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Rich Duprey

Contributor, The Motley Fool
  • Posted on: 10/24/2022

    Has tipping for takeout become a social norm?

    Does anyone tip the cashier at Walmart? Did you tip the mechanic who fixed your car? How about the toll collector at the bridge or tunnel? The fact is, there are plenty of people performing a service who aren't tipped and shouldn't be. They're doing their job. Waitstaff at a restaurant is different, because they're performing a task -- serving us -- that's worth recognition with a tip. Also, they're not being paid the same wage as others in the establishment. And it's not a given for them either, if they're rude or surly. Giving a tip because someone handed you a box is nonsensical. I have no qualms about checking the "no tip" box if it shows up when paying.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2022

    Is Victoria’s Secret’s inclusivity messaging resonating?

    There is a fine line between acceptance of all body types and promoting unhealthy fitness levels. Just as fashion was rightly criticized for its "heroin chic" models years ago, retailers should also not go to the other extreme and promote obesity as desirable. As someone who is far from fit, I know my body is not healthy. It is not something that should be seen as not worth trying to improve upon. So-called "unattainable" bodies arguably should not be the rule in advertising, but neither should unhealthy body types be endorsed.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2022

    Will Patagonia’s ownership help save the planet and its retail business?

    Considering we're talking about a billionaire here who purposefully structured the transaction to save hundreds of millions of dollars while still promising a strong influx of income to him all the while retaining control, I'm not sure it's the case money was not a primary motivator here. At the same time, though, Chouinard is showing he does also care very much about the environment, so that even if the decision was a cynical money-first, environment-second move, environmental causes still make out very well in the end.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2022

    Will climate change make supply chain disasters the new normal?

    Not that businesses shouldn't do more to be ecologically friendly, but their actions will have little to any effect on "climate change." Several people have mentioned Pakistan's floods, but the country regularly goes through periods of massive, devastating flooding. The 2010 monsoon season was even more deadly than the current season and it has little to do with climate change. National Institutes of Health scientists have found solar activity is the primary cause of these periods of excess flooding and subsequent droughts. El Nino and sunspot activity are the primary culprits. The U.S. is already the world leader in the reduction of greenhouse gases, and unless China does something to curb its emissions it won't matter really what U.S. retailers do. China is the world's biggest polluter, accounting for 27 percent of global emissions, so yes, consider the environmental impact of your actions, but retailers shouldn't lose sleep over it.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2022

    Target ditched its mandatory retirement age to keep Brian Cornell in charge

    Ok, I'll be the contrarian. There is actually some benefit to having mandatory retirement ages for senior executives. One, it helps companies avoid the problem of having underperforming executives hanging on long past their usefulness, and it also helps ensure lower rank executives are not demoralized by not having a chance at securing positions in the upper echelons of the company leading to a brain drain as junior executives leave for brighter prospects. Mandatory retirement ages ensures the C-suite doesn't get stale and as the Cornell situation shows, they're easily amended when a good CEO is wanted to be kept around.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2022

    Peloton looks to get back in shape by selling on Amazon

    Unfortunately this won't reverse Peloton's decline. While it can open up the connected fitness stock to a wider market, if you're looking for its bike you could just as easily head over to Peloton's website as Amazon's. I'm guessing the whole connected fitness phenomenon was more fad than trend, or at least niche, since it carries such a high entry price point and requires a recurring monthly subscription commitment. Peloton isn't adding many new subscribers, and those it has are not taking as many classes as they once did. The number of classes streamed is down 26 percent year to date. Peloton burst on the seen at just the right moment, but its future is one of being a small, niche business.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2022

    Does Walmart+ need a video streaming deal to compete with Amazon Prime?

    Yes, that's what we need, yet another streaming service. Since Walmart won't be producing any content, it will only get content that's already available elsewhere on Netflix and other services. It's completely redundant. Amazon at least acquires original content for its service. And as has been noted, Walmart tried this experiment before, both with streaming and DVDs. Both were a failure. Why does it think this time will be any different?
  • Posted on: 08/08/2022

    Walmart goes tiny to reach nature-loving vacationers

    This seems much more about marketing and branding ... and bringing more members into the Walmart+ loyalty program. There may be some sales opportunities, but the highly curated look of the stores suggests otherwise. However, having not heard of Getaway before, I like the look of their cabins, which look like tiny homes on wheels. I'm not sure that crowd is in Walmart's wheelhouse though.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2022

    Is now the perfect time for grocers to sell imperfect food?

    Supermarkets are afraid of being sued. I asked my local Stop & Shop produce manager once about getting access to their produce they were going to throw away (I wanted it for my backyard chickens) and he refused saying they couldn't. The fear was if someone got sick from eating food that was expired it would open them up to liability. In today's litigious world, it's not an unreasonable fear.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2022

    Has Best Buy found an outlet for future growth?

    I tend to agree it sounds like a good idea, but outlets can be tricky businesses for retailers. Coach, for example, saw its outlets undermine its full-price stores because consumers were able to attain something of the same cachet at a discount. It had to dramatically scale back their usage. The same thing happened with Michael Kors and arguably even with Nordstrom Rack, particularly as Rack stores now outnumber full-price stores by more than 2.5 to 1. Whole Foods also abandoned its lower cost 365 by Whole Foods stores. In general, discount sales end up cannibalizing full-price sales and profits. Yet there are plenty of instances where it works, too. Macy's Backstage has arguably given the retailer a new lease on life. It will be interesting to see if it can make them work, or will it be more like Kohl's opening its Off/Aisle concept, stores that were exclusively dedicated to returned merchandise, which it eventually shut down.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2022

    Walmart appears ready to quit its cigarette habit

    Another dumb decision, though c-stores will cheer as they own about 70 percent of the cigarette market. Yes, smoking isn't good for you, but I'm sure Walmart's candy aisle, soda aisle, and all the other unhealthy foods the retailer sells aren't going away. It's ludicrous to talk about Walmart's decision being born of developing "healthy" relationships with its customers when it's killing them through obesity-inducing products throughout the rest of its store. It will unnecessarily drive customers who choose to smoke to the competition.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2022

    Are banned books a sales opportunity or political risk for Barnes & Noble?

    It's a good marketing ploy, but realize that's all it is, is a ploy. Barnes & Noble has had no problem banning books itself. Just last year it removed books from its shelves that denied the Holocaust took place and removed several Dr. Seuss books over "offensive imagery." Whatever your views about those books are, B&N can't claim any moral superiority simply because they're displaying controversial though otherwise popular titles. This country was predicated on free speech, on defending the speech we hate, not just what we agree with. Also, some books like the 1619 Project weren't "banned" because they're controversial, but because it's riddled with errors and outright falsehoods about U.S. history. But books and ideas shouldn't be banned or hidden away. Paraphrasing Justice Brandeis, "sunlight is the best disinfectant" for odious ideas and incorrect beliefs. Good for B&N supporting banned books, but it's being very selective about what sort of books and ideas it will display.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2021

    Should brands and retailers stop destroying unsold merchandise?

    Brewers are strictly forbidden from selling alcohol directly to the public due to the antiquated three-tier distribution system. While selling product at a discount would also undercut the premium nature of the beverage, the real issue for Boston Beer was freshness. Believe it or not, hard seltzer goes "stale," and because this inventory had been sitting around too long, selling it would have meant possibly hurting its reputation with an inferior product. There's also nothing to say Boston Beer won't be recycling the packaging. CEO Jim Koch said the brewer would be "crushing" the old inventory, which sounds like it could very well be recycled. While there is often a good reason to discount, donate, or otherwise use a product instead of wasting it, that doesn't seem to apply to Boston Beer's situation.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Your next c-store online order may be delivered by a robot

    Delivery robots seem at best an upscale suburban community phenomenon because they will either be unworkable (a rural setting) or prone to damage or theft (urban areas). They seem more novelty than viable delivery option.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Is the government’s vaccination mandate plan good for retail?

    Because anti-vaccine mandate comments are blocked. I have submitted several comments over the months taking an opposing view and every single comment has been deleted. When you only allow the debate to go in one direction, you only get one side of the issue. It's not that the anti-mandate crowd is silent, it's that our voices are silenced.
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