retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reacting to a piece about how many workers are prioritizing remote working as they make career decisions, and my argument that this actually can work in some companies' favor, MNB reader Carla Dieffenbach wrote:

I have worked in the retail environment for over 40 years (most in a managerial function). What I see from our Support Center that are still partially working from home, is less support. It is harder to get information in a timely fashion, much more difficult to resolve issues and many are disengaged as to what is happing in the actual retail environment.

You also have a deeply embittered workforce at the store level, that have been knee deep in the Covid environment for over two years now with no concessions to their work life balance. They are still suffering with workforce shortages, have been ask to do more with less and although they were given small tokens of gratitude early on in Covid it is almost like they are forgotten at this point. The term essential worker was used to motivate people in the retail environment to go to work, but means absolutely nothing now.

So this begs the question “what do we do to motivate and support the people that actually do the business of the business?”.  Job seekers currently have more choices than ever. Wages are equitable from fast food to the retail environment. Benefits are not at the top of what people are looking for in a job right now. How do we make our work environment more desirable? I would love for retail establishments to consider 4 ten hour days, 5 nine hour days (with every other week three days off), job sharing.

Let’s find a way to make our retail workforce actually feel “essential."

This may be a little impassioned, it’s been a long two years and we are still fighting the good fight. My point is there is a large group of people that never had a chance to “work from home” and I hope at some point they are recognized.



Yesterday, I talked about the importance of allowing for the evolution of personal tastes, which prompted MNB reader John Letourneux to write:

Soooo, there is hope that you may enjoy delicious Brussels sprouts in the future.

Maybe.  Not likely.  But maybe.



Yesterday we ran an email from MNB reader Bill Spoehr that reacted to a story about scientists "searching for the coronavirus in New York City’s wastewater."

He wrote:

It’s stories like this that make you a daily read, but also make me grateful that I stayed away from the science buildings in college.

What leads one to study wastewater???  Just seems like a really sh**y job.

I responded, in part:

I know exactly how you feel.

The last science class I ever took was in 1976, at Loyola Marymount University, and it was essentially about sewage.  (I don't remember the actual title of the class.). I took it because I needed science credits to graduate and was informed (misinformed, actually) that this wouldn't be too hard or too technical.  (This was important - I have no head for science or math.  Is there a science equivalent of dyscalculia?)

The course was awful.  Meaning, awfully hard.  And incredibly technical.  And boring, at least to me.  There were multiple field trips that were, to say the least, offensively odorous.  (I like unconventional field trips, so you have to work hard to offend me.  I took another class at LMU in "The Philosophy of Death," which included a trip to the Los Angeles City Morgue, which was fascinating … but that's another story that I'll tell you sometime…)

I'm still bitter about that stupid sewage class.  Based on every other class I took at LMU, I would've graduated summa cum laude, but that one class dropped me back to magna cum laude.  That was more than 45 years ago, and you'd think I'd be over it by now…

Bill wrote back:

I had a similar experience with Calculus III.  My mind was blown by that class (“What do you mean the Z axis is coming straight out of the blackboard at me?”) and confirmed when the first exam results came back, 2 days after the deadline to take Pass/Fail or drop.   The resulting D (which was a gift from the professor) kept me from Magna Cum Laude by .02.

Yeah, that was 40 years ago, and I’m not over it either.

On the same subject, from another MNB reader:

Not really MNB related, but my father was an environmental engineer who managed water and wastewater for a major Texas city and I fondly remember him taking me to treatment plants when I was a kid.  As a child, the gross out factor was of course a draw. He even sponsored a few field trips when I was in school.  To this day, my most dubious ‘talent’ is that I can spot water treatment plants from the air when I fly.  A completely useless skill, but it always brings my dad to my mind and a smile to my face.



Finally … we took note yesterday of a CNBC report that the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) is out with a new report saying that "tequila could soon overtake vodka as America’s favorite liquor, fueled by consumers’ desire for pricey bottles of agave-based spirits."

I commented, in part:

I must admit that sipping tequila is not a habit I've adopted to this point, though certainly the pandemic has given me plenty of reason to.  (I think I've pointed out here before that until relatively late in life, I was just a beer and wine drinker, but my adult children have taught me the pleasures of vodka and bourbon.  They're not tequila drinkers either, to my knowledge.)

One MNB reader replied:

Put a bottle of Centenario Añejo and some shot glasses in your freezer.  Wait a day and then have a sip of the tequila chasing it with a taste of lager like Tres Equis (XXX). 

Continue until done (with the shot glass not the bottle).  For authenticity I use the blue rimmed Mexican shot glasses.

Salud.

Sounds wonderful.