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Old 08-15-2019, 10:46 PM   #136
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If you're tall then buying online is pretty much the only option.
I wear very wide shoes, 5E, and up until about 1970 I could buy them in every shoe store in town. Then they were gone and until a few years ago when I started having to wear diabetic shoes, which do come in wider sizes, I had to buy D width shoes, or sometimes E width if I got lucky, a size or size and a half longer than my foot size.

Now that I'm wearing diabetic shoes I can get EE width so they only have to be about half or a full size too long.

I have bought 5E house shoes a few times at Amazon. They cost a bunch but at least I can get them.

Retail stores have always catered to the average since the 1970s and the rest of us were just out of luck.

I think it's far too soon to say Amazon destroyed them. it could happen but I don't think it's likely. If it does happen it'll be because Amazon does a better job. And they do.

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Old 08-16-2019, 03:26 AM   #137
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I went to college for a year at Southwest Tech (Fennimore WI) and one day I heard two teachers bemoaning that their students had trouble with comprehending what they were reading. I asked them, "Isn't that something they are supposed to learn in grade school?" and the one said, "Exactly, that's my point." So you aren't alone in criticism of education as it stands. I was tested at age 13 and had a High School Senior's reading level. Of course I have always been a reader since my mom got me my 1st library card (at age 3) so I had an advantage.
Thank you, very interesting. I didn't grow up in the US, I grew up in Germany. So my high school experience is not equivalent with a US high school. I admit of not being a reader during school, only caught on reading for pleasure as an adult.
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Sounds like your job is of particular importance though. If the start of the line isn't set up right then the end product won't come out as it should. Probably some stress there I'd imagine at times.
Actually, if you put it this way, it is. I don't usually see it that way. My job isn't any more important than the person packing them in the container to be shipped out. Without that person we don't make any money, so in a way that job is more important than mine, even if it is "just" some unskilled labor. I do, however, have a lot more potential for unfixable screw-ups and therefore more responsibility. Stress is only stressful when you let it get to you. I get compensated very well for what I do physically, which is a lot less per shift than the one packing. I am not making my money while I am running, but while I am not (either getting it back running or switch to a different part).
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:59 AM   #138
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Thank you, very interesting. I didn't grow up in the US, I grew up in Germany. So my high school experience is not equivalent with a US high school. I admit of not being a reader during school, only caught on reading for pleasure as an adult.

.
The german education system is very strong and well-conceived in the trade education area. The apprentice system is worth emulating all over.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:40 AM   #139
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The german education system is very strong and well-conceived in the trade education area. The apprentice system is worth emulating all over.
Apprentice system? Oh you mean the hands on trade schools? After 10th grade you may drop out of school, continue with "extended high school" (either to 12th or 13th grade, depending on state) or go to a trade school to learn in theory and practice a skilled profession (e.g. welder, mechanic, craftsman, mason, ...). 10th grade mandatory school is comparable to US 12th grade high school. Interestingly "high school" in the US has nothing to do with higher education nor preparation for it. In Germany the "extended high school" ends with a diploma called "Abitur" that is pretty much acceptable equivalent as an International Baccalaureate degree. That is what I did, plus some years in university before immigrating to the US.

I agree, the US is in desperate need of more trade schools similar to what Germany does. And paid for with taxes. But that is pushing it a little.
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:32 AM   #140
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Locally, they are still building malls, but those malls are changing. Probably the most successful of the more recent malls is a mixed use development that is a combination of condos, restaurants, upscale shops, Whole Food, a hotel, some office buildings and a high class movie house. No bookstore though. It's all focused on higher end experience. There is no food court or fast food. All the fast food is outside the mall itself on the edges of the development. The older mall, perhaps a mile away is quickly falling apart as the better shops are shifting to the new mall. I haven't actually been in the old mall in about a year, though I regularly go to the new mall.

The parking lot is usually crowded at the new mall. It's an interesting place. It's not an enclosed mall in that it doesn't have a roof, however, it's also not a strip mall. The mixed use gives the shops and restaurants plenty of customers since perhaps a third of the customer mix either lives there or works there.
The Friendly Center in Greensboro< NC is an open air mall that has been around since the 1957. Even in the late '80s and early '90s it was busier than the other malls in Greensboro. I haven't been back since then, but I think it is still going strong. In the late '80s Jacksonville FL started constructing St Johns Center and it has been going strong since it opened. It has badly hurt the other malls in the Jacksonville area. These areas offer more options than malls including more full size restaurants a better variety of shopping options. If you look around these type of centers are slowly replacing traditional malls.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:18 AM   #141
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Apprentice system? Oh you mean the hands on trade schools? After 10th grade you may drop out of school, continue with "extended high school" (either to 12th or 13th grade, depending on state) or go to a trade school to learn in theory and practice a skilled profession (e.g. welder, mechanic, craftsman, mason, ...). 10th grade mandatory school is comparable to US 12th grade high school. Interestingly "high school" in the US has nothing to do with higher education nor preparation for it. In Germany the "extended high school" ends with a diploma called "Abitur" that is pretty much acceptable equivalent as an International Baccalaureate degree. That is what I did, plus some years in university before immigrating to the US.

I agree, the US is in desperate need of more trade schools similar to what Germany does. And paid for with taxes. But that is pushing it a little.
Let's not go into the whole paid by political argument here.

The US use to have a lot more business schools, trade schools and the like and probably should move back into that model. Really, not everyone needs to go to a 4 year college and there aren't really that many jobs where the work demands such an education. Someone with a two year degree from DeVry can do just as good of a job in a lot of junior programmer or operations tasks.

I suspect that a critique of the US educational system would quickly devolve into a political discussion. Ideal, one should be able to graduate from high school with the skills to step into the work place.
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Old 08-16-2019, 10:46 AM   #142
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Getting back to the proposition that started this thread, I think that one of the big things that the internet economy has done is set up an economy of possibilities. If a small company can identify a niche and develop a sufficient customer base, they can make good money. Really the biggest issue that such a company would have is getting noticed by their target customer.

An example that I would give is a company that I use, J Martinez, a local coffee importer. They specialize in providing estate coffees, i.e. if I buy a pound of Blue Mountain or Kona, it comes from a specific estate from Jamaica or Hawaii respectively and is 100% from that estate. So they market to coffee connoisseurs who are picky about their coffee. They started as a walk in shop, but quickly moved into the mail order/internet business. I generally put an order in and it arrives the next day since they are intown. They also sell to restaurants and high end markets.

Once again, to hop on my pet soap box, discoverability is the issue. I suspect that most of J Martinez's business is either word of mouth or restaurants. They have a website, but I'm not sure how one would phrase a google search to find them, other than by name. Hum, Estate coffee roasters Atlanta will pull them up. The internet does mean that you have more competition, but it also means you have more potential customers. Everyone doesn't have to be a multi-billion dollar business to be successful.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:29 PM   #143
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Blaming the internet alone, and focusing on Amazon specifically, is short sighted. The problem is not online nor is it the Mall concept itself, but rather the technological and sociological changes that reduced the need and profitability of the format.

Essentially the same thing that happened to the cathedrals of literature.
There's still room for them but only in certain very specific and limited places.

It's the 21st century out there--a fifth of the way through--and 20th century concepts are more problem than solution. New age, new solutions needed.
Yep, the mall is an old concept going back to ancient Rome but the modern American Mall really took off post WWII with people having cars and the money to go places. Now with the internet we don't need to go out in our cars to shop so they are in decline. According to Wikipedia shopping malls took in around 8% of retail space in 2017. I'm sure it was probably a lot more than that in their heyday right after WWII. Times change and cultures change with them if they want to survive as a culture that is.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:38 PM   #144
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Getting back to the proposition that started this thread, I think that one of the big things that the internet economy has done is set up an economy of possibilities. If a small company can identify a niche and develop a sufficient customer base, they can make good money. Really the biggest issue that such a company would have is getting noticed by their target customer.

An example that I would give is a company that I use, J Martinez, a local coffee importer. They specialize in providing estate coffees, i.e. if I buy a pound of Blue Mountain or Kona, it comes from a specific estate from Jamaica or Hawaii respectively and is 100% from that estate. So they market to coffee connoisseurs who are picky about their coffee. They started as a walk in shop, but quickly moved into the mail order/internet business. I generally put an order in and it arrives the next day since they are intown. They also sell to restaurants and high end markets.

Once again, to hop on my pet soap box, discoverability is the issue. I suspect that most of J Martinez's business is either word of mouth or restaurants. They have a website, but I'm not sure how one would phrase a google search to find them, other than by name. Hum, Estate coffee roasters Atlanta will pull them up. The internet does mean that you have more competition, but it also means you have more potential customers. Everyone doesn't have to be a multi-billion dollar business to be successful.
In other words it's about supply and demand. I agree that you don't have to be a big business in order to succeed. You just have to provide a service that no one else is providing in order to get your foot in the door. And advertising via the net is probably quicker and cheaper than traditional advertising as well. I mean if I were to put an ad out on the net for a product people from all over world have a chance to see it rather than just a few who buy a given magazine or newspaper. And I'd probably spend a lot less $ than I would going a traditional way as well. Certainly having an eye catching logo probably doesn't hurt. Amazon's has an arrow going from the A in Amazon to the Z in Amazon which of course means they carry items from A to Z that a customer may want to buy. Good advertising whether in traditional formats or more modern will always bring in customers. Word of mouth I think can make or break a small company as well, and bad news travels faster than good. We may tell 10 people about a good business but we will tell 5 times that many about a bad one I think. That's one reason good Customer Service is always important.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:14 PM   #145
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By the way a really good novel about this very topic is Booth Tarkington's "The Magnificent Ambersons". It's not about retraining factory workers so much as it's about the changes in society brought as the auto industry came into being. It was also the second ever Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and for good reason.

Completely off topic, but I will second the Magnificent Ambersons recommendation.

Standardebooks has a nicely formatted copy for free. It's the one I read.
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:36 PM   #146
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I agree, the US is in desperate need of more trade schools similar to what Germany does. And paid for with taxes. But that is pushing it a little.
There are trade schools around and some of the better high schools have a half decent trade program but they are few and nowhere near enough.

http://www.trade-school.org

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There are many trade schools in the US , offering a vocational training in a number of different trades and skills. Usually you attend a trade school when you are serving an apprenticeship or training in a specific trade, and at the end of your vocational program you will be awarded certificates in the specific skills that you have acquired.


There are many different careers that require a trade school education, from all kinds of hairdressing, cosmetology and beauty trades to aviation and auto mechanics, plumbing, electricians, carpenters, and sheet metal workers. Trade schools for specific areas such as flying, marine and air navigation and air traffic control also exist. You may also attend trade school to learn about many technological, culinary and healthcare skills. Trade schools sometimes may have specific affiliation with trade unions or industries, or offer certain categories of apprenticeship.
And for the most part they are not integrated with the public schools. Instead they are run on a level with community colleges and the (paid) technological institutes. For a lot of students tbe last couple of years of high school (even in good schools) are a wastd of time.

A lot of folks get their vocational training in tbe military. Which adds to their employability but the trades don't always lineup.

It didn't use to be that way; there were times and places where tenth gtade students could choose curricula based on their goals: college, general business, or skilled trades.

But then education got federalized and curricula got "one-size-fits-all"-ed.

Because all instructors *must* have a college diploma in education so they can teach any subject, whether they're familiar with it or not. Can't have chemists teaching chemistry without running an extra four years in college to get their union certificates... er, diplomas...

One side effect is that many high school graduates aren't even fit as greeters in retail, much less the more critical ones. Turnover is fierce.

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Old 08-16-2019, 04:53 PM   #147
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Completely off topic, but I will second the Magnificent Ambersons recommendation.
I hate to disagree with someone who's agreeing with me, but.

I don't think it's off-topic at all. "Magnificent Ambersons" is about how society is affected by a huge shift in technology. I suggested it because I think it's good reading to get perspective on this topic.

Our shift to an internet economy is new, of course, but the earlier shift to a car based economy was almost as big a change and understanding the impact of it gives insights into the impact of the present shift. I didn't suggest the book just because it's a good read.

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Old 08-16-2019, 08:04 PM   #148
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I hate to disagree with someone who's agreeing with me, but.

I don't think it's off-topic at all. "Magnificent Ambersons" is about how society is affected by a huge shift in technology. I suggested it because I think it's good reading to get perspective on this topic.

Our shift to an internet economy is new, of course, but the earlier shift to a car based economy was almost as big a change and understanding the impact of it gives insights into the impact of the present shift. I didn't suggest the book just because it's a good read.

Barry
That is spot on. The next logical step is the removal of transportation of goods (the end of retail, period). The technology is already half baked there. There is 3D printers to make stuff. We can already grow synthetic meat in a lab. Transportation of people will then disappear soon after. Why travel when you cannot distinguish reality from VR? Current wireless information transmission will be obsolete, to be replaced by instant quantum transfer to span any distance. We will leave earth before the sun has a chance to swallow us up, probably long before as resources run out. Either that or we are headed into a Matrix-style future. The end of humanity as we know it.

Fun times ahead of us. I sure hope they don't invent immortality before I die and have to live that nightmare.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:15 PM   #149
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I hate to disagree with someone who's agreeing with me, but.

I don't think it's off-topic at all. "Magnificent Ambersons" is about how society is affected by a huge shift in technology. I suggested it because I think it's good reading to get perspective on this topic.

Our shift to an internet economy is new, of course, but the earlier shift to a car based economy was almost as big a change and understanding the impact of it gives insights into the impact of the present shift. I didn't suggest the book just because it's a good read.

Barry
The impact of the car on US society is understated in three main areas: worker mobility, sex, and urban "sprawl". The second should speak for itself (parking has multiple meanings now), and the other two created suburbs and greatly diminished railroads.

The internet has had similar less-understood effects. Not just in commerce but also in communications, both public and private, and social interaction. This month alone a governor had to quit and his entire economy is under legal scrutiny, all because he and his associates failed to understand that even "private" internet chats can be opened to the public. (Mind you, being idiot scum had more than a bit to do with it.)

Technogical change is constant and it always come with unexpected second and third order side effects as change ripples out.

One big one I'm eagerly awaiting is StarLink and its brethren.
Internet, part 2.
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