Tag Archives: consumerism

3-D Food Printers: A Delicious Solution

“Imports by airplane have a substantial impact on global warming pollution. In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.” according to Food Hub. Rather than reducing the impacts of food transportation, with 3-D printing we could eliminate them.

“Imagine being able to essentially ‘grow’, ‘cook’ or prepare foods without the negative industrial impact – everything from fertilizers to saute pans and even packaging,” says Homaro Cantu, chef and owner of the Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, who has printed sushi using an ink jet printer. “You can imagine a 3D printer making homemade apple pie without the need for farming the apples, fertilizing, transporting, refrigerating, packaging, fabricating, cooking, serving and the need for all of the materials in these processes like cars, trucks, pans, coolers, etc,” he adds.

Continue reading 3-D Food Printers: A Delicious Solution

2.3 Miles Makes a Giant Difference

Fortune 500 and nationally-known companies are not the only ones who face ethical dilemmas in their decisions. Smaller and lesser-known companies also grapple with the ethical implications of both their day-day and long-term decision-making. In my Paper 2, I will take a look at the strategic decisions behind local grocery store chain, Giant Foods. In this blog post I will give a summarized version of the case and a glossed over version of the results (sort of spoiler alert but not really). Fortunately for me, my dad has a management position in Giant, so most of the information in this post is from using him as a source.

On October 10, 2014, Giant Foods opened its new store located just off of I-81 and Wertzville Road in Enola, Pennsylvania.  A few weeks previous, Giant closed its long-time successful store 2.3 miles away on Wertzville Road located in Pennsboro Commons Shopping Center.

Giant has owned the leasing rights to the land for the new store for ten years.  Approximately three years ago, the real estate developer for the land told Giant that they must do something to develop the land or else they would not be able to renew their lease for the 25-30 acre plot.  Giant was only holding the land to prevent competitors like Wegmans from entering the market, but now they were faced with a difficult decision. It was clear that Giant needed to build a new store on this plot of land, but what should they do with the existing Enola store?

Closing the old Enola store would be a significant blow to the community. That store is the heart of Pennsboro Commons, a shopping center that only exists because of the large number of customers in which Giant brings. The 2.3 miles to the new Giant would be a way bigger issue than most would think. The communities between these two areas are very different, and even more importantly, while the new Giant was technically still in Enola, it now resided in Hampden Township as opposed to the old store which was in East Pennsboro Township.  This was a major loss of tax dollars for East Pennsboro Township.

Giant’s accounting and real estate teams crunched the numbers of their ROI figures and determined that opening a new store at the new location would increase sales because they would have a new facility, closer location to the highway, and closer vicinity to the technology parkway (new local medical and corporate centers).  They also determined that there was no way to keep both stores open; especially since the majority of existing customers would simple drive 2.3 miles to the new store. Spoiler: They were wrong. Old customers were not willing to travel to the new store, and the new customers did not care for the new store. Sales figures missed projections badly (stay tuned for exact figures in Paper 2).

Giant was fully aware of the negative implications that closing the old store would have on East Pennsboro Township. They could have tried to make a compromising plan to appease the community but instead they went with the plan for most profit. Ironically, the strategy did not go as planned and Giant is left with an angry community and a less profitable store. Below are pictures from Google Images of the Pennsboro Commons shopping center layout and a picture of what the parking lot looks like before and after Giant closed its doors.


CarMax: Redefining the Greasy, Sleazy Used Car Salesman

CarMax was featured on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” with an impressive ranking of 64. It’s diverse and well compensated workforce are among the country’s happiest employees. But how does this fit in to CarMax’s reputation as a whole? Continue reading CarMax: Redefining the Greasy, Sleazy Used Car Salesman

A Greater Purpose

In the context of This American Life, Mike Daisy knowingly abused his story reporting it as journalism rather than storytelling. While his lies on the podcast were unethical, as he was told by the show that what he said must be truthful, his larger argument was in support of an ethical cause. Daisy explained and apologized in the retraction that his one regret was bringing his story to This American Life and telling it as journalism. After listening to the retraction, my question was, Continue reading A Greater Purpose

Apple Globalization Drama Justice

Hi Classmates, I have been sick all week and not able to post to the blog until now.

This podcast struck home for me as an Apple “fan boy” and as a human being. The speaker expertly used pauses, trepidation, and repetition to drive home points, generate thought from his listeners, and to increase engagement and entertainment. To me, this was not so much a think-piece on Apple as it was a comment on consumerism and the adverse effect it is having on the world and humanity. Below are a few of his points that struck the loudest cord with me.

Our consumerism’s effect on the Environment: “The air in Shenzhen is like a booted foot resting on your chest, but after a few days you hardly notice it at all.” The term that comes to mind for me is “creeping normalcy.” When something seems terrible at first, but the person being exposed to it gets used to it and forgets how terrible it is over an extended period of time. It is a shame that our consumerism in the western hemisphere has led to this terrible condition somewhere else on a planet we share. It is also a shame that the Chinese workers who are forced to live in these conditions probably no longer notice it. I wonder how good the air in Iceland would taste– smell, feel— to one of these Chinese workers if they could step on a plane and get away.

The Size of the factories: Although this estimate was later edited at the end of the podcast, the speaker tries to get you to imagine the size of a factory which holds 20 cafeterias that each seat 10,000 (later, each is stated to seat 4,000). I imagined what it would be like to work in a factory that houses enough people to fill the Wells Fargo Center 20 times over, or Lincoln Financial field 7 times over, venues that I am familiar with. It was an interesting exercise, and I would recommend other listeners to try to imagine 400,000-500,000 people in a scale that is relatable to them.

The aesthetics hiding what is inside: In between the factory gate and the factory, there is an expansive plush green lawn (that nobody sets foot on). Before one can even enter the actual factory, there is a huge corinthian (corinthian!) lobby which contains just a receptionist. It makes me unhappy to think about how much money was spent to create these illusions of wealth and happiness when at the same time their workers are packed a dozen at a time into 12×12 rooms into bunk beds with so little space that the average American literally would not even be able to fit into them.

Suicide- After much thought, I disagreed with him on his stance on the suicide of Foxconn workers. Even while acknowledging that the Foxconn suicide rate was actually far lower than the suicide rate in the rest of China, he countered this point by stating that if workers in one company were consistantly committing suicide in the United States, we would take notice. I simply disagree with this point because while he earlier dropped his jaw at the sheer massiveness of this operation, he then brushed this notion aside when bringing up suicide. I think it is completely fair for Foxconn defenders to point out that the suicide rate is below the national level. When you put a half million people to work, and only 12 of them commit suicide in a year, there is clearly no correlation between working at Foxconn and committing suicide. It seems that if these half million people were viewed as citizens of the same city rather than workers for the same company and 88 of them committed suicide, as would be statistically likely, no one would blink an eye. His “week after week, month after month” rant about suicide is intentionally misleading and heavily implies that death is a more enjoyable route than working in these factories– which by the way, is something these workers are doing by choice. I believe he has forgotten the alternatives to this work for these laborers, which I speculate might be simply starving. This is still terrible, but this was a bone I had to pick with him.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to this podcast and reflecting on it afterwards.