy and raw milk. There are 24-hour fridges in little trailers by the side of the road.

And from MNB reader Janis Raye, who live sin Vermont:

I can go you one better… I buy organic beef, pork, and lamb from a farm near us that has all their meat in a building on the farm, in freezers (their “Farm Store”). You go in and pick out what you want, total up your purchases, and leave the money in a box. Totally self-service and no one is there to watch. I’ve asked them if theft is a problem — there are tens of thousands of dollars worth of meat there all the time — and they say it isn’t. “I guess we should install a camera…” they say. One of the many reasons I love living here! (Of course, it hasn’t started snowing yet…)

One other thing. When I posted the butcher story on MNB yesterday, I added the headline, How Do You Pick Your Meat In Poughkeepsie? and wondered how many readers would get the movie reference.

Lots of you did, and quickly.

The headline paraphrased a line from The French Connection (1971), which Gene Hackman, as New York detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle, looks to throw an interrogation subject off stride by constantly asking him, "Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?"

You all make me proud.
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