February 18, 2020

Rather than worry about having cash on hand, many American consumers now prefer to use credit or debit cards as their preferred methods of payment. Companies are usually happy to oblige cashless customers since cards are easy to process and keep busy lines moving. In fact, a number of retailers and restaurants across the country have switched to cashless payment models that rely entirely on cards or mobile apps. According to consumer advocates and lawmakers, however, these businesses could be Continue reading

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February 14, 2020

The consumer goods giant Unilever is known for its huge portfolio of major brands like Dove, Lipton, Axe, and many others. The conglomerate also owns several big names in the ice cream aisle such as Breyers, Klondike, Good Humor, Ben & Jerry’s, and more. But while these brands are well-known to many consumers, they’re about to become a lot less familiar to kids. That’s because Unilever recently announced that by the end of the year it would stop airing TV Continue reading

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February 13, 2020

In 2017, the home goods company Brandless launched with a novel way to take on Amazon as well as other big-box retailers. The direct-to-consumer startup sold high-quality, organic versions of everything from toilet paper to beauty products in simple, no-frills packaging. Brandless claimed that this eliminated the so-called “BrandTax” levied by many companies, which could account for as much as 40 percent of the product’s actual cost. With little money spent on traditional marketing, Brandless initially charged just $3 for Continue reading

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February 11, 2020

A few weeks ago, the coronavirus outbreak in China caused countless businesses to shutter as the government also restricted travel throughout the country. Many companies announced plans to stay closed during an extended Lunar New Year holiday, which was supposed to end yesterday. But with many workers still unable to leave their hometowns, a number of manufacturers are pushing that date back. Volkswagen, for instance, will only reopen some of its plants in about a week due to complications with Continue reading

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February 7, 2020

Targeted advertising has become the economic engine of the Internet for big companies like Facebook and Google that collect all sorts of data about their users. This video details how tech giants track people online in order to gather information for advertisers, a widespread practice that is nevertheless hugely controversial. 

Questions:

  1. How has the use of cookies changed from the early days of the Internet to today?
  2. Do you think legislators should regulate how companies track people online for Continue reading
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February 6, 2020

As the country’s largest department store chain, Macy’s has hundreds of locations nationwide and earned more than $25 billion in sales in 2018 alone. Still, the last few years have not been easy for the retailer as more consumers turn to e-commerce outlets like Amazon for their shopping needs. Meanwhile, discount retailers like TJ Maxx and fast-fashion brands like H&M are also winning over shoppers with wide selections and great deals. After struggling to keep up with all of this Continue reading

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February 4, 2020

The national unemployment rate is currently at 3.5 percent, its lowest point in decades. As a result, retailers and restaurant chains across the country are having a difficult time finding workers to fill low-wage positions. “Understaffing is a massive problem,” said Jonathan Maze, executive editor of Restaurant Business Magazine. “You have companies that are stressed to try to fill hours and keep people on, and it can lead to violations.” 

According to a recent ruling from a Massachusetts court, Continue reading

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January 31, 2020

Last week, the world learned that a deadly, fast-moving disease called the coronavirus had appeared in several Chinese cities. The mysterious illness has already killed more than a hundred people and infected thousands more, leading the World Health Organization to declare the coronavirus a global health emergency. Despite its potentially worldwide implications, though, right now the disease is primarily localized in China. Along with placing entire cities on quarantine, Chinese authorities have also extended the annual Lunar New Year holiday Continue reading

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January 30, 2020

Last weekend during a busy dinner service, San Francisco restaurant owner Pim Techamuanvivit received a strange phone call. The caller wanted to know when the delivery he ordered through Seamless would turn up since he had already waited 45 minutes for it. “I think you must be confused, because I don’t do delivery,” replied Techamuanvivit. The frustrated person on the other line then asked why her business was listed on Seamless. Upon further investigation, Techamuanvivit discovered that both Seamless and Continue reading

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January 28, 2020

In 2013 the fitness startup ClassPass launched as a way to help gyms and workout studios fill open spaces in exercise classes. Through the ClassPass app, users can browse a list of available classes in their area and book times that fit within their schedule. They also don’t need to sign up for a variety of different gym memberships since ClassPass now partners with more than 30,000 fitness centers in 28 countries. The company’s growing global reach has attracted interest Continue reading

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