1. Technology & Innovation

Your Views: Lessons From The Jones Beach Causeway

Yesterday we posted an email from an MNB reader suggesting that the Supreme Court’s decision not to allow – for the moment, anyway – the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to establish vaccinate-or-test mandates for businesses with 100 or more employees was misguided.

After all, he said, OSHA is allowed to regulate the use of forklifts in the workplace (forklift accidents kill fewer than 100 people a year), and the pandemic has killed well more than 800,000 people.

Today, another MNB reader responds:

In regards to the OSHA rules and the beeping on a forklift. This was in a way brought up by one of the Supreme Court justices but not in the way the reader was framing it. The reader was stating it as a positive argument however the justice saw this as a negative. One of the justices asked if there are current OSHA rules that follow a person home (I am paraphrasing). The argument was that a vaccine not only affects you at work but also affects you in every aspect of your life. Once you have taken the vaccine there is no undoing it while off work. Whereas the forklift stays at work and does not come home with you and isn’t a part of your home life. The lawyer for OSHA could not think of any current rules or regulations that follow you from work to home. For further clarification the justice did not mention forklifts specifically but is basically the same argument. Also not saying I am for or against this argumentation just thought it was worth mentioning. 

To me, that is a specious argument, since irresponsible behavior in the workplace can lead to a spread of the disease in a way that can cripple the business and even the broader economy.

But since one of the associate justices reportedly refuses to wear a mask in the SCOTUS weekly in-person conferences – putting another high-risk associate justice in the position of having to meet remotely – I’m not really surprised by the decision.

MNB reader Rich Heiland weighed in on yesterday’s FaceTime about the importance of frictionless shopping experiences, especially as facilitated by checkout-free technologies:

Totally agree with your frictionless comments. I remain neutral on whether self-checkout is a good thing. Now that I have white hair I am amazed at how many times an attendant jumps in on me and starts helping, assuming since I’m old I will mess it up. However, I also notice a lot of people struggle with it, particularly if an item is missing a bar code or they can’t tell what kind of pepper it is. The hangups often defeat the purpose. 

But, in terms of tolls, I have to wonder….if Sonny Corleone had used EZ Pass….. it was a memorable scene….

First of all, extra credit for The Godfather reference.  (The Onion had a funny piece about this years ago.)

Second, self-checkout is a very different animal from checkout-free.  I’ve pointed out here before that self-checkout hasn’t evolved very much in the decades since it started to show up in supermarkets.  Checkout-free actually leap-frogs all the problems that are inherent in self-checkout.

Third, studies have shown, ironically enough, that self-checkout isn’t really faster than traditional checkout.  What it does create is a feeling on the part of the shopper that he or she is in control.  Which is an important factor that retailers ought to think about when designing stores.

MNB reader Bob Thomas asked:

Would the checkout-eliminating technologies reduce the usage of plastic bags?

I hadn’t thought about that, but the answer, I imagine would be yes … anytime I’ve ever used checkout-free technology, I’ve either brought my own bag or gotten a reusable bag while in the store.

Good point.

Got the following email from an MNB reader about how Kroger-owned Harris Teeter informed customers enrolled in its e-VIC program – which provides them with personalized weekly specials and digital coupons – that because of supply chain issues, the company would not be offering any coupons last week.

HT is a good operator all the way around.  They do their best to create an experience for the shopper that keeps people coming back.  Even though they are not the most competitive on price, they are always stocked and staffed. As a shopper, the last 2 are far more important then the first.


Yesterday we posted a reader’s recommendation for a great martini recipe:

2 parts gin (London dry) … 1 part vodka … 1 part vermouth … 2 dashes orange bitters.

Stir over ½ shaker of ice for about 30 seconds. Pour into your favorite chilled (Kevin) coupe glass. Garnish with olive.

This prompted an email from another reader:

Kevin, we are experimenters here at home and this sounds good, so any idea if this is Dry Vermouth or Sweet Vermouth in this concoction the reader sent you?

I checked.  Dry vermouth.

I fully expect folks to report back on this critical issue.

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