Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

Undoubtedly 2020 will go down in history as a complete disaster. COVID-19 takes center stage in this regard and – to a different degree nationwide – the fate of George Floyd.

Yet there’s always a silver lining to be found in the rubble. For instance:

BUSINESSES – Suddenly companies are learning that the work-from-home option produces more productive employees, some of whom prefer working in their pajamas while other family members are asleep.

Software programs like Splashtop Pro offer inexpensive connectivity to office systems; cloud-based phones like Ooma Office route calls with ease, save messages and record conversations; group Zoom sessions replace time-consuming conference room boredom; and employer-paid laptops mean that we can all work at home or a motel room if on the road – simply by connecting by Wi-Fi or an old-fashioned cable.

A huge benefit of having a home-based workforce is the savings on office leases. Looking ahead, that unused space most probably will be converted to apartment use or help address the homeless problem.

Overhead expense for office supplies, break-room items and employee parking are added savings opportunities.

ENTERTAINMENT – Theaters and sports venues will most certainly be forced to offer more seating space and offer pay-per-view television programming to make up for lower attendance. This is especially a head scratcher, given the hundreds of options already available through smart phone applications, off-air transmissions, cable TV, internet programming, CDs, etc.

One thing is certain: dozens of camera angles beat the heck out of over-paid athletes/entertainers, performing in expensive venues that sell pricey peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs and beer – also available at a convenience store near you.

Hopefully we’ll see the return of drive-in theaters where the snack bar robot comes to your car.

POLICE – Defunding police at the current level is a good idea. That money is better spent on psychological teams who respond to calls for domestic disputes and other non-violent situations, freeing sworn officers to deal with (gasp) criminals.

Elimination of police protections under “implied immunity” is long overdue. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions – good or bad – whether they wear a badge or not.

RESTAURANTS – Globe trotters know that outdoor dining is a superior experience. Local restaurants that offer this option will most likely survive into the new year. Looking back, we note that our favorite dining places are those that offer a patio option. Many of our “Best of Long Beach” contest winners provide the al fresco experience, meaning diners get free, fresh air with their meals.

Digital screen or disposable paper menus are in the future to get rid of laminated germ carriers. Newspaper stock is an inexpensive alternative (hint).

RETAIL – One could not be more pleased than me to see Jeff Bezos become the richest man in the world. Textbooks have been written about the bone-headed mentality like Sears. Their leaders ignored the opportunity to compete against Amazon at a time when Sears had the warehouses and stores to compete using existing delivery methods. Eventually Amazon will be put in its place by retailers like Walmart, which has the financial muscle to do so.

Mom and pop stores will survive because they can offer unique products to consumers, the kind that make great gifts at Christmas and other special occasions.

SCHOOLS – Educators have been saying it for years: the smaller the class size the better for students to learn. Classrooms with fewer desks will benefit teachers and students alike. Kids need role models, not Zoom sessions, for sharing their wisdom.

TRANSPORTATION – Most users of public transportation lack access to a car or find the low-cost fares or route proximity to be a superior option. The pandemic demonstrated that the use of many forms of transportation dropped, suggesting that we do not really need more freeway lanes in Southern California and that money is better used to subsidize public transportation systems and fares.

I predict that air travel will change through federal legislation because Congress members will finally rebel against the practice of cramming passengers together. It may cost more, but we’ll save money currently being spent on cold and flu medications.

 

Generally, we can expect to see more touchless doors and devices prone to germ sharing. Smart phones will handle cash transactions and ticketing, as well as control anything that previously used a keypad or push buttons.

That’s a look into my crystal ball for 2021. Too bad none of us saw this stuff a year in advance.

 

Funny stuff:

  • You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.
  • Local Area Network in Australia – the LAN down under.
  • Every calendar’s days are numbered.
  • A lot of money is tainted – Taint yours and taint mine.
     

publisher@beachcomber.news

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