Rocket Bomber - article - retail - snark - Market Maturity.

Market Maturity.

filed under , 26 July 2013, 21:07 by

[What is it with me and the food analogies? I’m fairly certain I’m eating enough…]

When you go to college…

OK, so it’s more about when *I* went to college; I feel my experience is typical but may not be universal – but as in so many of my posts, I utilize the second-person while writing because I want to make it seem more immediate to my readers. Anyway, moving on:

When you go to college and for the first time are away from home and have to grub for yourself (no more parental guidance and/or mandates on that front), even when you have a (parentally supplied) meal plan via the college dining halls (hey, you’re a freshman, and Mom didn’t want you to starve) :

1st. You tend to go a little nuts with fast food.
2nd. You also explore the world of microwavable convenience foods.
3rd. You run out of money. You do the ramen thing.
4th. You finally give in and actually use your meal plan for a week.
5th. You figure out the worst, least healthful, most-fast-food-like options at the dining hall.
6th. You try cooking for yourself in the dorm kitchen. Once.
7th. You consider living on Mountain Dew and vending machine food.

and then finally someone clues you in on the cheap-fast-mostly-good pizza place (or multiple places) that will deliver right to your dorm.

Given your age at the time (late teens, still growing) and your finances: anything hot and covered with cheese is delicious* and the cheaper the better. College kids and pizza are kind of a stereotype, actually, and I’m sure while it’s not true of everyone: I know you recognize the type.

Maybe not pizza… But food delivery to dorms? I’m pretty sure that is universal. (in 1993 at Ga. Tech there was a pizza delivery place that also did chicken fingers — no, not wings — and would pair them with thick cut steak fries and a homemade honey mustard. For like $5! Those were amazing; I still miss those. The place that made them was bulldozed in 1995.)

Soon after you are able to make your own food decisions, you discover pizza delivery and it is literally the best thing ever — for a time — but then you grow up.

After a few semesters (or years) of fairly continuous pizza, punctuated only by late-night trips to greasy-spoon diners (if you were lucky; Krystal or Taco Bell if you weren’t) eventually you realize that this sort of diet is non-sustainable. That or you turn 30. Or you get married, and your wife has other ideas about what you should be feeding your kids.

Your tastes change, you discover a wider world of options, you find new cuisines and new restaurants, you discover the joys of sharing food with friends, you discover a conscience and think about where your food is coming from.

Even if you don’t become a full-on foodie, I think most of us would agree that supporting our great, local, small restaurants is better than shopping at nationwide franchises and chains. When we can find a great, local, small pizza place – that delivers! – then our conscience is salved and we can fall back on the old bad habits anyway. (In *my* neighborhood, I found one with a bar – best/worst thing ever!)

I think the main point I’d like to make, though, is that when we are young and everything is kind of new to us, we can go overboard on something that is tasty and convenient.

And after we grow a bit, while we’ll still do the easy thing that we know is bad for us — we just do it less. We order pizza every other week, or once a month, rather than 3 nights a week and every Saturday night.


Internet retail (yes, which 20 years old already) is still in that young-college-age phase where we do what seems easiest even when we know (or eventually learn) that it’s kinda bad for us and unsustainable in the long run.

“W00T! Amazon! I ♥ those guys! Anything I want, delivered fast, cheap, and I mean anything I want! W00T!”

As someone who worked as an RA in college: this is exactly how freshman reacted when they discovered the local pizzerias that delivered.

The market will continue to mature. Options that seem vague and mostly useless now will grow on you in time, and you’ll find yourself exploring more, trying more things. Options that seem stupid now, while your are still enjoying Amazon/CollegeDormPizzaDelivery, will slowly make more and more sense to you later as you consider the other costs (outside of just dollars) built into the ticket.

…Or not.

I know guys well into their 30s who never really grew out of that. (even after marriage, kids, etc. – it can take a diagnosis & prescription for cholesterol and high-blood-pressure meds to scare them out of it).

I guess what I’m saying is Amazon is fine, in moderation. But look around, be adventurous, explore, graze, and maybe incorporate some local options in your overall consumption diet.


* anything hot and covered with cheese is still delicious. I’m one of those guys in their 30s who never really grew out of that phase. I cook at home quite a bit *more* these days, though.

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