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Morning Lineup – January 3

Thursday Morning – What Will Tomorrow Bring?

You might recall (but probably not) that last month I commented on a couple of unusually speedy deliveries I received from Amazon.com.  Both of them were DVD's that were delivered the very next day after I ordered them.  The second such experience was for an order that I placed sometime around 8 pm and it was delivered the next morning – via UPS – at 10 am.  And I did not ask for next-day delivery.

I need to clarify that I am a subscriber to Amazon's Prime program which costs $79 a year and one of the benefits is free 2-day delivery service on all purchases that are fulfilled in their own warehouses.  For me, and for many other people apparently, it is worth the cost because I do order many things through Amazon.  And one or two major purchases a year will pretty much cover the cost of the program.  But this next-day stuff really blew me away and I presumed it was just UPS and Amazon gearing up for the Christmas rush.  But it turns out that they are working out the kinks for a nationwide next-day delivery service for free to Prime members, and I presume for everybody else who pay for 2-day delivery.  Amazon is currently setting up shipping centers in major population centers with the idea of eventually giving next-day service to everybody for the standard shipping price and same-day service for an additional charge.  They are currently doing this in ten larger cities and Washington is one of them, thus my stumbling into the surprise delivery.

But you don't have to be an Amazon customer to benefit from this.  Several other online retailers are being forced to keep up with the competition and are now getting themselves geared up to match the service.  Most notably is Walmart which has introduced same-day and next-day delivery options in a few experimental areas.  In five of their market areas (I don't know which ones yet) they are giving next-day delivery for the standard shipping cost and offering same-day delivery of an order for $10.  The times they are a'changin'.

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Our National Hockey League updates are almost a daily task, now that negotiating is going on in earnest with the do-or-die deadline of January 11 roaring in.  The Associated Press reported this morning:

A federal mediator rejoined negotiations between the NHL and the players' association that stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning but still haven't produced a deal to get hockey back on the ice.

After a series of meetings during the day Wednesday, the sides reconvened at night and were together until nearly 1 a.m.

The biggest news to come out of the talks was that the union didn't inform the NHL that it was filing a disclaimer of interest before a self-imposed midnight deadline. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the topic never came up in discussions between the sides.

The sides were asked by the mediator to return to the bargaining table Thursday morning.

At last report, they are scheduled to reconvene at 10 am today.  Both sides are naturally keeping mum on what they have been discussing and what differences remain to be settled yet.

Now it's our turn to reconvene in the equipment bays and get things checked out for today.  You know where I'm headed, so I'll see you back in the day room in a little while.

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