November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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November 18, 2014

Thanks to increased domestic production and a period of relative market stability, gas prices have been dropping across the country. Still, no matter how low the price at the pump goes, fueling up with compressed natural gas will almost always be a better value. Those who own a vehicle that can run on the alternative fuel pay an average of $1.70 less per gallon than those who use standard petroleum. Of course, not many people out there own a natural Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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November 13, 2014

 

When it comes to innovation in business, creating a viable and valuable product is just the first step. After all, the arrival of the portable MP3 player made many companies stand up and take notice of this revolutionary device. One of those firms was Apple, who soon came to dominate the market with the iPod. Although the signature MP3 player was released later than its competitors, the product’s dependability and stylish design quickly allowed it to capture the bulk Continue reading

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November 2, 2014

Although it’s been more than six years since the start of the Great Recession, many in the restaurant industry have failed to adjust to the “new normal” created by the downturn. In fact, visits to U.S. restaurants have fallen by a staggering 1.3 billion since 2008. As American eateries become desperate for business, many have turned to gimmicky menu items to drum up interest. From Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco to the $100 “Never Ending Pasta Pass” at Olive Garden, restaurants Continue reading

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October 26, 2014

 

With so many teenagers equipped with smartphones, it can be easy for older Americans to feel a little jealous of their younger counterparts. After all, cramming at the last minute before a big history exam is a lot easier if you can quickly double check facts on your iPhone. If the subject’s algebra or calculus, however, today’s high school kids have about the same technological edge as students did 10 years ago. That’s because the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator Continue reading

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October 8, 2014

burgAs we mention in Chapter 3 of the textbook, culinary tastes can vary wildly all over the globe. Even the largest fast food chains step out of their comfort zones in order to cater to local flavors. For instance, KFC’s menu in China includes a traditional fried duck wrap, while Japan’s Pizza Hut outlets offer squid and sweet mayonnaise as toppings. But even these items pale in comparison to the latest unusual creation presented to Japanese consumers, this time courtesy Continue reading

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October 5, 2014

 

Since the onset of the financial crisis of 2008, millions of Americans have looked for ways to earn additional income. For some, multi-level marketing companies like Avon and Herbalife presented a good avenue for making extra cash. In these types of operations, individuals pay the company for a bulk amount of goods that they then sell to other people. According to multi-level marketing firms and their trade groups, the system allows consumers to purchase their favorite products at a Continue reading

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September 26, 2014

 

Although summer is fading, ice cream season remains in full swing for millions of sweet-toothed Americans. Last year consumers in the U.S. bought $13.7 billion worth of the dessert, an enormous number that doesn’t even include restaurant sales. And according to a recent study, 40 percent of Americans will eat ice cream in any given two-week period. Nevertheless, on the whole people consume a lot less of the cold stuff than they did 25 years ago. Back in 1989 Continue reading

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September 23, 2014

In the 1950s, more than 150 television manufacturers called the U.S. home. Today, not even component parts for TVs are produced on American soil. Still, that hasn’t stopped Wal-Mart from slapping “Assembled in the USA” stickers onto many flat screen TVs stocked in its stores. That’s because the company buys the televisions from South Carolina’s Element Electronics Corporation, which imports all their items from China.

That doesn’t mean Element is simply a middleman operation though. TVs that arrive at the Continue reading

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