Amazon – Friend or Foe in Food?

Author's Note: This article has been significantly expanded upon since originally written. I haven't changed any pre-existing content, 
but have added author's notes at the end for the sake of those that want to read the new material without having to re-read the entire article.

So that’s interesting news huh? Let me guess, you probably didn’t know that Amazon just decided to go whole-hog (that’s “all the way” for you Yanks) into the meal kit market, did you? I see you’ve got that blank stare. What’s a meal-kit?  Ok, back up and let’s catch you up to 2017.

We live in a busy world, an incredibly busy world. To keep pace and keep on top, whether for better or for worse, people are changing the way they do things. Meal kits are a good example. Say you want to be a good cook, but don’t have the experience? Or let’s say you do have the experience but not necessarily the budget to do some of the cooking you’ve always wanted to. Maybe you just want to eat healthier and you can afford the cost of the food, but not the time to go run to the grocery store every 48 hours. Let’s face it, good healthy cooking involves a LOT of trips to the store and sometimes more than one. Walmart doesn’t have this, and only Harris Teeter carries that. You get the idea.

Meal kits are basically the solution. You sign up for a subscription, pick the foods you want delivered, and they arrive to your house ready to cook, pre-portioned for the amount you need to feed x mouths each night.

Oh for the love of Pete, stop with the slant-eyed expressions of disdain! You do realize that less than 5% of you cook the way your parents did right? People will come out and say it’s lazy, or it’s not right. Listen, unless you plant your own garden, raise all your own crops, and trade your excess vegetables for fresh meat from the cattle farmer across town, you’re just as lazy as the rest of the world. That’s how your grandparents did it. My parents had the advantage (or hellish device that makes people lazy) called a microwave when I grew up. When it first debuted it was looked down on as a lazy way to cook. No one cooked entire meals in a microwave. Perish the thought! Real wives/moms/dads cooked their meals on a stove.

If you fast forward twenty years from then, the same people who thought it was horrendous to cook in a microwave now fill their freezer with prepackaged foods from the store, frozen and ready to toss in a skillet. Eleven minutes on medium-high and voila you’ve fed a family of four. So don’t act like it’s the new generation being lazy. Ever cooked a can of biscuits? Then you’re just as lazy. How dare you not roll out the flour and ingredients from scratch and spend 30 minutes doing what I can do in 14 seconds!

So, now that you’re properly shamed into your corner (or at least some of you), let’s get on with the discussion. lol

People like me are a great target market for meal kits. I love to cook but my wife insists on doing most of the shopping. However she also tends to work 12 hour days. I’m blessed to work from home about half the time so it would be awesome if I could cook up something nice for her. Too bad I have absolutely zero idea what she got at the grocery store. Between two refrigerators, three freezers and two pantries, I have absolutely no idea what’s in this house to cook on a given night, nor the inclination to try to figure out what ingredient she might be saving to cook as part of something else later in the week. Or maybe she’s got that five pounds of beef to make a pot of chili for the shelter this month. I never know with her.

Enter meal kits!

The idea itself is simple, as I mentioned before. On top of that, it’s probably healthier than your normal fare you eat now.Blue Apron, one of the biggest contenders in the meal kit market promised that none of their meats are fed antibiotics or hormones, all their foods are 100% sustainable, no GMOs are included in any of their ingredients and even their eggs come from cage free, free-range chickens. Absolutely none of that is true of the things I buy at Walmart or Harris Teeter or Food Lion or the Corner Market here in town.

Don’t think for a minute it’s necessarily cheaper, but it’s not necessarily more expensive either. Meal kits for a family of two are about sixty dollar a week. Sound high? Well, my wife does her dead-level best to cook healthy as often as she can and I can’t think of a single time in recent history that we’ve had a grocery bill that was less than $400 a month. So feeding two adults a healthy meal for $240 a month would actually be a pretty decent savings for us. On top of it, I can do the shopping online and thanks to Amazon getting in on the market it’ll most likely be free-shipping and be here super quick and on-time each week.

Does it hurt brick and mortar?

The argument that I’d like to bring up is whether or not companies like Amazon getting into this market is unfair to brick and mortar stores. And subsequently, should we care? Certainly Walmart is going to come out against it. I’m sure every grocery chain in the US will come out against it. It’s hurting local stores. It’s hurting local producers. Bullshit. If Walmart cared one whit about stifling local competition they’d close their doors tomorrow. The addition of Walmart to the grocery store supply chain was the single largest killer of food-only grocery stores and that happened a decade ago.

We live in a new age. The horse and buggy aren’t coming back and none of us alive today are victims of that. Within ten years, most of your supplies will be delivered by drone. The US Postal Service will be the victim of that mainstream adoption. That will be the final nail in the coffin for an agency that outlived its usefulness twenty years ago or more. Super-Giant-Colossal retailers like Amazon entering the food market is just the next step in retail evolution.

Evolution of the work cycle, de-evolution, re-evolution. What?

It’s funny that people, especially my age (mm-hem-40 or so) complain that strip malls are going away and local business is being destroyed. That’s hilarious when you consider what killed localized businesses thirty years ago. Hint: the answer is strip malls. No one wanted to drive ten miles to go to one store, then drive 5 more miles to go to another, then drive home. Imagine when all the stores are together in the same place! Then we can save time and visit more stores and get everything we want in one place!

Oh wait, that’s Amazon. While that’s true, it was also the reason for strip malls, or malls in general. There were no malls one-hundred years ago or so. There were open-air markets and small sections of towns where service industries tended to clump up together. Do you know why they were clumped together? Simple – no one had automobiles. That’s why the hardware store, the grocery store, the clothing store, and the food market were all side by side in the middle of town. People had to walk to them or go on horseback, so they needed to be close enough together to be convenient. Automobiles changed that once they became a commodity every family owned. Now we can open that John Deere store 5 miles outside of town where land is cheaper. People can drive there. It’s ok to put the outdoor sporting goods store by itself halfway between two towns. People will visit from both towns. Great idea!

Then we invented strip malls and reversed the psychology. We had things that made life easier, such as cars and fast transportation and buses, and trains, and combines, and larger farming equipment. The things that comprised daily “life” didn’t take as much time as they did when their parents were alive. No one had to work the fields until dark anymore for the most part. And if you did, you didn’t have to lose two hours each day walking back home. You caught a ride with aunt Suzie who brought you home. Free time in people’s live equated to more time to do things. That equates to an increased value in free time. Free time started to mean something to people, just like money did to other people. I’m one of those people that free time means a great deal to. Being free of work and being able to automate or reduce the time it takes to perform menial tasks such as grocery shopping and house-cleaning and cutting the grass turns into time I can spend sitting on the porch with my wife, playing with my dogs, or riding four-wheelers with my friends.

Today we live in a world not that dissimilar to 120 years ago. It’s funny when you think about it in that perspective. Why did great-grandpa work 16 hours a day in the field? He did it because if he didn’t, his family wouldn’t be able to afford the farm and the people that depended on him and his farm for their income would go hungry. Jump forward to the latter half of the last century and it reversed itself. Everyone wanted banker’s hours. No one needs to work that hard. Enjoy family time. Get perks like paid vacation and such that come along with a great job.  Jump forward another decade or two and it’s reversing itself again. We all work 12 hour to 16-hour days because that’s what’s required of us to do what we do successfully. If we don’t do that, someone else will, and if we don’t provide for our famillies, then we lose our home, have to get a smaller apartment, can’t afford our son’s college, etc. Whatever the potential hardship is you know we all have a few of them that provide us the reasons we continue to do what we do each day.

Just like with the invention of the automobile and automation in general, the world we are living drastically changed. In reality, if you think about it, it’s really not that different. It’s almost the exact same evolution being repeated, just more efficiently. Trains let us send and receive things over great distances, even to the other side of the country. Airplanes let us send and receive things across the whole world in a matter of days. You certainly couldn’t get coffee from shipped from Ethiopia before the invention of the airplane unless you actually knew someone that was going there, wanted to wait an entire year for them to hopefully return, and then enjoy your one pound of coffee because that’s all they could carry in their luggage.

Our generation has more access to the same tools those innovators did. We just have technology and a hundred extra years of education to make us smarter. What’s faster, cheaper, and more efficient that requiring an entire airline to deliver my oranges from Florida, then requiring a truck to bring them to a local distributor, then another truck to deliver them to a local store, then me driving to get them? How about if we utilize drone technology and get the product from step A to step E in one-fifth the time for one-half the cost?  What’s better than me taking endless hours to raise and care for a tomato garden for five months only to have tomatoes half a year? How about if I drive to the store to get them? No one complains about that. Notice that? What’s even more efficient than that? How about if I just go on Amazon, click the zesty salad meal option I want, and then get farm fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and a ton of other things delivered to my door without me having to do ANYTHING?

No one today thinks people are too lazy because they refuse to garden for themselves, yet they get uppity when people think of the next logical step in the process.

We evolve. Get over it.

Do I think Amazon is going to hurt mom and pop stores that specialize in farm fresh produce? Sure. However I think that innovation and invention are going to do that regardless of whether Amazon is the name on the bag or its someone else’s. Industries are going to die. National chains started it decades ago. Walmart, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and the like killed hundreds of thousands of small businesses across our nation and millions more across the world. Those that didn’t die outright had their livelihood outsources to other states or countries.  That’s part of the life-cycle. You just have to suck it up and realize that its life.

We, as a species, have continued to prove for thousands of years that if it’s easier, we’re going to do it. We have never, not once in the entire history of our species, ever chosen “should we” over “could we” when faced with a proposition for profit or simplification of a process. Seriously. It’s never happened! We are the species that invented a weapon so powerful that it can kill an entire nation and leave an are of the earth uninhabitable for a millenia. Then we used it! Twice! After that, did we stop? No! Even after deciding that’s horrible and we should never do that again, we continued to build more and more of them and we built them bigger and bigger simply to be sure that we had the most of them, the biggest ones, the meanest ones – so that no aggressor would dare threaten us with what we invented. Knowing all that, how can people think that we are going to collectively as either an industry or a species, look out for the day to day well being of each other if it means not doing something that will make companies money?

I mean, shit people, we are a people that invented a whole line of surgical procedures, purely for cosmetic effect. We make boobs bigger for absolutely no reason other than we want to make money. We inject people in the face with botox – made from Clostridium botulinum – one of the most deadly poisons knows to man, simply because we think it looks nice. I mean we, as a collective species are inherently stupid.

Knowing all that, yes Amazon will likely CRUSH the food market when they roll out this new product. Stores will close. Major chains will lose stock values across the world. I’m not exaggerating. Just the mere knowledge that Amazon was going to buy a clothing company sent America’s stores like J.C. Penney and Belk’s department stores stocks tumbling 15% overnight. Imagine a company immediately being worth hundreds of millions of dollars less overnight because someone else thought it would be neat to sell clothes more efficiently.

When Amazon does anything, the entire world quakes with fear and people scream monopoly and unfair practices and everything else they can think of to rail against it. Yet we, even as a single country, have proudly participated in the murder of the horse and buggy market, mom and pop stores, small mechanic shops, tire stores, even cobblers and seamstresses. Those professions die out daily because of our shopping habits and we think nothing of it, all the while continuing to help destroy them. Yet the advent of meal-kits is a wholesale insult to our way of life? It’s funny.

Me and my family; I’m personally looking forward to it. I can’t wait until I can order an entire week’s menu on Amazon and cook an entire healthy chef-worthy meal for my wife for less than I spend at Walmart now. I love to cook in the first place. My wife could gain 2-3 hours back in her week from having to grocery shop. We could reclaim even more time spent cooking meals that are more efficient, take less time, and are healthier!

You can’t please everyone

We live in a world full of assholes with opinions. Everyone has one and you’ll never be the good guy to everyone. That’s why I don’t try. I try to be the good guy to the people that matter in my life and the rest of ’em are just noise. Think about it. Everyone has opinions on everything you do. If I hire someone to clean the house, which I did, I’m too lazy to clean my own house. Personally, I look at it as I’m helping someone feed their family and grow their own small side business. She’s an incredible lady with amazing kids and great family! If she charged me more, I’d pay more. The benefit of me nor my wife spending six hours cleaning this house every week is well worth it to me in terms of a net gain of quality time spent doing other things.

If I pay someone to mow my grass, I’m lazy as hell and too uppity. If I buy a $4,000 ZTR mower I’m a showoff that needs to keep up with the Jones’. Only that perfect ratio of having a ten year old riding mower with fading paint that I have to spend money repairing, and the added insult of having to spend 4 hour cutting my yard when a ZTR could do it in 30 minutes is the right amount of pain and sweat equity to make me an average person to some people’s way of thinking.

If that’s how it is to simply be a person, to simply “be” in this current world, then companies can’t ever please anyone. Either you charge too much, or you aren’t charging enough to be taken seriously, or you’re stifling competition by being too good and causing investors to have too much faith in you because of all your damned track-record of making good decisions for them….

I didn’t plan any of this mental midget-fest in my head when I started writing this article. It went off in ways that were purely stream-of-consciousness, but it led me to solid conclusions. If you’ve got thoughts or ideas, feel free to share ’em.

PS: Can’t wait until I can order my entire menu for the week on Amazon. That’s gonna be awesome!

Authors Edit #1 July 18, 2017 – 1150 EST

I’m not editing anything previously written, but would like to provide another insight into a related topic – specifically lost jobs that result as part of innovation.

The Lost Jobs Theory

The single biggest argument from general average people, you and me, seems to be the lost jobs. I’ll give examples:

  • McDonalds and other fast food using robots to serve food – costs people jobs.
  • Walmart/Lowes and others using electronic checkout – costs people jobs.
  • Driverless cars – destroying the entire taxi industry by removing all drivers eventually.
  • Drone Delivery – removes the burden on UPS, USPS, which results in less usage, which results in less jobs.

Only the first two of those above were ones people suggested to me, but the second two immediately followed in my own mind. It’s true that innovation changes the world, but to say that jobs are destroyed isn’t really true. In some small part, jobs are like energy. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be altered. Yes, that’s a drastic oversimplification, but hear me out.

Horse and Buggy

We keep coming back to this, but that’s because its relevant. In the years between 1923 and 1939, depending on the area of the country you lived in, horse and buggy as a mode of transportation was completely replaced by automobiles. That’s an incredibly short time frame. Humans had been riding around on horses for over one-thousand years and in the blink of a comparative eye, they were obsolete. Not only were they obsolete but horses and buggies were actually banned in many cities as a mode of transportation. Towns didn’t see the need to continue having to shovel horse poop off city streets when everyone had these fancy new automobiles. It took only two generations for automobiles to completely take over the landscape.  Can you imagine what job industries were devastated by that change in human behavior? To be clear, it wasn’t the invention of the automobile that changed the world. It was Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line that did it. Being able to make a car by hand wasn’t a big dent in the horse and buggy market. The ability to mass-produce anything at all immediately changed jobs all over the world. Horse and buggy was just the example people are most familiar with.

  • Carpenters that made carriages and buggies
  • Wheelwrights that made wheels and bound iron around them.
  • Painters that did the work to decorate them.
  • Salesmen that rode them around to sell to those that could afford them.
  • Horse breeders were hit with no more need for supply. Equine farms around the country certainly closed resulting in lost jobs in that entire sector.
    • Veterinarians probably took a hit.
    • Hay farming as feed for this industry was diminished.
    • Trainers and hands were put out of work because there wasn’t a need for them with no customers buying the end product.

I could probably list 50 industries that were affected in one way or another that people would claim is a negative impact. But let’s be honest.

  • Carpenters – got educated and learned how to become mechanics or assemblymen on lines.
  • Painters – started painting cars instead of carraiges
  • Salesmen – started selling cars instead of buggies

I could go on with this list too. Just imagine the jobs that arose from the advent of automation in the early 1920’s and 1930s. I’ll give you some facts instead, as collected as reported by the US Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Click here for the source document).

In the last century, due to technology, jobs didn’t disappear. They moved to other fields. Professional and technical workers went from 4.4% of the American workforce to a 23.3% of the work force. That’s a 400% increase! Four times the amount of people have better kinds of jobs than they did before automation was invented. Look at today and think about jobs in general. Computer engineers didn’t exist in 1910. They didn’t even exist in 1950; halfway through the century. The first jobs in the computer field didn’t hit the scene until 1960. The moment it did, the job field grew 95 times in 40 years. I don’t mean 95%. I mean a factor of 95 times in four decades! We’re talking from 12,000 in the entire country to over 2.5 million! If you factor that growth over an even 40 years it took to occur, which wouldn’t be accurate, but let’s assume it is – then you’d be looking at 62,500 new jobs per year in ONE job field exploding.

My mom was an accountant for four decades. She’s actually one of the ones that brought this thought up to me to include in this article. Without technology advancing, my mother would never have been able to work in her field. Do you know how many accountants existed in 1910 in the entire country? There were approximately 39,000. There were over 1.79 million by the end of the century. Their fields grew because the need for the field grew thanks to other businesses. Accountants exploding by a factor of 13 times all by itself says that technology creates jobs. Average families have never needed accountants. Businesses do. Businesses needed them so much over that time frame that the field exploded across the country and millions more had jobs because of it. Accountants hire secretaries, and partners, and assistants, and purchase buildings employing carpenters and painters and roofers and masons.

Teaching grew by a factor of 12 times – from 26,000 nationwide to over 1,130,000.

How did that loss of all those “labor” jobs affect the nation? It quite simply turned the workforce, both young and mature, into other fields and into re-education for those fields. College enrollments increased from 355,000 to almost 15 million!

  • Professional fields such as engineers – went from 74,000 to 2.8 million!
  • Healthcare workers – went from 453,000 to over 9 milion.

Every advance in technology is met by a shift in the workforce to accommodate it, but jobs don’t disappear. They change into new jobs. Craftsmen and mechanics, jobs always knows as the backbone of America, have fluctuated both up and down historically as technology changed. Some decades saw them increase dramatically. Craftsmen boomed between 1910 and 1920, but if you jump ahead 80 years to 2000, the number of craftsmen was back below the 1910 level by 10%. Talk about a job field totally disappearing, right? One reason of course was the Great Depression which affected that group disproportionately. What happened? Did all these people just die? No. Mechanics shot through the roof during the same time frame; going from 140,00 to 2.5 million. Carpentry declined, but electricians soared. People that worked with their hands learned new fields in which to apply the same skills. The horse and buggy people though – what happened to them? The census shows that they migrated into operators of motor vehicles, fixed machinery workers, assemblers, inspectors, packers, and apprentices to other craft workers. Don’t think for one moment that a 17 year old hard-working male in the 1920’s was devastated because he could no longer shovel horse shit all day. Instead there was an exciting new field that existed that he could be part of. He could work on machinery. I mean wow, learn to fix these new giant machines with their steel housings and hoses and electrical components. Can you imagine the reality of that kind of innovation hitting the world? Well, you’d have to because no one left alive can tell you about it today.

Today’s Industries

While the reality sounds scary for the older generation such as my mother and my grandparents if they were still alive, it’s no different than what every single generation has felt before us for the last century. I’m sure that somewhere an old farmer was sitting around pissing and moaning that these new-fangled machines weren’t going to do a damned thing for farming and it would ruin the industry and everyone would starve and no one was going to survive it. Fast forward one hundred years and my second cousin is sitting in the cab of a multi-million dollar combine in Nebraska working MILLIONS of acres with just a few men and a few tools. No one alive a hundred years ago would know what a piece of modern farming equipment looked like if they were standing in front of it.

Take a moment to look at where that one field has gone to in a century.

Here is an Ohio farmer’s agricultural equipment circa 1910 or so.

Funny thing is – as advanced as we are today, we’d have no idea how to put that piece of equipment to work. But let’s look at the modern day version of the same piece of equipment.

That would look like an alien from another planet that is eating the earth to someone from a century ago. Did the invention of the combine harvester destroy farming? No, it created hundreds of thousands of jobs that didn’t exist before. Hell, there are about 30 different professions that exist today solely to keep that thing working in proper order!

Technology fundamentally drives forward the idea of making things better, faster, safer,  or cheaper. That’s the impetus that keeps us moving forward. There are tons of professions that ONLY exist today because we are lazy! Did you know that? Making things quicker and easier overall has resulted in more free time. We can’t argue that. It’s not necessarily HUGE amounts of free time, but any free time at all has significantly given rise to increases in job fields related to creature comforts and luxuries. As the world gets easier and easier to live in from a hardship perspective for the normal person certain job fields continue to rise on a comparative scale. There are more bartenders because more people have time to enjoy a drink. That means more sports bars. That means more waitresses, hostesses, buss boys, cooks, and other non-technical jobs.

The associated price drop as technology makes things more affordable  manifests in other luxury-fields of employment. Hairdressers, stylists, salons, and fields of personal grooming increase as people have more money staying in their pockets and more time to spend enjoying it.

Tomorrow’s world isn’t going to be populated by carpenters, painters, and tradesmen. I wish it wasn’t so because I think those fields are important and the lack of qualified people that know how to perform those tasks leaves the world itself at a physical disadvantage if catastrophe were to occur. However, the world changes and it’s mostly been for the good with respect to changes brought on by innovation. No, there’s a good chance your son won’t become a carpenter when he graduates. However, he would have been screwed in the technology market if the technology itself hadn’t advanced so much in the last five years. The world doesn’t currently need more Cisco Certified engineers or Microsoft certified engineers. My generation took care of sucking all those jobs up. Whatever are those poor kids going to do?

Well, for one, they’re going to be drone pilots and fly little tiny aircraft all over the place making money being surveyors, or working with disaster relief organizations, or freelance drone photographers. They’re going to have a chance to be the mechanics and brains behind building cars that drive themselves. They’re going to work on rockets designed to take humans to Mars. Who wants to go to the moon? Been there done that. Now we’re shooting for Mars! They’re definitely not going to work in oil fields. Talk about an antiquated industry that should have died out a decade ago! Instead they’re going to be installers for solar energy, or electricians tying solar homes to the grid, or fiber engineers laying the infrastructure for new solar farms, or scientists developing better and more efficient ways to harness light to make better panels.

The world is going to go on and jobs are going to continue to improve. They just won’t be the same jobs as were available ten years ago.

Reality will set in

To some extent, some of you are going to argue that a significant portion of the population can’t make the change and will become welfare-dependent and spend the rest of their lives sucking on the teat of everyone around them that DOES make the change. You’re right. What can I say? It’s true. It’s crappy and it sucks, but we live in a world dominated by people that believe it’s OK for you to contribute nothing to your own well being and just let others be forced to do it for you. I’m not one of those people, but they are unfortunately a majority in the world we live in. What happens to them? That’s up to us.

If they’re the older generation and technology and innovation are leaving them behind, then it’s up to us as human beings to care for them. After all, they cared for us all our lives. If we have to assist them for the last decade or two of theirs, that’s reality. Guess what? The world has always worked that way throughout history. It’s only this last 100 years of American culture that has forgotten it. Families have historically been big throughout the world’s cultures. Do you know why? It was so the kids could help run the family business, farm, or whatever and also so the kids collectively can care for the elder generation when they get to a point in life that work is no longer feasible. I realize that about my Mom. She’s going to be 70 next year. She’s got her retirement and social security but there will come a time likely in her life when that’s not enough. Sure, it might pay her bills and leave her enough to survive on but that’s not living! She spent DECADES of her life providing and raising us, her children. It should be automatic for us to simply intuit that there will come a time when its our turn to return the favor.

If you’re the younger generation between 30-50 years old, I’d say it’s up to you to decide whether you want to get forgotten and rot away, spending your life constantly being bitter and bitching about how the oil industry failed you and you can’t work the mines anymore and you can’t feed yourself, or whether you want to spend 5 minutes doing an Internet search to find ways your skill sets could be made handy in other areas. I know some states have programs specifically designed to take old coal and oil workers and train them to do solar installations. It’s a new and still-emerging field and there’s plenty of room for skilled labor in it.  You can’t tell me that a day spent above ground working isn’t better than a day spent below it.  The world won’t stop because you can’t keep up, nor should it. We’d never progress if we did that and the world would be a very dark place if that had been our philosophy for the last thousand years. No, I mean literally.. an actual DARK place, as in if we’d never developed electricity, or internet, or any of the fascinating things that make life easier for us each day.

Author’s Conclusions

I guess the point of this additional material was to drive home one point: Throughout history people that are living in the times of significant change have always feared the changes it could possibly bring to their lives. They fear the unknown because it is just that – not knowable. If they knew the outcome, they would be OK. But there in one comforting fact to take from all of this. At no point in recorded history in our country, has innovation and technology failed to create more jobs than it made obsolete. Every new invention opens up a whole new field of labor, science, processes, manufacturing, and thought. Some changes, such as driverless cars will hurt the taxi industry. That’s ok. The taxi industry is destined for destruction just like the horse and buggy was. It might not be today or in the next five years, but it is a 100% irrefutable fact that the technology we are inventing and perfecting today will absolutely with 100% certainty destroy the entire industry in this country. What isn’t taken over by technology will be stolen by the ride-sharing technologies such as Uber and Lyft. It’s progression and it’s inevitable. If you go out today with the goal of starting up a Taxi service in 2017, then you’re an idiot and don’t deserve to be running your own business. You’re too inept to perform the function, obviously. It would be the same as if I decided to try to recreate the horse and buggy market today. I’d go broke and everyone around me would expect me to and they’d all be right when they told me so. The fundamental failure of people to see reality shouldn’t be put on the shoulders of the rest of us.  Innovation will change the world we live in. It will destroy jobs. But history shows that 100% of the time it has always paved new pathways for jobs as well.

Maybe Amazon will be the killer of the local grocery store market. Maybe hundreds of thousands of stores around the country will close their doors because they ran out of money because no one shopped there anymore. But you can rest assured that small-sized organic farms will thrive in a manner they haven’t in my entire lifetime. With the ability to directly from farm to market finally being a possibility, entire new branches of micro-agriculture will develop.

Amazon purchased a clothing business and is soon to be releasing a try-before-you-buy platform that will let you order up to 15 pieces of clothing online, have them all delivered to your home, and you only pay for the ones you keep. And it will be as cheap if not cheaper than brand-name retail is now! Will that close the doors of giant retailers? Absolutely! Will it fire accountants and stockboys and cashiers and greeters and parking lot attendants and shopping cart chasers? Absolutely. Many of those jobs will go away or be shifted to other industries. You can’t be a cashier at Belk’s anymore because there wont be a Belk’s, but you can still be a cashier at Tractor Supply, or Advance Auto, or Zaxby’s. The skills are still relevant.

However the greatest thing about this in my mind is that the American clothing manufacturer will be able to come back in a way not seen in the last 30 years either. Already there are hundreds of small companies that specialize in making custom clothing here in the USA that you can’t buy in stores. Do you know why? Because they can’t afford to get them to stores. Nine Lines Apparel, Grunt Style, and tons of other like them exist in an online-only marketplace. Do you know what else is special about them? They are staffed 100% by veterans of the American Armed Forces! Now those small businesses have a chance to sell to more people, cheaper, faster, and can still afford to employ people here in the USA!  To make things even better, a market has emerged that self-dedicated to employing our veterans so they have jobs when they come back home. So yeah, six kids in Vietnam will be put out of work making my Columbia work shirts, but I’ll be able to know I’m supporting a dozen Americans when I switch to purchasing Buffalo-Jackson, or Grunt Style, or Nine Lines brands instead! Chances are, those companies are doing their best to purchase American cotton for their supplies. They’re buying American things to run their businesses whenever they can because they’re the kinds of Americans that this country was built on – the ones with a sense of pride in their country and pride in their work. Do you know what it will take for them to become great again as an industry? It will require the collapse of big clothing retail as the primary purchasing source for Americans. For myself, I’m OK with that. I’d rather see that happen than what’s been happening since my childhood – the rise of big-business over mom and pop. Mom and pop business will pop up in new areas every month.We just have to watch out for them.

Anyway, that’s enough for now… you’ve got enough to think on!
Have a good day y’all!



1 thought on “Amazon – Friend or Foe in Food?

  1. Ma’am there are already online stores where you can pick out clothes. The company will send you them to you. You can keep the ones you want and send the rest back. You only have to pay for what you keep.

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