business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB user responding to some discussion here about how Amazon treats its vendors:

As a principal of a small organic novelty food manufacturer we have experienced the same tactics w/ Amazon. We attempted contacting them by email w/o success for two months. We already know attempting to speak to an actual human is almost impossible.

We are out and ironically our other web partners sales have increased so no real loss for us. We originally felt there was a value in the “Web Presence” they gave our product. Ironically I noticed your product stays online w/ a “We will notify you when product becomes available” notice. A competitor discontinued their line over a year ago yet their product profile remains.

Who loses? Not us… They still find us on Amazon yet once its determined the product is not available customers find us elsewhere. Overall volume has decreased a bit but Amazon was never a large portion of our overall business just a nice name to hang our hat on. Unfortunately the bank does not accept hat racks as legal tender.

Got the following email from MNB user John Domino:

I sympathize with your feelings of being part of the “older worker” generation(I am just a couple of years behind you), and I too am happy that those of us with many years of experience are finding new opportunities. However, what really scares me about this, is what it says about the prospects/condition of opportunities for younger works.  If more than half of the job gains are going to people over 55, does that mean that all of those younger people entering the job market (the kids that those 55 years old just put through college) are going to struggle to find any employment and long for their days as teenagers when they could get a job at the local mall or Starbucks?

Maybe. Unless the economy grows.

However, I must admit that I feel absolutely no obligation to get out of their way.

From MNB user Mark Raddant:

Nice catch on this statistic!  I think that the recession, older workers are pricing themselves down to younger workers’ wage scales.  So employers get more maturity at the same price as the younger worker.  There is also a perception they are getting a better work ethic.  It would be interesting to track the effect on Health Care plan costs, though.

On “raging against the dying of the light”, I would refer you to another Dylan, who sang “those not busy being born are busy dying”.  As an individual who preaches the gospel of reinvention regularly, I think you’re pretty well covered there.


From another reader:

Maybe it’s because I have a 24-year-old daughter who cannot seem to get into a “career” right now (although she is holding two interesting part-time jobs).  But, the statistics around workers staying put longer and longer, often because of financial concerns (including needing health care coverage), bothers me tremendously.  Certainly, it is wonderful when people are able to contribute their skills, knowledge and insight for as long as they wish or need to.  However, I can’t help wondering how much this is affecting the younger end of the spectrum. 

My father was with the same company for about 40 years when he was offered one of the very first “55 and out” packages.  So, at 58, he retired with a very healthy pension and plenty of places to expend his energy—home, church and our community.  However, after two people failed at filling his position, he was called back as a consultant for about two years.  After that, the company realized they needed to split his responsibilities among three people.  Those people moved up and I can only imagine the ripple effect it caused in additional advancements and also hiring. 

So, yes, it’s great that we can stay in the workforce for as long as we like.  But, there are so many ways we can use our skills, knowledge and insights—there are hundreds of non-profits begging for help—and there are so many people trying to get into and move up through their careers.  I just wonder if we’re creating a “gray ceiling” that younger workers cannot possibly hope to break through.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling I’ll be contributing to it.  I can’t imagine being able to retire any time soon.

Still another MNB user wrote:

I feel your pain and I am not quite to the “older” worker age group yet. But most of my co-workers are at least 10 years younger than me, okay most are my daughter’s age or closer to her age than mine. There is a line from a Barbara Streisand movie “The Mirror has Two Faces” (I think), and I won’t pretend to quote it exactly, but her mom says “I don’t feel old. In my head I am still 30.” That sums it up for me. You can put me in an age category, but remember always that in my head, I am still 30.

On another subject, MNB user Jill M. LeBrasseur wrote:

You can count me in for burgers at breakfast too! I just prefer the typical “lunchtime” foods. I don’t think restaurants would need to develop special “breakfast-y” burgers with egg or sausage or serve them on a biscuit either. Just make the lunch menu you already have, or certain selections from it, available for me to purchase at 7am as I’m driving in to work. I also hope this trend doesn’t stop at burgers. I know how you feel about the place, but if the Taco Bell near my home would sell me a bean burrito or crunchy taco supreme at 7am I’d join the drive-thru line there too!

MNB user Brian Carpentier wrote:

I too love the idea of a burger for breakfast. Since I am in the food business and an early riser, I have always had a hard time understanding why McDonald’s (not that I particularly like their burger) cannot get past the idea of selling burgers only after 10:30 in the AM. To watch someone frustrated with that policy, please treat yourself to a rental of the older Michael Douglas movie “Falling Down”.

P.S. One of my favorite burgers is at a pub that has remained unchanged since the 70’s, located in Portland, ME. It has an egg on the top of an already great burger. If you find yourself in the area, they also have many taps of great beers, the place is called the Great Lost Bear. Enjoy!

I will. Thanks.
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