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Tip: don’t tip. Johana Bhuiyan at the LA Times had her first front page story this week, and it’s a doozy. It appears from her reporting that the “tips” Amazon encourages (well, practically foists upon) customers of its Prime Now and Prime Fresh services aren’t “tips” at all. You see, to you, me, and everyone else sharing the common, reasonable, and industry standard definition of “tipping,” the “tips” Amazon has built into its app interfaces for these services since at least fall ‘17 aren’t “tips” at all. They’re Amazon’s effort to outsource/offshore to its customers some of the base pay Amazon has promised to its drivers. Creative drivers figured this out pretty conclusively by ordering items to be delivered to themselves, with an odd tip amount so they could check if they received said tip. They did not. Don’t let Amazon make you its bitch vis-à-vis meeting its promises to drivers. You’re not tipping; you’re underwriting. Expect to see lawsuits on behalf of drivers (who reasonably expect customer “tips” to amount to something over and above their base pay), and on behalf of customers (who reasonably expected their “tips,” on by default in Amazon’s Prime and Fresh apps, not to be part of the drivers’ base pay) coming to a courthouse near you.
Which Fyre to Light: If you ‘re wondering which Fyre Festival documentary to watch — Hulu vs. Netflix — I recommend them both, but in reverse release order. Watch the Netflix one first: it’s more in-depth, detailed, nuanced, and thorough. It gives you a better perspective on how so many people, including the influencers brought in by Jerry Media, could have been so oblivious, unflappable, and delusional about the potential of the Fyre Festival and the related Fyre celebrity booking app. The Netflix documentary reminds us of facts such as: the Fyre festival sold 98% of its offered tickets and packages within 48 hours of offering them for sale. In pure Fox Mulder tradition, the buyers wanted to believe, and had a colorable basis for doing so. If Fyre had only been able to execute, all we would be discussing right now is how hard it is to get tickets to Fyre 3.0 (and perhaps how the event itself is a symptom of modern society’s malaise). The Hulu documentary is more Nightline meets To Catch a Predator: it’s a morality play, with interesting, after-the-fact interviews with the Predator himself, Billy McFarland. If you only have time for one of the documentaries, go with Netflix. If you have time for both, watch Netflix first, then Hulu. Then, be glad that all the Bahamas had to deal with was a string of broken promises and commitments, rather than the recurrence of this would-be event, year after year.
Fashionably Weird: If you’re not paying attention to how clothes are being marketed and sold these days, and the implications for global markets, trade, intellectual property, and startups, you’re missing a lot. For example, with most clothing manufacturing controlled by Chinese factories, white labeling and price fluidity for the same item is the new normal. See Are Ultrafast Labels Like Fashion Nova Wittingly Ripping Customers Off? Also, if niche online fashion brands selling on Amazon and Instagram are tired, what’s wired is figuring out how to streamline their production process: something The/Studio thinks it has figured out. Finally, while niche online brands and the Chinese factories they hire or front for have been having their way with global consumers, the tables may be turning. U.S. brands are figuring out how to sell directly and lucratively to the Chinese consumer.
Remember the Amazon/Google “terms of service” tiff over making YouTube videos available on the Echo Show and other Echo devices with a video screen? Well, Show and other Echo video products owners, your long nightmare is over, or at least, not as bad. Ask your device to play a YouTube video and (if it is new, or has the current software update) it will ask you to choose a default browser: Silk or Firefox. (Pick Firefox; trust me.) You can then play YouTube videos through the browser, with *some* voice control funCtionality (volume; pause). Hey, it’s better than nothing.
Professional Freeskier and aspiring Data Scientist and Physicist Nicky Keefer is utterly insane, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking his love of the Insta360 camera is worth noting. (I’m assuming there’s an un- and/or insufficiently disclosed sponsorship relationship here; Nicky, give me a call and let’s discuss FTC influencer guidelines and fines.) Will this device dethrone the GoPro for outdoor and underwater action? Maybe, but not until it has a lower profile; it protrudes too far off a helmet, IMO.
Are you ready for LED eyelashes? Me? I’m waiting until they’re wireless, until we’re confident laptops on laps are actually okay, and until our common sense as a species finds its way home (not holding my breath).
Support: Friends of the Children. Kids get mentors. Mentors get paid. “[F]or every $1 invested in Friends of the Children, the community benefits over $7 in saved social costs. Helping one child saves the community $900,000.” Donate here.
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Sustain: Resale/recycled fashion.
Coming soon: Amy’s Closet
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Imbibe/Ingest: I fully intend things under this heading will not always be this, uh, mundane. But if you have not yet tapped into the mystery and wonder of Just Crack an Egg, I encourage you to do so. Mere moments in the microwave. No artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives. Literally anyone in your household can make this snack/meal for themselves, their relatives, or their friends. The results are surprisingly delicious. The “recipe” calls for just one egg per cup, but I recommend 2-3 for a heartier serving; slightly increase the cooking time accordingly.
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Inbox 5K Note: Endorsements, suggestions, and recommendations in Inbox 5K are unpaid unless indicated otherwise. I highlight and recommend things I like or find useful, in hope you might feel the same. Sometimes I’ll mention a company, product or service offered by a friend, acquaintance, or family member; rest assured they’re not paying me and haven’t asked for placement here unless I tell you that’s the case.
Denise M. Howell, Esq., 1048 Irvine Ave., #141, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA