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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
On the big shopping days of the year — Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, of course, Prime Day — Amazon once shined with its hyper-efficient apparatus for commerce on full display.
No more. Heightened scrutiny of the consequences of its bigness is beginning to supplant the glowing coverage of its success.
Driving the news: Last week, during the kickoff of the holiday shopping frenzy, three big stories about Amazon revealed the human toll of its speedy delivery push.
Compare those stories to years past...
The big picture: A perfect storm of trends is working against Amazon.
But, but, but: It's not likely the bad PR Amazon is amassing for its fulfillment centers will significantly dent its profits, experts say.
Speaking of the consequences of online holiday shopping, there's a package theft crisis in cities across the country.
Staggering stat: 90,000 packages disappear daily in New York City, reports the New York Times.
The big picture: The online world has a massive physical footprint — and the rise of e-commerce is choking city streets with delivery vans and trucks. New York City alone gets 1.5 million package deliveries a day.
In the produce section. Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images
In hundreds of American towns, mom-and-pop grocers and shops are closing their doors — leaving an increasing share of Americans with no retail options beyond dollar stores.
But, but, but: One town found a different solution. After its only grocery store closed, the mayor of Baldwin, Florida, opened a market run by city hall to help limit the community's reliance on fast food and dollar stores, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
Why it matters: Dollar stores are thriving as local retail decays (there are more than 30,000 such stores in the country today), so several cities are starting to push back and either ban or limit the opening of new dollar joints in town.
Baldwin could become a model for these places that are looking for alternatives to the discount chains. Beyond Florida, locally owned groceries have already popped up in Vermont and Kansas, says Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit research and advocacy group that opposes concentrated economic power.
"Most of the cities and small towns that are confronting this problem see restricting dollar stores as only half of the answer. The other half is having a plan to bring in a real grocery store."— Stacy Mitchell
Empty coke bottles in Shanghai. Photo: Duan Wendi/Visual China Group/Getty Images
Apps like Robinhood and Stash have blown up — marketing themselves as accessible, easy-to-use tools for laypeople to play with stocks.
One company potentially confusing people is Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc., which has the ticker symbol COKE, Bloomberg's Matt Levine writes in his Money Stuff newsletter.
What to watch: COKE has a crazy high stock price for a bottling company (it's trading at 47 times its earnings per share, notes Levine). The ticker symbol may have tricked people, but some investors mistakenly buying COKE wouldn't be enough to drive up the price, so we don't really know why it's so high — and some short-sellers are betting against it.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The techlash could spur the next generation of startups (Dan Primack — Axios)
A disrupter on the edge of Stanford's campus (Steven Johnson — California Sunday)
Supermarket survival means matching Amazon (Matthew Boyle — Bloomberg)
How neural networks became a big business (Timothy Lee — Ars Technica)
Climate change is reshaping Iceland (Kendra Pierre-Louis — NYT)
Illustration: Axios Visuals
First, dating apps moved the experience of bumping into a good-looking stranger online. Now, the apps are coming for first dates.
Driving the news: The League, an exclusive dating platform that requires users to link to their LinkedIn accounts and wait for approval to join, is out with a new service called League Live. Those who sign up can go on three speed video chat dates within the app every week — it's yet another iconic step in courtship being relegated to smartphones.
The big picture: Per Amanda Bradford, the founder of The League, the first date as we know it will soon be a thing of the past.
Go deeper: My colleagues did a fascinating deep dive into all aspects of the future of dating.
Thanks for reading!