Ugly Christmas sweaters may be in short supply this year, as the shipping crisis has left them stuck on delayed container ships, a report says

Women in Christmas sweaters run in a race in Germany
Participants in the Ugly Christmas Sweater Run.

  • A company selling ugly holiday sweaters predicted a shortage amid the supply chain crisis.
  • “Christmas sweaters, there’ll definitely be a shortage,” one exec told The Detroit Free Press.
  • Retail spending is expected to be on par with 2020 spending, The National Retail Federation said.

The US may be facing a shortage of ugly holiday sweaters this holiday season amid the worldwide shipping crisis, The Detroit Free Press reported.

Ostentatious holiday sweaters have been growing in popularity for years. There are ugly-sweater fun runs held around the world. Rent the Runway launched a capsule collection. A Popeyes version sold out in hours. Office Christmas parties use them as a theme. And there are many, many lists – here are three from Insider – compiling and reviewing the ugliest of the ugly.

But the ongoing supply chain crisis may make it more difficult for consumers to get their hands on them, Fred Hajjar, of uglychristmassweater.com, told the newspaper.

“Christmas sweaters, there’ll definitely be a shortage,” Hajjar reportedly said.

That Michigan-based company expects to sell about 100,000 sweaters this year, the Detroit Free Press reported. But many of those sweaters are now delayed in transit, with several shipping containers full of them stuck in Long Beach.

Consumer spending this holiday season isn’t expected to drop, despite the supply chain issues, according to the National Retail Federation.

A crowd wearing ugly holiday sweaters under heavy snowfall
A crowd wearing ugly holiday sweaters.

US shoppers are expected to spend about $1,000 apiece on gifts and holiday items, including the ugly sweaters they buy for themselves. That’s about what they spent last year, despite the pandemic, the group said.

“Consumers are ready to celebrate, and gift-giving is high on the list,” Matthew Shay, NRF chief, said in a statement.

It added: “The retail industry is working diligently with ports, labor, shippers and transportation providers, as well as government officials to overcome supply chain challenges and make sure consumers have access to the gifts they want to give and, just as important, receive.”

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Apple is being sued by a San Francisco man for $1,383.13, the exact cost of his iPhone 12. He says the company refused to fix the phone while it was under warranty.

An old San Francisco building is reflected inside the glossy Apple store logo
San Francisco’s Apple Store.

  • An Apple iPhone owner sued the tech giant for $1,383.13, the exact cost of his phone.
  • Theodore A. Kim filed the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court last week.
  • Kim said the company refused to repair his iPhone despite it being under warranty.

An iPhone user in San Francisco has sued Apple for the exact cost of his iPhone, saying the company refused to repair the device despite it being under warranty.

Theodore A. Kim filed a lawsuit in San Francisco seeking $1,383.13, the original cost of his phone. The claim was filed in small claims court.

“It levels the playing field so that just a simple consumer like me can sue a big company without having to worry about getting lawyers and all that other stuff,” Kim told Insider in a phone interview last week. “I feel like at least I want my day in court.”

The court clerk set a trial for 1.30 p.m. on November 23, 2021, according to documents. Apple didn’t respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

The phone Kim’s suing over was originally purchased from an authorized Apple seller in Vietnam in October 2020, he said. The iPhone 12 was under Apple’s warranty until October 2022, he said.

When Kim returned to the US during the pandemic, he was having trouble getting the phone to read a US sim card. So he called Apple, and they told him to bring it into a local Apple Store.

“And so I brought it into the store and they sent it to the repair depot – then they came back and said, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to fix this because it’s been tampered with,'” Kim said. “And I said: ‘Tampered with in what way?'”

He didn’t get an answer, he said. Instead, they returned the phone. But now it had a broken SIM tray, Kim said.

A few weeks later, Kim filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Apple responded to that complaint, saying the iPhone would have been repaired if it had been broken while the company had it.

“Apple considers this matter closed,” the company said, according to the BBB website.

Since Apple wouldn’t fix the phone under the warranty – which Kim said was voided by the company – he offered to pay for the repair. But the company again refused, he said.

As a final gambit, he sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s email address in late June. He didn’t hear back. So he turned to Google for ways to solve the problem.

“And I found a blog post of someone in Seattle successfully suing Apple in small claims court,” Kim said.

In that 2012 case, a blogger brought Apple to small claims court in Washington after his 2008 MacBook Pro’s graphics card died. That blogger’s experience was similar enough to his that Kim thought he might have a chance in court.

“So I said, ‘Well, OK, why don’t I try the same avenue,'” he said. “I kind of jokingly said, ‘Well, this is like a David and Goliath kind of situation.’ We’ll see what happens.”

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This ghost kitchen pioneer, which pays delivery drivers up to $88,000 a year, says a happy and well-paid workforce is the key to its success

ClusterTruck
Inside a ClusterTruck ghost kitchen.

  • Ghost kitchen pioneer ClusterTruck is paying its delivery drivers up to $88,000 a year.
  • To support those wages, the Indiana-based company does not use a third-party delivery model.
  • It also never oversaturates the driver pool, which aims to ensure they are making enough money.

Ghost kitchens, which are used for delivery-only restaurant services, became hugely popular at the start of the pandemic. Now, more than 18 months later, they’ve maintained their presence, despite the reopening of many dining rooms.

According to market research firm Euromonitor, the ghost kitchen industry could be worth $1 trillion by 2030.

One of the main drivers of growth in the industry is the changing cost structures of the foodservice market.

Ghost kitchens’ delivery-focused model allows businesses to significantly cut down on rent and staffing costs by employing fewer people. In the case of ClusterTruck, which is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, its delivery drivers’ happiness is integral to its success.

“Drivers are our core constituency at ClusterTruck,” its chief operating officer Brian Howenstein told Insider.

He said ClusterTruck is vertically integrated, meaning it manages the entire process – from cooking up orders made by in-house chefs to using its own delivery drivers.

The company’s use of its own delivery fleet is particularly notable. According to Howenstein, all delivery drivers are gig drivers contracted to ClusterTruck, rather than through a third-party delivery service like Deliveroo or Uber Eats.

Their jobs are assigned on an on-demand basis. “If a courier decides they want to start delivering for ClusterTruck, they can go into the app and hit ‘I’m available.’ “As soon as we have demand, we’ll send them a notification and they’ll start heading to our kitchen to start delivering,” Howenstein said.

The company tries to manage demand to make sure it never brings on too many drivers. “To make our system work, we have to make sure our drivers are happy and that they’re making enough money,” Howenstein said.

The company works to never oversaturate its driver pool. “If we have 100 orders, we may only bring on 20 or so drivers to deliver those,” Howenstein said. “We want to make sure each driver makes enough money to be happy and that it’s a good gig for them financially.

Such a structure has allowed the company to pay drivers no less than $15 per hour. In many cases, however, they can make more than $80,000 per year, as a result of the on-demand business model. Insider has viewed documentation provided by ClusterTruck showing the payment of such salaries.

Those higher salaries are dependent on the number of jobs couriers get assigned per hour. “We keep their utilization really high, which is where they really start to make money,” Howenstein said.

CEO Chris Baggott told Insider the company can provide its drivers with between four and six jobs per hour. “An Uber or a DoorDash driver is lucky to get 1.2 to 1.3 jobs per hour,” he said.

“Our goal was, let’s take the worst job in the gig economy, which is delivering prepared food, and let’s make it the best,” Baggott added. “We truly treat them like our front of house. They are the face of our company.”

ClusterTruck also differentiates itself from competitors with its no-fees structure, all while making a profit. Howenstein said the company can support this model because it saves costs on non-essential services.

Howenstein said: “We have no wait staff and we are able to exist in rents that are not high-dollar real estates because customers aren’t coming to us, we’re coming to them.”

According to Howenstein, 95% of the ghost kitchen industry is still based on the third-party delivery model, and the economics of it, in his opinion, are fundamentally broken and unprofitable.

Looking ahead, he said the biggest thing he’ll watch out for is whether ClusterTruck’s competitors are profitable without being untenably priced for customers.

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McDonald’s workers are staging another one-day strike to protest the alleged sexual harassment of employees at the chain’s restaurants

Workers are on strike at a McDondald's location in Detroit, demanding a raise in pay.
Workers strike at a McDonald’s location in Detroit in August.

  • McDonald’s workers are planning another strike on Tuesday to protest alleged sexual harassment at multiple locations in the US.
  • The strike will build upon a pattern of McDonald’s #MeToo movements that started in 2018.
  • The McDonald’s effort is the latest in a line of worker strikes across multiple industries in the month of October alone.

The “Striketober” streak continues as McDonald’s employees become the latest group of workers to demand corporate change.

Employees at the fast-food giant in at least ten cities across the US, including Chicago and St. Louis, are planning a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest allegations of sexual harassment against employees. During the strike, employees will “demand that McDonald’s stop wasting time and listen to workers when it comes to fixing rampant sexual harassment in their stores,” the workers’ rights group Fight for $15 wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

The McDonald’s strike follows a rise of protests in recent months over what some workers say are poor working conditions, toxic cultures, and insufficient wages at a range of companies including John Deere, Netflix, Kellogg’s, and American Airlines. The fight for workers’ rights has been further magnified by ongoing pandemic pressures, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, which have made it harder to retain employees.

Fight for $15 helped organize the strike, which serves as a direct response to the alleged rape of a 14-year-old McDonald’s worker in Pittsburgh by a manager at the restaurant, according to USA Today.

The effort also comes amid claims of harassment across other McDonald’s restaurants, including a lawsuit filed in September after a McDonald’s franchisee did not adequately respond to harassment complaints from multiple teenagers in 22 locations in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

“I’m going on strike because despite years of protests, McDonald’s still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe,” Jamelia Fairley, a McDonald’s employee in Sanford, Florida, told The Hill.

“It’s not safe to work at McDonald’s,” former Milwaukee McDonald’s worker Jennifer Berry said in a Facebook post shared by Fight for $15. “It’s our right to feel safe at our job. We deserve to work for a company that cares about their employees.”

McDonald’s also experienced a wave of employee unrest on the heels of the #MeToo movement. Workers at the fast-food company organized a similar one-day strike in September 2018, which became the first multistate strike in the US specifically aimed at sexual harassment.

Workers have staged multiple strikes against sexual harassment in the company, with at least 50 workers filing charges against the company since 2016 as of April 2021, according to The Associated Press. Workers cited physical and verbal harassment, as well as retaliation when they made complaints.

In April, McDonald’s announced new mandatory training starting next year for over 2 million workers in 39,000 stores around the world, focused on combatting harassment, discrimination, and violence in its restaurants.

“Every single person working at a McDonald’s restaurant deserves to feel safe and respected when they come to work, and sexual harassment and assault have no place in any McDonald’s restaurant,” McDonald’s US said in a statement to USA Today on Friday. “We know more work is needed to further our workplace ambitions, which is why all 40,000 McDonald’s restaurants will be assessed and accountable to global brand standards.”

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to request for comment about the impending strike and how the company is addressing these latest concerns.

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The CEO of a logistics startup took a boat tour of the Port of Long Beach and found a lot of things wrong, including terminals ‘simply overflowing with containers’

Aerial shot of a massive cargo ship arriving in the Port of Long Beach, California.
Aerial shot of a massive cargo ship arriving in the Port of Long Beach, California

  • As port congestion worsens, local officials and logistics executives are seeking ways to alleviate clogs.
  • The City of Long Beach issued a statement on Friday that it will temporarily permit additional container stacking.
  • The policy came after a logistics CEO took to Twitter to make suggestions following a three-hour boat tour of the port.

As US shipping ports grow increasingly congested, logistics leaders and local officials are seeking solutions to the national supply chain crisis.

The City of Long Beach, California, issued a statement on Friday announcing it will temporarily permit additional container stacking to free up space and alleviate port congestion.

The announcement came shortly after Ryan Peterson, CEO of the freight logistics company Flexport, took to Twitter to share a similar recommendation after detailing his observations from a three-hour boat tour of the overloaded complex in Long Beach.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Peterson – who noted that port operations in Long Beach were “at a standstill” on Friday, with “containers piling up in the terminal yard” due to lack of space – expressed the urgency of the situation and called for action.

“It seems that everyone now agrees that the bottleneck is yard space at the container terminals,” Peterson wrote on Twitter. “The terminals are simply overflowing with containers, which means they no longer have space to take in new containers either from ships or land. It’s a true traffic jam.”

As part of the temporary order, the City of Long Beach is allowing up to four containers to be stacked at one time, up from two under standard policy. In some cases, five containers can be stacked if a property is granted permission from the city’s fire prevention department.

“It has recently come to the City’s attention the Municipal Code contains zoning provisions that limit the number and/or height of shipping container storage, that if relaxed for a short time could provide some assistance during this national crisis,” the City of Long Beach wrote in a statement.

Large containers on commercial dock in Long Beach, California.
Large containers on commercial dock in Long Beach, California.

In Southern California, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have been in a state of near-paralysis, even after workers were recently granted permission by the Biden Administration to unload ships for 24-hours a day. According to the Marine Exchange, this week there was a record of 169 boats floating off the ports, with some waiting upwards of 13 days to be unloaded.

Lack of space for shipping containers has led truckers in Los Angeles to leave them lining the sides of residential streets. Meanwhile, the White House has considered bringing in the National Guard to help unload containers in Southern California and help alleviate a lack of truck drivers due to the labor shortage.

Peterson wrote on Twitter that the supply-chain crisis has become “a negative feedback loop that is rapidly cycling out of control” adding that “if it continues unabated will destroy the global economy.”

“We don’t need to do the best ideas. We need to do ALL the ideas,” he wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart offers employees a more ‘flexible’ way of working, asking them to return to the office next month

walmart sign
  • Walmart asked all of its corporate associates to return to the office in a memo released Friday.
  • The retailer did not disclose if this change is mandatory.
  • The transition will begin on November 8, according to Walmart’s chief people officer Donna Morris.

Walmart asked its corporate associates to return to the office next month, saying in a note to employees “there is no substitution for being in the offices together.”

The note, posted on the company’s website, stated that associates who work in the companies campus offices will return November 8 as part of a “new, more flexible way of working” after operating remotely for most of the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s Global Tech team will continue to work remotely, the note said.

Walmart did not respond to Insider’s request to comment on whether or not the return to campus offices is mandatory for employees. Walmart also did not disclose any specific details related to this plan or if employees will have the choice to work remotely.

“Given all campus associates will be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation in November, we will transition to working together in our campus offices on a more regular basis starting the week of Nov. 8,” Donna Morris, Chief People Officer, said in the note. “There is no substitution for being in the offices together,” she added.

The move comes as many companies grapple with whether to make a return to the office mandatory for employees who transitioned to remote work about 18 months ago in the early days of pandemic lockdowns. Many workers have said they would refuse to come back to offices full time. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said this week the company would enact a hybrid model. Amazon this month said it would let corporate employees work from home indefinitely.

In July, Walmart mandated corporate employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees had until October 4 to get vaccinated, Insider reported. Walmart was the first major retailer to require certain corporate employees get vaccinated.

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Halloween is back: People are shelling out for candy, costumes, and decor after a quieter 2020

Person dressed as ghost holds pumpkin and sign that says boo during Halloween parade
  • Consumers are expected to spend a record $10.14 billion on Halloween this year.
  • Spending on Halloween candy has already surged: sales jumped 29% vs. 2020, per Numerator data.
  • But some retailers warn that decor and costumes are getting caught up in supply chain snarls.

Halloween may have taken a bit of a hiatus last year, but it’s come back in full force in 2021.

Ahead of Halloween weekend – the holiday falls on a Sunday this year – sales of candy, costumes, and decor are soaring across the US, with consumer spending expected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion. It’s an increase of over 20% from last year, when consumers spent $8.05 billion on Halloween.

That’s according to a National Retail Federation survey of 8,061 consumers conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics in September. NRF found that consumers plan to spend $102.74 on average – $10 more than they planned to spend in 2020 – on items like decorations, costumes, and candy.

According to data from Numerator, people have already purchased more Halloween candy than they did in 2020 – more, even, than in 2019. Numerator’s data showed that sales of seasonal candy have jumped 29% in the second half of the year versus the same period last year, and 43% compared to the second half of 2019.

Candy-industry executives told AdWeek’s Paul Hiebert that they’re expecting a big year after a dip in 2020.

“This year we are, and continue to, anticipate a strong rebound for trick-or-treating,” Timothy LeBel, president of sales for Mars Wrigley US, told AdWeek.

John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, told AdWeek that “chocolate and candy sales have come roaring back during the 2021 Halloween season.”

Still, costumes are expected to be the top-selling category. The NRF survey found that consumers plan to spend a total of $3.32 billion on costumes, topping 2018, 2019, and 2020 levels.

Fewer costumes, more decor in 2020

A father and son carry their 12-foot-tall Home Depot skeleton into storage after Halloween.
A family moves their 12-foot-tall skeleton.

This is likely welcome news for retailers who were hit hard in 2020, particularly those who sell costumes. Business owners told the Washington Post’s Abha Bhattarai last October that prior to the pandemic, they were expecting a massive Halloween season, given that the holiday fell on a Saturday and a full moon. But one shop owner in Virginia said sales dipped 80% instead.

“I’ve never been this worried before,” he told the Post at the time.

Rather than shell out for costumes, many consumers shifted the way they celebrated. According to the NRF survey from last year, decorating homes became the second-most-popular way to observe Halloween, after handing out candy, with 53% of respondents saying they planned to decorate versus 49% the year prior.

As Insider’s Mary Meisenzahl reported last year, Lowe’s began noticing Halloween decorations, especially large, outdoor inflatables, becoming more popular in 2020. And Home Depot had a breakout hit with its $320 12-foot-tall skeleton, which sold out so quickly that fans were offering to buy them secondhand for thousands of dollars, the Post’s Maura Judkis reported at the time.

(Home Depot later said during an earnings call that the skeleton sold out before October last year and helped drive record sales for the company. The skeleton is selling out this year too.)

Supply-chain issues could hit the Halloween industry

Man holds up his child as they shop for Halloween costumes at Target

But the Halloween industry may not be immune to the supply chain pressures that are hitting seemingly every other industry at the moment.

Demand, combined with shipping snarls, could lead to costume shortages in some parts of the country, MLive reported, citing data from the Halloween and Costume Association, a group that represents costume manufacturers.

“The fact that costume and decor sales are up 20 to 25%, coupled with pandemic-related supply issues, have resulted in empty shelves all across the country,” Gregor Lawson, chairman of the HCA and founder of spandex bodysuit-maker Morphsuits, told MLive.

Lawson added that the association is expecting “a complete sell-out this year.”

A Cedar Rapids, Iowa-area costume shop-owner told local ABC affiliate KCRG earlier this month that the store had spent $12,000 on inventory and only $500 of it had arrived.

“Accessories are hard to get, masks are hard to get, costumes, pretty much everything,” Jacob Cowger, the owner of Balloon’s Etc. & Costume Emporium, told KCRG. “In my 11 years, this has been the toughest.”

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I ate a stack of Instagram-famous pancakes at New York-style brunch joint Sunday in Brooklyn. I thought they’d be sweeter but I still fell in love with them.

Sunday in Brooklyn
I tried the pancakes at Sunday in Brooklyn. They were luscious.

  • Sunday in Brooklyn is a New-York originated restaurant that’s just arrived in Notting Hill, London.
  • Hazelnut maple praline pancakes topped with a slice of brown butter are its flagship dish.
  • I thought they’d be sweeter but I still loved them and had no trouble devouring the whole stack.
I visited Sunday in Brooklyn, a New York-style brunch restaurant known for its excessively Instagrammed malted pancakes.

Sunday in Brooklyn

The restaurant opened in the South Williamsburg area of New York in 2016. It was founded by Todd Enany, Adam Landsman, and chef Jaime Young, and recently opened its first branch in London.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Taking over a two-floored corner site on Westbourne Grove, the restaurant was hard to miss with its brightly striped awnings.

Sunday in Brooklyn

When I arrived, there was a host of eager diners hoping to get a table. I managed to secure a booking, however, and was instantly escorted to my table.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Although I was incredibly keen to try the pancakes I’d heard so much about, I also wanted to make sure I got to try some of the other menu items, too.

Sunday in Brooklyn

First up, I ordered a few starters. These included avocado toast, ricotta and jam brioche, and a beetroot salad – the restaurant’s seasonal special.

Sunday in Brooklyn

While I enjoyed all the items, the brioche hit the spot for me with its fresh and tangy flavours that were nicely balanced with the sweet bread.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Next up was an egg sandwich. Biting in, I savored the fluffy texture of the eggs against the brioche bun. I also enjoyed the kick in flavor from the gochujang mayo, a red chili paste popular in Korean cooking. That said, I would’ve loved a spicier sauce, perhaps on the side, to elevate the dish a little further.

Sunday in Brooklyn

The restaurant also had a gluten-free option but shockingly, it hardly tasted any different. I didn’t know how I felt about an egg sandwich prior to eating it, but Sunday in Brooklyn might have unearthed a new breakfast favorite for me.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Then arrived The Don Ruben Omelette. This dish didn’t quite deliver compared with other omelettes I’ve eaten. The mole sauce was bitter and overpowered my palate on each bite. I’m not sure if I’d order this again.

Sunday in Brooklyn

As a french-fry lover, I had to order the Sunday fries, which came with a distinct oregano seasoning. The portion was huge considering it was a side but the basket was soon cleaned empty due to how addictive they were.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Soon enough, the showstopper arrived. As the pancakes glistened in a glossy pool of hazelnut maple praline topped with a pat of brown butter, my mouth began to water.

Sunday in Brooklyn

So I got stuck right in.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Fluffy, nutty, and surprisingly not too sweet, these pancakes hit all the right notes. What I loved the most was the thickness of the syrup, which didn’t immediately soak into the pancakes. This meant I could take my time to devour them.

Sunday in Brooklyn

The Sunday Pancakes are the most-ordered dish on the menu and I can now understand why. It’s safe to say I’ll definitely be returning for more because they were a perfect 10 in my book.

Sunday in Brooklyn
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A Dollar General store was robbed 4 times in 3 months, and critics say it shows how discount chains put their staff at risk

Dollar General shooting in 2016
Critics say dollar stores have been hotbeds for crime in the US.

  • A Dollar General in Indianapolis was robbed four times in three months.
  • Critics say this is representative of a larger trend: that dollar stores are crime hotspots.
  • The lack of staff and the fact they carry cash makes these stores more vulnerable, they argue.

On September 9, a Dollar General store in Indianapolis was robbed for the fourth time in three months. According to a local news report, the armed suspect left the store with a bag of cash but no one was hurt.

When Insider contacted the Indianapolis police department, a spokesperson confirmed the incident and said that the frequency of robberies was “not unusual” or “particularly shocking” for a dollar store in the area.

A spokesperson for nonprofit Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana told Insider that smaller convenience stores and gas stations are also often targeted.

As dollar stores have flourished across the US, people campaigning against their rise have described them as crime hotspots that put local communities and employees at risk. Their ubiquity – there are more than 34,000 dollar stores in the US – and the fact they are often located in already high-crime areas are at least partly to blame. Critics say, however, that dollar stores are uniquely more vulnerable than competitors, such as Walmart.

These critics often point to the lack of staff in dollar stores.

Dollar stores have thrived in the US in the years since the Great Recession by offering rock-bottom prices, made possible by keeping overheads, such as labor, down. Critics say the company’s efforts to keep costs low has resulted in understaffing. Some stores can be operated by one or two employees at a time.

It’s therefore easier to break in and overwhelm staff, Kennedy Smith, senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a nonprofit that advocates for community businesses, said in a recent phone conversation with Insider. She described these stores as “crime magnets.”

But it’s hard to determine whether they definitively attract more crime than other types of stores. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that catalogs incidents of gun crime in the US from local law enforcement and news sites, there have been more than 420 incidents involving guns at dollar stores across the US since the start of 2017.

By comparison, the GVA cataloged more than 700 incidents involving guns at the over 4,700 Walmart stores around the US since 2017. The data includes any incident with a gun that takes place in or around these stores, including Walmart’s giant parking lots.

There is no comprehensive source that tracks exactly how many robberies take place inside stores, so it’s not possible to directly compare the data.

However, Smith said her perception is that it’s easier for someone to rob a dollar store than to rob a Walmart, which has more staff and, often, security guards that dollar stores rarely have, she said.

In a statement to Insider, a spokesperson for Dollar General said that the company has a series of safety and security protocols to protect workers and shoppers, without specifying what. The company also works closely with law enforcement in local areas, they said.

“We do not publicly comment on specifics of these [safety] measures because doing so potentially compromises the integrity of those measures and may place customers and employees at risk by providing a roadmap to could-be wrongdoers,” the spokesperson said.

When Insider spoke to store manager Christy Laurence, who runs the Dollar General store on the east side of Indianapolis that was robbed four times over the summer, she said that the company was understanding of the situation, and that workers were offered a day off and counseling if they were in the store during a robbery.

Dollar General would not confirm this when contacted by Insider.

Daniel Rosenberg, director and coordinator of nonprofit Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana, said that people also choose to rob these stores over, for example, a Walmart because dollar stores generally carry cash. Given that most items cost under $10, shoppers tend not to buy on card. The same is true for convenience stores and gas stations, he said.

Plus, dollar stores often have blocked-out windows, which makes it harder for workers to see who’s coming in, and easier for would-be robbers to stay hidden from passersby on the street.

Ed Delaney, a state representative for Indiana, who has campaigned for years to make local lawmakers investigate the safety of working at dollar stores, said there’s still no organized effort to help these workers because these stores aren’t unionized and the “system doesn’t pay much attention.”

This might soon change – a handful of workers at a Dollar General store Barkhamsted, Connecticut, are currently pushing to unionize their store, which could pave the way for other locations to follow.

But Laurence, the Dollar General store manager, isn’t convinced that it would be any better elsewhere. “It’s no different from any other job,” she said. “It’s just business that I am in.”

If you are a dollar store worker with a story to share please contact this reporter at mhanbury@insider.com or via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4716.

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We visited the community living in the shadow of an Amazon warehouse in Mexico, and asked residents what they thought of their new neighbor

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

  • Amazon’s newest fulfillment center in Mexico sits directly adjacent to an impoverished community of makeshift homes.
  • Locals in the community told Insider what they think of having the e-retailer as their new neighbor.
  • One said that Amazon’s presence was good as long as it created jobs and didn’t destroy the town.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Amazon is celebrating the opening of a new fulfillment center in Tijuana, Mexico that it says will give the city better access to one-day deliveries and create 250 jobs.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

The warehouse stands next to a makeshift community of shanty homes, constructed of wood, cardboard, and tarps. Photos illustrating the contrast between the facility and the neighboring homes were shared widely online.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Insider’s Katie Canales detailed how the photos of Amazon’s Tijuana warehouse went viral.

Social media users were quick to condemn the photos as “dystopian.” Amazon, for its part, is touting the jobs and investments it will add to the region. A Tijuana city press release said roughly $21 million was invested in the warehouse.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Impoverished communities like Nueva Esperanza are a common sight in Mexico but this one now sits in the shadow of a 344,000-square-foot Amazon facility, and the contrast is stark.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Insider hired an interpreter and crossed the border into Mexico to get a closer look at Nueva Esperanza. Here’s what we found.

San Ysidro Border Crossing - California/Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

We first spotted the fulfillment center on the flight to Tijuana. It was impossible to miss the blue and gray building from the air as it was among the largest in its industrial park.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

While locating Amazon from the air was easy, finding it on a map was difficult. This industrial park is so new that it doesn’t even appear on Goggle Maps’ satellite view.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Luckily, it wasn’t hard to find as we approached the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood. As it turned out, the facility was as easy to spot from the road as it was from the air.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

It was just a 15-minute car ride from the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the largest border crossing in the world, and the facility is just a few miles from the border itself.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

The border fence is visible from the highway that serves as the main artery to the zone.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Our first stop was the main gates to the industrial zone, where two local businesses said they have seen their customer base grow significantly in the past few weeks.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Oscar Orduña Paz works for Billieria el Prime, a food stand selling birria that was packing up from the lunch rush as we arrived. He estimated that as many as 50 Amazon workers visit the business daily given its proximity to the industrial zone’s gates.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

“It’s a benefit not only for us but for the people because they get jobs,” Orduña Paz told Insider.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Another small business, located on the opposite side of the industrial park gate, also says it has benefitted from Amazon’s presence and the growth of the community.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Lourdes Velazquez Toledo told Insider that she has seen an increase in customers since Amazon has moved in.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

We then traveled the long dirt road that serves as the border between the industrial zone and the neighboring community.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Along the road are makeshift homes and businesses. Some locals have said they fear these homes could be torn down because of Amazon’s presence.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

“We are here because we need a place to live,” resident María Mendoza told the LA Times. “We just don’t want this to work against us.”

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Source: LA Times

“We are in constant communication with the local government to find a way to generate a positive impact in the community,” an Amazon spokesperson told Insider when asked about the community’s concerns.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

“At Amazon, we are committed to the development of Mexico and the communities in which we operate, benefiting thousands of Mexican families, through the generation of direct and indirect jobs,” the company said.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

The neighborhood lacked basic roadway and sidewalk infrastructure.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

But what was once a blank spot on Tijuana’s map is now a hotspot of development. Its popularity can be partly attributed to its central geographic location.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Its proximity to Tijuana’s logistics hubs was evidenced by the low-flying planes overhead making their approach to Tijuana International Airport, as we did the day prior.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Amazon’s facility loomed larger as we made our way to what appeared to be the main intersection of the community.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

The Amazon logo is instantly recognizable as it peers over the town.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

A convenience store in what appeared to be the center of town had a wide selection of goods, including cold Coca-Cola and snacks.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Homes in the town were pieced together by a mixture of materials, ranging from wood and cardboard to tarps.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Some children were playing out in the roadways alongside what appeared to be stray dogs. Residents said journalists had visited the town recently in the wake of Amazon’s debut.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

A married couple who spoke to Insider from inside their gated yard told Insider that the media attention had surprised them. Amazon was the only business in the industrial zone that seemed to be of any interest to the media, they said.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

“It’s good for the community because it brings jobs,” local resident Rosano Ochoa Builon said. “The factory is welcome.” Her husband said he was planning to apply to work at Amazon.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Few of the residents interviewed said they directly knew someone employed by Amazon, however.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Another resident, Henry Aworra Hernandez, told Insider he was planning to apply to Amazon.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

For Hernandez, an Amazon job would be the perfect combination of convenience and prestige, giving him a well-paying job without having to travel too far from home, he said. The commute would be as easy as walking down the dirt road to the main gate, and then over to the facility.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

We later found Hernandez collecting recyclable cans that he speculated were from the Amazon facility, in a small landfill along the facility’s brick border wall. He said he can collect around 67 Mexican pesos per kilo of cans.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Other residents are hoping Amazon will help them secure basic services for their town. “We want water and electricity, but we’d be more grateful … if they helped us with crime. … The police never come here,” resident Álvaro Gómez told Mexico News Daily.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Source: Mexico News Daily

“We’re aware that we live in an irregular settlement but half of us pay property tax,” Gómez said.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Source: Mexico News Daily

“If Amazon wants to get rid of these houses, Amazon has the money to relocate these people,” Trinidad Adel Calles Zazueta, a passerby near the warehouse, told Insider.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

More businesses may be looking to call this part of Tijuana home. We spotted other buildings under construction during our visit.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Whether or not they get the same attention as Amazon remains to be seen.

Amazon fulfillment center Tijuana, Mexico
Visiting the community of Nueva Esperanza in Tijuana, Mexico next to Amazon’s new fulfillment center.

Read the original article on Business Insider