No Longer The Aisle of Lost Toys

No Longer The Aisle of Lost Toys

January 8, 2021

What’s old is new again!  Toy makers have enjoyed strong sales as nostalgic parents remember their own childhood favorites and purchase them for their kids.

By October 2020, sales had climbed 18% year-over-year, driven by classics like Barbie, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Lite-Brite, Hot Wheels, and a host of board games and puzzles.

In contrast to other market segments that have suffered in the pandemic, parents looking for open-ended play options that get their kids off their computers and smart phones are willing to spend on toys to keep them busy.


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This post is based on the Washington Post article, Mattel forecasts holiday season growth as toy demand surges, by Abha Bhattarai, October 29, 2020; the CNBC article, Mattel forecasts holiday season growth as toy demand surges, by Reuters, October 22, 2020; the New York Magazine article, The Holiday Toys to Buy Before They Sell Out, According to Toy Experts, by Liza Corsillo, December 17, 2020; and the YouTube videos in the Continue reading

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California’s Maxed ICU Capacity and Lockdowns

California’s Maxed ICU Capacity and Lockdowns

January 8, 2021

California led the nation in early lockdown measures for COVID during the holiday season at the end of 2020.  This followed the pattern set in spring 2020, when California locked down early and swiftly, stemming a tide of rising COVID cases and flattening the curve successfully.

This time, the state pointed to dire forecasts for December to justify another rapid shutdown, with the trigger being ICU capacity.

The state is divided into five regions. If available ICU capacity drops below 15% in a given area, that region goes on lockdown for at least three weeks.

Two days after the announcement was made, two regions were already in that category, with a third voluntarily adopting the lockdown pre-emptively to stem the tide sooner rather than later.  By the middle of December, Central California had reached zero percent ICU capacity.

The California Government’s About COVID-19 restrictions site provides updates on lockdown status based on ICU capacity.


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This post is based on the AP News Continue reading

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Service Design: Free Christmas Tree Delivery

Service Design: Free Christmas Tree Delivery

December 30, 2020

Christmas decorating got easier for some families in 2020, with free live Christmas tree delivery from Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s. In addition, Walmart offered exterior holiday light installation services.

Retailers provided these additional services to help customers enjoy their holiday traditions and to relieve some of the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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This post is based on The Business Journals article, Big box retailers offer free Christmas tree delivery, by Ann Stych, November 20, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Smileus

Discussion Questions:

1. What factors caused retailers such as Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to offer Christmas decorating services?

Guidance: Economic and social factors are key considerations for Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to provide free live Christmas tree delivery service.  With the restriction and stress of COVID-19, it makes economic and social sense to offer free delivery of Christmas tree purchases and light installation services to make it easier for customers to enjoy their holiday traditions, have something to look forward Continue reading

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