Dina is walking around the store with Bo, sharing some of the resources Cloud 9 has invested in to deter crime. Only half of he cameras are actually function, and the security guard isn’t holding an actual weapon, but potential criminals don’t know that. The goal is to give the illusion that a criminal would be caught.
Author: Jadrian Wooten
Economics eductor. Follow me @Wootenomics
Cheyenne and Matteo are discussing more things they’d like to buy if they were to win the lottery, but Sandra chimes in let them know about lump sum payments versus annuities. She explains how the two of them wouldn’t actually get the full amount if they take the lump sum payment and how they are forgetting that they’ll be required to pay taxes on the winnings.
After Myrtle was fired because of her age, the employees are unhappy with the regional manager who orchestrated the firing. They ask for Myrtle back, but he’s decided to automate her position (greeter) with a virtual version of Myrtle. Automation can replace routine tasks, such as greeting customers and helping customers locate items in stores.
Outsourcing a Task
There’s a big mess in the backroom, but Mateo is on the phone trying to secure Celine Dion tickets. Garret tries to recommend hiring someone from an app to wait in line for Mateo, but Mateo reverses it and suggests that the two of them hire someone to clean the mess for them. They are outsourcing their jobs to someone who is willing to do the job for less while they focus on the things they want to do.
Tracking Employee Movement
A new company app tracks employees in the store so that they don’t need to clock in. It also rewards employees for doing particular things like going to the stock room or helping customers. It provides a variety of other store-related information, but Jonah is skeptical of how beneficial this app really is for the workers. The store encourages all employees to use the app and it appears that the company will start monitoring their performance. While this may be beneficial from a productivity standpoint, it may also cross the line in terms of privacy. Employees are now monitored when they’re in the breakroom to ensure that they aren’t wasting time.
The employees are playing a game of customer safari to see who can find the strangest customers in the store. Glenn doesn’t know about it at first but recognizes that something is “off” since the store manager is gone for the day. He tries to get Sandra to rat out Garrett, but he forgets to separate them. It’s the start to a really good Prisoner’s dilemma, but that only works when the two players don’t know what the other is doing. It’s easy to collude when you’re standing beside each other.
Common Pool Donation
The employees are debating if it’s right to give $1,000 to a church so that a recently deceased co-worker can go to heaven. When the majority of employees agree that’s the best use of the money, Amy offers a collection so that everyone can chip in to help finance the project. Jonah chips in $5, but no one else is willing to add money to the bowl, and someone even takes the $5 out of the bowl. Like other public good problems, people are not willing to chip in to provide the services they all agree are important. There’s no incentive to contribute, so everyone becomes a free-rider.
Jonah has dressed up a few mannequins to represent women doing particular jobs in the store. Dina comments on how this t-shirt activism is really helpful for the store’s profits, particularly because the outfit that Jonah has put together has a higher price tag than a similar combination targeted at boys. Jonah argues that it promotes gender equality, but Dina points out that the shirt costs $12.99 for women, but only $7.99 for men. Jonah tries to argue from a cost perspective, noting that glitter is more expensive, but Dina argues that it’s just a pink tax, charging women more for the same product, like clothes, razors, and deodorant.
Cloud 9 is offering curbside pickup so that their lazier customers can have a better shopping experience. Monopolistically competitive firms often compete on non-price aspects, so offering curbside pickup may entice new customers to increase their demand. Since they aren’t hiring more workers, the employees are now required to work more, which they don’t see as fair. This increased demand following curbside pickup should result in an increased demand for labor, but the workers only seem to be working more.
Opportunity Cost of a Wedding
Carol wants to go to Sandra’s wedding, but Sandra doesn’t want her there. Garrett and Dina tried to tell Carol that she wasn’t invited, but that didn’t work. They approach Sandra with a different idea, offer Carol a better alternative than Sandra’s wedding so that Carol would hate missing the alternative. The three of them attempt to increase the opportunity cost of going to Sandra’s wedding, first by offering tickets to a Whitney Houston concert on the same day.