Dec 3, 2018
Let’s Fix Work is back for season 2. The first episode has Laurie interviewing a returning audience favorite, Áine Cain. Áine is a reporter in the retail section at Business Insider. She covers Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe's.
We begin the episode catching up with Áine about her recent trip to Iceland, involving hotdogs, highlands and the famous Blue Lagoon. Laurie asks Áine about the impact of the trends towards online shopping and the current retail situation some have termed the ‘retailpocalypse’. Áine unpacks why some stores are moving towards what they call ‘omnichannel outlets’, in an attempt to become more flexible and pivot to customer’s needs.
The next segment starts with a discussion about Amazon’s recent pay debacle and their ‘gig economy’, which leads to some exploration of working conditions at larger companies. Laurie poses the question “is there still room in the market for boutique outlets?” and casts a skeptical eye over the theory that employee happiness directly impacts profitability. Laurie and Áine then discuss to what extent moral judgements play in customer’s shopping choices and what on the whole creates brand loyalty.
Áine is in a new role at Business Insider since her last appearance on the podcast, and she gives us some insight into what it was like for her to transition into retail reporting. Laurie comments on how statistically atypical Áine’s current career is for her generation. She commutes to work and has a job with a desk. Many GenXers are leaving those jobs, but Áine enjoys her organization’s culture.
Then to finish up, Laurie and Áine talk a little about Black Friday’s dwindling influence over holiday shopping—and whether or not self-checkout is actually faster than someone doing it for you—before saying goodbye for this week.