Andy Swindler

February 28, 2008

Wal-Mart R Us

Wal-Mart has successfully set the bar for low prices and mediocre quality. So eventually people will start expecting better quality, or healthier products (organic, green, etc), but I doubt very much they’ll be willing to pay more for them. It is therefore Wal-Mart’s responsibility to find new ways of producing, developing, and delivering products that meet these new demands. And perhaps they will. But first we have to demand it.

Andy Swindler

February 22, 2008

Astek Prius

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I’ve had champion small car moments — besting a Land Rover for a meter spot too small for him to fit — but just recently I had my first eco-friendly car moment. I was running late for a lunch meeting and ducked into the State-Kinzie-Wabash Self Park in downtown Chicago. I drove right past two spots near the entrance that typically would be reserved for building residents, staff, official cars, or something along those lines. But the green sign caught my eye: “Reserved For Eco-Friendly Vehicles Only. All Other Vehicles will be Towed at owner’s expense.”

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I rolled back and actually had to ponder for a moment whether or not I qualified. Of course I did, but to me the idea of driving a hybrid is 3 or 4 years out of date. The technology itself seems antiquated to me and in need of improvement. I always saw it as a stepping stone while many people looking for a quick fix that will last forever criticized it as not being enough and still went out to buy more SUV’s. So it took a second to realize that I am, in fact, still sadly way ahead of the curve on this issue.

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They seem a little light on enforcement. The signs said they would ticket and tow any offenders, and the worst I saw was a nasty orange sticker on the car next to me. With my hatred of adhesive residue this is certainly not a trivial punishment, but quite a bit less insidious than a tow. While I applaud this progressive effort at rewarding those of us who are trying to make a difference, it falls a little short if the threats remain idle.

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All in all, a heartfelt thank you for the great spot, which saved me time, and a more than modest effort to do something right. Green is nothing new, and is now becoming the norm, but it’s nice to see it being practiced when it is still so often not.

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(For those who care, all these photos were taken with my iPhone)