November 30, 2017

Although many retailers enjoyed a sales boost during Thanksgiving Weekend, no other company can rival Amazon’s stellar start to the holiday season. The e-commerce outlet brought in 45 percent of all online purchases on Thanksgiving along with nearly 55 percent of Black Friday’s total Internet transactions. Plus, Amazon announced that Cyber Monday was the company’s biggest sales day ever, boasting that customers had purchased “hundreds of millions of products” throughout the weekend.

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November 22, 2017

With airports and roads both packed with people, traveling during Thanksgiving week can be an unpleasant experience to say the least. And unfortunately 2017 won’t be any easier on weary holiday travelers: AAA estimates that nearly 51 million Americans will journey more than 50 miles over the course of the four-day weekend. That’s 1.6 million more people on the road than in 2016, a 3.3 percent increase that will make this year’s Turkey Day traffic the busiest since 2005.

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November 17, 2017

Since Uber’s founding in 2009, the ride-hailing service has relied on tens of thousands of drivers that it considers to be independent contractors. Although this policy has been controversial from the start, executives claim it is a vital component of the company’s historic growth rate. After all, the money that Uber saves from paying employment benefits allows it to charge lower fares. That explanation simply isn’t good enough for many critics, however, who claim the company is depriving drivers of Continue reading

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November 2, 2017

For those who enjoy a full-service experience when they travel, staying at a hotel can turn into an expensive enterprise. Paying for gratuity alone can become costly if someone takes advantage of amenities like room service or bellhops. But while guests are quick to tip waiters and baggage carriers without a second thought, this same courtesy does not often extend to housekeeping staff. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, fewer than a third of guests leave gratuity for Continue reading

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September 7, 2017

iidar-sagdejevLast year we took a close look at how Wells Fargo fostered a culture of fraud that encouraged employees to open unauthorized credit and debit card accounts for customers. Investigators at the time estimated the bank had created more than 1.5 million fraudulent accounts, leading Wells Fargo to fire thousands of employees. Further inquiries from Congress also caused the company to replace managers and roll back executive pay as part of an overhaul of its retail division. The scandal Continue reading

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August 10, 2017

restaurantThe U.S. economy has managed to add thousands of jobs so far this year thanks to big gains in industries like construction and health care. But even these substantial sectors can’t compare to the robust growth of the restaurant industry, which has gained nearly 200,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. And unlike manufacturing or construction work, these jobs aren’t localized to a few lucky cities scattered across the nation. Instead, nearly every American metropolis has seen a boom in restaurant Continue reading

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August 3, 2017

timrockOver the course of four decades, more than 80,000 people have learned how to become McDonald’s managers on the the leafy grounds of Hamburger University. The company long considered this 86-acre Oak Brook, Illinois, institution to be the perfect place to train employees while also attracting top-level executives. Then last year McDonald’s surprised staff by announcing the company would move its headquarters out of the suburbs and into the West Loop of Chicago.

Located near an “L” train stop and Continue reading

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July 28, 2017

lifegaurd-standWith the fall semester right around the corner, there’s only a few more weeks of freedom left for those lucky students who didn’t have to spend their break in class. Of course, those who managed to avoid summer school may have been working at one of the many seasonal jobs that pop up at this time of year. According to employers, however, these jobs have become increasingly difficult to fill recently. For instance, in the spring business owners located along Continue reading

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June 19, 2017

robert-scobleA few months ago we looked at how increased competition has hurt sales at Whole Foods and slowed its growth in recent years. Faced with the possibility of shutting down stores, CEO John Mackey cleared five people from the board of directors, appointed a new chairwoman, and hired a new CFO. Executives even developed plans to cut costs while also improving operations.

Then suddenly everything changed: last week Amazon announced that it would buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. This Continue reading

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June 16, 2017

In Japan you can buy almost anything from a vending machine: hot tea, sushi, umbrellas, even bread in a can. This video takes a look at the economic and cultural factors that have contributed to Japan’s vending obsession, such as an excess of coinage and a shortage of unskilled labor.

Questions:

  1. How does Japan’s low birth rate contribute to its vending machine culture?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of relying so heavily on vending machines?
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