January 13th, 2016

Today's Activities Include: snow pants, jeans, watch update

My son has been out in the snow already this year, so we've already been through the, where are the snow boots? Where are the snow pants? Are there any _other_ snow pants? Okay, let's order some more. dance. However, today is the first day where I looked outside and went, hmm, better get some snow pants out for my daughter, because there's at least a chance of outdoor recess today/tomorrow, but not if she doesn't have snow pants.

Of course I had already gotten rid of the potentially appropriate size snow pants from her brother (which is not nuts -- the boys pants fit differently from the girls pants and between that and wanting everything pink, it just rarely works out well. Also, he can be very hard on his clothes.) as Way Too Small (unless I turn them up in the next few weeks, but I think I've already passed them along). And of course last year's snow pants were a little too small for her this year. However, the overalls turned out to work great -- I think those were from K.C. in Seattle, so THANK YOU once again for the lovely things you have passed along to my daughter. I also ordered a pair of pink Marmots, because the overalls are a little short so if she shoots up much more, they won't work for much longer. It was surprisingly difficult to find pink snow pants in her size; I tried REI, Columbia's website, Amazon -- I'd find pairs but they'd be out in her size. Weird.

I did have the presence of mind to put snow boots on her Xmas wish list, and she got them so yay for that.

I got the order of jeans from Lee last night. They have a Flex line of jeans that has four way stretch. My son likes jeans that fit fairly close along his leg, but he does not fit into the waist of many of these jeans. But while husky jeans (+3 inches in the waist and hip) can be belted in to stay on, they don't fit close at all, typically. The Lee husky straight, however, is magical: it fits close along the leg, but is about right in the waist and hip. You can get them at Kohl's, altho I bought them through the Lee website, because when I saw them at Kohl's, they didn't have his size in dark blue, and he hates black which they did have. We had already tried on a dozen or more different pairs of jeans at Kmart, and almost that many at TJMax (both stores in our town) without any luck.

I've been running the software update on my Watch for at least 20 minutes now. This does not make me happy. When is it gonna be done? I need to head out in 10 minutes, and I'd like to take my phone with me.

What is LaserShip?

I get a lot of packages, mostly because I hate leaving the house to go to stores to buy stuff that isn't there anyway. Also, the hours at which I shop for stuff don't overlap well (and, honestly, never really have) with store hours. So I know my regular UPS driver by first name and wave to him when I see his truck driving around -- and he recognizes me when he sees me out on a walk. I'm a lot less impressed by FedEx, but I see them less often, so, whatever.

Today, I got a package from Vitacost. I don't normally order directly from them, however, it turns out it is not easy finding someone who will ship Westbrae's Organic No-Salt Added Mustard for anything like a reasonable price, and I cannot find it consistently anywhere on the shelf except at Shaw's, and I just don't go to Shaw's very often. And I bet you can predict what happens when I make a special trip to buy some mustard. Vitacost had a reasonable price and very reasonable shipping.

The package didn't have any familiar label, however -- it said "Lasership" on it, and appeared on my snowy front porch devoid of any protective plastic bag. That's not unheard of during the height of the Xmas shopping season, because there are so many temps and noobs and other people working for shippers, but in the middle of January? It hardly mattered -- the mustard was in a zippy bag inside (Vitacost maybe saw this coming?) so even if the cardboard had been reduced to mush, the contents would have been just fine.

Here is wikipedia on the subject of Lasership:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaserShip

They are headquartered in Vienna -- I was just in Vienna recently.

Google reviews has them in Woburn, MA, 174 reviews, averaging 1.6 stars. LOTS of 1 star reviews from Amazon Prime customers.

I was happy to get my no salt added mustard, promptly, at a reasonable cost, undamaged. It'll be interesting to see if LaserShip and similar courier/last mile delivery companies figure in Amazon's delivery future and if so, how. One of the financial people I talk to a few times a year has been banging the drum for Amazon doing their own deliveries for years now, and today on Bloomberg the subject came up as well. I, personally, do not think that Amazon in general, and Bezos in particular has the correct skill set to run a business that is that labor intense. However, I'm wrong a lot.

ETA: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/01/12/amazon-shipping-france-colis-priv/78686016/

This is humorous -- the tail end of the USA Today article:

"The big question for investors, said Streebin, is whether these moves will end up making investors think twice about Amazon's stock price.

“Why," they might ask, "am I paying tech multiples for this company to be a logistics company?” he said.

Amazon's last 12 months price to earnings is 885 times, versus 34 for FedEx (FDX) and 21 for UPS (UPS)."

Oh, I don't know. Possibly because neither FDX or UPS is a dominant player in cloud? There are a few other odds and ends which spring to mind . . .

Disclosure: Amazon customer since 1995. Employed by them for a few years; still long the stock. I have absolutely no insider information whatsoever. I'm not advocating buying, selling or otherwise participating in the stock in any way.