I wanted to take this rare opportunity in the time of pandemic to give praise where it’s due, to some Big Tech companies.
I am usually pretty critical of time wasters like FaceBook and the extreme data collecting and advertising tactics of Google, and critical of similar ways of doing business, and in fact I will not extend too much praise to these two companies.
Who I do want to praise is companies like Amazon and Walmart who, with their respective logistical sophistication, are delivering necessary food and supplies to those in dire need, at least in North America, and specifically in Canada where I am at (and can only safely vouch for their service in Montréal but assume it holds true in many other areas too).
I worked many years ago for a company called Edisoft writing user and admin guides for this EDI (electronic data interchange) shipping and logistics software company. I read a lot at the time about how companies like Walmart function, with very robust supply chains, their own satellites, and plenty of other technology in their backend.
I had been turned off a bit by Walmart when 25 years ago or so, I visited my cousin in New Mexico and went on a tour of the four corner states, the aforementioned New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. My thought at the time, which I did express to some family and friends, is that in many of these little towns which surely had been previously populated by little mom-and-pop stores and small businesses and restaurants, all that was often left then was a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Walmart.
So there is that criticism.
But now, I see how the brilliance of the logistics of Walmart has become necessary as whole areas and countries are locked down, and we need sophisticated methods of moving necessary goods around.
I made a grocery order with Walmart and the shopping experience online was sheer pleasure.
And I of course, like the majority of North Americans, continue to rely on Amazon, these days buying staples and protective gear like coffee and soap.
So to be pretty blunt, not all Big Tech is bad, certainly. Some of it is a lifesaver, especially nowadays. I continue to look at these big companies with a critical eye but I must give praise where it’s due and today that is to Walmart and Amazon for the sophistication and reliability of their supply chains.
Quick update: My Walmart grocery order is now more than 7 hours late as of March 28 2020 at 6:37 pm GMT -5. I will update this piece whether it comes and whether I still have any faith left in them after this.
Further update: My order finally came about 30 hours late. Actually in retrospect the whole thing went smoothly except for being so late. If they simply would have communicated to me that it could be late, and very approximately how long, I wouldn’t have been so worried about it. I will fill in more about my shopping experience with Walmart this week as it was a bit of a roller-coaster, but they sort of partially redeemed themselves and still may be worthy of some praise.