Shoppers in Florida and Alabama can now use Shipt to purchase their favorite items while staying at home. But not everyone wants to stay at home.
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Last fall I had my third child. So when news broke in December that Target had bought Shipt, the online company staffed by angels dressed in green alien t-shirts who deliver goodies from every major grocery store, everyone from friends, and strangers, to Facebook ads bustled in to proclaim the good news: I would no longer have to go to Target!
Well, for shoppers in Alabama (where I live) and Florida, that day has come: I can now get all the diapers, groceries, household essentials, and warehouse favorites I need or want without ever having to smell the popcorn or be tempted by another $5 Starbucks drink.
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On the one hand, this is great news! I can avoid the shopping carts with my newborn during flu season, skip the parking deck in the cold weather, and generally avoid making small talk with strangers as I navigate the aisles looking for this week's favorite cereal.
Plus, my budget will thank me because I'll no longer be tempted to go rogue from my shopping list. I'll actually buy what I came for. Imagine!
But here's the thing. I don't go to Target for the convenience (even though it's only about a mile from my house and has self checkout), or for fact that I can literally purchase every single thing on my list in one place (even if my list includes tire cleaner, baby wipes, Christmas lights, glitter nail polish, and tofu).
Nor do I go for the awesome store brands (even though they're the only diaper my kiddo seems to approve of). I go to Target because, even with the $100 spending minimum that seems to be in place at my store, it's cheaper than therapy.
I go there every few weeks during my lunch break to breathe for a minute, wander the aisles, grab a few non essentials from what used to be the Dollar Spot, and leave without getting the batteries I came for.
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If I used an online delivery service, I might never know that glass water bottles were on sale for $5, or the new season's window clings that my kids love are in stock, or that there's yet another flavor of Oreos that I definitely need to try. I might (gasp) stick to my list, stay within budget, and transform my beloved Target run into just another errand, and where's the release in that?
Shipt promises that everything I love about Target will be at my fingertips, but what if my fingertips just really want to be at Target?
I wasn't always wise to the downside of home delivery. Once I tried it, I, too, forced my knowledge on new moms, telling them how they never have to leave the house or change out of their jammies again! I told them they can make their list and get their groceries delivered in the same day, and it was definitely worth the small upcharge on some of the items, plus the annual fee.
Then a wise mom filled me in: For about the same amount of money, she can get a babysitter every week for a few hours and go shopping. By herself. Alone. In her yoga pants. That she bought from—where else—Target.
This, if you didn't know, is basically heaven to a new mom.
Yes, we love our babies, but babies aren't great aisle browsers. They tend to get fussy if you stop and look at the desk organizers too long, And this new mom's desk could definitely use some gold accents.
So I'll keep going to Target. If you've ever been at Target after 10 p.m. on a weekday, you'll see college kids grabbing storage tubs and ice cream and moms sporting messy buns, stained tops, and a glassy look of bliss as they roll their empty carts up and down each aisle.
So while I'm totally down for using Shipt at the grocery store and even Costco (though I could make the argument that Costco is my children's lunchroom and indoor jungle gym in the colder months), I think it's time for us to acknowledge that Target isn't a really a store. It's a place that's somehow both aspirational and comforting.
It's my personalized in-person news-feed that shows everything I love that somehow all manages to fit while also being under $50 an item. And trying to make it just another store may help my budget, but it's also such a buzzkill that I just can't do it.
Thank you, but I don't want to browse the aisles and endcaps on my phone; I want to do it in person. Go ahead, take my money (yes, all of it), and leave me to my mom-bun aisle-wandering. I promise to return my cart when I'm done.
Caroline Hirons, outspoken queen of skincare: ‘I’m not so fragile that I care what you think about me’
I t was her husband, Caroline Hirons likes to say, who marvelled at her stardom: “Who would have thought that being gobby and opinionated would become a career?” Perhaps he hadn’t banked on how big social media would become – party central for the gobby and opinionated – or how many people, mostly women, would welcome Hirons’ brisk advice.
In the world of skincare, Hirons is a big deal, with a devoted following, the power (reportedly) to make or break a product – and a low tolerance for marketing hype. Last month, her book Skincare – a practical guide to looking after your face – won the lifestyle category at the British Book awards. She was, she says, “a bit gobsmacked”. Her family had tried to manage her expectations. “My mum said: ‘That Nadiya from Bake Off [who was also nominated] – she’s very popular, love,’ with that concerned face of: ‘Don’t get your hopes up.’”
Hirons, 51, is probably used to confounding expectations. In a sea of extremely young social media beauty influencers, she is the middle-aged matriarch who made it. Her book came out last year and she was warned that launching it amid a pandemic wasn’t ideal. “I sensed the publishers were trying to let me down gently,” she says. But it was, it turns out, perfectly timed: it became a bestseller.
While sales of makeup went down, for obvious reasons, people started to embrace skincare. “People had more time in the mirror, instead of putting on their face and rushing out the door,” says Hirons. Has endless time in video calls made some of us more conscious of our faces? “I think most people were already aware,” she says. “I would like to think it gave people more time to think: ‘What can I do to help myself?’ I hope it doesn’t make people aware of an insecurity that they didn’t have before.”
I catch sight of myself on my laptop screen – we are speaking on a video call – and wish I had taken her advice to wear sunscreen every day, year round, more seriously. Hirons is sitting in her PR company’s office, skin glowing. She seems less confrontational than her online persona sometimes suggests, but get her on to the subject of “clean” beauty (“probably my No 1 target”) or the government’s treatment of the beauty industry in the pandemic and her frustration shows – simmering anger, but delivered with humour.
‘When you take better care of yourself, it includes your face’ . Hirons on ITV’s This Morning in March 2020. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock
In August, Hirons co-founded the Beauty Backed Trust, to support those in the industry she felt had been forgotten (it raised £600,000 between then and December). She was driven, she says, by rage – “and the absolute audacity of the government in completely disregarding an industry that’s worth £28bn to the economy. We were hearing rumblings that they weren’t going to open beauty salons when they opened everything else. These people have had no income a lot of them are self-employed.”
She adds that the workforce is predominantly young and female – a demographic that includes an above-average proportion of women who have taken maternity leave since 2016 and thus were affected negatively when they sought financial support through the UK government’s Covid self-employment income support scheme. She knew beauty therapists who were using food banks to survive. “I’ve been spoken of, in some circles, as having a big mouth, but if you put it to good use I don’t mind that.”
Beauty is so often dismissed as “frivolous”, she says, because it is largely for, and staffed by, women. “It counts for something if you realise that betting shops and barbers opened before beauty,” she says. “I was angrier than I think I’ve ever been. It just took a really angry menopausal woman who is over your shit, Boris,” to get something done, she says, with a withering laugh. “They were making jokes in parliament about getting haircuts and I was like: this is a laughing matter to you, but we’ve got people crying on Instagram because they can’t feed their kids. It’s unacceptable.”
Hirons has worked in skincare for almost 25 years. She grew up in Liverpool (with a brief spell in the US), where her mother and grandmother worked on department store beauty counters. As a child, she remembers going to visit her grandmother, who worked on the Guerlain fragrance counter, “so she always smelled incredible. We’re talking early 70s, 80s, so they always looked immaculate, all had full uniforms.”
Her mother supplemented her job on the Helena Rubinstein counter by doing wedding makeup at the weekend. Her father was a mechanic who worked his way up to warehouse manager. “What I really remember is the work ethic,” she says. “That’s passed down to my brother and me. We joke that we have an unhealthy work ethic, but I enjoy it.” When she was writing her book, Hirons was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder: “I’m not so much hyperactive.” She was told she was “a classic example of someone who’s made new habits and made it work for them. I spin a lot of plates.”
When she was 17, Hirons moved to London and got a job in a record shop. Ten years later, in 1997, after having her first two children (she and her husband, Jim, now have four, as well as a granddaughter), she started working part-time on the Aveda counter in Harvey Nichols. Engaging and able to get straight to customers’ concerns, she was a natural. She then worked for the beauty company Space NK and, between having more children, trained as a beauty therapist.
By 2009, she had set up her own consultancy business, advising beauty brands. Social media was taking off and Hirons would give people the same advice she dispensed on the beauty counters – instead of selling them an expensive foundation, she would steer them towards products that could help their skin. “Then someone said: ‘Just blog it,’ and I did.”
She launched her blog in 2010, when she was just in her 40s, and it took off. “I think it was just the perfect storm of me being older, qualified, being connected in the industry and trying to balance making sure readers get something that’s of value and truthful, but not being unnecessarily aggressive towards the industry,” she says. She was also not easily intimidated. “I think a lot of people, when they first get online, if someone challenges them, they back away. Whereas I was just like: ‘I don’t care – fine, if that’s your opinion.’”
I find her style – jocular, yet quite bolshie – entertaining, but I can see how it could also come across as aggressive, particularly when backed up by her legion of devoted fans. There are numerous threads on internet forums claiming her Facebook group (it has more than 93,000 members) is heavily moderated and won’t tolerate criticism. But Hirons has probably had to develop a tough – if beautifully moisturised – skin. Any woman, particularly any woman who dares to be older than 35 while in possession of an opinion, will get online abuse.
Hirons recently referred someone who had been sending abusive messages to her to the Metropolitan police. “I wasn’t going to, but a family friend works for the Met and was like: ‘You need to give this to us, because that’s actually a threat,’” she says. “I was like: ‘Oh, OK. I get these all the time.’” She smiles. “I’m not so fragile that I care what you think about me – I mean that in the healthiest way and I wish the same for everyone. I don’t think I would have lasted as long online if I was concerned every time someone called me old. They always go for old, as if I give a shit. Or fat. Actually, I’m 5ft 11in – I’m not that fat. Calm down.” She laughs.
Another criticism is that she is part of a system that fuels endless consumption. But she is hardly the worst offender of her last nine Instagram posts at the time of writing, two are adverts and one promotes her “kit” – a selection of products – which she sells at a discount. Individual influencers – although she would balk at being described as one – are easy targets, but the beauty industry has always been about profit, with glossy magazines often too close to big advertisers.
Skincare has become huge in recent years. What happened? “Awareness, social media, Instagram,” suggests Hirons. “More pictures of people online, so they’re thinking they’re going to take care of their skin. If you think about the generation now compared with when I was in my 20s, they don’t drink as much, they eat better my daughter’s group of friends are all gym addicts. When you take better care of yourself, it includes your face.”
‘These people have had no income a lot of them are self-employed’ . a treatment centre in Knutsford, Cheshire, prepares to reopen in December 2020. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
A multistep skincare routine has become part of many women’s self-care – and the only time they get to themselves, which seems a little sad. “I get that,” says Hirons. “I’ve got four kids I know what they mean. If you’re at work all day and you’ve got children, you pick the kids up, get home, do dinner … by the time the kids are in bed, you do think: ‘I need 10 minutes to myself’ – to lock yourself in the bathroom, brush your teeth and do your skincare routine.”
But do people need so many products? “No, not at all. I always say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it’s something you like to do, and it makes you feel good and you can afford it, there’s no harm in it,” she says. “I’ve always said: ‘Don’t credit-card your skincare.’” But she offers customers the option to pay in instalments, I point out. People wanted it, she says. “I’m not here to make people go into debt – that’s not what I’m interested in. When someone asks [in her comments]: ‘Do I need this?’ I’m more likely to say: ‘No,’ or: ‘If you get this kit, you’re going to want to give this cream to your mum, because it’s not suitable for you.’ That’s how you get loyalty and become trustworthy.”
She has been open about her use of fillers and botulinum toxin (marketed under brand names including Botox). “I had one person say: ‘I’m so disappointed that you’re using filler,’ and I was like: ‘Why? Would you rather I lied? Would you rather I said it’s just a cream?”
Such procedures have become normalised – does that bother her? “No, why would it?” she says. “I’m not interested in putting shame on people, especially women. I think we could do with a bit more regulation – legally, there’s nothing to stop me giving you Botox or fillers.”
Does she not think it puts pressure on women who don’t want to have it done? She takes a rare pause. “That’s down to someone’s self-esteem. I don’t want to have a facelift seeing Jane Fonda doesn’t make me feel bad. Jane Fonda looks fantastic with her facelift, but I don’t feel bad because I don’t want one. No one’s trying to make you feel bad, certainly not coming from my camp. Obviously, there is a side of the industry that’s … I can’t understand why anyone would have liposuction, for example, but if someone wants to, it’s none of my business.”
She wishes celebrities were more open about the work they have had done. “When Hollywood stars say they don’t wash their face, I’m like: ‘Yes, they do. And they also have Botox and filler.’ Why would you try to make people feel bad about themselves?”
One of the reasons she became popular, she thinks, is because “I don’t mind calling out things. I don’t like confrontation and yet people assume that I do – it highlights how little other [people in the industry] call things out, almost like it’s my job.”
Hirons has challenged the beauty industry over issues such as a lack of diversity – and she can’t bear labels such as “clean” and “non-toxic”. “I just don’t understand why the industry all jumped on this bandwagon,” she says. “I thought: ‘Get a grip: just push back on it and say, actually, cosmetics are safe. It’s not toxic. Relax.” She says the idea of “clean” beauty is “disingenuous, started by white, wealthy women in California”. Last week, she took the actor Kate Hudson to task for posting a list of “toxic” ingredients commonly found in products on social media. “I just thought: ‘Here we go again!’”
When, in April, she accused Gwyneth Paltrow – the queen of “clean” beauty – of putting lives at risk by using an “imperceptible” amount of sunscreen in a video for Vogue about her skincare regime, Hirons says she received messages of support from others in the industry, but not publicly. “I was like: ‘If you call it out, too, then maybe we can push back against this tide of utter bullshit.’” Why don’t people speak out? “Because it was Gwyneth Paltrow, because it’s Vogue. It is like sticking your head above the parapet. You get abuse, you get shouted at.”
But if it is not brands claiming to be “non-toxic” (as if others are positively radioactive), it is companies implying products can work miracles. The beauty industry makes wild, anti-scientific claims – how does it get away with it? “People are afraid to call things out, so people let things slide,” says Hirons. “And then, once it’s been said two or three times, and it’s reprinted in a magazine beauty section, it becomes ‘fact’ without any semblance of truth … Sometimes I feel like the lone voice going: ‘That’s not true.’”
She is scathing about the term “anti-ageing”. “I prefer to use terms like ‘ageing skin’ – that is scientifically correct. Anti-ageing is more like a stance, like it’s a shameful thing to get older.” She was recently talking to a brand, which she says has been trying to work with her for years, about including one of its products in a menopause skincare kit she is putting together. “They came back and said: ‘No, we don’t want to reach that demographic – we’re shooting for a younger audience.’ And I was like: ‘And you’re happy to say that to me? A menopausal woman? You’re happy for me to sell your product, but not to people my age?’” She smiles brightly. “And then I did basically tell them to fuck off.”
Target ‘respectfully requests’ shoppers leave guns at home
Target is the latest business chain to try to prevent armed customers from entering its retail stores.
Target is not banning shoppers from carting firearms through its stores, as many news outlets are reporting.
“This is a request and not a prohibition,” said Molly Snyder, a group manager from Target’s public relations department.
In its “Bullseye View” blog Wednesday, Target said, “Our approach has always been to follow local laws. but starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”
The retail giant did not say what it would do if a shopper carried firearm into a store.
“At this time, we don’t have plans to proactively communicate with guests beyond the initial ask from Target leadership that is taking place today,” Snyder said.
Only six states -- California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida and South Carolina -- and the District of Columbia prohibit Americans from carrying an unconcealed firearm. There are 14 states that require a permit to openly carry a firearm. No permit is needed in the other 30 states.
Pressured by a monthlong campaign spearheaded by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Target said it wants an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for all shoppers.
“This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create,” John Mulligan, the company’s interim chief executive, said in the blog post.
The Moms group said it has pushed several national chains, including Chipotle, Starbucks and Jack in the Box, to alter their gun policies.
“Like Chipotle, Starbucks, Facebook, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili’s, Target recognized that moms are a powerful customer base and political force — and you can respect the 2nd Amendment and the safety of customers at the same time,” said Shannon Watts, the group’s founder.
But like Target, Chipotle did not ban guns from its restaurants. In an email to a customer asking for clarification, Chipotle explained that it too “strongly and respectfully” asked customers “to not bring any guns into our restaurants,” but, “This is not a ban.”
The fast-food chain also said it will continue to comply with local laws and hope customers comply with its request.
Starbucks also did not enact a ban.
Watts said that her group is still thrilled with Target’s message.
“It puts a chill on gun extremists who think these stores support them carrying guns where there are children,” Watts said. “A request still says a lot.”
Target’s announcement comes after the gun-control group, funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, launched a social media campaign to boycott the chain after a Texas gun-rights group posted photos of members carting rifles through a store near Dallas.
More than 400,000 people signed the petition to prohibit Target shoppers from carrying guns.
“Moms everywhere were horrified to see images of men carrying loaded assault rifles down the same aisles where we shop for diapers and toys,” Watts said.
The National Rifle Assn. had called the photos “not neighborly,” but soon recanted its comment and apologized to the gun-wielders.
Target’s position blew up on social media, and while many praised the company, others said they plan to ignore the request and carry firearms in the store.
“I will not give up my rights to your request and will continue to conceal carry when on your premises while I am out and about,” said Facebook user R. Alexander Spoerer of Florida.
Snyder says she is waiting to see how Target’s request will “play out.” Apparently, so is Target.
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I'm pretty sure that PeaPod was the original grocery delivery service. While I didn't have much need for it when the service launched, motherhood has made the convenience charge worthwhile. Instacart has risen in popularity as it focused on speedy delivery. Neither service is available in every market, but they both carry pretty much anything you can need to survive a day of parenting. They'll bring anything from diapers to formula, teething biscuits to bottled water.
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Not only can the app deliver, but it can help get rid of your junk, too. You can easily schedule a driver to pick up your old couch or unwanted table and have them take it to a landfill or donation location like Goodwill. On the app, you can also schedule drivers to help you move homes or take items to a storage unit.
Whether you're in need a huge load of materials from Home Depot or a truck to move your belongings to a new apartment, you can find all of the deets on Haultail's website.
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Once the Toast, Now a Target, 'Silver Palate' Star Goes Solo
THEY were a team. Jetting about in the high-altitude 80's, they invaded America's kitchens with boundless ebullience and a simple notion: homemade food could be both elegant and accessible. Medical students, law clerks and Wall Street Turks born with baked-bean-and-beer palates and a thousand thumbs were suddenly levitating over visions of raspberry vinegar and linen-draped tables set for four. It was salvation at the stove.
Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, the co-creators of the Silver Palate, the wildly successful upscale food shop in Manhattan, helped to revolutionize a generation's eating habits. But their high-profile pairing, which resulted in cookbooks that have sold 4.5 million copies, has come to a bitter end. The two women haven't spoken in a year. And Ms. Rosso, who has just published her first solo cookbook, is now the target of intense criticism from some fellow food professionals who say the 574-page low-fat tome is well-meaning, but a mess.
The business was sold in 1988, and the two went their separate ways. The problems didn't really start till later.
Ms. Lukins, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage and nearly dying in 1991, recovered and took on an ambitious cookbook project that has propelled her around the world. Ms. Rosso moved to Michigan, back to her roots, to a new marriage and a new cookbook of her own. Her "Great Good Food," a low-fat guide book packed with more than 800 recipes, was released last month by Crown Publishers. Launched upon the cookbook sea with an advance of more than $500,000 (and another $200,000 for promotion), it is already topping some best-seller lists and is moving so quickly through its first printing of 300,000 copies that it may already be in the black.
Although the book has received some glowing reviews, there is also a sense among some food professionals that it is filled with flaws. Some complaints come from magazine editors who have tested the recipes and found them wanting. Few of them are willing to print what they have found. Several national magazines, discovering that everything from appetizers to desserts weren't working out, simply killed their stories rather than getting embroiled in the debate.
Not everyone, though, has been so reticent.
"We tested nine recipes, and two were acceptable, and the seven others ranged from disastrous to not worth bothering with," said Mark Bittman, the executive editor of Cook's Illustrated Magazine, which will be reviewing the book in its next issue. He ticked off a series of complaints: a recipe with an estimated preparation time of 30 minutes that he said took a professional tester more than two hours to make a recipe for creme brulee that he scorned as "a sugar fix and little else," and another, for low-fat guacamole, which he called "a real hoax in terms of the serving size" because it artificially reduced the fat content by defining one serving as a single teaspoon. "This is one of the worst cookbooks I've reviewed in years," he said.
Ms. Rosso said she does not take such criticism lightly but allowed that food "is personal stuff." During her book tour, she added, "I'm hearing people who have been thrilled with what they have been cooking. So people should decide for themselves."
Some reviewers have championed the idea of the next generation of Silver Palate-styled pleasures. The Washington Post's Food section praised the book for "taking us where we want to go," while Steven Pratt of The Chicago Tribune told readers it was a "thorough, well-thought-out cookbook, bulging with doable recipes." But JeanMarie Brownson, the director of The Tribune's test kitchen who tested therecipes, said: "They were acceptable. I'm not going to cook them at home."
Ms. Rosso, through it all, seems unfazed. Spinning through a 44-city promotion tour, signing books and sharing cooking tips, she said she had heard nothing but praise for "Great Good Food." The bad reactions, she said, could be excess angst from a closed-circuit world of food fanatics.
"I like the fact that I have a distance from the foodies," she said late last month over grilled fish at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. "New York is a small world. Given the chance to snipe, there are people who will snipe."
Joni Evans, the publishing executive who bought "Great Good Food" at auction last year, said she was mystified by the sour reactions. "Julee is extraordinary," she said. "And her integrity about her food has been exceptional. You never saw anybody work like that. Could it be jealousy?"
Perhaps. There is a lot at stake.
Ms. Rosso believes the final verdict will be good: "This is real food, food that you can make every day. People come up to me, and they say, 'I go through the book, and there are so many things I want to make!' "
Driven by the joy of discovery, Ms. Rosso said she worked with four assistants to test 1,500 recipes, saving only the top 800. "I'm obsessed and possessed," she said. "I was focusing on flavors like I've never focused on flavors before. It was a question of suddenly understanding vanilla!"
That, her critics say, may be precisely where the book's greatest weakness lies. "I heard her on the radio this morning," said Suzanne Hamlin, a New York food writer who praised Ms. Rosso's marketing abilities but not her cooking. "She started talking about these wonderful things sheɽ discovered like yogurt cheese, which has been around for 20 years. The fact is, Julee was never the cook."
Ms. Rosso said she was self-taught but endlessly inspired. It was she, she said -- "Moi, me, at home" -- who came up with all the recipes. She worked like a madwoman, she said, rising before dawn, wheeling through farmers' markets, cutting, chopping, directing, tasting and perfecting.
Yet some food experts contend that it would be virtually impossible to test 1,500 recipes in just 10 months. "Any food writer or cook will tell you it might take you 14 tries to get to where you want to get on a recipe," Ms. Hamlin said.
Ms. Lukins, who said she had not read her former partner's book, literally raised one of her eyebrows. "You mean to tell me she's saying she tested that many in 10 months?" she said. "Give me a break."
Katherine L. Keck, one of Ms. Rosso's assistants, when asked to describe the process, chose not to. "Julee asked us not to talk about anything about the book," she said.
Yet "Great Good Food" was always at the very least a good idea. Even those eager to condemn Ms. Rosso's food can find nothing but praise for her genius in the hot skillet that is marketing. It was, they all agree, her greatest gift to the Silver Palate empire.
Arriving in New York City two days after her college graduation (after turning down a job with the Central Intelligence Agency), Ms. Rosso quickly turned her talents to advertising. She met Ms. Lukins, then a struggling caterer, when she hired her to cater a press breakfast in 1976. "I remember meeting her at, like, 5 in the morning, and there was still dew on her hydrangeas," Ms. Rosso said.
Ms. Lukins remembers the meeting, too. "I had put all this wild stuff together, and I met her, and it was like, ta da," she said in her chintz-splashed apartment at the Dakota. The two women liked each other instantly. A short while later, Ms. Rosso proposed a store.
"I said, 'No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No,' " Ms. Lukins said. "I was a dilettante. I had a great reputation, but I really didn't have a career." Ms. Rosso persuaded her to take the plunge. "She was a lot of fun," Ms. Lukins recalled. "She loved food. She had tremendous drive. She was great at marketing. I was the cook."
Others say the same thing. Sarah Leah Chase, a caterer in Nantucket, Mass., moved to New York in the 1980's to work with Ms. Lukins and Ms. Rosso in the development of "The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook," published by Workman.
"Sheila did recipes," Ms. Chase said. "I did recipes. Julee was the idea person. She was wonderful with ideas. But I think it was quite well known that she didn't cook."
But Ms. Rosso did help to write the text. Ms. Chase paused, then chose her words carefully. "Let me say that she's the Milli Vanilli of the cookbook world," she said. "A lot of the text when she handed it in, well, we had seen it before. It wasn't original. So those parts had to go. I know Julee was called in by Workman and given a stern warning."
Peter Workman, the head of Workman Publishers, would not comment on Ms. Chase's recollections. "You can't talk about editorial process," he said. "I just wouldn't want to." Ms. Rosso also declined to comment.
After the sale of the Silver Palate in 1988, Ms. Rosso went home to Michigan, married a builder and decided to get the heck out of the fast lane.
That didn't happen. Instead, she started a newsletter called Cook's Notes that resulted in burning some bridges to Manhattan. Ms. Chase complained that at least one of the recipes from the newsletter was hers.
"I had just finished my own cookbook," Ms. Chase said. "I had a recipe for onion soup that started with a quote from Esquire magazine. She used the same quote and duped the recipe with only minor changes."
Ms. Chase's recipe included onions, Cheddar cheese and cider. So did Ms. Rosso's. Ms. Chase was not pleased, though food writers say that the fine line between borrowing and originality is often hard to draw.
Ms. Rosso denies having copied the recipe and explains that she collects quotes "like crazy" so any duplication came by accident. The recipe, she said, was a natural pairing of Cheddar cheese and apple. "I don't feel that I've ever ripped Sarah off."
Ms. Lukins's complaints were far more personal. While recovering last spring from the brain hemorrhage she suffered the winter before, she was distraught, she said, to read about her ailment in a letter sent to all subscribers of Ms. Rosso's Cook's Notes. The May 12 letter apologized for delays in distribution and explained that Ms. Lukins (who had no role in the newsletter) had fallen gravely ill. "Every day," the note explained, "she's a bit better, but, needless to say when one foot is lame, the other has to work a bit harder."
Ms. Lukins still remembers the moment when she first read it. "For all the years that we had been together, good and bad, this just devastated me," she said. "She was using my illness as her excuse. It was just incredibly hurtful."
The end came then. The two have not spoken since. Ms. Rosso says she bears no hard feelings toward her former partner. She rues the day the letter landed in subscribers' mail slots. She said it was written by an assistant who put it on her Saugatuck, Mich., stationery and lifted her signature from other documents. "I didn't sign it," she said. "I didn't write it. It wasn't great. But it's still my responsibility."
For a long time, though, the collaboration had worked, and the friendship had held. "They created a look and graphic style that people could identify with," said Rozanne Gold, the culinary director of the Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Company. "They made sun-dried tomatoes a household word. They made basil approachable."
Now, Ms. Rosso has a best seller. Ms. Lukins is completing her own book, scheduled to be published next year by Workman. The Silver Palate books still warp and curl and pick up stains on kitchen counters. The pair's Chicken Marbella is a classic. But so too, now, is their food fight.
Target launches new Good & Gather food brand Sunday
Target announced its launch of its largest brand, Good & Gather. The food and beverage brand will have more than 2,000 items. USA TODAY
Target stores are beginning to sell eggs, milk and even beet hummus and avocado toast salad under a new label that will become its flagship food brand.
Starting Sept. 15, all 1,800-plus locations across the country will stock the first products of the Good & Gather food and beverage brand, the Minneapolis-based retailer shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
By the end of 2020, the brand will include more than 2,000 products and will be Target’s largest store brand launch, said Stephanie Lundquist, a Target executive vice president and president of food and beverage. The move is part of the company's business strategy to increase sales and distinguish the retailer from its rivals.
"Our guests are incredibly busy and want great-tasting food they can feel good about feeding their families," Lundquist said. “We really wanted the brand to represent the quality and the value that guests can expect.”
The products are made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors and high-fructose corn syrup and carry a money-back guarantee, also called the Good & Gather promise: "Love every bite or your money back."
“It’s really about making sure the ingredients are whole so it’s easy (for consumers) to know what they’re buying,” Lundquist said.
6. A Burt's Bees gift set that'll leave your favorite lady feeling moisturized and pampered.
Comes with Honey & Grapeseed Oil hand cream, Coconut foot cream, Lemon Butter Cuticle cream, Almond & Milk hand cream, and hand salve that'll moisturize and smooth dry, rough, and cracked hands and feet. It also comes with Pomegranate lip balm to leave lips feeling healthy, while also giving them a hint of color.
Promising review: "This kit is really cool. You get a little bit of everything that Burt's Bees makes for hands and feet. I didn't care for the lip balm or the honey hand cream, so I gave them to my mom. She loves them. I like that this kit included things I wouldn't have purchased on my own, like the coconut foot cream. I absolutely adore it." —MissItaly1989
Target Just Launched Same Day Delivery. This Is Bad News for New Moms - Recipes
Delivering bad news can be the worst part of the job for any manager. That's not because the truth, on its face, is difficult to convey. It's the anxiety of the possibility of handling it poorly&mdashand knowing that doing so can worsen the impact on your employees, their productivity, and your whole company. Finding the best way to cushion the blow on everything from layoffs to salary freezes to personal reprimands is something that troubles even the leaders of country's top companies. No one likes having the painful conversation&mdashbut meting out the bad with the good is a part of the job as a manager.
"Those aren't easy topics to deal with. Unfortunately a lot of people don't have a very good idea of how to do it and they mess it up," says David G. Javitch, an organizational psychologist, author, leadership specialist and president of Javitch Associates in Newton, Mass. "Often times their intention is good. They dig a grave for themselves when they deliver bad news."
While there's no way to completely pass off a layoff announcement or similar news as anything less severe, there are ways that will treat your employees fairly and make sure they still respect your leadership. Experienced business communicators offer these tips:
Delivering Bad News to Your Employees: Don't Avoid the Negative
One of the biggest problems with delivering bad news is procrastination. Avoiding talking to your employees until the last possible minute will only exasperate their reaction, says Dana Bristol-Smith the founder of Speak for Success, a business communication consultant and the author of Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking. Some companies make the mistake of not providing feedback or coaching to their employees along the way, such that when the situation reaches a boiling point, the only option is a firing, she says.
"I think it just really comes down to people are uncomfortable with confronting any sort of negative behavior or bad situation," she says.
If a single-employee situation needs to be addressed, it's better to get it out of the way as soon as the problem arises rather than letting it metastasize, which can create a toxic work environment.
If it's a company-wide announcement&mdashsuch as layoffs, mergers, or tough financial news&mdashyou should take charge and address the issue quickly. If you don't, you open the door to churning of the rumor mill, which could spread false information and sow discord among the staff.
"Try to address it while it's a smaller problem rather than let something fester for longer and longer," Brostol-Smith says.
Delivering Bad News to Your Employees: Be Clear and Direct
Brevity is often a big problem for managers who are delivering bad news to employees. Too often they overdo it with the explanations, spending a lot of energy building up to the announcement, giving advance statements hinting at the news or circling around the hard truth in the middle.
"Their audience is wondering what the hell is going to happen," Javitch says. "If you give too much information, you lose the directness of message."
Keep the message brief, direct, and don't sugar-coat it.
If you try to wrap the news in soft language that attempts to lessen the impact, your employees may not understand the full weight of the announcement, Bristol-Smith says.
Evasiveness, euphemisms and reassuring language may make you feel better, but they'll strike the wrong tone with your staff. It's not the time to test your humor skills either, says Anett Grant, president of Minneapolis-based Executive Speaking.
"I think bad news is often serious and people need respect," she says. "They have to be told in a straight-forward way."
Experts also say repeating the message several times helps it sink in. Javitch recommends framing the message by starting with a short positive statement (things that have been going well in the company that year) followed by the negative statement and then a change statement that explains what is going to be different as a result of the bad news. That way employees understand what the change&mdashlayoffs, salary freezes or the like&mdashwill allow your company to do in the future.
Delivering Bad News to Your Employees: Take Ownership of the Problem
If you're the one making the announcement&mdashwhether in a group setting or a one-on-one meeting&mdashyou need to take ownership of the decision.
"The worst is when you're just carrying the flag and you didn't have anything to do with the decision," Grant says. "If they're giving the message, they have to own it. They can't just say, 'Well, I'm here as the official person to give the official message."
To hold on to the trust of your employees, you need to have your own emotions in check. You might not be able to share the whole story about the company's decision with the staff, but you should be able to explain what caused it.
"If it's an economic issue or sales are down, tell people what the situation is so they know and they can understand it," Bristol-Smith says. "Will it prevent them from feeling terrible? No, but at least they know that it's not personal."
Delivering Bad News to Your Employees: Let Timing, and Medium, be Part of the Message
Just like getting dumped from a romantic relationship, no one wants to hear bad news from a boss via e-mail.
"That's kind of a cowardly way to do things," Bristol-Smith says. "That happens more and more these days: You don't have to look in their eyes, you don't have to hear the disappointment in their voice."
If it's a large announcement that affects many employees, breaking them into small groups can help, Javitch says. Small groups feel more connected, and allow people to feel more comfortable about asking questions.
But a large group setting has advantages too: If everyone hears the same message at once, rumors or false information are less likely to spread throughout your company.
If it's a one-on-one situation, it's best to have someone else in the room with you and the employee, such as a human resources representative.
Experts differ on what time of day or day of the week is best for delivering bad news. But most agree if it's a big company-wide announcement, you should wait until late in the day between the middle and the end of the week. But if it's a serious issue&mdashsuch as an employee caught embezzling&mdashtake action at the start of the day. Other employees will note of the seriousness of the situation if you're visibly escorting someone out of the building.
For good measure, you should allow for a question-and-answer session after you announce most big news. Taking suggestions for how to improve the situation makes employees feel engaged in the process, Javitch says. You can ask: "What would you do in my shoes?"
"Let them be problem solvers," he says. "They're more likely to adhere to what the solution is."
Employees will judge you by your actions in both good times and bad. Handling the bad poorly will sabotage the future productivity.
"That's what happens after everyone else is let go: They start working on their resumes," Bristol-Smith says. "And they don't wait until the end of the day to do that."
LicketyShip: Founding CEO Out, Ditches Business Model To Focus On Couriers As A Web Service
When Lickety Ship launched in late 2006 to deliver ecommerce items to purchasers within four hours of checkout, I asked if it would end any differently than the ill-fated Kozmo, which burned through $280 million in capital before a spectacular flame out in 2001.
Kozmo didn’t charge for deliveries, and people would jokingly buy a packet of M&Ms or other small item and have it personally delivered for free. A $150 million marketing deal to get Kozmo promoted in Starbucks cafes didn’t help much, either.
LicketyShip, founded by Robert Pazornik, took a different approach. They would charge users a steep fee for quick delivery, leveraging under-used couriers to deliver the goods. The hope was that there was enough demand for super-fast delivery that they could make a business out of it.
It turns out that the idea may not have been so bad, but the execution was impossible. LicketyShip needed to do deals with retailers who had goods physically located near the markets served – they had to be close enough so that a courier could go to the location, pick up the item, and then drop it off with the customer. And since LicketyShip was selling the items from its own site, it had to integrate deeply with these retailer’s inventory systems. If it worked, that integration would be a huge competitive advantage. But in practice, it was impossible.
In July 2007 the company gave up on integrating directly with retailers, and began to focus just on aggregating local courier services. You can now use the service (in supported geographies) to pick up items you’ve bought over the phone with local retailers.
The good news is that the company didn’t waste a lot of money on the first model – they’ve raised just $1.5 million in capital from angel investors.
But the bad news is that investors got tired of waiting for Pazornik to make this thing work, and about a month ago they made a switch. Pazornik was out of the company he founded. John McGrory stepped in to replace him as CEO.
Now the company is preparing a relaunch, and will be focusing on aggregating courier services for more than just deliveries of retail goods. In effect, they’ll be taking the huge but highly fragmented courier market and turning it into a web service.
25 million courier packages are delivered each month in the U.S., McGrory says, at an average cost of $100 per delivery (implying a $30 billion market annually). There isn’t much price sensitivity – people want reliability more than anything and tend to build relationships with individual courier services over time (law firms use them extensively, and pass the cost on to clients, for example). The key to cracking the market, McGrory says, is to provide bookings via a web service or by phone along with a service guarantee. Think 1-800-Flowers for couriers.
And LicketyShip is also building an API to turn courier services into a web service. Any ecommerce site or retailer, for example, could build in an option for immediate courier delivery. All that would be required is that they have a warehouse near the customer. Best Buy and Barnes & Noble would be ideal customers. This would also help brick and mortar competitors to better leverage those physical assets by allowing immediate fulfillment, on the same day as purchase.
The company is now out pitching this new strategy to investors, and hopes to close a new venture round this summer.