There’s an interesting societal trend toward the path of least resistance, to the “magic solution” that will give maximum results with minimal effort. The modern day equivalent of snake oil salesmen thrive in large part because the idea of losing weight, increasing sexual prowess, whatever in effortless and relatively inexpensive ways make for an easy bandwagon to jump upon.
Those ugly toning sneakers (such as Shape-ups by Skechers), the funny-looking ones with the thick sole that supposedly provides a gym workout while walking, are just the latest in a long line of fads that appear to have been outed as a bunch of hype.
$1.5 billion worth of hype, in fact, as an astoundingly large number of people decide to work out while they walked.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned a study at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Researchers compared people walking on a treadmill wearing a regular running shoe by New Balance and three brands of toning shoes: Skechers Shape-ups, Rebook EasyTone and MBT shoes from Masai Barefoot …
According to The New York Times, Amazon.com will pay nearly $930 million for internet shoe retailer Zappos.com. The Times suggests this is the next step in Amazon’s strategy to break into apparel, after the company tried and failed to become a destination for shoes with endless.com instead of a household name like Zappos. Amazon is spending a pretty penny for the shoe retailer, but it will pay off over time: Zappos “had about $1 billion of gross merchandise sales last year.”
I’ve enjoyed doing business with Zappos in the past for the same reason many online shoppers do: free shipping and free returns. This business practice means that I, a young professional of limited means (and time), can feel safe ordering a pair of shoes that are outside of my comfort zone (style-wise). So naturally when I heard the news that Zappos had been bought by Amazon, I was concerned. What will become of my free return shipping?
Everybody breathe: It stays. The free shipping/return shipping stays. At least according to the Times article: “[Zappos] said Amazon will allow it to continue running its business as it always has.” Not only that, Zappos is hoping it might even influence Amazon:
“A big part of the reason why Amazon is interested in us is because they recognize the value of our culture, our people, and our brand,” Zappos Chief Executive Tony Hsieh said in a letter on its blog.
“Their desire is for us to continue to grow and develop our culture (and perhaps even a little bit of our culture may rub off on them).”
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