Ever wondered how seemingly benign habits could potentially influence our lives and society at large? This episode uncovers startling insights as we navigate the labyrinth of modern habits. We dissect the trend of pre-tipping and its potential impact on the food delivery industry, specifically DoorDash. We also tackle the controversial topic of substituting Ozempic with Metamucil and ponder over the health consequences and industry implications.
Does the thought of people smuggling alcohol into their water bottles raise your eyebrows? Hang on, as we delve deeper into the increasing trend of patrons carrying their own containers to restaurants and its environmental footprint. The conversation heats up as we scrutinize the lawsuit against social media giant Meta by 30 states and discuss the profound effects of the platforms Facebook and Instagram on the mental and physical health of our young generation.
As we round out the episode, we candidly address the influence of media on children's screen time and the importance of making mindful choices about media consumption. Finally, we share insights from our exciting challenge - #FoodNotPhones. Brace yourselves for a compelling conversation that combines curiosity, reflection, and some hard-hitting realities.
Welcome to the Lempert Report Live. On today's episode, the poor man's Ozempic - Does it really work? Pre-tipping is now a thing and the danger that it could create. A water trend on New York's Upper West Side. On Food Not Phones, 30 states unite to fight the sweeping damage of social media and, on the Bulls eye, Eggo Waffles PR stunt. Is it a hit or a miss? Let's get started. So, Sally, you know, if you look on the internet, in particular on TikTok, what's going on is a lot of people are saying 'forget about Ozempic'. What you can do is consume psyllium husk. Most people know it as metamucil instead and it will have the same effect. But the reality is, according to the docs and everybody else, it's not the same. It's not going to give you weight loss. They are both foods from psyllium husk. Metamucil, as well as the medications, will make you feel fuller, but it doesn't have the same effect as Ozempic or Wegovy or any of the others. And I'm concerned that what happens, when we take a look, especially with Ozempic, with all the buzz on it, all the desire, the expense of it, people are struggling to figure out. Oh, what's that magic bullet that doesn't cost me $10,000 a year? And people are going to run and consume metamucil whether they need it or not, and it's always great to get fiber in our bodies. We know the importance of it. But my concern is you're going to have a lot of people overdose on metamucil and just have too much fiber, as we started to see at the rise of the oat bran phenomenon, where people were actually having to be rushed to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped and, in some cases, have operations to scoop out all that extra oat bran that was in there. What do you think?Sally:
Well, Phil, the Ozempic effect is causing a lot of predictions on how this drug, this miracle weight loss drug, could disrupt the industry in a number of different ways. Now, whether or not that's true we'll see. I don't know. Maybe metamucil is going to get a big boost from all of this, but I think it's important for all of us to know that we shouldn't take doctors advice from TikTok number one, and that we have to be careful about the information that's read there. But it isn't surprising to see that people are looking for an alternative, because Ozempic and drugs like Wegovy are really helping a lot of people tackle chronic obesity and lose weight and feel better about themselves, feel like they are on a healthier path, and we are talking about the possibility of these drugs actually decreasing the amount of illnesses and diseases and healthcare costs related to that. That we are seeing as a result of chronic obesity in America. So there are a lot of different sides to this. But when we get back to fiber, when we get back to psyllium and what that can do, it will be interesting to see what the effect is of that. If people are trying that because Ozempic is not available to them or they don't have $900 a month to spend on it, can't get the medicine then trying this fiber thing could be interesting for Americans, because we've heard recently, just this year, that 95% of Americans are not getting the amount of fiber that they should be getting every day. Only 5% are actually getting the recommended daily amount of fiber.Phil:
Absolutely. And not to come down on metamucil, because I think it's a great product for constipation, for bowel regularity, it's terrific to help control blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes. There's a lot of real good benefits for it. But if you're buying it to have weight loss, forget about it. It's just not going to happen. And I'm just wondering, if I look up and down the supermarket shelves, what other products we're going to start to see, whether it's on TikTok or social media that again Ozempics for poor people. So we need to be smart about it. And in the meantime, I think you're right, we're going to see a run on metamucil, no question about that. And just to put it in the right perspective, the sales of Ozempic and Wegovy were projected this year to reach $21 billion and go up by 2028 to $53 billion. So huge, increase, huge impact. And also, when we look at the S&P food and beverage select industry index, it's declined over the past three months by 12%. Shares of Kraft Heinz down 13%. Hershey down 19%. Coke down 9%. Pepsi down 13%. Medical device companies have dropped their value as well. And also, to our point, what scares me and we don't know, Ozempic and Wegovy. I'm not saying that these are miracle drugs by any means, but what we have to put in the right perspective is America is overweight and obese. It creates a lot of problems, whether it's diabetes, heart disease or cancers, and what we do need is we need to get in shape and perhaps you know, as Ozempic, Wegovy and so on are gonna help get us there. It's not the end-all be-all, but at least in my opinion, what we're seeing is we're seeing a light switch go off for a lot of people and if they take it and they can change their diets and we can reduce health care and health problems. I think that's, you know, a wonderful idea. Another concern that I have, matter of fact, today is all about concerns. It is this stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid deal that DoorDash has now done, where, when you order from you know, Doordash and if you don't tip, a little pop-up comes up saying that Dashers can pick and choose which orders they want to do. Orders that take longer to be accepted by Dashers tend to result in slower delivery, so you have a better tip, I think. First of all, I think tipping has gotten way out of hand in this country. You know, we talked some years ago, when all the coffee bars started, you know, putting up tip jars and so on we talked about that at length where these employees were not getting, you know, the proper wages, so they had to rely on tips. So it's coming out of it, but I just think it's getting out of hand and in fact, there was a survey done by Bankrate that found that Americans are tipping less frequently than they did a year ago. 50% of respondents said they always tip their food delivery drivers in 2023, which is down from 57% in 2022, 59% in 2021, 7% of respondents said they never tip delivery drivers, 18% said they do only sometimes. I actually read a report this morning about a very famous celebrity who ordered a takeout and didn't realize that she had to tip for takeout. You just didn't think about it and the person behind the counter was calling her nasty names for not tipping. When did we have to start tipping for takeout? This survey also found that 2 thirds of adults have negative views of tipping. 30% think that tipping culture has gotten out of control. 41% believe that businesses should pay employees better rather than relying so much on tips. Have tips gotten out of hand and what do you think I mean? I tip, don't misunderstand.Sally:
I know you do.Phil:
Yeah, and I think I tip well because I don't want to take it out of the servers pocket. But it's how, come on, it's just gotten carried away.Sally:
Yes, and there is a name for this. Tip creeping is what it's being called.Phil:
Oh really, I didn't even know that.Sally:
Yes, where people feel like they are being asked to tip for services that are not traditionally tipping services. As we know, in our country it is traditional to tip your server when you are dining in a restaurant, and there are some other cases too but I think people are confused about if that tip is. What is the tip for takeout? Is that different from the tip for full service? And so it does get a little strange there. My concern with this DoorDash reminder that they're using to pop up now they're testing it with customers is that it pops up and it says there's a chance that your order is not going to come in a timely fashion to you if you don't consider tipping more. The message that sends to a customer is that we're not taking care of our employees, so we want you to take care of our employees now. Obviously we don't want to see people not getting tipped and taking care of that are doing jobs for tips, but I think there's a lot of consumers out there that might be put off by that, especially those that still like to give that cash tip after the service has been provided, which can sometimes mean an even bigger tip for that driver, because they're really happy and satisfied over how their service has been conducted, and so it doesn't give that opportunity. But another thing I think that some consumers are confused about is that there was an issue of DoorDash not giving 100% of the tips to the delivery driver, and some people did not want to pay on their card and then that money not go to the person that actually brought them their food. Now, just so anyone who's listening knows, that has been resolved and DoorDash is now required to give that 100% of those tips to their servers. Now, whether or not they adjust their hourly wage based on that, I'm not sure.Phil:
And to that point especially, I'm not a DoorDash consumer, so I don't really know much about being a customer of DoorDash. But during the pandemic, especially using Instacart and some of the other delivery services, I tipped in cash just for that reason because of all the controversy. And again, probably five, six, seven years ago in my Forbes column, I had interviewed a couple of people who worked for Instacart who were talking about the fact that with their tips they weren't getting it all that Instacart and Instacart has changed also the same way that DoorDash does to be fair. But as a result of that, typically when I do have a delivery person I'd rather do it in cash so I know that they're getting it. And every time that I did that, when I had an Instacart delivery and I gave them cash, the driver was just so appreciative and would say thanks so much. This way I know I'm getting it, I don't have to worry about it. So I think that the technology with drivers really needs to be much more transparent and people understand about this tipping, about the service charge and everything else, because I think it's a little better now. But again, during the pandemic we wrote about the fact that a lot of consumers were moving away from delivery because it wound up costing them 20, 30% more between the service charge, between the higher prices than what were in store, between the tips and so on, which is one of the reasons I think that click n' collect has really done so well. So another rant for me this week is on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where I live part-time, if you would. Going back and forth. I am livid about the fact that there's a new push it's called It's Easy Being Green and what they're doing is a bunch of Upper West Side restaurants are asking and encouraging customers to bring their own reusable water bottles when dining at the restaurant. The reason that they say there's a council member, Sean Abreu, I might be mispronouncing that, is pushing this. And the reason is that promoting reusable water bottles, they say, and containers is good for business and good for our environment, that it ends plastic waste. So, number one, most of these restaurants and I'm familiar with a bunch of them, you know, they're not serving beverages in plastic. You know they're serving it in glasses or heavy duty plastic, reusable glasses. And when I look at this whole idea of bringing a container, a water bottle, into a restaurant, this is stupid for restaurants. Because what people are gonna do is they're either gonna bring their own wine, their own margaritas, their own beer, their own soda, whatever into the restaurant in their water bottle, versus buying those beverages you know from the restaurant. Or, in the case of some of these, which are just pizza places or juice bars, especially a juice bar, why would you bring a water bottle to a juice bar, dunkin' Donuts and so on? It's gonna avoid, you know, it's gonna hurt their sales. It's gonna avoid people from wanting you know to buy products there and I just think that this is like a really stupid idea. What do you think?Sally:
Well, there are intentions in this movement, I believe, that are really good. You know, we do need to work on our control of our waste.Phil:
Particularly the use of plastic, and we see that happening a lot with water bottles in particular, you know. My question is is that, you know, the services that are a part of this, the companies that are, are they still offering the option that you can use our cups and glasses or you can bring your own empty water bottle to be filled? I'm not sure. If you know. I hope that they are offering both options to them. What I did like about what the council member has worked to organize is that stadiums now there will not be allowed to refuse people to bring in their own water bottle container, and I thought that that was a positive part of this initiative, particularly, you know, when as a mom and when I take my kids to like a theme park or to a game at a stadium or something and they want to drink of water, oftentimes that bottle of water can be $8, $9. And so you think about buying one for the whole family and what you just spent you've also just bought something in plastic which is not good for the environment and produces more waste. So in that situation that seems, oh, that would really be great for me. But I also hear you, Phil, on, you know, especially those football games, those sports games. You know what, is water going to go in that container you're bringing in, or something else?Phil:
Yeah, and you know, we look at some of the fights a few years ago here at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. I can only imagine if those people had, you know, a water bottle full of whiskey or vodka or tequila, you know how those fights would have gone even worse. So you know, we'll watch this. I agree with you. I think it's interesting, but I think that it opens up many, many problems for these restaurants, for the consumers, for the greater environment. That we're hearing people are just bringing in their water bottles. It's not about, you know, plastic cups. It should be one. We just replace the plastic cups with cups that are biodegradable, either going back to paper or plant-based plastics that we know degrade, versus just assuming that every disposable cup is bad for the environment. It doesn't mean that it is. Yes, plastic cups are, like water bottles are. We know that, but there are alternatives that we should be looking at versus people bringing their own, you know, alcohol to restaurants. I don't think this is going to last very long. Also, you know, on the same note, what we're seeing is there's new soft drinks that contain prebiotics and probiotics. It's increased 210% over the past year or so, and prebiotic soda is increasing dramatically. So again, if I'm going to one of these restaurants and I happen to like a probiotic soda, I'm not going to buy their Coke or Pepsi. I'm going to, you know, bring my own probiotic soda and be happier as a result. On #Food Not Phones, Colorado has joined more than 30 states in a landmark lawsuit against Meta, the parent company behind Facebook and Instagram. The lawsuit states and alleges that social media juggernaut has ignored the sweeping damage that these platforms have caused to the mental and physical health of our nation's youth. There's a teaching assistant professor at the Atlas Institute, Annie Margaret unlike Anne Margaret, Annie Margaret, who's done a bunch of research and really cautioning the fact that, you know, the social media are really overcomplicating the lives of 12, 13, 14-year-olds. One stat that she talks about that in her interviews with 12 to 16 -year-olds, some are setting alarms to wake themselves up in the middle of the night to check social media because they're worried about going to school the next day having not seen something, and then someone might be mad at them. You've got two teenagers, young teenagers who are, you know, being inundated by social media. As a mom as well as an analyst of what you're seeing here. You know, what do you think about these 30 states banding together to try to get this out of our lives?Sally:
Phil, I, as a mom, I do appreciate the efforts being made to keep some accountability when it comes to these social media platforms, what types of marketing they are using, how they are taking advantage of algorithms, and you know what is getting in front of children. And you know it's not just an issue for children. We've been talking about it. You know screen time, social media consumption is an issue for all of us, for no matter what age you are. If you are engaging in social media, then that could be having some negative effects on how you feel your mental wellness. But with children in particular, looking at this, you know I've really appreciated this research that Annie Margaret did, and something I found so interesting, Phil, was she talked about in this interview about how we need to treat this much like the food industry, and you know that we need to think about what media we are consuming and what's the nutritional value of the media we are consuming. So that brought up a really good point there, and you know, in that sense, I think that these companies will have to, you know, be more responsible about what they're putting out there, just like food companies are held responsible for what they sell to people.Phil:
And I'm going to have a major surprise for you next week because our partners on #Food Not Phones, the Ginger Network, FMI and the Acosta Group have fielded a study, a survey with the Acosta consumer panel of over 60,000 consumers about the usage of phones while people are eating, and there's a lot of surprises there that I didn't anticipate, especially as it relates to who, at which age, is using the most screen time during meal time. So that whole survey we're going to talk about next week on #Food Not Phones. But we have another challenge coming up, don't we?Sally:
We do, Phil, and you know we've been talking about all of this information coming out, about managing our screen time and how that can be good for us, and so we started the Food Not Phones initiative, #Food Not Phones. We hope that people will start using that hashtag and follow us on our Facebook page and Instagram and join us for our next event, which is Thanksgiving Day. What better day could it be for us to make the commitment that, while we're sitting down and enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner with our family and our friends and expressing our gratitude that we just put those? We tucked those phones away, maybe put a basket on the counter for everyone to put their phones in, but we just put them on pause for a little while so that we can enjoy each other's face-to-face company and human interaction over a lovely meal.Phil:
Or if you live by a lake or an ocean, just throw the phone away.Sally:
Just chuck it.Phil:
Just chuck it. On today's Bullseye. It's a story about how two American icons joined together to create a unique PR partnership. I'll let you decide if it's a success, failure or just another food boondoggle looking for a reason to exist. Eggo Waffles has become a staple in American breakfast culture. It's actually a tale of innovation, savvy marketing and the evolving landscape of American eating habits. Eggo began 70 years ago, in 1953, here in California, in San Jose. Frank Dorsa, alongside his brothers, Anthony and Sam, invented a process to produce waffles that could be cooked, frozen and then later reheated by the consumer. The brothers were already known as culinary innovators, who developed a mayonnaise with 100% fresh ranch eggs and triple refined vegetable oil, a fryer that wouldn't curl bacon, a continuous potato peeler to make potato chips and then a dry waffle mix, which then led them to the Eggo Waffles. Clearly, their destiny was to revolutionize breakfast convenience. Little-known fact is that the Dorsa brothers initially sold their waffles under the name Froffles, a hybrid of frozen waffle. It didn't hit and consumers began referring to them as Eggos due to their egg-rich flavor. The Kellogg company saw the potential and purchased the Eggo brand and made it a huge success with its marketing savvy. The memorable advertising slogan L'eggo My Eggo and fast forward to a few weeks ago, when a partnership with Bissell, the 140-year-old vacuum cleaner company, was announced. Vacuum cleaners and waffles that makes sense, right? Well, it gets even better. Hold on. Bissell was one of the last floor companies to enter the robotic vacuum cleaners, after Electrolux and Roomba from iRobot, but with a twist. Unlike their predecessors, bissell's machine was designed to provide a more deep cleaning and powerful suction experience, rather than the other ones light maintenance cleaning. Now the partnership and its reason for being the Bissell Spinwave R5 robotic mop is loaded with home mapping 360 degree lidar technology that lets you program and customize just how and when it cleans. The EggoVac robotic vacuum and mop is a limited edition that is sold in limited quantities and just online. They are dropping limited quantities, which quickly sell out. And why not? Besides getting a vacuum that looks like an Eggo Waffle with butter and syrup? The normal price of the Spinwave is $549.99. But this limited edition sells for just $150 and you get a gift card for $50 worth of Eggo Waffles. Now I know what you're thinking. Who wants a vacuum that looks like a waffle, no matter what the price? To be fair, not many of these will actually be sold. Each drop offers about 100 machines at a time, and it's certainly not something that will blend with everyone's decor. But the brilliance of this campaign is that its quirky uniqueness is getting lots and lots of publicity, and it certainly sends a message, especially to families with young kids, who are more apt to make a mess while they're eating waffles, butter and syrup. Hey, if this Bissell can clean up sticky, buttery waffle crumbs on the floor, it probably can clean up anything. When I first saw this partnership, I shrugged it off, but the more I thought about it, the more its smarts came out. It's not a stretch, it's just plain old smart. Sally. Do we have any comments today?Sally:
Yes, Phil, we do. I wanted to share with you one of John Pandoll's comments today, which is a really good point. 'Water fountains in public spaces like stadiums must be increased. And then he also says I did get hit by flying full of water bottles at LA Coliseum darn soccer hooligans.'Phil:
Well, John, I hope it didn't hurt too much and I hope you're not bringing your water bottle with you. But I agree, and I think if you look in airports today, what we're seeing is we're seeing water fountains that have filtered water. I'm seeing that more than ever before rather than just tap water. So I agree with you, I think that, you know, let's go that direction, versus this whole other direction that sends us, you know, down a very creepy path, in my opinion. And not even to talk about the whole food- safety aspect of bringing water bottles. And hopefully, when people bring a water bottle to a restaurant or to a stadium and they bring it home, they're throwing it in the dishwasher, they're cleaning it thoroughly before they fill it up again, because what I happen to see is walking up and down the street where people are drinking out of their water bottles and then stopping to refill them and they're not being washed properly. It brings back the memory when we first started using canvas tote bags in super markets and people would be putting fresh produce and other products in them and they never thought about actually washing the tote bag and that led to a bunch of problems. So hopefully we're not going to see the same thing. So, John, as always, thanks for your insights and comments and thank you all for joining us today on the Lempert Report LIVE and we'll see you back here next Monday. We're back to our regular schedule. Until then, have a great week.Sally:
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