TheCid

Sears bankruptcy and decline of retail

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Interesting personal perspective on the status of retail in US.  While number employed is higher than in 70's, it does not come close to matching population or economy growth.  Also, most of the jobs are now in low paying, limited future places such as Wal-Mart, Family Dollar, convenience stores, etc.  Many employers have abandoned down towns, small towns, malls, etc.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/with-each-department-store-that-closes-a-world-vanishes/2018/10/19/00293ef0-d24a-11e8-b2d2-f397227b43f0_story.html?utm_term=.d19fd728830d&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

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45 minutes ago, TheCid said:

Interesting personal perspective on the status of retail in US.  While number employed is higher than in 70's, it does not come close to matching population or economy growth.  Also, most of the jobs are now in low paying, limited future places such as Wal-Mart, Family Dollar, convenience stores, etc.  Many employers have abandoned down towns, small towns, malls, etc.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/with-each-department-store-that-closes-a-world-vanishes/2018/10/19/00293ef0-d24a-11e8-b2d2-f397227b43f0_story.html?utm_term=.d19fd728830d&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

I don't know how widespread it is everywhere else, but in my town many of the retail jobs are disappearing thanks to self-serve check-out stations. What started out as 6 self-check-out stations at my local Wal-Mart has now grown to over half of all check-out aisles, and there's often very few of the human-manned stations open. The same self-check-outs have now appeared at two of our largest grocery stores, too. Only Publix does not currently have any. They are also prevalent at our Home Depot and Lowe's locations.

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I'm a self-checkout fiend. And you can find plenty of that at our local Walmarts and Krogers.

But still 2/3 of their stations have human employees on cash registers,

While every self -check out has at least one human employee surveilling the entire operation with a handheld device.

However, most people shopping at Kroger still seem to want the human Checker and the accompanied high school student who sacks their groceries.

 

17 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I don't know how widespread it is everywhere else, but in my town many of the retail jobs are disappearing thanks to self-serve check-out stations. What started out as 6 self-check-out stations at my local Wal-Mart has now grown to over half of all check-out aisles, and there's often very few of the human-manned stations open. The same self-check-outs have now appeared at two of our largest grocery stores, too. Only Publix does not currently have any. They are also prevalent at our Home Depot and Lowe's locations.

 

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And yet giddy, short-sighted fools always embrace all this 'convenient' (digital) technology which 'makes life easier' but which employers clearly only use to eliminate jobs. It's been going on not just since the 1950s (reported in detail by Harry Braverman) but since the 1769 Spitalfields district riots in London. Marx called this hideous aspect of capitalism out for exactly what it was.

Then as now, it is the long-term killer of jobs. (One measure to take against it is of course, unions--but unions have been thoroughly discredited, haven't they?)

https://tinyurl.com/hn4qqnw

(NYT article)

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While self check-out, mail order and electronic shopping are not only killing jobs, they are also killing the entry jobs where young people learn skills.  Not only the skills of waiting on people, but also the basic skills of working and working with others.

I think it is ironic that parents talk about how hard it is for their children to find jobs while in high school and college or after.  While they are busily sending off another order to Amazon or e-bay.  For a product made in a foreign country.

In high school I worked as a "clerk" for an independent drug store.  There was no self-service, so the customers had to tell us what they wanted and we went and got it, then rang it up and wrapped or sacked it.  When a customer came in, we went to them and asked how we could help them.  They didn't have to come looking for us.

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Sear had the best tools during the 1970's - 90's when they were made in the USA.  Still have the screwdriver set that's over 30 years old and some power tools.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRSU8k9ob_ZiRj0aveRQUZ

 

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Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk

The private equity business model is to strip assets from companies that they acquire.

The latest victims: retail grocery chains

"...... The media has blamed “disruptors”—low-cost competitors like Walmart and high-end markets like Whole Foods, now owned by Amazon. But the real disruptors in this industry are the private equity owners who were behind all seven bankruptcies.

They have extracted millions from grocery stores in the last five years—funds that could have been used to upgrade stores, enhance products and services, and invest in employee training and higher wages.

As with the bankruptcies of common household names like Toys “R” Us, private equity owners throw companies they own into unsustainable debt in order to capture high returns for themselves and their investors. If the company they have starved of resources goes broke, they’ve already made their bundle.

This is all perfectly legal. It should not be. ..........

P.E. firms, famously, have no commitment to the long-term sustainability of the companies they buy; their time horizon is three to five years until, ideally, they exit these investments. The heart of the private equity business model is the “leveraged buyout” (LBO). .......

Grocery chains employ 2.8 million workers, distributed in small towns and cities across the country. They still account for the majority of food-at-home purchases and are an important source of jobs in local communities. Their continued presence is important to the local economy and to a sense of community in the neighborhoods they serve. Private equity firms have acquired at least 50 grocery chains in the last few years—attracted to them for their real-estate assets, low debt, and high cash flow. Their strategy of buying, selling, and flipping stores undermines the economic security of workers and the stability of local communities. ........

http://prospect.org/article/private-equity-pillage-grocery-stores-and-workers-risk

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This is what we mean when we talk about a rigged economy. If Sears has $25 million to give bonuses to executives after closing over 100 stores, why is the company telling thousands of laid off employees they don't have the money to pay their severance? https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sears-bankruptcy-court-oks-25-million-in-bonuses-for-top-execs/ 

 
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NOOO! I work for 84 Lumber (in a roundabout way) and they offer much, much better cuts of wood than the big box "home supply" stores. 

I also work in a farm store as a cashier part-time. It gets me out of the house actually interacting with people. 90% of my job is TEACHING young kids at their first job how to work well with others & the public. They just don't walk in with good work skills or ethics.

(as an aside, nothing frosts me more than the guy buying some part for the tractor quipping, "hey take your time, I'm on the clock!" like it's acceptable or FUNNY to waste your company's money goofing off)

Our highway system has just gotten rid of ALL the toll takers, replacing them with electronic EZPass readers. If you zoom by without the debit pass, they take a photo of your license plate, get your info & MAIL you an inflated bill*! Talk about taking advantage of you from both ends! 

But the very worst part of being a cashier is the customer abuse. You can't imagine how incredibly rude people can be towards a cashier (or waitress, or any other "service" employee) We may as well replace people with machines, since people don't know how to act towards people trying to help them.

*a "service" charge, first implemented by the crooks at Ticket-Master-Bater

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Oh yeah, I have to add:

I do not shop at Walmart, buy Disney character products or anything made in China except silk, pearls or anything China is the best quality supplier for.  

If a tool, coffee mug, pair of socks, dog toy, ANYTHING has a "made in China" label, it goes right back on the shelf. Remember, China doesn't have the same manufacturing regulations as the high US standards, "stainless steel" made in China contains cheap pot metal. Dinnerware glazes can contain lead, etc.

The women's fashion store Charlotte Russe sells MADE IN USA clothing-what a rarity. While I don't buy much new clothing, when I do, it's almost always from Charlotte Russe.

(if THEY can do it at competitive prices, why can't OTHER stores?)

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most of my electronics is made in china and it seems good to me. only an utter fool would refuse to buy a quality product because of it's nationality. my tasco world class 8x25 compact binocular was made in china and tasco makes nothing anymore even approaching their quality. it's not country but quality standards implemented.

 

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13 hours ago, hamradio said:

A lot of 84 Lumber stores has close including the one the serves my area.

9c5cbe3513130dddc001479e3b2a5afc_XL.jpg

Never heard of 84 Lumber-- but we've got Home Depot, Menards, Lowe's, but Builders Square went out of business years ago.

Truth of the matter is all these gigantic chain **** places have ruined local business and caused local business owners to go bankrupt.

For decades our local and Regional lumber yards and hardware stores had no problems coexisting with the chain hardware stores, which were not gigantic warehouses.

But that's dog-eat-dog capitalism in America.

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19 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

only an utter fool would refuse to buy a quality product because of it's nationality

Ha! Do so at your own peril!

As I already mentioned, Asian "stainless steel" is nothing of the kind. They're allowed to make false claims labeling their products-wholly unregulated.

Do you realize the difference between US/European cured leather and Asian/Mexican cured leather?

Italian leather is by far the superior product because of the slow, methodical hand tanning process and will last a lifetime. US processing isn't far behind.

Mexican & Asian leather is "quick" tanned using animal urine which results in a dry, brittle leather that will split from stress. (not to mention, foul odor)

I am amazed seeing people spend $30 for a Carhart leather belt or wallet made in Mexico. They are just mesmerized by that logo.

I love most everything manufactured in Germany & Austria. They take care to produce high quality products, especially crystal/glass. You get what you pay for.

Like I said before, China's silk & pearls are fantastic quality. Clothing, plastic tumblers, ceramic dinnerware from China...not so much.

This is why I don't buy at Walmart. Americans are obsessed with buying and obsessed with cheap prices. I don't buy much, but when I do, it's quality.

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There used to be two 84 Lumbers in my area, but I think both closed.  Neither shows up on 84 Lumbers store locator.  I think one problem was they never advertised that I recall and they were poorly located.  You had to know where they were to find them.  I did shop at them a few times, but not really impressed as they did not have any more than Lowe's or Home Depot and usually less.  Not to mention it costs more.  Mostly sold lumber type products with a small "hardware" space inside.

I used a contractor several times and every time he went to 84 to pick up the lumber they said they had in stock, they didn't.  So he ended up going to Lowe's.

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Ha! Do so at your own peril!

As I already mentioned, Asian "stainless steel" is nothing of the kind. They're allowed to make false claims labeling their products-wholly unregulated.

Do you realize the difference between US/European cured leather and Asian/Mexican cured leather?

Italian leather is by far the superior product because of the slow, methodical hand tanning process and will last a lifetime. US processing isn't far behind.

Mexican & Asian leather is "quick" tanned using animal urine which results in a dry, brittle leather that will split from stress. (not to mention, foul odor)

I am amazed seeing people spend $30 for a Carhart leather belt or wallet made in Mexico. They are just mesmerized by that logo.

I love most everything manufactured in Germany & Austria. They take care to produce high quality products, especially crystal/glass. You get what you pay for.

Like I said before, China's silk & pearls are fantastic quality. Clothing, plastic tumblers, ceramic dinnerware from China...not so much.

This is why I don't buy at Walmart. Americans are obsessed with buying and obsessed with cheap prices. I don't buy much, but when I do, it's quality.

Especially their stereos

Marantz_2270_receiver.jpeg

 

dual_cs600_front_-_blk.jpg

Stereo-Magazine-Issue-02_Titel.png

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8 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I love most everything manufactured in Germany & Austria. They take care to produce high quality products, especially crystal/glass. You get what you pay for.

 

Sometimes, maybe.  Not so much for automobiles.  The Asians are really doing a far better job.  Of course, the Germans are much better than the Italians, French and British.

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On 12/19/2018 at 3:34 PM, TheCid said:

Sometimes, maybe.  Not so much for automobiles.  The Asians are really doing a far better job.

Except for the metal used, it's awful quality, like aluminum foil compared to US steel. Everyone wants fuel efficiency, lighter vehicles and that's what they get instead of strength.

It's amazing just looking at corrugated cardboard. I unpack corrugated cardboard boxes that are made in USA that are strong, rigid and can hold 4 heavy gallon jugs of oil easily & securely. Those same boxes are flattened, sent to China, recycled into new cardboard boxes and the result is flimsy, almost fabric "cardboard" boxes. The corrugation is pretty much flat.

I now have waves of customers needing "stink bug" control pesticides because their home is infested. Stink bugs, their larva & eggs come over hidden away in those boxes & merchandise from China. New invasive species from tchotchke commerce....the pesticide that controls them is a known bee killer.

 

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

 

I now have waves of customers needing "stink bug" control pesticides because their home is infested. Stink bugs, their larva & eggs come over hidden away in those boxes & merchandise from China. New invasive species from tchotchke commerce....the pesticide that controls them is a known bee killer.

:o

GOSH!

You mean the REAL danger is NOT the "caravan"?   :D 

And, what WOULD TUCKER CARLSON think about that?  :D 

Sepiatone

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Geez, Life is TOO short to listen to long, blind videos from unnamed sources.....

Can't you just sum up main talking points!??

:blink::unsure:

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I didn't watch or listen to the whole thing either...

So...

DID it mention that for many years, the Sears catalog was many people's only source of TOILET PAPER?  ;) 

Found hanging in America's finest outdoor privies.  :D 

Sepiatone

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On 12/20/2018 at 4:35 AM, TikiSoo said:

 

I now have waves of customers needing "stink bug" control pesticides because their home is infested. Stink bugs, their larva & eggs come over hidden away in those boxes & merchandise from China. New invasive species from tchotchke commerce....the pesticide that controls them is a known bee killer.

stinkbug.jpg

 

Burn them, burn them in hell!  Another pest that needs to be on the extinction list. :angry:

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On 12/20/2018 at 4:35 AM, TikiSoo said:

Except for the metal used, it's awful quality, like aluminum foil compared to US steel. Everyone wants fuel efficiency, lighter vehicles and that's what they get instead of strength.

It's amazing just looking at corrugated cardboard. I unpack corrugated cardboard boxes that are made in USA that are strong, rigid and can hold 4 heavy gallon jugs of oil easily & securely. Those same boxes are flattened, sent to China, recycled into new cardboard boxes and the result is flimsy, almost fabric "cardboard" boxes. The corrugation is pretty much flat.

I now have waves of customers needing "stink bug" control pesticides because their home is infested. Stink bugs, their larva & eggs come over hidden away in those boxes & merchandise from China. New invasive species from tchotchke commerce....the pesticide that controls them is a known bee killer.

stinkbug.jpg

Stinkbugs have little if anything to do with packaging.  It has been reported that there is a large increase in the natural stinkbug population in US.  especially at this time of year as they are trying to get inside (just like ladybugs).

I used to work in a paper mill that had a box plant connected with it.  So, I always check out where boxes are made.  Everyone I have ever received was made in US or Canada.  Of course, I do not purchase through Amazon, etc.

As for automobiles, the steel in Asian cars is just as good as what comes out of US plants. And better assembled.

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