Amazon, the New Domino’s?

In the mid 1960s, Tom Monaghan did some informal research among customers of his three-location pizza restaurant. He concluded that enough people wanted their order delivered and wouldn’t much care whether the pizza was any good, he changed the emphasis of his operation. Domino’s Pizza promised delivery within thirty minutes of taking the order or the pizza was free. He also began franchising and in less than a decade had two-hundred locations.

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Checking in with Amazon

Amazon packaging (not including padded envelopes) totals 26,400 square miles of cardboard, more than enough to blanket the state of West Virginia.

As Amazon continues its relentless march to world domination, here are a couple news nuggets:

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Shopping Under the Influence

“My curiosity is piqued when inebriated,” she said. “I think, ‘Let’s do it!’”

The Hustle is an on-line news disseminator whose stated mission is “to keep you informed… highlighting a handful of topical stories and adding perspective and color to make it easy to understand.” Wanting to know more about its readers they did a survey on a vital issue: Shopping While Drunk. Of the 2,174 responses, 79% said they had made purchases while inebriated. The Internet of course has made it much easier, saving an imbiber all the effort and risk of driving to the local mall. The Hustle extrapolated that Drunk Shopping is a $45 billion business in the U.S.

“My curiosity is piqued when inebriated,” she said. “I think, ‘Let’s do it!’”

Some fun facts:

  • Average annual expenditure is $444. Oregon and Washington are in the average range; California about $100 more. Kentucky leads all with $742. (The inescapable conclusion is that having Mitch McConnell as senator increases alcohol consumption.)
  • Clothes and shoes are the most popular purchases, followed by movies, games and food.
  • Exploiting this market can make a person the richest – or maybe second richest; we can only guess Vladimir Putin’s fortune – in the world: 85% of purchases are made from Amazon.
  • Maybe not surprising is that least likely to shop while drunk are persons working in retail businesses.

The corporate world has caught on and is busy devising ways to entice drunk shoppers – aided no doubt by Amazon, Google, Facebook and others whose business is monetizing people’s personal information.

If you think this causes any embarrassment, you are wrong. The Seattle Times found citizens in that technology capitol eager to share with the world stories of stupid things they bought while under the influence.

Tourist’s Guide to Seattle

Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc. and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon are competing to impose their own redevelopment visions on Seattle. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, got started first with his very own, taxpayer funded football stadium south of downtown and his in-progress makeover of south Lake Union on the northern edge of downtown. Bezos is coming on strong, with his new Amazon headquarters taking over central downtown… unless the city tries to levy a new tax; then he’s outta there.

Seattle still has a few quirky attractions that residents are proud to show off to visitors. They demonstrate how hip and creative they are, and are serious evidence that they do not take themselves too seriously.

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Alexa, Can You Hear Me?

Do you have a gnawing feeling that Amazon does not have enough of your personal information? That you are sometimes in a dead zone where Amazon – or Google or Facebook – is not tracking you? Not to worry: the on-line behemoth is moving toward their goal of recording everything you say or do. The latest step: “Alexa for Hospitality.” Now they can monitor you not only in your home, but also while you’re in a hotel room with the door locked and bolted.

Of course, Amazon’s monitoring device is asleep until you awaken it with “Alexa.” The cynical among us ask how Alexa knows you want it if it’s not listening. Amazon assures us that it is not keeping any information that you don’t want it to have. And if you can’t trust Amazon…


Amazon’s Echo device recorded a Portland family’s private conversation and then sent the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.

Amazon Effect – Part 1

The city of San Francisco is about to put into effect a 14% increase in garbage-collection fees. The reason: the Internet. Well, not exactly the Internet itself, but on-line shopping and its attendant packaging.

As so-called brick-and-mortar stores lose business to Internet merchants, the increase in the waste & recycle stream is increasing proportionately. Cardboard, cellophane, polystyrene, clamshell containers, plastic shipping pillows are overwhelming recycling centers. San Francisco has banned plastic bags and foam trays, but the prohibitions don’t affect merchandise shipped from outside the city. (“The City” if you’re a SF resident.) The high-tech pedometer encased in its own packaging on the store shelf, is put inside more packaging to be shipped to you.

Recology, the company contracted to handle San Francisco’s waste – 625 tons of recycling per day – says it needs the increase to keep up with the volume and complexity of materials to be recycled. That reverse-osmosis-purified drinking water comes with three types of plastic: one for the bottle, another for the cap, and yes, a third for the label.