“How hard could it be?” Tom asked himself when he set out to use an online-only Finish Line coupon to buy some sneakers. He could stop by his local store and pick the shoes up on his way home from work. Simple! Only not all that simple. It seems like the online and in-store inventory systems of national chain retailers should be integrated, but things are, as they always seem to be in the real world, not that simple. [More]
While one way to be more efficient when grocery shopping is to pick up what you need every day, it’s tough to find the time or patience to do that. Another way to simplify your routine is to go the opposite direction, minimizing trips to the store with careful planning. [More]
If you’ve ever ridden the bus in New York City, you know it is a damn slow experience. But, unlike a taxi, it’s a couple of bucks, and unlike a subway, it’s above-ground. So people put up with it. But exactly how slow is an MTA bus? Mark Malkoff decided to test it out and he videotaped himself racing a bus, down 42nd st from 10th to Madison ave, on a child’s Big Wheel. Turns out the guy who makes the wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town, has some catching up to do. [More]
Despite the record-breaking heat in some parts of the country, total U.S. energy consumption this summer has actually fallen compared to 2009, and peak demand levels–when electricity consumption is at its highest–have dropped as well. [More]
Ideally, companies choose to lessen their environmental impact because it makes financial sense, not because it makes them feel good–which is a good thing, since companies don’t have feelings. Today, FastCompany published a slideshow that looks at 12 ways the mega-retailer is trying out various green initiatives. Some of them are more about selling the concept of green to consumers, which is dumb, but the ones that deal with shipping, energy consumption, and market creation are pretty impressive. [More]
The blog Eating The Road continues to churn out amazingly helpful flowcharts to guide you with pretty much everything you can put in your belly. The latest is the Candy Edition, and you probably won’t be surprised to see where candy corn and circus peanuts end up.
We were fascinated to discover today that Walt Disney reused animation cycles across different movies—the characters are unique (sorta) but the motions are cel for cel copies. It looks like the movies that reuse animation are from that infamous era in the 70s and 80s when Disney’s animation unit cut too many corners and churned out less “classic” fare. Well, they were copying classics—shouldn’t that count for something? Video clip below.
Scott McCartney, who writes the WSJ’s Middle Seat column, says that airlines are starting to use these newfangled things called “computers” to work out all their scheduling demons — and while it’s good for business, travelers should expect fewer “off peak” cheap seats.
Earlier this week I ordered a part from Canon USA Service for one of my Canon cameras and it arrived today. I am impressed for the fast shipping but not so much by the efficiency of the packaging.
Additional photo inside.
This is just madness, I tell you:I would like to add another story to companies using boxes to send small items or in this case, boxes to send a catalog. I recently ordered a free catalog from NFLShop.com.
A reader writes, “As part of our Christmas shopping; we ordered several DVD’s, video games, and a phone card from Wal-Mart’s website.” The items trickled in over several days, then “this showed up. A 10X11X5 inch box, an air-filled air bubble, and one thin phone card taped to the bottom of the box.”
Companies, this has got to stop! It’s wasteful and annoying. It’s stupid. It can’t cost that much to hire someone to put together a shipping program that uses different package sizes for different types of products.
The court ordered the White House to examine why it continues to consider light trucks differently than cars. Regulators made a distinction between cars and light trucks decades ago when most trucks were used for commercial purposes.
The suspense is over. After two years filled with action-packed consumer research, suspenseful public meetings, and frank discussions with advocacy groups, the Federal Trade Commission is finally ready to tag dehumidifiers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines with a new and improved EnergyGuide label.
Reader Nick Denton sends us word that the taxi lines in laissez-faire America are rubble. However, in the fascist dictatorship of London, the livery runs with a ruthless efficiency that would make Fredrick Winslow Taylor cream his galoshes.