Trucks, shopping online, selfies, the half burger and my 2020 resolution.
Yup, it’s my last column of the year when I clear out my Inspiration File, packed with your column ideas.
First off, a massive F-350 parked next to me a few weeks ago. I expected to see a massive guy step out. You know, a fella from a Duluth Trading Company television commercial. Nope. It was a little guy. I mean tiny. There was quite a drop from his seat to the ground. Coming out, he actually slipped in his flip flops. I hope he didn’t see me staring but, really, there ought to be a law against tiny guys in flip flops and cargo shorts trying to get out of massive F-350s.
Since we’re on the subject, trucks, that is, I thought self-driving trucks were taking over the highway. Turns out that’s a long way off. There’s a driver shortage. Retailers are starting to feel the pinch and we consumers will, too. Bloomberg News wrote that America doesn’t have enough truck drivers to deliver everything we buy. Does that mean we need to buy less?
Guess how much a driver can make? Bloomberg says $250,000 gross. J.B. Hunt Transport pays $5,000 signing bonuses and $65,000 a year. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Why go to college and get into debt?
Next up, online shopping. Everybody’s doing it now except, guess who? The Gen Z crowd. Those are the kids born between 1995 and 2015. Two-thirds of them prefer shopping in stores rather than online and they actually go shopping for fun twice a month.
A consumer research company called Morning Consult did the surveying. It’s important because they say this group is “…about to play an outsized role in shaping our culture and commerce.” That sounds ominous. They used to say that about us Boomers, and look what happened. Anyway, Morning Consult discovered 37% consider themselves Ds, 14% are Rs. Forty percent say they boycotted a brand in the last year for political reasons.
This Gen Z crowd doesn’t use cash. It’s all about the debit card. Only a quarter of the rest of us use cards.
We move on to the much-maligned selfie. Researchers at Washington State University discovered people posting selfies were viewed to have lower self-esteem, were more lonely, less dependable and less successful. If you’re like me, we don’t post selfies because we look so bad. I wonder what those researchers would say about all those diners posting their food?
We’re almost through the pile of notes. Tyson Food is joining the veggie burger movement. Kind of. They’ve created a “hybrid” meat-plant pattie – half-pea-protein, half-Angus-beef burger. It’s supposed to be on meat shelves now. Right next to the Impossible Burger. Being a vegetarian, I’m asking one of you beef lovers to review this concoction. I need to know. How does it really taste?
Which leads me to my pledge for 2020. I’ve learned the best resolutions are the ones that you actually can meet. I’m not sure this one qualifies but, sometimes, you pledge to do something, or not do something, because Norman Funderburk asked you to.
I’ve been meatless now for almost 25 years. I did it originally to drop my cholesterol and then it became a habit. Not a passion, but a habit. When I’d inquire about a menu item, I’d always tell the waiter, “I don’t eat flesh.”
“You need to stop saying that,” Norman told me recently. “It doesn’t sound right.” After some thought, I guess it doesn’t, so I won’t say it. During 2020, at least. Not sure about 2021 although once I stop doing something, I just don’t do it anymore.