Toys R Us CEO: Online Shopping is "Very Ungreen"

Toys R Us CEO: Online Shopping is "Very Ungreen"

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Toys R Us boss Jerry Storch says that online shopping is actually quite bad for the environment.

It's hard to overstate the benefits of online shopping: No parking lot Thunderdome, no horrid Christmas music, no million-mom mosh pit for the latest forgettable toy tie-in to crawl out of Mattel's marketing department, and with so many online retailers offering free shipping over the holidays, it's actually cheaper to stay in your chair and turn UPS into your own personal earth-toned Santa Claus.

But there's a downside, according to Toys R Us Chief Executive Jerry Storch, and that downside is that every time you click your mouse, a baby seal dies. "It's very ungreen," Storch told the Financial Times. "[People are] just so enraptured with how cool it is that they can order anything and get it brought to their home that they aren't thinking about the carbon footprint of that."

Storch's position contrasts rather dramatically with that of Amazon, which states unequivocally that "online shopping is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional retailing." There are enough variables in the home delivery model vs. conventional shopping that there's "not a simple answer," according to Environmental Defense Fund Senior Manager Jason Mathers, who added, "There are certain advantages the e-commerce system could have, but doesn't necessarily have."

Storch acknowledged that Toys R Us is doing significant amounts of online business itself, selling $1 billion of production over the internet last year, and that customers want the convenience of shopping from home. But he also predicted that consumer attitudes will change as people become aware of the real costs of online shopping.

"People are going to start realizing, wait, I'm already ... taking my children to school," he said. "The store is right there. I can just pick it up."

Source: Financial Times

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Okay. Now say that again, only this time use reasons. Unless he lists evidence in the source article.

Yep, he doesn't give any support to his argument. What makes buying one plastic non-biodegradable toy online less green than buying another plastic non-biodegradable toy from the store?

He seems to be under the impression that each order is individually shipped, and if hes right, yes I imagine that would be bad for the environment.

Since the reality is that they are packed into massive trucks and given to the Post Office local offices near the destination though, hes wrong. Even if you go into the store, theyve still taken a trip on a delivery truck, just to a different destination!

I think that this might be a PR move to get people back in stores to try to push point of sales purchases, personally.

If a street of ten people went to the shops and bought things, that'd be ten cars on the road.

If those ten people all ordered online then it'd be a single vehicle driving to drop the packages off.

A small example, but the gist of it is that on average, people going to the shops themselves means more vehicles on the road than if they get delivered. As a single van/lorry/whatever can deliver to a whole area, whereas individuals shopping would all take their own transport.

Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.

Why yes, I would agree with you.

Because taking that car to the shop, standing in queue for x amount of time, fighting over a limited amount of the product - clearly beats clicking a few times and bypassing all of that buisness.

On a more serious note though.

It depends very much on the place you're ordering this from, and where it is supposed to be dropped off at. And also what product/products we are talking about.

Oversimplifying the issue quite a bit.

Although he will no doubt regret the part about "just picking it up", once the christmas sales sets in. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of parents fighting over "the best selling toy".

but then add in the cost of running a massive building to show off all the toys and that takes it back the other way, and wile a less tangable effect, with the limited stock any shop will have if you do not find something that would suit as a present you are shunted off somewhere else and maybe you end up buying something less well suited to the recipent. is a slight bias in energy costs (assuming he is correct and it all does not even out) better or worse than buying something poitinlessly and all the wasted energy in the productions of that gift

Andy Chalk:
Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.

I'll say he's wrong,
http://gas2.org/2008/10/28/ups-is-first-in-delivery-industry-to-test-hydraulic-hybrids/

The price of gas is forcing companies to improve fuel efficiency and find better ways to provide service.

Those big, nasty, dirty trucks also have to make deliveries to all those ToysRus's and other stores at your local mall.

I dont drive, and all the stores I like to shop at are a few miles away; I cant just swing by there and pick it up. Also imagine how much of the goddamn environment im saving by not buying gas!

Do you know how you can tell, unquestionably, that this guy is wrong?

Online shopping is typically cheaper.

"But wait," you might say, "green stuff is always more expensive than non-green stuff!" And this is typically true. But, you're buying the same stuff, it's just that the delivery method is different.

So, when examining the delivery methods, what are the differences?

Amazon needs giant warehouses. Toys R Us needs giant warehouses and giant stores.

Amazon needs to ship products from manufacturers to warehouses to customers. Toys R Us needs to ship products from manufacturers to warehouses to stores, and then customers have to come to the stores (furthering the price discrepancy for the customer, since they need to pay more in gas).

Since we're talking about distribution and not, say, manufacturing, the cost is directly related to how green it is. If online shopping required more gas than meatspace shopping, then the prices would reflect that. If online shopping required more construction (which is very un-green) than meatspace shopping, then the prices would reflect that.

Toys R Us is never going to get around the fact that it is vastly more green to have a warehouse than a retail store, and they have to have both. That's pretty severely anti-green.

Andy Chalk:
Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.

No. He's wrong. There may be the occasional circumstance where he's not, but in the vast majority of cases, he'll be wrong.

Why? Because those UPS trucks are going to be driving around anyway. Going to Toys R Us isn't a special, out of the way trip for them, it's one of many on a route, that includes not only your stuff, but your neighbours stuff, and their neighbours stuff, etc. So instead of 7 vehicles going from roughly the same place, to the store, then back to roughly the same place again, you've got one bigger one going to the store, then around to all 7, then elsewhere.

Now, if you're already going to the mall, sure.. but if you're going to the mall in the first place, odds are you're not using a lot of online shopping anyway.

"People are going to start realizing, wait, I'm already ... taking my children to school," he said. "The store is right there. I can just pick it up."

That's fine if you're Starbucks and the storefront IS right there. Around these parts, when you can find a Toys R Us at all, it's buried in business commercial district surrounded by an industrial district that's always a long drive away and doesn't feel safe to park your car.

Considering the multiple factors of both online and retail shopping I'm gonna bet that in the long run, doesn't matter much either way.

More than that, I gave up believing this malarkey that the human race is such an amazing force that our pointless daily machinations has an extreme effect on whether the world continues turning every single day.

Yes, it's best to be green, we shouldn't take for granted what we have...at the same time, we're a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of pollution put in the air by the very Earth itself.

I think it's safe to continue online shopping.

1 diesel/potentially hybrid delivery van dropping off 50 packages VS. 50 gas cars/trucks/SUV's driving to and from a store to pick up 1 package apiece.

Math. Love it

Zombie_Moogle:
1 diesel/potentially hybrid delivery van dropping off 50 packages VS. 50 gas cars/trucks/SUV's driving to and from a store to pick up 1 package apiece.

Math. Love it

Unfortunately, a lot of people fail at math even when they shouldn't.

OT- Online shopping is very ungreen? No, Mr. CEO. And considering that most of the online stores provide a damned good deal, you know, better than the deals that your store offers, I'll stick to Amazon, alright?

And exactly why the people with the lowest credibility find problems with today's systems? Also, why are retail prices still high? It's like most people are idiots and don't realize that their wallet is being sucked dry.

Ten deliveries to your home vs. one trip to the mall.

And the trouble with hybrid trucks: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-43141560/ups-is-the-green-truck-leader---but-the-market-is-stalled/

From a more practical perspective, Timothy Kenyon of GfK said people will be more likely to return to conventional shopping once they're given a sufficient financial incentive to do so. Will free shipping last forever - and what happens when it's no longer an option?

I wager he will say something completely different should online sales drop. If he feels negatively towards online sales why doesn't Toys R' Us get more "green" and cease online sales...oh, wait.

I think he is wrong; online sales are green, just not in the way he is meaning. $$$$$$$$$$$$$ etc.

Ultimately he just sounds like a wanker complaining about the very thing his company rakes in cash with.

Fursnake:
I wager he will say something completely different should online sales drop. If he feels negatively towards online sales why doesn't Toys R' Us get more "green" and cease online sales...oh, wait.

I think he is wrong; online sales are green, just not in the way he is meaning. $$$$$$$$$$$$$ etc.

Ultimately he just sounds like a wanker complaining about the very thing his company rakes in cash with.

I don't think that's quite true. I would suspect that he is saying this because people don't make impulse purchases online like they would in a store. Generally if you are shopping online you are looking for one thing or you use the search bar. You don't have to walk through isles worth of stuff that you didn't know you wanted when online.

Also there is no time constraint when you shop online. When in a store you think that you want to get out as soon as possible or you might have an appointment to go to. With online shopping you can take your time and over thinking purchases often leads to not making that purchase in the first place.

He could have an argument and it could make or break the entire debate...

If he actually supplied proof what he was saying.

He honestly sounds like the scriptwriter for Romney/Ryan regarding their economic plan. You know, they have a plan, it's a wonderful plan, but they're the only two people in the world who know what it is.

Ever get the feeling he tried for the debate club in school and got laughed out?

Andy Chalk:
Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.

Welllllllll

take into account that those diesel spewing trucks are already a factor even before the consumer reaches the store (because they have to get the product to the store), and that shipping now uses a complex logistics network to reduce inefficency in freight usage as long as you've selected a large enough timeframe (your overnight or one day shipping does more damage), i think i could trust that to be better at judging the cost as opposed to going to a store and hoping that everybody who goes to the store is individually efficient enough to balance the cost out

if you operate under the assumption that the truck coming to your house for the delivery is in the area just for you, you've either paid more for the service, or aren't considering that the truck also carries shipments for other customers, on a planned route that goes as far as to avoid making left turns so that the trucks aren't idling

free shipping programs operate under a larger timeframe and encourages you to stick to larger shipments as opposed to separate things so i think that goes a long way towards making things better

Well neither Toys'R'Us or Amazon could be unbiased in their opinions here and they will try to plug that their business is more green but personally I'd have to take amazons side because I'm stuck on a little island just off the coast of France. So most major retailers aren't here and amazon is SO MUCH cheaper than local stores, also the postman delivers by bicycle for most stuff, though large packages get the van.

Andy Chalk:
Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.

It all strongly depends on the area you live in. You have a point if we look at individual footprints but for example: In my area (as in, the houses the package guy reaches when he stops here) he can reach 4 appartment blocks and 4 houses. I never saw him delivering only one package, always 4-6 (he has impacablke timing and arrives when I get home).

he might possibly have an argument...

HOWEVER

99.99% of the time, buying online is much much cheaper for me, not to mention i have damn near free shipping on everything, why in the fuck would i spend my gas money to go stand in an annoying ass line for something that MIGHT not be at the store dealing with annoying ass other customers wasting so much time, when i can do a few simple clicks online and be done?

Yes, but how did the product get the the store in the first place?

Andy Chalk:
But there's a downside, according to Toys R Us Chief Executive Jerry Storch, and that downside is that every time you click your mouse, a baby seal dies.

I would click more if that were true. Gods, do I hate seals.

Andy Chalk:
"People are going to start realizing, wait, I'm already ... taking my children to school," he said. "The store is right there. I can just pick it up."

The Toys R Us is next to a school? Put a wet bar in the AA meeting, why don't you.

But seriously, who has a store that convenient? Commercial zones big enough for a big box store aren't usually sandwiched right in the middle of a residential area, and when they are they tend to be supermarkets rather than specialty outlets. Or are some city planners a little more crack-headed than mine?

And this is why Toys R Us is not exactly the store to go to, because this CEO takes the "kid at heart" saying way too far, and is about as naive as a kid can get!

Every single Toys-R-Us store I know of is easily at least a 15-20 minute drive away from any single school in the area. This, of course, not counting the sometimes horrific traffic that pops up around the schools thanks to the awkward bus stops and busy work commute.

So yes. I'm going to drive to the school, contending with bus and work traffic, then drive back through said traffic to sit in more traffic, wait in more traffic, and eventually get to the store about half an hour later at the least, instead of going home and buying it online, so the UPS trucks that already pass by my house will just take a few seconds more to stop rather than pass it by.

captcha: Moon Cheese
Why yes, horrible and insulting captcha program that has no business bugging me, I'm sure this man does believe the moon is made of cheese. Not green cheese though, just think of how much it costs in fuel to keep the moon spinning around the earth!

Thi sis the dude that intentionally marks all of his stores products 10-20% above MSRP. Online merchants aren't cheaper. They just price the product at the actual fair market price as evaluated by the producer. The "Toy's R Us Tax" is not because the stores are "greener" They are because the stores are operated by poor excuses for businessmen and human beings. This attempt to scam the consumers with "OMG! Amazon polutes more than we do!" is just another example. It's a lie. But enough morons will believe it to drive an extra .005% sales to his stores on Friday and thereby guarantee him his fat bonus. It's simple self serving greed. Nothing even worth our time debating.

The carbon footprint reasoning is invalid. The distance can be traveled by your car along with 100 others all going to the store to pick up the toys, or having the delivery trucks drop it off while they also carry around a few other people's packages. It makes sense that the CEO of a commonly-known walk-in store to make this statement however as a lot of their items only tend to be noticed by the kids themselves as their parents walk them through the establishment. Kids begging for toys = sales. Parents guessing on something online while comparing with competitors, not so much.

Do you hear that? It's the squeal of a dying business model struggling to cling to relevance with shallow marketing half-truths.

Fuck, Gormech, just ninja that whole paragraph. It's okay.

Prettymuch, dragging your kid through a store is a much better idea from their prospective, as the kid's going to point out and beg for more shit. And considering the parents inability, they're likely to cave and overspend. (Like grocery shopping while hungry.)

On top of that, it's easy to talk about the dangers of environmental impact, as, well... Environmentalists aren't exactly well known for utilizing scientific methods to prove themselves right. Parrots, really, which will repeat articles like this one.

Andy Chalk:
Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.

He isn't nearly as right as he likes to think he is. There are variables in both cases that make it 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. If his point was that online ordering "isn't as green as you'd expect", then fair enough, but he's trying to take things further than that. Him saying that online ordering "isn't green" is really no different than when Obama goes on about how everything is the Republican's fault. If online ordering wasn't there, he'd probably be telling us that buying from general stores like WalMart or Target is somehow "less green" than buying from a specialty store like Toys'R'Us.

In reality all he's saying is "I wish people would buy from my store instead of the other guy's" using a catchy excuse from the list of current buzz terms.

Well, so long as it's not very plus ungreen, I'm ok with it. Sidenote, when did we start using newspeak? I was expecting to be told or something. I'm... I'm not angry. It's just, I'd like to know. That's all.

 

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