October 15, 2021

With supply chains snarled across the globe, food prices are on the rise as businesses contend with interminable shipping delays. Unlike many other items at the supermarket, though, cheese prices have remained relatively stable thanks to a number of factors discussed in the video below. 

Questions:

  1. Why does cheese maintain a relatively stable price compared to other staple foods like ground beef and apples?
  2. What is “price smoothing” and how does it keep prices stable at supermarkets for consumers?
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October 7, 2021

When summer came to a close last year, restaurants across the country scrambled to keep diners eating outdoors even as the weather turned cold. This led to improvised setups with shelters and gas heaters that sometimes brought about more problems than they solved. For example, every night Ellen Yin’s restaurant in Philadelphia would burn through more than 10 propane tanks for their heat lamps, with staff often changing the tanks throughout the evening. “A couple of times I went to Continue reading

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September 24, 2021

Over the course of the pandemic, sports card trading has transformed from a niche hobby to a booming market as people started turning old collections into big money. This video looks at how appraisal companies and online trading platforms have changed collecting forever while attracting the interest of Wall Street investors in the process.

Questions:

  1. How did sports card collecting transform from a fading hobby into a lucrative and vibrant market? 
  2. Do you think the market for cards will Continue reading
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September 15, 2021

Over the last year, Apple has been engaged in a legal battle with Epic Games, the software developer behind the blockbuster video game Fortnite. The company sued Apple after the tech giant removed the mobile version of Fornite from its App Store, alleging that Epic encouraged customers to purchase the game on different platforms. Apple claimed that this prevented it from collecting the commission it earns on every sale through the App Store, which Epic then accused of being anti-competitive Continue reading

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September 10, 2021

Although demand for wine from California’s Napa Valley has never been higher, supply is low across the region after years of drought, wildfires, and then the pandemic disrupted production. This video looks at the inflationary pressures currently weighing on winemakers as they consider whether or not to raise prices on the latest vintages.

Questions:

  1. What inflationary factors are driving winemakers to raise prices on their products?
  2. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages for businesses when they raise prices?
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September 3, 2021

It’s a scenario that plenty of fast food fans have faced before: they pull up to the drive-thru speaker at McDonald’s and ask for their favorite frozen treat, only to hear the reply, “Sorry, but the machine is broken right now.” Responsible for about 60 percent of the chain’s desserts, the McFlurry machine is a vital asset for Golden Arches franchises across the country, even though their unreliability has become something of a running joke. Along with serving as the Continue reading

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August 17, 2021

The economic disruptions of the past year and a half caused small businesses to lose an average of 11 percent of their revenues. This was not the case for the globe’s big corporations, though. According to a McKinsey study of 5,500 “big, highly productive” U.S. and European companies, all surveyed firms reported that they experienced no declines in sales during the pandemic.

Although large companies had already been overtaking their smaller rivals before 2020, economists say that the pandemic widened Continue reading

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August 10, 2021

For decades, many American companies have relied on facilities in Southeast Asia to manufacture products that are then shipped over for dometic sale. Along with reducing production costs, firms also saved on inventory space through “just-in-time” ordering that allowed them to quickly bring in materials from overseas when necessary. But while relying on long-distance industrial suppliers has always been risky, the worst case scenario for this approach became a reality during the pandemic.

The global economy nearly shut down for Continue reading

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July 15, 2021

Those who have concerns about privacy on smartphones often focus on apps that track users’ internet browsing history or even their movements through GPS. But while such violations of privacy are becoming more well-known to users, many others appear to be unaware that some apps have open access to their contact lists. For instance, therapist Gabriela Buendia was shocked to discover that the payment app Venmo had shared a list of her phone contacts as well as data about everyone Continue reading

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Yesterday, we looked at how cost-cutting measures used by rental car companies to survive the pandemic have now led to supply problems that are affecting travelers across the country. But rental cars aren’t the only items that are in short supply these days. For instance, a garden supply store called Valley View Farms experienced record sales of patio furniture in March as customers began to emerge from the extended stays at home. Soon after this boom, though, the Maryland retailer Continue reading

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