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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:41 AM   #41
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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:41 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
One way to pay for grocery delivery is to give people money to spend as they need to. One of the ways that they need to right now is to pay for grocery deliveries.

They are probably better situated than a central planner at figuring out their current needs.
The UK is asking high risk people to stay at home for 3 months e.g. transplant recipients, some cancer patients. Whilst there is an expectation that families will support them, HMG has said that those who are socially isolated, and have no support will have free food packages delivered and social support systems will be put in place. Initially food packages are just going to be staples, enough to survive on but with minimal choice. I assume in due course supermarkets will take on responsibility, but deliveries will be free for those required to self isolate.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:45 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
The UK is asking high risk people to stay at home for 3 months e.g. transplant recipients, some cancer patients. Whilst there is an expectation that families will support them, HMG has said that those who are socially isolated, and have no support will have free food packages delivered and social support systems will be put in place. Initially food packages are just going to be staples, enough to survive on but with minimal choice. I assume in due course supermarkets will take on responsibility, but deliveries will be free for those required to self isolate.
That seems entirely reasonable to me.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 08:24 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Menial schmenial, and no one is forced.



The difference between the great depression and what I'm saying is that those were make-work jobs with some possible general societal benefit.



The problem with this economy is not cash flow, which is what Keynesian economics tries to deal with. This economy, i.e. the one that is about two weeks old right now, involves a very specific problem that is not money related, but is preventing people from working.



I'm saying actually use the money to attack the problem. The problem is the spread of the virus. It's not lack of funds. The virus is spread by people hanging out together. Make it possible for people to stay in their homes where they cannot contract and cannot spread the virus.
If the work needs to be done just pay for it as usual, why would anyone have to forced?

And simply pay a salary support payment, UK are paying 80% of salary up to 2500 a month.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 08:53 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If the work needs to be done just pay for it as usual, why would anyone have to forced?

And simply pay a salary support payment, UK are paying 80% of salary up to 2500 a month.
Part of what triggered the thread was my attempt to use the existing grocery delivery service, which charges a reasonable fee (10.00). You go to the online store. You select your items. You put in a credit card. Groceries come to your door.

Oh, there's one more step. You schedule a delivery time. I was doing this Friday morning.

Friday 8:00 am - 10:00 am - unavailable
Friday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - unavailable
etc.

Saturday 8:00 - -- no need to go on. You get the idea. I simply couldn't use the service. They also have pickup for $5.00. Unavailable. I went to the store. Next week, I'll know whether that was a bad idea.

And I started thinking about all this. They could hire tons of people, but they don't have the trucks.

Eventually I concluded that this was a case where somehow, the ability to deliver groceries would be a great way to help people maintain social distance, but the private sector, by itself, just couldn't meet the demand.

To make it work, you have to cut regulations and provide liability protection, so that they wouldn't have to worry about what sort of truck they used. I also imagined an army of people reading lists and trying to find what brand of canned spinach was available, and decided that wouldn't work, which is where my distribution centers idea came from. The modern grocery store is tailored to people who want lots of selection, but that isn't really needed right at the moment.

The real point of the exercise was not to provide a detailed description of exactly how it would work, but to note that the problem was a solvable one.

We have a problem. We want to maintain social distancing, but people have to buy groceries and household supplies.

We have resources. Lots of newly unemployed, lots of unused buildings, and a trillion dollars. Somehow, we ought to be able to help alleviate the germ spreading that is undoubtedly happening at the grocery store.

How to make that happen? Get some guy on the ground that has authority to spend money to make it happen. Would he pay Meijer and Shop-Local to hire people? Would he hire drivers and assign them to grocery stores? Would he commandeer a gymnasium and some refrigerators and arrange delivery from there? I don't know....or care. I just know that the resources exist to allow it to occur.

Get some people around a conference table and say, "I want deliveries happening tomorrow morning. Here's some money. We'll be watching. If you waste it, you'll be replaced. If you steal it, you'll go to jail, as soon as it's safe to put you there."

And would this be efficient? Not in the usual sense, but if it ends up costing more money, that's stimulus. If people steal from the system....and they will...try to catch as many as you can, but if the deliveries are being made, it's ok. Work on improving as you go.


Or.....throw money in the air and hope for the best.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:12 AM   #46
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When would you be ready to be press ganged?
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:26 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
When would you be ready to be press ganged?
What a stupid question.

Sorry, Darat, but it is a stupid question.

I'm not saying press people into labor. I'm saying, "Jobs available. Drivers. 10.00 per hour."


(Or food baggers. Or whatever.)


There are lots of people who are newly unemployed because their old jobs are simply non-existent until the virus goes away. They used to ask people what sort of food they wanted, tell someone to cook it, and bring it to the table where the people would eat it. That's forbidden now.

And some of them weren't waitresses. Some of them were software engineers. Want a job? The government is hiring. Or the grocery store is hiring using government money.

There is a need to keep people separated. There is a trillion dollars that the government is willing to spend. How do we put those together to solve a problem?


No one would be compelled to take a job, any more than they are now.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:58 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
What a stupid question.

Sorry, Darat, but it is a stupid question.

I'm not saying press people into labor. I'm saying, "Jobs available. Drivers. 10.00 per hour."


(Or food baggers. Or whatever.)


There are lots of people who are newly unemployed because their old jobs are simply non-existent until the virus goes away. They used to ask people what sort of food they wanted, tell someone to cook it, and bring it to the table where the people would eat it. That's forbidden now.

And some of them weren't waitresses. Some of them were software engineers. Want a job? The government is hiring. Or the grocery store is hiring using government money.

There is a need to keep people separated. There is a trillion dollars that the government is willing to spend. How do we put those together to solve a problem?


No one would be compelled to take a job, any more than they are now.
Well there are bound to be a large number of qualified drivers laid off because their companies are shutdown and a lot of vans just sitting around doing nothing. pay the drivers, hire the vans, put a hard cap on the quantities of frozen goods people can order and use the extra manpower to up the number of deliveries. Now that wouldn't just require government money, it may also require regulations to be put in place, or removed. Here in the UK they relaxed competition rules so supermarkets could pool information and resources.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:16 AM   #49
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I don't know why frozen food is getting so much attention LoL. They make those cheap bags that will keep the food cold for an hour or two. I'm not sure how long it takes to deliver food, but you'd never want to send someone out with more than 2-3 orders anyway.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:21 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
And more to the point, if you gave people money to spend as they wish, would they spend it on grocery delivery? Obviously not, because they could right now, but they aren't.
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Part of what triggered the thread was my attempt to use the existing grocery delivery service, which charges a reasonable fee (10.00). You go to the online store. You select your items. You put in a credit card. Groceries come to your door.

Oh, there's one more step. You schedule a delivery time. I was doing this Friday morning.

Friday 8:00 am - 10:00 am - unavailable
Friday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - unavailable
etc.

Saturday 8:00 - -- no need to go on. You get the idea. I simply couldn't use the service. They also have pickup for $5.00. Unavailable.
So people ARE spending money on grocery delivery, then?
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:27 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
So people ARE spending money on grocery delivery, then?
Err uhmm...yeah...but.


Yes I realized the contradiction. It's the internet. You get what you pay for.


The more complete answer is that if you give people money, they'll spend it on something, but that something may or may not have anything to do with mitigating virus transmission. (They might go pick up craft supplies at Hobby Lobby.) I'm saying spend money on something that will definitely cut down on virus transmission.

The actual situation right now is that stores offer delivery, but they are overwhelmed. Some people don't use the delivery service because they don't want to wait. Some don't use it because they don't want to pay the fee. More people will use it if you cut the fee and lower the wait time, and you can do that by hiring drivers and handlers at government expense.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:28 AM   #52
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Most* grocery delivery in my area is by companies like Shipt, that are basically Uber-style groups of individuals who shop and delivery for you using their own personal vehicles. No fleet of trucks or licensed drivers needed. And, in my experience, they usually/always keep a cooler or insulated bags in their car to keep stuff cold.

*Whole Foods' deliveries are handled by Amazon's delivery contractors.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 05:29 PM   #53
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It seems that there's an issue where the capacity for delivery built in to the system isn't enough to meet current demand, because demand has increased a great deal in a short time span. To increase that capacity will take time (and capital investment).

To the extent that there are regulations that are preventing that expansion of capacity, those should be put aside as soon as possible.

It's possible that companies might expect the demand to return to normal in a short time frame, in which case it might not make sense to invest in this shift in capacity, given that the upfront costs of making the shift might not be recuperated by the profits accrued after having made it. Given the severity of the issue and that it seems we're in for a relatively long term situation, and what seems to me to be relatively low capital costs, I don't expect this to hold it back. But as Meadmaker mentions those costs might be exacerbated by regulation: if you're hiring an army of new delivery people for a short term crisis, you should be able to lay them off when the crisis is over. You should be able to hire people driving their own cars, rather than having to buy a whole new fleet of trucks that a year from now will have to be sold off, etc.

To the extent that there are issues of capital availability to make this shift, I'd be in favor of government stepping in to help.

I expect the market to start to make that shift, to meet this increased demand, but the sooner it happens the better and if government can help to speed that along it can make a difference to the spread of the disease.

I'm not sure about the specific solution Meadmaker is suggesting, but I understand a little more clearly the issue now, and am not opposed to some sort of targeted approach.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:27 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I'm not sure about the specific solution Meadmaker is suggesting,
Neither am I.

But your post summarizes my thinking pretty well. I just put a bit of thought into a couple of specific aspects of how something could be done. I wish some people who could actually make it happen were doing the same.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:21 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Neither am I.

But your post summarizes my thinking pretty well. I just put a bit of thought into a couple of specific aspects of how something could be done. I wish some people who could actually make it happen were doing the same.
I was thinking of those spaces they have outside Target designated for Parcel Pickup so you never leave the car. Target is overpriced for groceries though.

I signed in to my grocer to see what is offered.

Delivery & Free Pickup! (it says)

Pick-up - Not Available at this location (what?!!)
Delivery- Not available within the next 3 days
Ship: 1-3 days $35

I have always just bought groceries the normal way but I think I would prefer pickup to delivery. Plus it is free while delivery is $9.95. And shipping? From down the road? What is that even about?

No pickup at my store but did give me the option to drive to Indio. Just 90 miles away!
Seems they are having some inventory shortage and are looking to hire workers. Maybe if I work there I can get my groceries curbside?

Good stuff: The 65+ crowd get the first half hour of the day to shop!
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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:41 PM   #56
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This would have been better than typing it out!

s by , on Flickr
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