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    Published on: April 13, 2023

    Today, we have an extended conversation with David Bucca, the CEO of Change Foods, who is using a technology called "precision fermentation" to create dairy products - no cows required.  Now, I'm fascinated by this stuff, even if I don't completely understand it (as I point out to Bucca, I haven't taken a science class since 1971).  But the implications are extraordinary, both in terms of the food supply and sustainability issues, and I wanted to know how this would affect retailers and suppliers, and what they can do to engage with and embrace the process.


    You can find out more about David Bucca and Change Foods here.

    If you'd like to listen to this conversation as an audio podcast, click below.

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has posted his annual letter to shareholders, written at a time when the company is examining a variety of its businesses, laying off 27,000 people, and defining priorities for the company going forward.

    In the letter, Jassy concedes that Amazon has not found the grocery format that it believes will drive sales and innovation in that segment, and write that "we must find a mass grocery format that we believe is worth expanding broadly."

    Some excerpts from the 5,000+ word letter, which you can read in full here:

    •  "As I sit down to write my second annual shareholder letter as CEO, I find myself optimistic and energized by what lies ahead for Amazon. Despite 2022 being one of the harder macroeconomic years in recent memory, and with some of our own operating challenges to boot, we still found a way to grow demand (on top of the unprecedented growth we experienced in the first half of the pandemic). We innovated in our largest businesses to meaningfully improve customer experience short and long term. And, we made important adjustments in our investment decisions and the way in which we’ll invent moving forward, while still preserving the long-term investments that we believe can change the future of Amazon for customers, shareholders, and employees.

    "While there were an unusual number of simultaneous challenges this past year, the reality is that if you operate in large, dynamic, global market segments with many capable and well-funded competitors (the conditions in which Amazon operates all of its businesses), conditions rarely stay stagnant for long.

    "In the 25 years I’ve been at Amazon, there has been constant change, much of which we’ve initiated ourselves. When I joined Amazon in 1997, we had booked $15M in revenue in 1996, were a books-only retailer, did not have a third-party marketplace, and only shipped to addresses in the US. Today, Amazon sells nearly every physical and digital retail item you can imagine, with a vibrant third-party seller ecosystem that accounts for 60% of our unit sales, and reaches customers in virtually every country around the world. Similarly, building a business around a set of technology infrastructure services in the cloud was not obvious in 2003 when we started pursuing AWS, and still wasn’t when we launched our first services in 2006. Having virtually every book at your fingertips in 60 seconds, and then being able to store and retrieve them on a lightweight digital reader was not 'a thing' yet when we launched Kindle in 2007, nor was a voice-driven personal assistant like Alexa (launched in 2014) that you could use to access entertainment, control your smart home, shop, and retrieve all sorts of information."

    •  "Change is always around the corner. Sometimes, you proactively invite it in, and sometimes it just comes a-knocking. But, when you see it’s coming, you have to embrace it. And, the companies that do this well over a long period of time usually succeed. I’m optimistic about our future prospects because I like the way our team is responding to the changes we see in front of us.

    "Over the last several months, we took a deep look across the company, business by business, invention by invention, and asked ourselves whether we had conviction about each initiative’s long-term potential to drive enough revenue, operating income, free cash flow, and return on invested capital. In some cases, it led to us shuttering certain businesses. For instance, we stopped pursuing physical store concepts like our Bookstores and 4 Star stores, closed our Amazon Fabric and Amazon Care efforts, and moved on from some newer devices where we didn’t see a path to meaningful returns. In other cases, we looked at some programs that weren’t producing the returns we’d hoped (e.g. free shipping for all online grocery orders over $35) and amended them. We also reprioritized where to spend our resources, which ultimately led to the hard decision to eliminate 27,000 corporate roles. There are a number of other changes that we’ve made over the last several months to streamline our overall costs, and like most leadership teams, we’ll continue to evaluate what we’re seeing in our business and proceed adaptively.

    "We also looked hard at how we were working together as a team and asked our corporate employees to come back to the office at least three days a week, beginning in May. During the pandemic, our employees rallied to get work done from home and did everything possible to keep up with the unexpected circumstances that presented themselves. It was impressive and I’m proud of the way our collective team came together to overcome unprecedented challenges for our customers, communities, and business. But, we don’t think it’s the best long-term approach. We’ve become convinced that collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we’re working together and learning from one another in person. The energy and riffing on one another’s ideas happen more freely, and many of the best Amazon inventions have had their breakthrough moments from people staying behind after a meeting and working through ideas on a whiteboard, or continuing the conversation on the walk back from a meeting, or just popping by a teammate’s office later that day with another thought. Invention is often messy. It wanders and meanders and marinates. Serendipitous interactions help it, and there are more of those in-person than virtually. It’s also significantly easier to learn, model, practice, and strengthen our culture when we’re in the office together most of the time and surrounded by our colleagues. Innovation and our unique culture have been incredibly important in our first 29 years as a company, and I expect it will be comparably so in the next 29."

    •  "Beyond geographic expansion, we’ve been working to expand our customer offerings across some large, unique product retail market segments. Grocery is an $800B market segment in the US alone, with the average household shopping three to four times per week. Amazon has built a somewhat unusual, but significant grocery business over nearly 20 years. Similar to how other mass merchants entered the grocery space in the 1980s, we began by adding products typically found in supermarket aisles that don’t require temperature control such as paper products, canned and boxed food, candy and snacks, pet care, health and personal care, and beauty. However, we offer more than three million items compared to a typical supermarket’s 30K for the same categories.

    "To date, we’ve also focused on larger pack sizes, given the current cost to serve online delivery. While we’re pleased with the size and growth of our grocery business, we aspire to serve more of our customers’ grocery needs than we do today. To do so, we need a broader physical store footprint given that most of the grocery shopping still happens in physical venues. Whole Foods Market pioneered the natural and organic specialty grocery store concept 40 years ago. Today, it’s a large and growing business that continues to raise the bar for healthy and sustainable food.

    "Over the past year, we’ve continued to invest in the business while also making changes to drive better profitability. Whole Foods is on an encouraging path, but to have a larger impact on physical grocery, we must find a mass grocery format that we believe is worth expanding broadly. Amazon Fresh is the brand we’ve been experimenting with for a few years, and we’re working hard to identify and build the right mass grocery format for Amazon scale. Grocery is a big growth opportunity for Amazon."

    •  "When we look at new investment opportunities, we ask ourselves a few questions:

    "If we were successful, could it be big and have a reasonable return on invested capital?

    "Is the opportunity being well-served today?

    "Do we have a differentiated approach?

    "And, do we have competence in that area? And if not, can we acquire it quickly?

    "If we like the answers to those questions, then we’ll invest. This process has led to some expansions that seem straightforward, and others that some folks might not have initially guessed."

    •  "I’m optimistic that we’ll emerge from this challenging macroeconomic time in a stronger position than when we entered it … there are two relatively simple statistics that underline our immense future opportunity. While we have a consumer business that’s $434B in 2022, the vast majority of total market segment share in global retail still resides in physical stores (roughly 80%). And, it’s a similar story for Global IT spending, where we have AWS revenue of $80B in 2022, with about 90% of Global IT spending still on-premises and yet to migrate to the cloud. As these equations steadily flip - as we’re already seeing happen - we believe our leading customer experiences, relentless invention, customer focus, and hard work will result in significant growth in the coming years. And, of course, this doesn’t include the other businesses and experiences we’re pursuing at Amazon, all of which are still in their early days."

    KC's View:

    One thing I immediately noticed about Jassy's letter - best I can tell, the phrase "Day One" never makes an appearance, even though the company's "Today is Day One" philosophy has been a core value informing everything Amazon has done and how it does these things.   

    To be fair, the term "Day Two" also doesn't appear in his letter.  But I wouldn't expect it to.  If anyone in Amazon's c-suite ever uses that term, it won't be in a letter, but rather will be imprinted on a white flag that the company will run up a Seattle flagpole.

    The letter is worth reading, to get a sense of Jassy's mindset and priorities.  His emphasis on advertising and health care as revenue drivers is notable, but to me, the company's ability to deliver on promises is undercut a bit by Jassy's insistence that the Amazon experience is more customer-centric than ever before.  I don't know any customers who actually feel that way.  I know I don't.

    After reading Jassy's letter, read the original shareholder letter written by Jeff Bezos in 1997.  And then compare the levels of inspiration offered by the two letters, side by side.

    By the way, I was just curious about something and so I went back to Jassy's letter to see if he used the word "obsess" when talking about customers.  Best I can tell, he didn't.

    These may just be optics, but optics matter.  Words matter.  They reflect priorities.  They reflect mindset.  They reflect heart.  They reflect soul.  And I find myself wondering if the challenges that Jassy identifies in his letter are excluding more important ones that will determine Amazon's future.

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    Good piece in the Wall Street Journal about how Uber Technologies CEO Dara Khosrowshahi last year "made dozens of trips as a ride-share driver … ferrying people around the hills of San Francisco."

    It was, the story says, "the latest experiment in the CEO’s yearslong journey to reinvent driving on Uber. Along the way, he struggled to sign up as a driver, saw firsthand something called tip baiting and was punished by the app for rejecting trips. Surprisingly hard to take was the rudeness of some Uber riders.

    "Mr. Khosrowshahi’s moonlighting was part of a campaign by him and his lieutenants to better understand and improve Uber’s experience for drivers, whose scarcity had become a critical challenge for the company after the U.S. reopened from Covid-19 lockdowns. It marked a sharp turn for a company that wasn’t typically seen as being driver-friendly.

    "The campaign - code-named Project Boomerang - has helped shape what has become one of the biggest makeovers of Uber’s business since its inception in 2009."  The goal, he said, was to “re-examine every single assumption that we’ve made.” 

    KC's View:

    I bring this up not because of the details of what Khosrowshahi found and how it is impacting Uber, but rather because what he did was so important - getting out from behind the desk and experiencing the company's value proposition on the ground.

    That's what every CEO should do - get out in the stores, push carts, run checkouts, sweep floors, stock shelves.  It gives them not just street cred, but actual street knowledge.

    And it should be both an ongoing and regular effort - I would argue that CEOs also need to do this in stores that aren't in headquarters' back yards, but in stores located far from home that maybe don't get the attention they should. 

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    The Wall Street Journal reports that "the consumer-price index, a closely watched inflation gauge that measures what consumers pay for goods and services, rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from February’s 6% increase and the smallest gain since May 2021, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

    "Consumers saw lower prices last month for groceries, gasoline, medical care and utilities and high prices for shelter, airline fares and insurance, the department said."

    Despite the easing of inflation, the Journal writes, "underlying price pressures likely keep the door open for the Federal Reserve to consider another interest-rate increase at its May meeting."

    Analysis from the New York Times:

    "Taken in total, the fresh inflation data suggested that price increases were meaningfully moderating, but that progress remained gradual. And that mixed signal comes during a challenging economic moment for the Fed. The central bank is the government’s main inflation fighter, and it has been trying to wrestle price increases back under control for slightly more than a year, raising interest rates to nearly 5 percent from near zero as recently as March 2022 to slow the economy and weigh down costs.

    "Officials are now assessing how their policy changes are working, and they are trying to gauge whether they need to do more to ensure that price increases will come fully under control. Inflation has been decelerating after peaking at about 9 percent last summer, but the process has been slow. It remains a long way back to the 2 percent inflation that was normal before the onset of the pandemic in 2020."

    And from the Washington Post:

    "Reading the inflation report, economists emphasized the need to stay cautious and not treat all sources of price hikes as equal. For example, inflation reached a peak of 9.1 percent in large part because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine temporarily upended global oil markets. Falling energy prices since then have helped bring overall inflation down. But meanwhile 'core inflation,' a closely watched measure that strips out more-volatile categories such as food and energy, rose 5.6 percent over the previous year in March — after months of declines.

    "'To use my car analogy, we’ve managed to get through really difficult conditions — slowing the car, getting around the wrecks — but that means we’re only part of the way to our destination,' said Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan and a member of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration. 'If we were to hang a banner up right now that says ‘Mission accomplished,’ I feel pretty confident we would wreck the car'."

    KC's View:

    Love the "don't wreck the car" analogy.

    Reminds me of the underlying message from Charlie Wilson's War:  "Don't f*** up the end game."  In other words, don't engage in premature self-congratulations.  There seem to be a lot of good arguments that the Fed was too slow to deal with inflation, and therefore it shouldn't make the mistake of backing off to quickly, which would compound its errors for reasons of political expediency.

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    From CNBC:

    "Amazon warehouses are a more dangerous place to work than comparable facilities, new federal injury data shows.

    "In 2022, there were 6.6 serious injuries for every 100 Amazon workers, according to a report released Wednesday from the union coalition Strategic Organizing Center, which relies on data submitted by Amazon to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That’s more than double the rate of all non-Amazon warehouses, which had 3.2 serious injuries for every 100 workers.

    "Amazon’s serious injury rate fell by about 3% between 2021 and 2022. The rate shot up to 6.8 serious injuries for every 100 workers in 2021, compared to a rate of 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 workers in 2020. Amazon previously attributed the jump to a warehouse hiring push during the pandemic."

    According to the SOC report, "Amazon has 'not made meaningful progress' on its total rate of injuries or serious injuries between 2017 and 2022, the six-year period in which it has data. Until 2020, OSHA did not release full injury and illness records submitted by employers, claiming that more detailed logs contained confidential commercial information … While Amazon’s serious injury rate fell between 2021 and 2022, its overall injuries increased. Amazon reported 39,000 total injuries at its U.S. facilities in 2022, up from 38,300 total injuries in 2021."

    CNBC quotes Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel as saying that the SOC’s findings “paint an inaccurate picture.”

    "'The safety and health of our employees is, and always will be, our top priority, and any claim otherwise is inaccurate,' Nantel said. 'We’re proud of the progress made by our team and we’ll continue working hard together to keep getting better every day.'

    "Amazon also disputed the SOC’s use of the term 'serious injury rate,' saying it’s not a regulatory metric. The company said the term could capture any injury that could lead to an employee taking time away from work, or spending time working in another role, including what it considers to be minor injuries, such as a strain that might require a worker to avoid lifting heavy boxes."

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  The Athletic reports that contrary to previous reports, Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos does not plan to make a bid to own the Washington Commanders NfL football team.

    It has been a tough run for Amazon stock.  Bezos' $120 billion net worth ain't what it used to be.

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  From Axios:

    "Weight loss drugs are suddenly a booming industry, amid huge changes in the way we think about obesity.

    "Why it matters: We're living through a cultural shift in which obesity is increasingly viewed as a disease — rather than the result of lifestyle choices."

    Which means that "the market for weight loss drugs will reach $54 billion by 2030, Morgan Stanley projects. That's a 400% increase from today.

    "It's not just today's hot sellers — Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk together have at least 12 more obesity medications in development."

    The impact may not just be seen in the size of people's waistlines.  I would imagine that there will also be some sort of impact on all the diet foods and drinks sold by retailers;  many of these items could become redundant or obsolete.

    •  Albertsons yesterday announced what it called "a unique collaboration with Apple to bring activity data from Apple Watch and iPhone to the Sincerely Health digital health and wellness platform. Customers who wear Apple Watch Series 3 or later can now choose to share their activity data with their Sincerely Health account and earn up to 75 points daily for closing all three Activity rings: Move, Exercise and Stand. Customers who do not have an Apple Watch can connect their iPhone with iOS 16 through the Fitness app and earn up to 25 points each day for closing their Move ring … Additionally, all Sincerely Health users can improve their overall health score and earn points toward grocery coupons and discounts by setting up one or multiple goals related to physical activity, nutrition, lifestyle and sleep. Users can manage their personal data by choosing what information to share."

    •  From the Boston Globe:

    "REI employees in Boston filed for a union election Wednesday morning, joining the growing ranks of retail workers organizing at major brands around the country. The Boston store is the sixth in the outdoor equipment chain to push for union recognition in the past year: Workers in New York; Berkeley, Calif.; and Cleveland have held successful votes, and employees in Chicago and Eugene, Ore., recently filed for elections.

    "As the pandemic recedes and labor shortages continue, emboldened employees are banding together across the country to push for better working conditions, higher pay, and a greater voice in how their workplaces operate.

    "Along with union drives at colleges, museums, and newsrooms, campaigns at well-known companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Apple, and Chipotle are generating renewed attention to a labor movement some had left for dead. At Starbucks, nearly 300 of the coffee giant’s stores, including about a dozen in Massachusetts, have unionized since late 2021.

    "The number of petitions for union representation increased 53 percent in fiscal year 2022 from the year before, according to the National Labor Relations Board, and election petitions in the first six months of the current fiscal year have outpaced those filed in the same period last year. Public support for unions, meanwhile, is at the highest level its been since 1965."

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    Executive Suite is sponsored by Robin Russell Executive Search.

    •  Starbucks announced that Brad Lerman, most recently the senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Medtronic, has been named the company's executive vice president and general counsel.

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    Regarding Walmart's decision to close half its Chicago stores, MNB reader Mike Bach wrote:

    Walmart warned the market and its vendors that changes in the store base was coming.  Therefore, Portland and Chicago store closings were not a real surprise.

    Walmart has long enjoyed “anchor tenant” status within the centers they operate.  What will be interesting to watch is the changes that will occur in leasing rates within the impacted store centers.   With Walmart leaving, Family Dollar, Dollar General and ALDI find some nice sites to position there stores, thus eliminating any concern about food deserts being created by Walmart’s departure.  We should expect tax abatements to incentivize these small store formats to replace Walmart.

    I hope this round of closings becomes a wake-up call to state governments to be responsive to help in areas where profitability can be impacted by legislation.

    And, on the broader subject of urban issues hitting retailers, MNB reader Rich Heiland wrote:

    The issue of urban decay is not a new one. It goes back, in our times, to the post-World War II era when suburbs mushroomed and both people and jobs left cities. To begin listing the problems facing cities would take more time and space than you have. We now live just west of Philadelphia so are treated to nightly news stories of carjackings, shootings and other crime. There currently is a mayor's race underway and all seven candidates are saying basically the same thing - get rid of guns, get rid of crime, get rid of dirty streets and potholes. The problem is "getting rid" of is not "adding to." The reality, as I see it, is that cities are inflicted with, and reflecting, national issues that no local elected official can solve. There is no question we need to reduce gun violence, return urban schools to parity, put jobs with liveable wages with reach of those who either cannot leave the city or choose to remain. But, until we decide at a national level that our cities are worth having, we are asking local officials to do the impossible. I say all this as a fan of cities. Particularly European ones where many of these issues have been resolved to a functional degree.

    From another reader:

    I appreciate your optimism in hoping that big cities will “return”. However, I suggest that the rebound will start with new and better leadership. As of September 2020, the top 100 largest US cities are run by 64 Democrats, 28 Republicans, three independents and four non-partisans. Americans continue to leave big cities in favor of a safer, more promising lifestyle. It’s a complex problem but it’s clear by the actions of major retailers like Walmart, Whole Foods, Walgreens, etc. the safety of their employees and interests of their shareholders are not being met in many large, urban areas. I live in Southern California. Los Angeles voters opted for Karen Bass, a career politician over Rick Caruso, a successful businessman. Let’s see if Bass’s leadership can change the direction of another large American city riddled with crime, homelessness, declining schools, etc. 

    I think there is some evidence (Mike Bloomberg) that business leaders make effective political leaders.  There's also some evidence that this is not always the case.

    And from another:

    Definitely very unfortunate that Chicago is losing stores that are bringing lower prices to the citizenry.  With the stores closing, hopefully the city is working with them to benefit the communities they are in.  Possibly converting them to homeless shelters or community centers that people can go to in a safe environment. 

    One MNB reader offered an opinion about Amazon's decision to back off traditional stock awards to employees:

    I'm not being flippant about Amazon and how they structure their bonuses, and to many it may indeed be a big deal.

    However, there is always another side of the coin, or the issue.  

    In my nearly 50 years of employment, I've worked for one company that actually paid a bonus.  I worked for them for 12 years before they outsourced my department and laid me and most of my coworkers off.  In 12 years, I got one bonus, that's right , I got paid a bonus one year.

    Everywhere else I worked, my end of year bonus was that I got to keep my job, well, at least until I didn't.  There was the time in the second week of January when I was called in being told it was for my annual review, when it fact I got laid off.  There were two full time people in my department, and both of us got laid off.

    So yes, bonuses and how they are paid may well be very important to many people, unfortunately, there's lots of us for whom it's not important, because we don't get bonuses.

    If we're lucky, we get to keep our jobs.

    Forgive me, but that sounds like a terrible way to spend a work life.

    Yesterday the Cincinnati Business Courier wrote that Sprouts CEO Jack Sinclair 

    "is not too worried about the potential $24.6 billion merger of Kroger and Albertsons Cos. affecting his company, and he doesn’t know how much it’ll actually help the two large chains compete against Walmart." He said that "his company operates on a completely different side of the grocery industry than downtown Cincinnati-based Kroger and Albertsons and their brands."

    I commented:

    Sinclair may be saying he's not worried, but I'd be willing to bet that inside Sprouts, they;'ll be working overtime to emphasize and sharpen their competitive and differential advantages.

    One MNB reader responded:

    I worked for Jack when he was at Walmart.  He is a great guy and extremely smart.  He wants to ensure Sprout’s doesn’t lose the focus and get distracted with the merger.  He has his eye on it, but you are right, they are sharpening the pencils and will protect their turf. He is too good of a merchant to not.

    Loved this comment from an MNB reader about how Walmart is suing credit card partner Capital One, with the bank saying it will "vigorously defend the suit."

    In my short 61 years on this planet, I’ve learned when a lawyer says, ‘we will vigorously defend the suit’, they are not in a good place.  Just an observation.  

    The other day, responding to an MNB reader who wrote in about the need for better and more effective gun legislation, I wrote:

    “Oh, come on.  Are you seriously suggesting that our nation and culture ought to prioritize the banning of some people from owning guns, or banning unqualified or untrained people from owning guns, over the banning of books and drag shows?

    How can you suggest such a thing and consider yourself a serious person?”

    Another MNB reader wrote:

    I would love to know what % of readers didn’t realize you were being sarcastic.

    Not enough.

    Regarding Amazon's decisions to make it a little harder, and a little more expensive, to make returns in certain cases, one MNB reader wrote:

    I’m not surprised by this, but it definitely makes me think twice about buying something from Amazon. Side note: I went to return something a month ago, and that particular item said it would cost something like $4.99 to return to UPS, so I drove it over to Kohl’s. Doesn’t appear that is the norm with returns though. Not sure why one item shows as a cost to return to UPS and others free (at the moment).

    Because they want to control the returns process.  Step outside the preferred lanes, and it'll cost you.

    Regarding Walmart's EV charging stations initiative, MNB reader Deborah Faragher wrote:

    Can’t help but think that cinemas should be a prime target for providing charging stations.  Talk about a win/win.  Wouldn’t that be right up your alley, Michael and Kevin???  

    Great idea.

    From another reader:

    The new Ford EV pick up lists at $100,000.  I seriously doubt many of these will be in Walmart parking lots.

    First of all, I'm not sure Walmart would agree with you - it is actively trying to attract high net worth shoppers.

    And second, it may be that once some folks buy that $100,000 EV, Walmart may look a lot more attractive.

    Yesterday I cited new research from Hub Entertainment says that there are some 204 million smart TVs in US households, marking the first time the number has exceeded 200 million and reflecting the degree to which the home entertainment sector has evolved.

    And I commented:

    At what point are we going to stop calling them TV sets?  The name hasn't changed since people were watching "I Love Lucy" on 15-inch black-and-white screens in the 1950s, and yet the technology and the experience - not to mention the content - have changed in enormous and fundamental ways.  "TV set" doesn't seem to capture the reality, and I think we need to come up with a new name that reflects this evolution.

    One MNB reader responded:

    A new name . . . .probably means a price increase.

    Maybe.  But even smart TVs are remarkably cheap these days.  I checked on Amazon, and you can get a 24-inch RCA 2 Smart LED TV for $89.99.  

    No matter what name it goes by.

    Published on: April 13, 2023

    •  The imposition of a pitch clock at Major League Baseball games has created a new challenge - as games have been shorted by as much as 30 minutes, it means that attendees have less time to buy food and drink, and vendors have less time to peddle their wares.

    Axios writes that "some teams have responded to this urgent crisis by extending beer sales beyond the end of the seventh inning for the first time in memory.

    "The Brewers, naturally, were the first to make the change. They're now selling beer until the end of the eighth inning at American Family Field.  Three other teams — the Twins, Diamondbacks and Rangers — have since followed Milwaukee's lead, and more will likely join them."

    Axios goes on:  "In addition to transforming the on-field product, the pitch clock is also changing the game-day experience for fans and vendors alike.

    Now, regular-season games are much more like going to a movie. If you want food or drink, you better get there early and load up, because if you leave your seat, you will miss the plot."