Retail Since 1886. Boarding. Terror. On To Panama.

Retail Woes 2.0.  Delta’s Pillars.  We Need A Solution.  Kicking It.

They dominated retail for decades as millions of loyal customers flocked to their stores to buy everything from appliances to tools to clothing.  I am talking about Sears, the retailer that has been around since 1886 and now finds itself in substantial doubt of staying in business.  I know I have discussed the retail sector many times but it is amazing that the bricks and mortar retailer is in serious jeopardy due to online shopping, the shift away from mall shopping, and the lack of customer service and in-store experience.  In January, Sears announced that they were closing 150 stores and restructuring the company to cut $18B in costs.  That is $18 BILLION  in costs that they suddenly realized they could forego?  It makes you wonder the short term mentality of retailers’ executive management teams and their lack of insight into product and customer trends.  Sears is not a stranger to this mentality and dilemma as Payless Shoes, whose portfolio consists of 4,000 stores in 30 countries, announced last week that they will file for bankruptcy and close 500 stores.  When will this fall from grace end?

Most of us have been there.  After dealing with getting through security and making your way to the designated gate, you wait for the Delta gate agent to start their announcements.  You think the boarding instructions are relatively clear cut, but similar to Tarzan’s call for all his animal friends, hundreds of passengers disregard their boarding zone and rush to the front of the boarding area.  If you are one of the preferred zones you push people aside to make your way to the boarding area already knowing that the frazzled gate agent has let through non-premium passengers.  We assume that Delta has a lot of smart employees and they must constantly be working on time and motion studies to maximize boarding efficiencies?  Finally, after spending thousands of man hours studying the boarding process, someone at Delta has come up with the brilliant idea of placing pillars in the gate areas that designate zone numbers.  So instead of Tarzan’s herd stampeding the boarding area, passengers line up next to the pillar that designates their boarding zone.  The first and business and ultra-premium passengers also keep their seniority as they have their own separate pillar where they can board at their convenience.  So, after many years of passengers complaining and thousands of man hours studying the boarding process, the answer is pillars.  Well done Delta.

I guess you can’t stop someone from driving into a crowd of people on a busy weekday afternoon.  Again terror struck last week in London with another horrible outcome.  Anyone have any answers to this terror tactic?

The United States National Team finally won a game in the qualification cycle for the 2018 World Cup beating Honduras 6-0 Friday night.  A new coach, new players, and a few veterans combined well to earn our first 3 points in the qualification tournament.  We travel to Panama for our next qualifier on Tuesday night.  It will be a war as there is no love lost between any Central America team and the U.S.  Catch the game on BEIN Sports at 10pm EDT Tuesday.  Then on Friday the party is on (any volunteers?) as Atlanta United visits the MLS defending champion Seattle Sounders.  Watch it at 10pm on Fox Sports 1.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!




Unite and Conquer. Just Stuff.

A Very Entertaining 90 Minutes.  Random Takes.

I will exclude my interest and background in the sport of soccer and focus on the game day experience at yesterday’s match between Atlanta United #ATLUTD and the Chicago Fire.  We drove over to MARTA’s North Springs Station and parked at no charge.  $2.50 to ride down to midtown’s North Avenue Station and an easy walk to Bobby Dodd Stadium.  Great weather and a great performance by United for a perfect afternoon.  We waited 20 minutes or so after the game to let the crowd thin out and then walked a bit past the North Avenue station and had some food and drink.  By that time the train station was quiet and we rode back up to the North Springs station.  A fun day with a very lively crowd. It is obvious that the Atlanta United staff have made a tremendous effort to make the temporary digs of Bobby Dodd Stadium a great fan experience.  Even if you have little interest in soccer I would strongly recommend you attend the next home match on Sunday afternoon, April 30th.  A shout out to the supporter’s behind the north goal….all of you rock! United has some special players to watch and if you are a big fan of United you better enjoy Josef Martinez while you can because a large European club will make an offer to United that they will not be able to refuse.

Freedom of speech is a very important constitutional right.  With that said, it is very difficult for me to understand how a billboard in Arizona, with Nazi-themed messaging, can stay standing.  We don’t need any public messaging that may entice and support a moron’s interest in hate crimes.

I have pointed out the rapid decline of large to big-box retailers in previous posts so it comes as no surprise that JC Penny will close 138 stores and terminate 5,000 workers.  JC Penny’s justification:  the store closings will provide them with $200m in cost savings.  Go figure.

The Muss & Turner restaurant expands to East Cobb this week with an opening in the space of the former Common Quarter.  All the best to Ryan Turner for taking the chance with the very fickle East Cobb customer base.

If you have not watched FX’s The Americans wait for a rainy day to binge watch from the first season on.  Great writing and acting depicting a typical American family back in the ’80’s…..who happen to be KGB.

I do not and will not write about religion or politics.  I will leave those topics for the self-serving pundits.  With that said, there really is a lot to write about based on President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

March Madness is underway with some great games and crazy coaches.  Take a look at Northwestern’s coach in yesterday’s game going crazy over what he thought was a non-call by one of the referees.  His behavior resulted in a technical foul that basically swung the result of the game against No. 1 ranked Gonzaga.  Shameful as this was Northwestern’s first visit to the NCAA tournament and they had a great chance to upset Gonzaga.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!!!



We Are the Reason. What Cable? The Jungle Book. Updates.

Supply and Demand.  Can We Be Cord-Cutters?  Mowgli Goes Live.

  • We are the reason that networks pay the National Football League hundreds of millions of dollars each year.  We are the reason that sponsors and advertisers can pay the networks hundreds of millions of dollars to promote and advertise their brands, products and services.  We watch the NFL every Thursday night, all day Sunday and Monday night and the sponsors capitalize on the high ratings as they are looking for our eyes on the NFL broadcasts.  You say so what?  So did I until I read that the Chicago Bears are able to pay Mike Glennon $45m over three years to quarterback their team with $16m guaranteed for 2017.  The same Mike Glennon who is 5-13 during his career and has thrown a total of eleven passes in the last two years.  Yep, these crazy contracts are no different in the NBA, MLB, and international soccer but it just makes you wonder how a backup quarterback can demand that level of compensation? Though NFL ratings were down a bit year-over-year, shared television revenue spread between NFL teams allows some of the crazy signings we have seen last week during free agency.  Note:  Glennon’s salary for the 2017 season only places him 23rd amongst the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL.
  • It comes via snail mail or email every month.  Most of the time the invoice amount changes monthly and you need a CPA/forensic accountant (I know one by the way) to explain the line item charges.  Don’t even try to challenge the bill with the provider unless you have a minimum of an hour to kill as the customer service experience is maddening.  I am referring to the cable bill which for some of us is blended with internet service and for very few a hard line for telephone or fax use.  As confusing as it may be, it is probably time for all of us to look to alternative bundling via the internet.  Last week YouTube announced that they are introducing YouTube TV, which similar to Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, and Netflix provides programming with fewer channels than Comcast or other cable providers but at a fraction of the cost.  Some of the offers limit the span of programming.  For example, YouTube TV does not offer Turner (TBS, TNT), A&E Entertainment or Discovery Communications channels.  “Cord-cutting” and moving to a combo of on-demand services is here and here to stay.  It can be confusing and if you add-on too many bundled services the monthly charges can rise rapidly but the ongoing monthly charges for cable and internet services are ridiculous.  Look for aggregators to pop up that will help you determine what on-demand services to purchase.
  • The new version of The Jungle Book has been out for almost a year.  I thought I was giving up my man card when I was coerced into watching this new version but to my surprise The Jungle Book is actually an unexpected surprise.  The producers bring Mowgli to life and this man-cub’s supporting cast of characters are an animated marvel.  The movie won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effect and for good reason.  When you need to get away from politics, news, and sports, watch The Jungle Book for a good two hours of entertainment.

Updates:  Daylight savings time from now until November 5th.  Atlanta United: let’s play the full ninety today against Minnesota.  Driven through Sandy Springs on Roswell Road lately?  Friday is St. Patrick’s Day….do us all a favor and use Lyft or Uber…driving is not an option.  Watch the last 12 minutes of last week’s Champions League match between Barcelona and Paris St. Germain…never say never!!

Have a Funday Sunday!!!



Short Takes to Start off the Month of March.

Topics of Interest or Without Substance?  Let me know Your Take.

  • I have been all over Samsung for their product issues regarding their flying washing machine tops and burning phones.  Now Mercedes-Benz, long known for their “The best or nothing” promise, has recalled over 300,000 of their cars because of a part that may catch fire.  This defect has been linked to 35 car fires across the USA with their luxury C and E class sedans.  I guess “the best or nothing” is their literal tag line.
  • A British technology company has developed and is now marketing the smart condom.  Yes, because we need not only to practice safe sex but just like everything else these days, we need metrics calculated based on our performance.  Perfect.
  • Autonomous cars having issues again.  It seems Tesla and their ‘autopilot’ feature is somehow installed in many of their model ‘S’ cars and the software that engages the autopilot is only in beta testing.  Say what Tesla?
  • 55,000 people at Bobby Dodd Stadium tonight to watch the home opener for Atlanta United.  Well done Darren Eales and team.  If you are not going you should Uber to midtown and enjoy the pregame tailgating and then watch the game in one of midtown’s many bars.  That is a Funday Sunday, especially with 70 degree weather.
  • The big box retail woes continue as HHGregg is closing 80 stores in an effort to avoid bankruptcy.  As mentioned a few times, retailers better discover the customer experience quotient and do it very quickly.  HHGregg joins Macy’s, JC Penny, and Sears in the battle to stay afloat.
  • It has been around for a mere six years and  it’s market value exceeds John Deere, Delta Airlines, Hewlett-Packard, CBS and Target.  The messages sent via their app disappear after a few seconds and many adults don’t care to know what it is and how to use it.  $40 billion in market value and to date has not made any money,  but Snap, Inc.’s IPO is the most ‘successful’ to date.  Time to unplug and dumb it down at bit.
  • I had hoped that the Academy Awards would be without the political diatribe that we witnessed at the Screen Actors Guild back in January.  For the most part Jimmy Kimmel and presenters/Oscar winners kept it straight but the ending was a farce.  On the upside, Justin Timberlake’s opening performance was outstanding.  He is a very underrated performer.
  • The 1996 Olympic Games was the beginning of downtown Atlanta becoming a prominent live, work and play destination.  Centennial Park, museums including MLK and Coca-Cola along with the Georgia Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame have influenced developers and restaurant owners to spend money downtown.  We all know what the new Mercedes-Benz stadium will bring to sports fans, but Philips Arena is also a venue that will be outstanding.  Steve Koonin and team are working on changes to Philips Arena that will cost $200m but will keep the Hawks downtown and serve as one of the country’s best venues for concerts and entertainment.  Google Philips Arena and check out the concepts and renderings.  Outstanding.
  • More vitamin D, a bit less crime, and less traffic accidents.  Yes, we have one week to go until we change our clocks and enjoy about eight months of more daylight.

Have a great Funday Sunday (and let’s hope ATL United starts of with a win)!