business news in context, analysis with attitude

Thanks for all of you who liked the series of FaceTime videos on a variety of subjects that I posted last week while I was taking some time off.

Regarding the video about ageism, MNB reader Mike Moon wrote:

We sold off and closed our supermarkets stores in early 2019. We had been owners for nearly 30 years, and my retail grocery experience stretched over 40. I was 56 years old.

Our grocery ownership was not as lucrative as we hoped, so I was not able to retire - I needed to find a job. I put a resume together for the first time in 30 years, and had some professional help iron it out for me. After I looked at it, I thought, "Wow, I really have a strong skill set in a LOT of different areas, this looks promising". I felt my timing was good, as the unemployment level was really low, about 3.5%, and good help was hard to find.

So, I sent it out to the long list of industry contacts that I had accumulated over the years.....and nothing. No replies, no calls, no interviews. I sent to LinkedIn postings, and searched the job openings on Monster, etc.....nada. 

My assumption was it was a combination of 1.) my age (my resume didn't list my birthdate, but it did list my years of experience; people can do the math), and 2.) I actually think my broad skillset worked against me a little; I wasn't specialized enough. So many postings were looking for people with specific education and training.

But my story does not have a sad ending. Today, I am doing consulting work, writing weekly grocery ads for a large group of stores. I can work from home, and I'm able to use all those years of experience when deciding what to promote and for how much.

On the same subject, from another reader:

From my perspective, in my organization, there is absolutely a push to reduce the over all age of the workforce at a corporate level (happened in the stores years ago). For example there was a very attractive VRO package offered a few years back. Since then there have been a few “restructures” that seem to have disproportionately displaced the older crowd. At 58 I am one of the oldest people I know in the organization and no one on my team comes close. In fact most younger than my kids.

Now I am one of the survivors, I was slightly too young to qualify for the VRO and have been fortunate that the organization found value in what I do for them.

What is interesting is… While the organization appears to be pushing us out, my immediate leadership is pressuring us to stay.

Seems to be a disconnect in the perceived value of the experience from different levels in the organization.

Regarding the video about robotics, one MNB reader wrote:

This aired last night on my local PBS station.  Fascinating look at the impact of robotics/AI on the labor market.  I was particularly interested in how this has impacted farming – robotic tractors that farmers don’t even steer while meanwhile many occupations will be eliminated, like throughout previous “industrial revolutions”.  I figure its just a matter of time before Andrew Chang and other futurists predict, that there won’t be as much need for labor and people should just get checks to sit at home and play with their phones and there will not be a need for a Risk Manager at a small retail grocery chain in middle ‘merica.  Eventually our pinky fingers are apt to fall off as well……it's evolution baby!

About the video noting that hotels now are considering the same à la carte pricing used by airlines, MNB reader Deborah Faragher wrote:

You have so many good points in this piece.  It reminded me of an off-season trip my husband and I were planning to Amelia Island in Florida.  In our attempt to book the hotel, we learned there was a rather hefty fee for amenities.  When asked what those amenities comprised, I was told beach chairs and umbrellas, among other things.  I called the hotel to ask if those fees could be reconsidered as we would be booking in December when those amenities would not be of use to us.  Bottom line, we were told no, and, as a result, we stayed elsewhere.  So, to your point, hotels, and other businesses, could, and should, consider a la carte pricing that suits their customers’ needs versus annoying customers by charging for amenities that are never used.  My fear, however, is that the original prices are never rolled back to reflect the difference.

MNB reader Dick Spezzano wrote:

I think you are so right about what pisses off a customer and going a la carte will certainly be one of them.  Have you ever asked a resort what the "$25 Resort Fee" is for?  The usual response is the availability of the pool, fitness facility, room service, and other services. When you say you didn't use any of those services so I shouldn't be charged for them, their usual reply is "that they are available should you want to use them".  That pisses me off.  Spirit Airlines is one that charges for everything and that includes water during the flight.  I agree, the last "role model" to use is the airlines.  The people I talk to say their airline of choice is "the cheapest" because none are any better than the other.

And from another reader:

Although the airlines seem to be getting away with this à la carte type of program, I think it is a big mistake if the hotels start a similar system. It is extremely difficult to ask people to pay for any service or item after years of being offered these amenities for free. I understand that companies need to make up lost revenue but maybe patience is a better virtue. I think this ala carte system stinks!

Got a number of emails about my video recorded in Bethel, New York, the site of Woodstock and, on August 27, a John Fogerty concert that Mrs. Content Guy and I attended.  The gathering of people - in an outdoor venue - made me wistful for the days when we could gather around without worrying about a highly contagious disease, and wonder why some people continue to resist getting a vaccine that has been proven top be safe, available and free.

One MNB reader wrote:

We saw John Fogerty in that very spot on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in August 2019.   I know positively he (and his family) gave a great concert and you and Mrs. Content Guy felt like teenagers rocking to the great sounds of Credence. 

We could have no idea at the time of the bad covid moon that was rising.  Keep rowing in the right direction, Amen!

And from another reader:

My wife and I, along with two other couples went to an outdoor John Fogerty concert, here in Troutdale, OR, about 3-4 years ago. All I can say is that it was over 2 hours of the best music I have ever seen and heard. A truly iconic voice, and band who gave their audience the best concert most of us had ever attended. I hope you agree that your concert was one of the best you have ever heard.

We do.

And from still another:

I know this feeling.  A couple weeks ago my husband and I hit the road from Austin to Albuquerque to see our first concert in years - Foo Fighters.  It was at an outdoor amphitheater and the breeze was reassuring. Both the crowd and the band seemed so genuinely happy to be there - the venue had not had a concert in 688 days.  The energy was incredible.  One of my top 5 concert experiences for sure! 

It was great to be in an audience listening to music.  I'm looking forward to getting back to what Mrs. Content Guy and I jokingly refer to as our "RIP Tour" - in the last few years, before Covid, we've seen Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Carole King, The Eagles, and, of course, Jimmy Buffett.  Mrs. Content Guy saw Elton John (I was supposed to go with her, but had a speaking engagement that got in the way - so one of our sons went.)  Plus, with my daughter I've seen some younger acts that wouldn't qualify for the "RIP" list, like The Dixie Chicks (back when they had "Dixie" in their name, though we're anxious to see them when they return to the road) and Taylor Swift.

Now that we've added John Fogerty to the list, we're casting about for who we'd like to see in the future.  I'm thinking Bob Dylan … and maybe The Who?