Answer Man: No. 52 gets his buck during Packers’ bye week

October 31, 2017

Dear Answer Man, I believe you’re a closet Green Bay Packers fan, so you’ll be interested in this: Did you know a famous Packer was in the area last week? -- Brett F.

Ho ho ho, Brett, you’re just trying to get me in trouble with at least half my readers. I’m a fan of high-quality football, and beyond that, only my little white dog knows who I cheer for when the Vikings and Packers play.

That said, my ears pricked up when I heard over the weekend that the Packers’ No. 52, outside linebacker Clay Matthews, was in marvelous Mondovi, Wis., Thursday for dinner at Buzz’s, a bar and grill I happen to know quite well. I’ve had more than a few burgers under the baleful gaze of the buffalo head on the wall there. The Green Bay titan was in the Buffalo County, Wis., area, just across the river from Wabasha, for some deer hunting since the team was on a bye week, and he got a nice buck for his efforts, I’m told.

Clay had a private dinner with friends at Buzz’s -- prime rib and all the fixings -- and when word got out, people were lined up 30-deep outside for autographs and selfies. He graciously obliged, then left a $100 tip for at least one star-struck server.

In Wisconsin, this is a bigger deal than the pope coming to town.

Dear Answer Man, is Amazon Prime good for the environment? A friend of mine gets 5-6 packages a week from Amazon, routine items like AA batteries, laundry soap and toilet paper. She loves it! Almost every day, there’s a truck driving by to drop off an Amazon box. Is this really an environmentally sustainable way to buy toilet paper?

What an excellent question. People often have the same complaint about garbage collection in Rochester -- does it really make sense to have a fleet of garbage trucks from competing companies thundering through our neighbors once a week?

First, it must be said, we don’t live in a command-control economy. Nobody can tell Amazon that they can’t sell toilet paper online and deliver it for free, and you shouldn’t shame your friend for buying TP that way. But people can make economical as well as environmentally wise shopping decisions based on information, and information is what I do best.

As you may know, Amazon Prime offers free two-day delivery on 50 million items -- their number -- for a $99 annual fee. About a million items are available for free one-day or same-day delivery, and “tens of thousands” free within two hours. I predict they’ll soon offer 10 products delivered free to your door within 10 minutes. I haven’t found good research yet on the environmental impact of Amazon and this type of e-commerce, but clearly, if you imagine a trip to the grocery store where you buy everything in one fell swoop, and then imagine four or five cardboard boxes a week being delivered to your door, that seems like a waste of energy and cardboard boxes at minimum.

Are there other environmental advantages higher up the supply change, due to fewer bricks and mortar? Perhaps. But common sense would say it’s “greener” to buy smart at local stores, and it’s better for your local economy as well. And if you must order online, at least gang things up into a single order.

Greenpeace, the international environmental o rganization, recently ranked Amazon as the least environmentally friendly consumer electronics firm and calls it “one of the least transparent companies in the world,” though this isn’t exclusively about their Prime business model.

Amazon has many megabytes of company information on its sustainability efforts. I’ll let you find those online at Amazon.com.