Replacing American Jobs

Grind for October 14th, 2018
“An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Future Is Now

The Headline

Workers in Las Vegas threatened by increasing automation

The Grind

By the year 2035, an estimated two-thirds of all jobs in Las Vegas will be automated.

High-end hotels like the Vdara, Mandarin Oriental, and Renaissance are already using robots to cater to customers’ needs. At the Vdara Hotel, two dog-shaped robots named “Jett” and “Fetch” are being used to greet guests deliver room service.

At the Tipsy Robot, machines are used to make cocktails.

The Details

The increasing automation of Las Vegas is bad news for the 300,000 people who work in the city’s hospitality and gaming industries.

According to a recent analysis, the biggest changes will occur in back offices and fast food kitchens – meaning automation will have a disproportionate impact on women and minorities.

The Culinary Union has already taken steps to prevent its workers from losing their jobs to robots. According to its most recent contract with casinos, members of the Culinary Union whose jobs are changed by automation will have the option to train for a new job or receive severance pay for six months.

The contract also requires casinos to give the union up to 180 days notice before implementing new technology.

“Right now, it feels like we’re protected for the next five years,” says union official Geoconda Arguello Kline. “But in these five years we have to prepare for the next five years, what’s going to happen.”


The Headline

As the holidays near, retailers rush to fill the gap left by Toys ‘R’ Us

The Grind

With Toys ‘R’ Us no longer in the picture, retailers like Walmart are scrambling to add more floor space for toys.

Target is planning to borrow up to 500 square feet from its electronics and book sections to display toys and Amazon is planning to advertise its toys to customers visiting Whole Foods stores. Kohl’s is selling Legos.

According to analysts, the main difficulty for these stores will be to carry enough products to satisfy last-minute shoppers; because despite stores’ best efforts to encourage shoppers to buy gifts earlier in the year, most toy sales occur in November and December.

“The result across retailers will likely be a selection focused on the most popular items and the best-known brands, with supplies dwindling during the final week,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “And that is when shoppers flock to buy toys.”

Last year, Toys ‘R’ Us did $1.4 billion in sales in December.

The Implication

The difference between Toys ‘R’ Us and other retailers is that Toys ‘R’ Us could afford to carry unsold product into the following year. Large mass-market retailers like Walmart are more focused on selling as much as they can so they aren’t left with extra stock.

One of the biggest challenges will be to get the right products to the right stores at the right time, explains Mattel executive Steve Totzke. “The companies that do it best – the manufacturers and retailers – are going to win the season.”

Did you know… Despite being one of the top 10 richest men in the world, Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA) lives in a small home, eats at IKEA, and uses the bus.